I'm surprised nobody mentioned Razor-Qt as another good alternative DE. It's still early in its development, but already pretty solid. With it you can run all the KDE apps while not having the KDE desktop with all the bells and whistles. Or run specific Qt-only apps if you want the best performance.
They drop it for a reason you know. All the developers who could have been hacking on the fallback went another way; They started hacking on shell extensions. Go look at extensions.gnome.org and look at the high level of activity. Lot and lots of hackers and code. This is contrasted by the stale gnome-panel where no one commits stuff.
Having hundreds of hackers playing around with extensions is not by command of the "evil nazi gnome designers". It just happens to be what motivates people. Apperently they prefer to hack on hundres of modern extensions compared to gnome-panel hacking. Off course these clear facts goes nowhere on phoronix where a bunch basement living flamemongers try to wind up some hate. Let me tell you the only place where they are "productive" is on the forums and on the toilet. Doing the same crapping..
BTW "fallback dropping" really means it moved to the gnome-world moduleset. It is still there and no one denies you the right to fetch it. The most simple way is of course to stay on gnome 3.6. Updating gnome to get new gnome-panel features is a lost cause since the panel is DEAD anyway.
So now it is up to you. Gnomes extensions are a few clicks away and you will be up to speed in a few hours. Go do that and live on. Or write 100 flames about switching to another desktop and silently continue to use gnome like so many other basement people.
I use also at the moment as a experiment i3 desktop, but thats not because I liked gnome2 more than gnome3. The opposite is true. My problem is also not 3d vs 2d, My biggest problem is the lack of va-api and that without it, gstreamer based players are slow and most mplayer players do not offer much features (as example minitube).
But that only as a background info, but even that I switched at the moment to i3 I dont blame gnome for going this step. Its the right thing to do. there are enough alternatives for people who not have 3d support for desktops. And yes if thats really the problem buy a new grafics card or a newer netbook. OR if that few hundret bucks are to much, just dont flame around and use i3, fluxbox, xfce... the list is endless, but dont think that you are the central of the universe.
Ok there is the arm argument, thats maybe some very new machines that have to use llvm to use it. Thats a better point, but, I think here its also a good thing. if this machines would not work at all, many users would say fuck linux, linux sucks just use android or something else. if its only a bit slow, the users ask WHY is that so slow, is it only a small missconfiguration or are there other reasons, and if they ask that question and if they are a fair person, which at least 50% of the people are maybe at least in some parts of their lives, they will find out that the hardware-vendor they choosed does not provide a descent opensource grafics driver or (enough) specs.
So the companies will now oh ok at lest a few thousend people will hate us because of this, and they will not buy the next generation if that problem stays. so maybe not all this companies will just for a few thousend bucks they loose change their attitude, but maybe 1 or 2 will change their policy there. And this company will then get all this customers and for them its then at least x * some thousend dollars.
So here we have a possitive effect, and then there is the second positive effect, that the gnome-devs have more time to make the normal gnome desktop faster better.
So we have 2 possitive effects from this move. That counts more than the one negative that some trolls that just are absolutly unflexible (in using one of the 100 others desktops/wms) will say that gnome is dead what they do always anyway.
We want every corner of GNOME to be delightful and well cared for. The little things. Like how the calm stability of the sidebar reassures and anchors me. Or how the way automatically updating the name of my computer in the sidebar, when it changes, delights me. Or the way the application allows me to focus on my goal shows me respect. This is what we want.
See that only worked for Steve Jobs because he had 9 billion in various investments. Apple also had Cordell Ratzlaff. Gnome has neither a Jobs or Ratzlaff.