I recently read on one of the 'old school' boards that I frequent, this snippet of information:

Quote Originally Posted by T. Foster
But remember that, by Monte Cook's own admission, they included a bunch of intentionally "sub-optimal" options and advice in the 3.0 rulebooks as a way to encourage "rules mastery" among the player-base -- that those players who studied the rules (or hung out at the Character Optimization board at WotC) would be "rewarded" by having a real advantage over the casual players who just (foolishly) followed the advice in the books. That attitude (which seems to have been carried over directly from Magic: The Gathering) was one of the biggest turn-offs of 3E for me, because at this point in my life I have zero interest in "mastering" a ruleset, but neither do I want to be stigmatized as an "inferior" player by my decision not to do so (nor do I want to kowtow to some rules-geek for his condescension-laden "help").
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Quote Originally Posted by Monte Cook's blog
Magic also has a concept of "Timmy cards." These are cards that look cool, but aren't actually that great in the game. The purpose of such cards is to reward people for really mastering the game, and making players feel smart when they've figured out that one card is better than the other. While D&D doesn't exactly do that, it is true that certain game choices are deliberately better than others.

Toughness, for example, has its uses, but in most cases it's not the best choice of feat. If you can use martial weapons, a longsword is better than many other one-handed weapons. And so on -- there are many other, far more intricate examples. (Arguably, this kind of thing has always existed in D&D. Mostly, we just made sure that we didn't design it away -- we wanted to reward mastery of the game.)
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For me, that explains a lot and I thought some folks here might be interested.