Did you think no one would notice? No one would miss it?
Where has the idea come from to create a sequel with fewer features and options than the previous iteration? Did you honestly believe it was a good idea to do that? LIke no one would notice? This isnt even about catering to the casual gamers, this is about creating a game that is fundamentally worse than the previous. Do you think a new I-phone would sell if it had fewer features than the previous I-phone? NO. So where in hell did the idea come from that makes it ok to do that for a video game. Did you not learn anything from SOCOM 4? Arguably your close cousin in the tactical third person shooter genre. Each previous SOCOM title sold millions, while SOCOM 4 sold barely more than 0.6 million. And look where Zipper is now. They took a series that survived on custom rooms and options (much like Ghost Recon) and took those options away. They catered to the casual fan base and created a game with fewer features than the previous titles.
The most effective advertising is word of mouth. In an age where EVERYTHING you buy online is rated by the users, you have chosen to upset the most vocal users. Your longtime hardcore fans feel betrayed, and you will hear it. And with poor sales, you will feel it.
I dont know what "studies" show that this is the way to go, but you need to take another look at them.
There are a few threads which are already about the subject, so rather than reposting, making new threads and diluting your comments, why not try and support other threads, which also has a better chance of threads not being lost in the flood.
Remember to post all feedback in the official survey too, if you feel strongly about it.