I would just like to bump this thread in support of the direction the new development team is taking.
However, I do hope they don't give "EVERYTHING" the players are asking for, because first, it would be impossible, and the game might lose focus and become a "supposedly fun game with all the elements everybody wants, but then it sucks."
When there is a compromise situation, it means nobody gets what they wanted. I think if there is true talent, true vision, and true ground breaking ideas, it is worth for the development team to at least implement it, and try it out.
Imagine what would have happened if Steve Jobs listened to customer reports about traditional cells phones when he try to come up with a new phone. He might have read, "better dial pads, better flip phone, better xyz123...." then there would have been no Iphone.
What I am trying to say is, "trying to make things better may not always be the best solution. coming up with a totally different thing that revolutionize what we used to know will be cool." I wish SE would give us something that nobody has seen/experienced before.
Nevertheless, I want to say Kudos to the new development team, 'cos being willing to crawl out of their ivory tower is the first step to creativity.
I actually keep playing this game just to see where it would go. 'cos leaving it and come back, I might just have a good game, but sticking through it, I get the feeling of partaking the transformation of the game... it's kinda fun in itself.