Updates to Old Gear, Game Mechanics and Transparency.
I for one see this as a feature of a good mmo. Changing outdated loot to reflect a grander scope of things and prevent things from stacking in arbitrarily overpowered ways is a positive thing in the end. I can understand that the general consensus is that nerfs are bad, but frankly I think people who feel that way are not looking at a bigger picture. This shows us that the devs are in fact watching older gear. They're looking into making changes on what does and doesn't get used (I'm looking at you just about every single sands epic item) and they're making changes so that things are more useful overall. I wish dearly that they could snap their fingers and have these things done every update, but if they did I'm certain that they would be changing more often then half the population of these forums change their socks.
One of the most successful games in online gaming history was Diablo 2. It only ever had one 'expansion'. Yes in its numerous updates, they added, changed, updated, revamped and changed the top end gear often. Stagnation is bad. These updates and changes are much much better then a new pack comes out: "Here are the best items, here are the ones that suck. This one would be good, but there was a better one nine packs ago that competes for that slot."
Some gear will become invalidated by content changes, mechanic changes or new gear coming out. If you expected your greensteel greataxe to be the best thing ever, forever: Then you were deluded. Eventually, there will be a new ESOS, some already think Sireth, Spear of the Sky is. There is a new epic marilith chain. Planar conflux sets are better then claw sets, and those strangely enough are better then the Angers Set from back on korthos.
Will casters ever get nerfed? I dunno but have you tried running around many of the newer quests with the Epic Willow of the Wisps? There are mechanics out there to keep casters in check, and ideally we will see more of that. I'd like to see more beholders, more 'you can't cast during this effect'. Earthquake affects spell failure. A bunch of new tactics and maybe in the enhancement pass casters will get a little less free 'winning'. The same could be said in reverse for both ranged combat and two weapon fighting. Less 'nerfing', and more bonuses that keep them close to the same balance. Will certain classes or types be more powerful in certain situations? Most assuredly. But I'm pretty sure that with some careful adjustments they can all be brought to close to the same power level.
I'm sure this is getting far too TL:DR for most of the people who read these forums and I could've summed it up with less, but I think that the rage over a mechanic change on the 'Test Server' is a bit extreme. Should it have made it to the release notes? Probably. Are they probably watching and making some adjustments to it based on our feedback? Almost certainly. Personally I'm hoping that:
1: Exceptional Damage/To Hit stay 'Exceptional' I'm looking at you Tower of Despair sets.
2: More use of the term 'Insightful'. Lets stick with easy to remember terms overall. The old issue of Competence/Enhancement was annoying, and confusing for new players. Competence/Insight/Exceptional/Profane... things that don't sound similar and don't seem like they shouldn't stack.
3: Artifact bonuses should be from raid gear only. Lets face it, not everything is an artifact. Planar Confluxes and relic weapons? Definitly. Dragonscale armors and helmets? Maybe. Gloves/Bracers of the claw? Probably not.
4: Term things as a 'Set bonus'. A 'Set' Bonus to sneak attack damage from Venomed Set, a Set bonus from claw/etc.
5: The more difficult or 'grindy' an item is to get, the more likely it should probably get either a buff, or consideration for an update. Ideal candidates are of course Epic Items from Sands of Mnechturan/Vault of Night/The Red Fens. As well as small changes to raid items from Hound of Xoriat, Vison of Destruction, Titan. yes, go for it make the change just give us a decent amount of time to preview and give feedback. As it stands with the inclusion of epic destinies, augments and the ideally upcoming enhancement pass, making a large portion of the games raid gear underwhelming and under adjustable like everything else will be is unfortunate. Imagine somebody getting a base sword of shadow at level 10. Then finding out that no, your crafted beater is better cause it has a red slot. Or for a less extreme case, finally getting the parts for an epic sands explorer item, like Sting, or Flint. Something cool and iconic, but completely useless. These items are just as rare as things like Epic Ring of Spell Storing, or Epic Thornlord but complete junk by comparison. I don't want both to be common, and I don't want both to be amazing, but make them not vendor trash bad.
Essentially clean up the typing bonuses overall, and make it more clear to us what would stack and what wouldn't. Its easily done for things like spell power (Implement + Equipment + Psionic) or Saves (Resistance + Luck + Insight...) why not for damage and attack. Blindly changing things and hoping we, the players, figure it out, and that we accurately report any bugs, exploits or issues in a timely enough manner is foolhardy.
If anybody bothers to actually read to the end of this ramble, thanks. Feel free to tell me I'm being crazy, and this is all doom and gloom worthy, cause well its a video game. Serious bizness, and all that.