I'm actually surprised that more people than not seem to dislike buddies. I personally really liked them and hope they'll return someday. The first few BG games felt kinda boring without them, even with the addition of nagas.
I also had to "gear down" my excitement first. A new tribe is a big change, just not half as big as an extra dimension to every hero. I get that all tribes should have a chance to be played without any external influence and it's fine with a break, but I'll be looking forward to buddies return.