Given the massive amount of item finding/replayability in D2, it's a bit silly to say that the only way the game was meant to be played was working quest by quest all the way thru the acts.
Have you looked at any of the runewords lately? 'Last Wish' anyone? There is more than one way to play the game, and unfortunately for you the more popular way to play is to "power-game" with rushes, etc.Why not? A game should be played from Quest to Quest.. but you could still go back for more exp or items..