Why does this topic sound like defending 2-color icons to graphic artists (hello Windows 8)? From my understanding, OP should then be using Lynx, it's the most simplified interface I've ever seen.
Speaking seriously though, if one wants a bare-minimalistic, KISS, noob-oriented browser, how many options do you need? 20? You've got that long ago. Now, echoing other users, what really gives Opera a clear edge over most of them? What makes it stand out?
Now how many browsers are targeted to Internet power-users that know precisely what and why they're doing? I know only two: Opera 12.x and older, or extension-loaded, fully crapped-Firefox. Opera had been for long a reference for webdesigners that really understood HTML and CSS; it's gone for about a year, since Presto started lagging behind on both arenas, so I totally understand the choice of abandoning Presto and moving on to another engine.
What I can't understand, though, is how they totally ignore what's their target audience. If I want a simple browser, there's a ton already there, even other generic Chromes - but I guess all have bookmarks, so it may be too complicated or cramped for the new Opera lovers. For historic Opera, though, many users are experienced dawgs who do stuff all other browsers don't handle properly - or simply not at all - and that is their "workflow". I, for one, am on it since Opera 5 was launched (still paid), and stay with 12.16 because I won't spread all my notes and bookmarks across hundreds of text files, synchronized via Dropbox (or insert-here-your-dream-sync-option). It's plain stupid.
I may not customize my browser often, but I do it on every new computer in 5 minutes (and I change computers quite often), but I use those customizations EVERY DAY. Otherwise, I'd be using another browser. Why is it hard to understand? On opera 15, I gave up after 30 minutes trying to search a bunch of extensions that would give me similar functionalities. And my experience with another once-great software that opted to go stupid bare-simple, Thunderbird, is that for every version update I have to wait a few weeks before all my extensions get updated, so I admit I didn't even try it with Opera.
So I perfectly understand how the new Opera is perfect for my granny's coiffeuse's workflow, or my 6yr nephew that only uses it for Facebook and web games, but for a technical user who's usually among 20+ tabs, 2 windows, and using 2-3 sessions per month, usually switching between tabs tens of times per day, it's much of a drag. And if I can't even sync notes and bookmarks between my desktops and notebooks (personal and professional) in a practical way - specially because there's no bookmarks anymore - then I have absolutely no use for this new browser, and that's why I stick with 12.16 even with its memory appetite and 4-5 crashes per day (don't mind, that's why auto-saved sessions and 8GB RAM exist).
I actually wouldn't even mind the lack of Link, if I could at least sync only 3-4 .adr files (not hundreds) via Dropbox, Bluetooth, pen-drive, diskette, whatever; it's not that much work. But now I don't even have the option to it, and what some people don't seem to get is that Opera has always been precisely about options. I have the option to disable mouse gestures. I have the option to hit F4 and hide the sidebar. As well as I have the option to show a full status bar at the bottom. And I sure do all when I so wish, depending on my needs. As well as I can navigate (fast) through all of the darn pages and tabs without ever touching the mouse or screen via Shift-arrows, or whatever other key would fit me - if I really want to customize it. Taking that away is akin to abolishing extensions would be for Firefox users.
Lastly, if Opera doesn't want to maintain Presto and it has a direct impact over the whole browser, as its interface is heavily based on its engine, there's still the option of making it open-source, even partially. You can still protect (by not disclosing) relevant parts of the code and even create your own license, it'd still be a lot better, more fair and surely less dangerous than neglecting all its user base. Or, at least, refrain from doing the big jump until you have a decent product to show - which, as I understand, is not yet the case. The way it is now, Opera will need to start entirely anew, attracting new users while dumping most of the old ones (which were never as many as IE or FF, but surely more loyal and not just a few), without even offering a clear differential over its competitors - which now include the likes of Maxthon simply because of lack of options.
I, for one, am looking for a replacement. Repeating myself, my "best" option seems to be Firefox with at least 10 extensions, as much as it kind of terrifies me.