It appears to me that viewers of the Vampire Diaries are either ten-year-old girls or just not active viewers at this point.
1). This refusal to watch without Elena is ridiculous. Elena was the main character, yes, but other than the doppelganger storyline, in which she was only relevant for being her, she never actually contributed anything to the show. It would be one thing if it were Bonnie or Damon, the characters who propel the plot forward, but Elena didn't even do anything Season Six; she took the cure, she had her memories erased. In Season 5 she...? In season 4, she was interesting, I'll admit, but prior to that, the entirety of her character was who she was dating.
2). The Heretics aren't all that bad of an idea. Witches are naturally occurring beings, and it would make sense that in a coven where twins merge with each other, basically doing a spell that is siphoning magic, a mutation would emerge that made them able to siphon magic, which would automatically make them win the merge. They don't have a connection to nature, so it can't be broken.
3). Everyone is forcing unrealistic ships. Bonnie and Damon? I mean, everyone loves their chemistry, yes, but from a writing standpoint, their relationship is only natural as friends. Damon could never look at Bonnie every day and love her that way knowing Elena was bound to her. Bonnie could never love Damon that way knowing her best friend loves him. They don't even really get along. Damon does stupid things, she fixes it. That and Stelena. Stefan and Elena were the least interesting pair of people since...that's as far as I can remember. They don't in any way complete each other. They barely even got along. What both of them are missing as characters are not complemented by the other. Stefan needs a love that reinforces his actions, Elena never agrees with him, Elena needs someone to make her more natural, Stefan wants to keep her perfect.
4). Storylines shouldn't remain stagnant. Everyone complains that the vampire diaires isn't like it was years ago, but a good show naturally progresses. The first season was horror and romance, I don't want that for 7 years. The second was all struggle. The 3rd shifted character relationships, the 4th was all mythology, the 5th was all plot, the sixth was character development, Season 7 is the first season to mix all of those equally and people bag on it for that.
If everyone would stop comparing everything to how it used to be, they'd realize that the Vampire Diaries is an artistic masterpiece where characters remain interesting (minus extra crispy doppelganger #2), the mythology creates itself (minus werewolves), the plot moves along (minus Season 6) and people don't just flippantly change their relationships (note, Elena spent an entire season falling out of love with Stefan and in love with Damon. Even on the bridge, she chose Stefan out of duty and not out of emotion)