Am I the only one that likes the Wheel?
Nope you arent
I'd actually advise people who are new to the game to by the Wheel instead of the regular base set for the obvious reason that you get a base set and a little extra. And there are even several ways to use the wheel. Use it as a starting tile as you mentioned it ... or for those who don't like to have all things spread rapidly, just put the wheel next to the playing area.
I only see advantages in this set