I just started converting the studio over to max 2011. (Mainly for the EXR improvements, thats pretty much it.) Many people including myself are frustrated with Autodesk's lack of respect for the user interface in 3dsmax.
When I worked back at Autodesk, I moved the "Make Preview" item from the rendering menu, to the animation menu, and I got so much shit for it. I learned my lesson on that. (I thought it made more logical sense to refer to it as an animation action then a rendering one.) At the same time, I also assigned a ton of default hotkeys. Before Max 5, there really weren't many hotkeys. One of my first actions as product designer was to assign default hotkeys. The one that caused some controversy was the "W" key. it was originally maximize viewport, but I wanted to make it easy for Maya users to jump into Max and to do this, I would have to change it. I went for it and re-assigned maximize viewport to "ALT+W" I did get a little flack for it, but I didn't regret the decision. People quickly adjusted and I unified some hotkeys between Max and Maya, making them similar when it came to basic hotkeys.
The user interface can be improved, but most of the choices we're seeing are not being considered improvements to the user base. They're just changes.
Icons had color, now they are monochrome. This makes them hard to decipher, end of story. I put them back to the classic icons, and kept the newer ones. Download the classic icons for 2011 here.
The Idea that the new large button in the upper left corner will replace the old file menu is silly. (I couldn't find a what to put save increment in it?) Want it back, it's still there, just drag it back onto the main menu bar. I also dropped Save Increment into the file menu. Download this version of the max menus here.
No need for a download here. Just load up the lighter colors that come with max. The attempt to do darker colors came from the discreet tools like flame and Inferno, but the max conversion just isn't as elegant.