Perhaps multiple arrays, with differing degrees of variance?
And nixing feats is still a pretty big cut, particularly for Exalted Deeds; case-by-case, perhaps?
Personally, I think level 3 is the best place to start, since the Rogue/Ranger can actually be the Rogue/Ranger at that point, folks are actually starting to be what they're supposed to, 2nd-level spells are coming into play, there's some gold to swish around, and you're past the killer housecat.
I got rid of exalted deeds because of the fact that it's a lot easier and has a lot less arguing attached to it if you're not working case by case on feats and you do away with an entire group. Same goes for Vile Feats.
And people have 2HD, so for the sake of strike, they're level 2 already. Starting at level 1 isn't all that bad, it means you're starting at the start, it cuts down on minimaxing and power gaming and the first three levels progress quickly.
Also if we used multiple stat arrays people would pick the one with the best numbers. So its best to just use one and let people move stats where they will.
They would be something like this:
5d6.takeHighest(3) → [6,5,5] = (16)
5d6.takeHighest(3) → [6,5,4] = (15)
5d6.takeHighest(3) → [6,6,5] = (17)
5d6.takeHighest(3) → [6,4,3] = (13)
5d6.takeHighest(3) → [4,4,3] = (11)
5d6.takeHighest(3) → [6,5,3] = (14)
Still openings, if so like to play a bard.
there are a lot of openings.