Where D2 could feel like a real time D&D videogame at times, your stats mattering more than your inputs; D3 makes me feel that 'I' have real control over how a fight will turn out by my decisions and not the spec of my gear.
To that I can answer with a quote from Blizzard
We've also seen some people saying our intention with Inferno is just one-shot you to make it difficult. While damage is a bit spikier than we'd like, we're actually seeing a pretty significant number of people attempting Inferno without sufficient gear. There's a good chance that returning to the previous Act to farm upgrades will do the most to help you survive.
Emphasis is mine.
Oh blizzard why you say such stupid things, even though they are through.
Yes stats and gear matter just as much as before, wasn't my intent to say otherwise. More that the removal of attack rating has made the game better at hiding "the stat stick war" that is going on. Thus forcing me to think differently than I did in D2. A shift in the way I find myself thinking and not how the game actually works. Plus swinging at air is lame.
The other thing I've found throgh replaying D2 is how alive the world felt. D3 just doesn't have this till the third act and then only at certain points (watching a hell worm thingy dash through the battle below before popping up beside you is pretty awesome).
I feel this is mostly due to the focus on story characters that follow you from act to act rather than a focus on the local colour i.e. the vendors.
From Akara to that crazy alchemist in act III; the vendors brough life to every area in a way that D3 cannot achieve through background chatter. That said I think alot of the random chat is okay but you don't get to know the people talking, they are just randomers. It was funny to hear Lysander in act II talk about missing the chat of the harem girls because it was him
saying it. Who said the lines was as important as the lines themselves.
Heck I remember getting every statement out of the act III assasin despite the fact she did nothing plot wise.
The biggest failing here was in heaven in D3, aside from being really short for a final act, what was heaven? What lasting impression did it leave? It's heaven! How can you make it the most bland area in your game! It left no lasting impression on me.
Which leads to the lore books. As awesome as they were (especially in how they opened up the heavens) they are a poor replacement for NPC's.
The telling of the lore was linked and interweaved with the people in D2 adding to both areas. Even if it was just Deckard telling dirty stories about nuns!; it added so much. Two birds with one stone, world and lore through people, even if the lore was a bit weaker in D2 as I recall (still replaying Act I)