Mmmh, not gonna comment on the rest, I don't see things as you do, which is fair enough, but regarding the visuals, honestly... all the ingame videos of ghost I've seen really looked "2000", not state of the art graphics (heck, it reeks of Renegade - the Westwood game - excepted it was to be a couple years late), and, on the other hand, these videos from starcraft2 on youtube do look kickass to me. I am the first one to agree that WoW visuals are subpar ( which is odd, there's a couple trully impressive places in there, like that core chamber where you choose the different instances in Blackrock, with the huge rock hold by huge chains over lava, the lighting and all make it look awesome), if you compair it to, say, Lineage2 (which looks better AND runs better, shame on Blizz'), it quite franckly looks bad (even more so since I don't like the visual theme they chose, that cartoonish look of theirs, which totally hurts compared to the ubber cutscenes), and yeah, warcraft3 didn't look great (that's an euphemism) either when it was released. I'm also very disapointed by the fact they still don't care about scales in Starcraft2 (these tiny battlecruisers hurt my eyes), but that aside, it really does look good, so I can't understand your gripe regarding that.
As for gameplay... well I'm not much of a fan of RTS ( I like warcraft, but mainly for the fluff -well, up till Burning Crusade ), I prefer straight-to-battle games such as Mark of Chaos, all that resource gathering, unit building stuff is just tedious to me, that's why I didn't play through Dawn of War, which had otherwise kickass combats, so I'm not gonna comment on that, it's Blizzard's turf, I'm not gonna criticize it based on my own tastes.
Well then there you have it, the Lineage vs WoW thingy just proves what I say. Among another number of things. But that aside all its left is the gameplay, which isnt much different from what you see from some games already (mentioned DoA for that reason, the gameplays of both are very similar, yet DoA looks much better, etc). The gameplay style of resource gathering and all that is not my cup of tea either, but thats not my point in this actually.
My "gripe" regarding SC2 is exactly that. The graphics are sub-par (euphemism too
), the gameplay is the same (not a bad thing, but since their not directing their efforts to that department, its only logical they do in others), their maps are extruded cubes (thats the worse of it, my jaw dropped when I saw a Protoss Immortal going through a "hill" like if it wasnt there). And of course, like you mentioned, that cartoonish style is awfull, becoz it doesnt look cartoonish at all
Even more, my gripe is that SC is going to be the second Blizzard universe they seem to be going to screw up, due to poor execution in their games. And im fond of their universes.
The second studio that was working on SC Ghost was owned by Blizzard for a year before the game was canceled.
My turn to state the obvious?!
Of course they were "owned" (more like a direct subsidiary) by Blizzard, for the purpose of developig SC Ghost. Much on the same way that Blizzard North was owned by Blizzard for the purpose of developing the Diablo series, before they disbanded.
Only being there for only 1 year, and then Ghost being cancelled, is a testament that there were misunderstandings.