People tend to look at these old talents with the mind set they have today, especially if they didn't play back then. While there was something things that were pretty much completely useless, others were more specific in when and how they could be used.
I think people either don't know or forget that one of the things so many of us like about the old talent trees is that you could or almost always would use a completely different build for leveling than you did for end game PvE. PvP always had its own builds which usually involved some form of a hybrid talent build. Yes if all you did was raid you just kept the same build most of the time, but otherwise you were always changing it up and adjusting it, and patch day could do some pretty interesting things with builds.
I've seen some spells and things brought up though that people just shake their head at, but they did have their place at one point and time. Detect Magic, the Mage increase/decrease in spell damage/healing, Wand spec ( for all caster specs), etc. were all used for something. Actually Wand spec was used a crap ton because of the fact that at one point and time threat and mana mattered to everyone. Casters would use it to regain mana from Judgements (or just to add a bit of damage while regening) or if you had run up several crits in a row as DPS you would use it to still do damage without doing full damage. As whacky as some of it was it was mostly useful for something.
LoH from Paladins I see get pitched around a bunch too, but it was a different era with a different mind set that made it that way. It took all of your mana but 500, which was a way of making that powerful heal have a consequence ( now they just use that debuff thing) and use some thought. You didn't use it at the start of the fight, you didn't use it unless you had a pot off CD, and oddly enough it was used just as much to get mana back as it was to save someone. Paladins had no regen other than sitting and waiting or Judgement, and since no Raids wanted a healer in melee range even that was even off limits mostly. So you waited til you ran completely out, let the tank get low, LoH him to full and you could throw a few more casts and hope that pot CD came up.
Oddly enough everyone laughs about survival hunters, but there was a time when that freaking spec played in melee was just crazy. It generally took a well geared, very good player to make it work, but I can remember several tearing things up back in WSG
Frankly I'm not a huge fan of the new talents, there really isn't that much choice tbh, maybe even less so than in the old trees depending on your class. I know certainly for my Elemental Shaman I tend to change my glyphs far more than I ever change my talents, there just is zero reason to do so most of the time. Thats not to say there is zero choice, but since they added it I pretty much believed that it was done to make the game easier and cheaper to produce more so than to make it more fun.
The new talents have also completely altered the leveling experience and the fun you could get from it. TBH there was a ton more choice while leveling than there ever was at end game and while that 1% crit didn't feel like it did much, the fact you got a reward at pretty much every level made the entire experience much more rewarding ( probably even more so for new players). The last one I leveled ( believe it was Monk) I never even noticed I leveled most of the time, it simply didn't matter. Frankly the new system while leveling seems as much like a punishment as it does a reward. Here you are sitting at 15, 30, 45, 60, 75 and realizing you don't get anything really cool again for an entire 15 levels. And they wonder why new players don't stick around?