I think you have to look at ladders place in a larger perspective, ultimately what blizz wants is for people to enjoy the game and play for as long as possible so they can develop expansions and get some of your money again. The advantage D2 had that you where forced into rerolling to try a new 'spec' within a class. Granted the time spent on levelling a new character was mitigated a fair amount by power levelling but regardless it was still a time sink to try a new spec. D3 doesn't have this, there is no reason to play any class more than once since changing your spec can be done in seconds and with no cost.
The return of ladders will have a decent amount of people returning to the game to re roll new characters to take take part in that system simply for the experience itself. But there will still be a lot of people not interested in ladders or re rolling and will continue to play the characters they already have, which is fine, but I think there is still one demographic of players left. Which are the people who arn't interested in playing the characters they already have, and just the inclusion of a ladder system in and of itself won't be enough to bring them back to the game. I am in this subset, Add ladder only legendary's and it creates a place for blizzard to try out new items and ideas without having to be absolutely petrified about messing up the balance since the ladders have resets. Doing this incentives more people to come back to play for longer while they work on the next expansion. I wouldn't plan to come back unless there where more incentives within the ladder system to bring me back, and I'm sure I'm not alone in this. I also doubt blizzard would be structuring it this way without a fair amount or research into the concept.
This does shift the focus of the game to ladders especially with the inclusion of new items that can only be found there, and like in all other games that are structured like this, the normal mode of the game becomes a joke in the eyes of the people who enjoy ladder. I say play the way you find the most fun, if you consider the newest items to be the most important thing to you but don't like ladders or rerolling then you either change your priorities, or suck it up and do what you have to do to get the newest lootz.
Add ladder only legendary's and it creates a place for blizzard to try out new items and ideas without having to be absolutely petrified about messing up the balance since the ladders have resets.
If anything, season-only items require MORE balance because seasons are supposed to be competitive. How your logic comes to the conclusion that they don't need to worry about balance in seasons is beyond me.
I mean are you trying to say that it doesn't matter if they introduce an item that ruins a whole season? That just doesn't make sense at all.
So what we can conclude from reading this thread is this:
-Most people actually dont like ladder mod.
-Most people wanna be unique snowflake with loot.
Both dont need to be connected. Season are simply not for many to enjoy, except if they can have loot that others cant. Going back to point 1 and 2. If you need an incentive, you must really not enjoy it much?
Your misconstruing my point terribly, I don't feel the need to try and re-explain things in a different manner in hopes you'll understand.
The point you articulated was that people won't care about imbalances because things will just get reset.
I think that point is well-intentioned, but simply ignores the fact that people aren't going to keep playing seasons if they're plagued by bugs and lack of balance allowing a subset of people to succeed. When "competition" is involved then people are more likely to want an even playing field, so the suggestion that no one will care about "broken" items in seasons is simply myopic. It's like saying that people are more likely to care about steroid use in single-A baseball than in the major leagues. It sounds cute, but it defies logic.
With seasons, it's actually more likely that the people left playing standard will be more tolerant of bugs and imbalances than those playing seasons.
If Season #1 has a bug with whatever new wizard-specific season-only item is introduced, which allows wizard to get triple the XP/hr as anyone else, is that going to make you more, or less, excited for the second season? How many people are going to see it as a sign and just migrate back to standard?