By chance, I was reminded of BB today. I'd like to give my thoughts, for whatever they're worth.
- I understand the reasoning on not wanting to force people to add recipes for BB stations, but I think that in removing that element, it fails somewhat in what I originally set out to accomplish. To put simply, 90% of the mod ceases to change anything. All that's left is needing a tool, and tools taking slightly longer to get...if you didn't find one in a box.
- I'm not sure a comparison to GregTech is necessarily a bad thing either. BB was originally conceptualized as a difficulty/balance tweak. At its core, the goal is to make things at least slightly harder. That's a necessary element to extending the early game. You have to slow progression somehow, which means making it take more work. Sure, that's going to appeal to some players and not others, but there's nothing wrong with that, and the popularity of packs like Sevtech Ages shows that there is a demand for that kind of gameplay. Indeed, a lot of mods have adopted what was once their hardcore/expert mode as the default, either because of demand, or simply realizing that the simple modes' progression was substantially easier than they thought.
- Having the three variant furnaces as upgrades to the Vanilla leaves very little reason to use them. Perhaps in a situation where the only tech comes from BB they could see some value, but in any kind of modpack that doesn't force their use, they'd be completely outclassed, and completely skippable. The only way I can see to eliminate that issue while still letting players have access to the Vanilla furnace is to make the Vanilla model vastly less efficient than it is now, so that you need them to get up to previous Vanilla crafting levels (which so far as I know can't really be done without creating the same problems as removing the furnace in the first place).
TL;DR - I think that Better Beginnings has always been more of a "hardcore lite" sort of mod. Certainly not "Better Than Wolves", but definitely on the opposite of the spectrum from the likes of "Tinkers Construct". It would be better, I feel, to embrace that. At least through a configuration setting. It might take time to set up other mods to work with changes to core gameplay, but if the alternative is for the mod to lose its purpose, is it really worth it to make things easier? What's the point of having a mod that's super easy to add to any modpack, if there's no modpack in which it adds anything to the experience?