Frankly, I don't get the durability system in Dark Souls 2. What sense does it make that my weapon is nearly worn down before I can even get to the area boss?
The sense that it's encouraging you to not fight everything between the front door and the boss. The goal isn't to kill everything; it's to not die. Many areas are actually easier to traverse by running around the enemies rather than fighting them. ;p
Or, alternatively, have more than one weapon ready. When I was doing my no bonfires run I had 2 +7 claymores, a +7 varangian sword, +10 varangian sword, +10 greatsword and +10 large club. Rotated through all of them before I'd use a repair powder, start the rotation over again from the weakest weapon I could still reasonably use in the area I was passing through at the time.
Regarding comparisons between the two Dark games, three overwhelmingly glaring differences come to mind:
- DS2's Guard Break is infinitely superior to DS1's kick in almost every way (the one exception being knocking people off of cliffs, which is much harder to do reliably in DS2 and, as such, makes hackers harder to deal with in some circumstances than they were in DS1). You can guard break straight through a greatshield, which was almost impossible to do with kicks.
- Jumping in DS1 was infinitely better. You jumped higher and farther in DS1 than you do in DS2 and it's gotten me killed on several occasions thinking 'Yeah, I can make that' and realizing I was thinking with DS1's jump physics. DS2's jump sucks
. This is even more noticeable to me than the rolling changes.
- Weight. The kind of armor I was wearing on my strength build would have had me medium-rolling at the very least in DS1. I like that they opened up build variety and options by allowing a much more generous equip load while still rolling effectively. Maybe not AS effectively, but much better than the comparison between fast and medium rolls in DS1.
Compared to those three things, durability doesn't really even show up on my radar of differences. If you're upgraded appropriate to the area you're in and you kill things efficiently it shouldn't become much of a problem, unless you're using more delicate weapons and exploring every nook and cranny without backup weapons ready to go.
Edit: Why play in new ways? For variety! Spice! Fun! And to learn what other options are available. What've you got to lose? ;p
(I say this as a person who used katana on 8 out of 10 characters in DS1, but still. >.>; )