I love 3.5, it is my favorite incarnation of the rules. I love the versatility, the level of detail, and the infinite variety of ways in which one can leverage the rules. I also am aware of its shortcomings.
One of the system’s biggest issues (beyond polymorph and grapple) is the sheer amount of time it takes to generate NPCs or monsters. Sure via advancement in class levels or any of a wide variety of templates you can achieve anything, but it seems to take forever. Especially if you are creating something complex, say an Axiomatic Bipedal Dire Lion for instance.
Dingle’s Games to the rescue! With their online DND 3.5 Monster Generator they have given valuable hours back to the DMs of the world. Check out this screencast to see how it works, I guarantee you’ll be glad you did. Creating a complex creature with class levels now only needs to tak up about 10 minutes instead of two hours. Granted you can’t dig deeply enough into it to assign individual skill points, but the choices the software makes have so far been acceptable.
I encourage players in my campaigns to use this when creating followers from now on. Gary, this one’s for you!