With this post I want to show how items could have looked like, if D3 would have been more true to D2's item design. I will showcase some rare and legendary items that I created myself with the help of photoshop, but before that, there are a few things that I want to point out (if you just wanna see the items, scroll down):
1) The numbers that I use here are just examples and need to be adjusted properly if this here would would not just be for the purpose of illustration.
2) In my concept of D3's items, magic items have 2 random affixes, rare items have 4-6 random affixes and legendaries have predetermined affixes. Legendaries are not necessarily better than rare items, they just have something special about them, like a special effect (one or more procs for example) that can only spawn on this item, or affixes that ordinarily do not spawn on this item category, or both, however, a well rolled rare item can be better than a legendary for some builds, like it was in D2. The best rolled rare items are very rare.
3) Rare items can also roll with procs like "chance to cast skill X on attack", as it was in D2, so don't be surprised when you see a rare item with a chance to cast Chain Lightning on attack for example.
4) In D2 special affixes were not separated from normal affixes and were also not orange colored like in D3 and they were also not so massively powerful like in D3, were a special affix gives 300-800% increased damage to a single skill. That is why in this presentation you will see these special affixes as a part of the other, normal affixes, like in D2.
5) Items always have the maximum amount of sockets. You can add sockets for a cost at the blacksmith. Two handed weapons have 6 sockets, one handed weapons and off hand items have 3 sockets, chest armor also has 6 sockets, helms have 3 sockets, belts have 2 sockets and rings & amulets have 1 socket. Also, you wouldn't just put emeralds in weapons, because in my concept I removed the Critical Hit Damage affix and drastically redesigned gems, but showing you my redesign of gems is a thread for another time.
6) In this concept of D3's items I got rid of mainstats (strength, dex and int) and replaced them with more universal useful attributes from which all classes can benefit from. These affixes can also spawn on items.There are four different attributes: Power, Agility, Constitution and Spirit.
Power is the offensive stat which increases your damage and gives a few other offensive oriented bonuses.
Agility is for speed and it increases attack speed, movement speed and dodge chance.
Constitution is the defensive stat and it reduced damage taken, increases healing and reduces the duration your character suffers from crowed control effects like stun.
Spirit is a support stat and it reduces cooldowns and resource costs and also increases your experience gained.
Having gotten all of this out of the way, here are some examples of how Diablo 3 items would look in D2's style:
The first one is a rare one-handed axe. It has fire damage and a chance to cast Meteor on attack. It also ignores 11% of targets armor, which means it pierces through armor and therefore your attacks deal more damage. Overpower means that your attacks have a chance that they cannot be dodged or blocked and deal more damage.
The second rare weapon that I showcase here has an interesting proc: it has a chance to activate Ignore Pain when you attack. Ignore Pain reduces your damage taken by 50% for 5 seconds. Besides that this weapon increases your damaged against crowed controlled (CC'ed) enemies, which means that you deal increased damage against enemies that are stunned, frozen, feared, charmed etc. This weapon also gives a bonus to all four attributes.
Next is a rare wand that might be very interesting for a Lightning Wizard: it has +2 to all skills and ignores 13% of targets lightning resistance, which allows your lightning skills to neglect some portion of enemies lightning resistance and therefore deal more damage. It probably would have even been better for a Lightning Wizard if it rolled with x% Increased Lightning Damage (which is possible) instead of Reduced Resource Costs or Life on Attack, but that is RNG...
Now I wanna showcase some legendary weapons: first is a legendary one-handed sword called the Blade of Time and what makes it special is that it has a chance to proc Slow Time on attack, a proc that only can be found on this weapon. It also gives a bonus to all resistances, dodge chance and cooldown reduction (three affixes that in my concept do ordinarily not roll on weapons) and. If you wanna have a defensive weapon that is also fun to use, this might be what you are looking for.
The next legendary weapon is The Chieftain, which is recognizable by its several procs (a rare weapon can only roll with a single proc at maximum, which is why this weapon is quite special). You already know Ignore Pain, Sprint and Taunt (the Crusader skill) from Diablo 3, but Frenzy is a new buff that I came up with: Frenzy increases your attack speed for a few seconds. The weapon also gives a bonus to Power (the offensive attribute) and Spirit (the support attribute).
Before we get to rare and legendary armor pieces, I wanna show the legendary bow Windforce, which you know from D2 and D3, however, I wanted to give it some more flavor: it now rolls with a chance to cast Tornado on hit (which is basically Energy Twister) and also has a chance to proc Sprint. Besides having a chance to proc Sprint, it also increases your movement speed, which is another affix that ordinarily does not spawn on weapons – with that, you are basically fast as the wind, so to speak... It also gives your missiles a chance to pierce through enemies, which we also know from D2.
Now we are coming to rare armors. This rare armor is one of the more well rounded rares. It has +2 to all skills and gives a bonus to all resistances. It also increases all sources of healing and reduces the duration your character suffers from crowd control effects (CC resistance).
The next rare armor has a chance to proc a spell when you get hit and deals thorns damage to attacks as well. Besides that it gives a big bonus to three different resistances. As you might have noticed, the bonus to a single resistance is much bigger than the bonus to all resistances the previous armor had, because it only buffs a single resistance, while +x to all resistances obviously buffs all resistances.
The last rare armor is one with some random affixes. It reduces the damage you take from ranged attacks, but also increases your armor and two different resistances. It regenerates some of your life per second and gives a bonus to the Agility attribute, which increases attack speed, dodge chance and movement speed.
The legendary War Traveler boots are offensive oriented boots, that give you a small chance to cast War Cry when you kill an enemy, but also give you critical hit chance and increase your maximum damage, two affixes that ordinarily do not spawn on boots.
Remember our lightning wizard that I mentioned earlier? She might also be happy if she finds these boots that periodically casts lightnings from above at enemies and ignore some of the targets lightning resistance (again, an affix that ordinarily does not spawn on rare items)!
The Undead Crown has a chance to automatically reanimate some of the enemies you slay as Skeletons. That is a very powerful affix and it also increases your maximum damage, which is why this item also reduces all sources of healing to make up for that power.
In vanilla d3 affixes weren't separated, but it just was less clear that it is now.
In vanilla d3 legendary items were like you described, well rolled yellow was sometimes better than legendary, but that make alot of confusion and devs changed it.
Finding really good item with that type of itemisation would be very hard, and community is crying already every time theres some item in the game that is hard to get and gives adventage for the owner (like ancient furnace in the early seasons).
Don't get me wrong, i would love to see some changes to itemisation that would add more depth and some interesting mechanics, i just don't think scrapping some stuff just to get it the way "d2 done it" would be the right choice to do that.