Basically I agree with both of you about W8, I still find it useful. For one, the Start Screen does have some 'value'. The Weather, News, and Stock 'applets' I've enabled. I can leave that up and see what is going on (computer is on most of the day) if the screen saver isn't enabled. Also recently used apps I pin to it so I can start them whenever I want, from the desktop or Start Screen. I've learned how to basically use the mouse to circumvent the need for touch devices.
No, it isn't perfect, and somethings have been moved and some just don't seem to exist anymore.
Like it or not, it is the future. Vista and W7 were not well received when they were released either. Yeah, Vista was DOG, couldn't wait to get rid of it.
Anyway, going directly to the Desktop works well too. Tap the Windows key and you easily go back and forth. Have sufficient h/w and all works well, even if you use Live Tiles and don't use F4 to close them.--