Design vision and player wishes often seem to clash. Sometimes it's a minor difference in opinion/expectation, sometimes it's fairly significant. And that can be seen in some of the heated posts on game forums. Players wonder why the heck we don't just give them what they want. Some designers will take the "cuz I said so" approach while some will take the "there's a good reason, just trust me" approach.
I personally believe in the honest, open dialog approach. But I understand why so many don't. Frankly, players chew you up regardless so it's reasonable to ask yourself: why bother?
As designers, we have to strive not to fall into the: I'm gonna do this because I can, I got the power and because that's what "I" like. Which is somewhat paradoxical as I also consider designers to be artists and I do not believe an artist should bastardize his art to please others. He should be true to his vision and let others discover its beauty.
But then, we're not truly artists, are we? I guess we're more like scriptwriters on a TV series who have this (hopefully) awesome story to deliver in so many episodes. Sometimes we need to adjust some characters or events based on our audience's response. I remember thinking that when I watched the cast interviews of Battle Star Galactica before the finale. They were saying how Anders (who was only meant to have a small 2-3 episode role) was turned into a main character in reaction to the fans hating him so much for hooking up with Kara (I hated him for it too and ended up loving him by the end of the series!).
Like scriptwriters, we cater to an audience that gives almost instant feedback throughout the creation process. Sometimes our response will go against their wishes and still work out for the best (as in BSG) and sometimes it won't. But invariably, the fans' voices will influence the direction we take, sometimes steering us in a different path than originally intended.
In UO, I've been facing that same dilemma, namely with the gardeners. My vision as a designer, which was also shared by many on the team, isn't shared by quite a few of the gardeners. A bug introduced a way for players to grow some plants in hues we didn't want them because frankly they are an eye sore. While the bug was quickly fixed, we decided not to revert the few "ugly plants" they had obtained during the bug, since we figured that would be the end of it. But turns out players remained with a number of colored seeds that allow them to keep growing those horrors and cross-pollinating them, which makes me cringe beyond words.
So I looked into the code on how to revert all existing ones and neuter the remaining offensive seeds. Once I found the solution, I went to the gardeners forums to make a post telling them the fix for these abominations was on its way! But what I found was a really long thread of excited players sharing their experiments results, building up cross-pollination charts, giving each other tips on how to achieve certain hues and certain breeds. It was like watching a bunch of kids in a toy store. I had this strange mix of major annoyance, amusement and pride at how nice the kids were playing with each other.
And I just didn't have the heart to post... After thinking about it long and hard, I just reverted the "fix". It's still a hard to swallow humble pie but if it doesn't create imbalances and is just a matter of personal preferences, sometimes it's ok to let design vision take the backseat.