1. Somewhat agree. Instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, scale environmental fx down/make it less prevalent.
2. Absolutely agree. Not only that, being so opposed to missing/high AC that you make decent non-magical armor more rare than powerful magic items is immersion breaking. Give us breastplates etc. before we get (potentially) +10 intelligence items!!!
3. Disagree. Arguably the rest of the game setting is anti-climactic as opposed to starting in hell, but I like the beginning. Combat is easy for the most part with potential to make it hard. Good balance.
4. WotC is a very "progressive company". I believe they have pushed for Larian to tone it down/remove it. Don't want to be non-inclusive to psychopaths now do we?
5. I think this is a bit of a false dichotomy. Many are fans of both franchises and I don't think Larian goes out specifically to cater to DOS fans, but they have enjoyed quite a bit of success with their creative gameplay. Larian's tactical approach to combat goes beyond environmental effects and creative tricks though...it is also about verticality, bottlenecks and mobility. This is something I believe the most ardent fans of each franchise will agree makes combat more interesting.