In regards to the skill system it's better than it was before in my opinion because they removed all of the pointless crap. Yes you have opinions to pick for your talents but 99% of the time there was a talent that was infinitely better than the other talent in the same branch level, so you ended up with 90% of the population using the same build because some smart guy on a forum says so. Then you have 10% of the population that have no idea what they're doing and randomly pick skills. I feel that they should do that with the D3 skill trees, people would cry/complain about it but frankly some of the skills/runes in D3 are so worthless they shouldn't even exist and merely serve as a filler so they can over embellish the options the game has.
What they're doing now is making end game more accessible for people by making it easier to match up with other players. Which is a good and bad thing. Good in the sense that you don't have to commit yourself to a specific time slot every week and you can raid/play when you want assuming the queue isn't too long. The negative is that it killed the community within the server and world pvp, but frankly the server community chatter never went beyond the intelligence level of what you would find in the Barrens channel. For some servers the battleground/dungeon queue was a godsend.
I liked the old talent system, though I see your point. It would eventually just get to the point where people would copy/paste the latest cookie-cutter spec from EJ without any idea why that was the "optimized" build and then proceed to play it wrong and do 600dps in WotlK heroics. But even though many talents were must-have, you still got to decide when to take those while leveling which felt nice when you hit 40 and grab your 40 talent and start filling it out more and start to see the playstyle come into play.
Also maybe it is just nostalgia but I really loved TBC. The PvP, Arenas for the first few seasons, exploring Nagrand the very first time.
WotLK started off pretty damned fun too (zombie invasion!), I LOVED the entire zone design of Northrend/Dalaran. Ulduar was fun, TCC sucked, and ICC was OKish but it felt nice to conclude the Arthas storyline. But toward the end WotlK was very content-starved, ICC lasting an entire year with nothing but a tiny pointless dragon raid added. Then Cataclysm came out and the game went downhill fast.
As far as other MMO's, sad to say there aren't any very good ones on the market. I have heard good things about Rift and apparently they just keep adding tons of content to it, shame the art-design and lore feel so boring and generic that I can't really get into it. Tera was fun, awesome combat except for the whole forgetting to put an end-game in there. Don't think I need to touch SWTOR. Nothing looks good for all of 2013 either. And GW2 just isn't everyone's cup of tea, I quit pretty quickly when I tried RvR and learned of the giant distances you get to walk back. I didn't really like the graphical feel of the game either, feels like you are running in molasses the entire time.