D1 & D2 are quite different games, even if they do share the same core game mechanics.
Personally, I feel this is the crux of the matter, and why many have such strong feelings on this subject. We were told we were getting a new edition of the game - so expected little more than some cleaner rules, but ultimately, the same game.
This is SO far from what was actually delivered (It's 4th Ed D&D to 3.5. Or hell, 3rd Ed Warhammer to 2nd edition - and you don't have to look far to see the vitriol towards either of those). Had they called Descent 2 a different name, there would be no problem, but personally, aside from the aesthetic, I really don't see the similarities between the two games. This is the issue - peoples beloved game was ceased to be supported, and instead it was replaced with an entirely different game… A big shame to nathrotep, and I know me and my game group largely feel the same too.
My biggest issue with D2 is the thing nathrotep has mentioned repeatedly - they have stripped away so much of the customisation that was there in first edition. I really hope future expansions see much of this get re-introduced, but sadly I'm not convinced it will.
One thing I was thinking about when reading this thread - if I were to play 1st edition, what rules/mechanics from second edition would I utilise. And if I was to play 2nd edition, what rules/mechanicas would I take from 1st…. The list for the latter is CONSIDERABLY longer….
Lastly, while I agree personal preference is entirely subjective, it's not always the case that an opinion is wrong. It is cold hard fact that Settlers of Catan is a better game than 'Chutes and Ladders' (or Snakes and Ladders, depending on your territory). Just thought I'd say