Well, since I've answered my own question, we can open it up Dennis.
I've only been doing D-Star for about 6 weeks now and you haven't told me anything new that others already have. However, there seems to be a ton of misinformation out there in regards D-Star. Lets take your statement, for example. I don't think the complexity was due to the D-Star system as much as the policy of the repeater. I could have reworded my original question using analog mode, IRLP, and an analog radio that supports only one band and we have the same situation.
Is D-Star expensive? Unfortunately, yes. However, I'd argue that the ICOM 31A actually makes D-Star easier. For those who don't know, the ICOM 31A has a built in repeater list and a GPS receiver. I ended up taking it with me when I did a road trip last month. In order to access the repeater in the area I was visiting, all I did was select "find nearest repeater", then select the closest repeater. Presto, I'm on the air. No having to figure out what repeaters there are in the area, then its offsets, tone mode, and tone codes. The 31A actually got this right.
There were two "features" of D-Star that DID blow my mind. The first is that I can put in my wifes callsign into the radio and the system will automatically route me to the last D-Star repeater she accessed. Second, and I don't know if this is the propagation characteristics of 70cm, but I'm able to access my local repeater (20 miles away) using 1/10 of a watt. I purchased the AA battery pack for the HT and it only supports 1/10 of a watt, to my disappointment. However, I am finding that I can still hit my local repeater using it. That REALLY surprised me.
I AM disappointed with DPRS in that I can't really beacon myself. I guess DPRS shouldn't be used like APRS anyway.