I know this is late, but I'm joining into this. here are my full opinions on the matter with the recipes (coming from a player and a map maker)
Yes, the recipes are more expensive (overall). I like the new plates system as that provides the possibility to make more machines, an example I can think of is copper machines that are slower, cheaper but can overheat which means that they need to be cooled down in between uses (this applies more for furnaces then anything else) or even Iridium ones which are the highest tier forms of the machines, the fastest, most power efficient but the most expensive. I can live with the pricing of the new machines because, if need be, I CAN USE ANOTHER MOD LIKE THERMAL EXPANSION, that is my choice.
One of the things I read was the speed of the metal former, I believe what your looking for are overclocker upgrades if the speed is really bugging you that much. Hoppers are designed for early automation (in comparison) so,when your out speeding the hopper, install in a new automation, pipes (BC or GT, your choice), ME cable, ect.
If you think the mod is going in a bad direction, here is a novel idea: make your own mod that does the same stuff your way. You stated that you made the Advanced furnaces mod so you clearly have Java skill so make your own machine mod, don't complain to the developers about your nitpicks with the mod. Get over it or make your own.
You believe that IC2 lacks a vision and purpose, I beg to differ. While I may not know the purpose of the mod at the moment, the intention was to make a mod that brings industrialization to Minecraft, and it does that well. Is it the best? not my place to decide. To give you a idea of purpose, I am working on Shrine Runner (check my signature, not a plug I swear). Its purpose was to expand on the base of FTB Insanity by providing a diverse challenge that isn't always "craft X, get Y to make Z" and at the moment, I think its doing a good job. I also intend for it to be harder then Insanity which is more intimidating then challenging. The point I'm making here though is this, unless you know exactly what the vision and purpose, DO NOT claim that it is lacking said vision and purpose.
My last statement on the matter is this
The problem with life-experience however is that everyone needs to make his own, so no matter what I say or how much of it, you'll either listen in the first place, because you have learned the lesson to listen already, or you never will. As we are on page 6 with no relevant progress, I assume it will be the later. So go forth, do your thing, and either prove me wrong, or - should I be right - learn from it.
It is one thing to go out and accuse the developers, but I believe that this is going to far. I believe the expression I'm looking for is "kettle calling teapot black" or People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones" (I know their old but I couldn't come up with something newer that works). From what I have read, you are behaving like a Brick wall, not willing to compromise. While I respect that they are your opinions, you are not willing to acknowledge the opinions of others as also being right because they conflict with yours. If anyone needs to head your advice sir, its you.