I didn't dislike GNOME 2, but it took me awhile to warm up to it. I like GNOME Shell much more, and haven't missed the old GNOME at all, so I haven't bothered to even look at MATE.
I also spend a lot of times with other environments -- these days, mainly KDE, Xfce, Openbox, and Fluxbox. I had Cinnamon in F16 and may take another look at it in F18, but GNOME Shell seems better than Cinnamon right now -- for me
. I also intend to get E17 installed again before too long -- haven't used it since a long run with it in PCLOS that ended back in September.
I like what I've read about Consort and look forward to seeing how it develops. Debian's one of the main distros I use here; I'm not sure that I'll ever install SolusOS, but perhaps before too long we'll see Consort in Fedora, and I'll add it and take it for a spin. I think Consort will be a good thing for SolusOS, and it might be nice if Fuduntu picks it up, as well.
I started out in Linux with KDE, but once I began to use other DEs and WMs, it's seemed that I've always become comfortable using any of them, so today it's very difficult to pick one or another as my "favorite." So I just enjoy using different ones on different days, and laughing to myself at some of the heated debates that take place.
The only real problem I have with GNOME Shell right now is that when I go and log into a more "traditional" environment, I keep moving the cursor up to that upper-left corner too often.