You see... I don't get this. To start up AE, you need Nether Quartz, at least for the Fluix Dust and Fluix Crystals. Nether is not a 'first day' location to visit, not if you expect to get back out alive. Between Nether Ores, Natura, Thaumcraft (hellbats), and a few other odds and sods... the Nether is not a place you wish to visit unprepared. Some form of footwear is required, because heat sand. And may Notch help you if you have Metallurgy installed and start walking over Vulcanite or the poison ore. Getting the stack or so of nether quartz required to get set up is not a trivial matter anymore.Here are my opinions on AE2 regarding ballance questions raised already.
AE should be endgame (I know algo likes in mid-game) but for me I like to start off with vanilla chest to start > other simple sorting (TE, Extra Ut, Railcraft ...) and such early and mid-game, then get into AE & Logi Pipes endgame. This way I get to play everything available to me.
The issue I had with AE1 was while AE was intended for late-mid game the truth was you could get a network up and running right off the bat. Just a hour or two in game. And once you had that network up, you just added to it. Which was super boring IMO. AE2 addresses a couple of issues here for me. One while you can still start AE in Day 1 if you go nuts, it is better to just find things as they come and use them when you get to that point in the game. On SMP if area near spawn is cleaned up already, just pillar to bedrock roof in nether and dig 100-500 or more blocks any directions and make a portal for fresh gen (that fresh gen argument in SMP I can't wrap my head around. Seems silly). But what I really love is that it isn't just that you set up a network 1 hour in game and just add to it for the rest of your game. Now the networks are something you are invest a little creativity as you add to it. AND subnets are a actual thing for a change. It adds so much to me that I enjoy. Much less boring without just being another Greg type (crafting a gazillion things). It is actually about being creative in how and where you place block in the world. I find world interactions and creativity much more rewarding than crafting X of this and that.
Like I said, that is just my opinion and obviously differs greatly with most. Which is fine.
I don't even consider building a Nether Portal until I've got the gear to at least survive long enough to base up. And I don't even consider it until I've got a Silk Touch pickaxe for the ores to avoid setting off explosions and pigmen Tantrum Spirals.