Actually, the answer to that is fairly simple, at least at its core:
Sure, 3e probably had more bloat, but it wasn't all coming from the same company, despite the best efforts of FFE.
2e just seemed to collapse under it's own weight - and I'm not just talking about it's infinite number of settings. No, I'm referring to the series of Complete Handbooks. Talk about ways to unbalance and kill a campaign. I guess it was good that there was always a new setting to move on to after the pervious campaign imploded under the new and better unbalanced rules (not even going to touch Skills & Powers or whatever it was called).
Heck, I didn't even know of the EGG drama going on behind the scenes, as this was before the internet for me.
I started gaming with AD&D 1e and ended my first tour of gaming with 2e. When I returned, I wanted a game that felt like 1e. C&C was close but not quite. 3e seemed like 2e on steroids. 4e didn't even seem like D&D to me anymore.
So now I run AD&D 1e / OSRIC and S&W Complete / C&T. I still can't run without houseruling either, but that's a whole 'nother post.
I have fond memories of playing 2e, but that seems to be more in spite of the rules, not because of them, at least as we allowed the bloat to take over the game.
What are your memories / feelings about AD&D 2e?
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