You see, I'm pretty much your opposite. I get a kick out of trying to figure out how people are okay with such low expectations.
Realistic =/= low.
You have to remember, this is a whole new thing for RS. Hell, other than APB (which was a tremendous failure on a lot of fronts), this is a whole new thing for the genre. The fact that they had the balls to do it impresses me by itself tbh.
If you think about previous GTA games, each one has effectively kept the same basic forumla for the majority of missions - go there, steal that, kill that, go home - so it's no surprise to me that the majority of the online missions are exactly the same, because the formula is exactly the same in GTAV. If the whole 3 protag thing didn't happen in GTAV, it would effectively be bringing nothing new to the table at all.
On the subject of innovation - how many games in recent years have truly been innovative, and how have they gone in the market, and how many have been from big devs/publishers? I can think of games like Mirror's Edge, Alpha Protocol, the first Assassins Creed, Portal, maybe the STALKER games, that were true innovators for different reasons. If you look at those games, all but maybe one or two of them were massive flops.
RS aren't really the type of company, and GTA isn't really the type of franchise, that they can take chances like that, not for a game launch anyway. I can see them adding innovative stuff down the track, but that's wholly dependent on the data they'll be getting from the way we're playing, and how much of the commmunity sticks around after the first couple of DLC packs.
So yeah, my expectations weren't low - they were just realistic.