The figure selection was probably the main fumble. The 2009 sets had figures that were indistinguishable from previous release, save for a single accessory while the 2008 packs had, for the most part, at least repaints. (Darth Vader being a notable exception.)
As a collector, $17 per pack is a bit more than $10 was and as such, isn't as welcome. However, $10 was a freaking bargain for a pair of $7 figures and a build-a-droid piece. $17 isn't awful and as far as I can tell between my haunts in LA and in Phoenix over the weekend, for the most part, this stuff sold through. Two figures and 1/5 of a large figure for $17 isn't being violated-- it's not as awesome as a Battle Pack, but it's basically what it would cost you as individual figures. Sometimes the per-figure price on an exclusive is higher, as we've seen with individually carded figures many times over at conventions, StarWarsShop.com, etc.
The least Hasbro could do is slightly different deco. Grievous could've been repainted in movie colors, or the cape could have been given to the new 2008 figure which is still somewhat in demand. Maul could have been one that wasn't also available in Evolutions packs or on an individual card. Anakin could have been cleaned up or made dirtier. Boba Fett could have been the figure Hasbro showed at Toy Fair and Comic-Con-- the animated sculpt in movie colors. (And seemingly, Boba sold the best from what I've seen so far.)
I agree with Jack, the Super Battle Droid from the GBA game nobody remembers was a totally weak choice. I admit not everybody was thrilled to see a droid from the Droids cartoon series, I was, but hey, that's me. I can't recall anyone asking for any figures from any non-Battlefront portable-only SW games.
Compared to the Clone Wars 2-packs Wal-Mart got (which will likely ultimately all see regular carded release with slightly different deco), these were disappointing. But I'm still curious how Wal-Mart and Hasbro define a non-success, or if the non-success remains cluttering up a large building somewhere on the west coast.
No matter how it shakes out, it seems a product that fans decided as a group was overpriced has failed. In other words, we may have successfully, as the kids say, voted with our dollars. Hooray? (If the third series was like the second, I'm fine not getting whatever it would have been. The first batch was just too good.)