You're crazy... almost everything except the player models look the same..
Hmm, thats a little strange since the only thing that hasn't
changed is the player models. Everything else is new from the items to the lands.
and early leveling is WORSE than it was before
Again, I think you might be misleading people. With the new perk system early leveling is much better than before. A new perk every 10 levels makes it much easier to stregnthen you character.
I still think AO is the best MMO out there because of complexity alone. The number of things you can do in the middle of battle is great, but tie in all the different armor/implant/weapon/breed/profession combinations and you can sit and just recreate different types of toons for much longer than I have seen in any other MMO.
But of course, to each his own.