Other than some technical problems I'm having with errors and actually using the site, I think there is actually some good potential in the changes they've made.
First, let me reassure you that your "old" News Feed view is still there!
Just choose "Status Updates" in the left column. If you want that as your default, just grab it and drag it to the top of the stack.
So the new News Feed is a filter set up to show you the most popular items...the items people are engaging with on your wall and others' walls--likes, tags, and comments. The downside, of course, is that you may not want to see all your friends' friends posts and you will by the nature of filter.
The Live Feed shows (almost) everything new. It seems to still pick friends who are most actively engaged and it's limited to a certain number of friends (which you can change down at the bottom). The default limit is 250 so if you have fewer than 250 friends, you should be okay if you want to see them all.
Though it is frustrating to have changes pushed without much (any?) explanation, it's nice that we have more options.