I can understand and respect that. That’s part of why there is a clear delineation between Classic and Classic+/WoW2 as it were. Many of the changes are a fine line to walk. i think many of them could be done, and done well, without negative impact to the kind of game play found in Classic. People have honestly and likely attributed cause and effect to some of the wrong things.
Battle pets didn’t take away anything from the game, or do more than add a new mini-game to the game. Pet/Mount collections by themselves weren’t the problem, account wide linkages, and the in-game store are the real problem to be found there. Although the addition of the Mount collection did open a “cheap way out” for developers for “new rewards” to become increasingly common, so there are perils to be watched out for.
It isn’t the system that necessarily is the problem, but the implementation which requires refinement. This is something Blizzard historically has been good at making improvements to(although retail rightfully calls some of that into question). Taking game systems somebody else created, looking at them, identifying their strengths and weaknesses, and them pushing out an implementation with all the strengths, and few to none of the weaknesses.
The problem Retail has, which Classic+/WoW2 wouldn’t have, is they’re not contending with “Legacy issues” from the V1 implementation needing to be supported. Instead, they get to deal with the reflexive response from players like yourself who recoil in horror because you’ve had bad experiences with V1, and are not willing to contemplate a good implementation as even being possible.
And you’re probably right, Ion probably isn’t going to be up to that task, 90+% of the people on the current & former WoW Development team are probably not up to that task. They likely need someone from “outside that bubble” to come in and handle such re-implementations. Just hope like nobody’s business that the person they get to do it is a fan of Classic’s game systems rather than the later iterations.