The LTD Elite Series is now long gone and it´s NOT hidden in any other brands. It was a one year only lifetime for those...
The E-II´s are the exact same as the ESP standard series, there is absolutely NO difference in quality and playability at all. I have the E-II T-B7 and there is no difference in quality compared to my other ESP standard guitars. It looks, plays and sounds just as good...
Do not compare LTD Elite with E-II, they are NOT the same quality, the price is also slight different. I know it may seem a little confusing that the same models and colors from the LTD Elite series are now found as a part of the E-II standard series, but they are now offered in a higher quality. The M-II FM models now has an Original Floyd Rose, the Elite series had an Floyd Rose 1000 series. Better wood quality would be expected too. I remember seeing those LTD Elite guitars at last years Frankfurt Musikmesse 2013, they where very nice guitars indeed but the fingerboards found on those was not as nice looking as the fingerboards found on the ESP and E-II standard series. My guess is that ESP wanted to keep those models and color options available cause a lot of people showed interest in them, it would be a shame if they where a one year offer only. Now you can still get those models but in a slight better quality within the E-II standard series.
As for the lower priced E-II guitars, it´s simply a matter of business strategy. ESP lowered the price in order to make more people buy the E-II guitars and getting the E-II brand introduced to the marked. In a few years from now people will be used to the E-II guitars and who knows...maybe the price will go slightly up again.
When I hold my E-II T-B7 guitar I do not think of it as another LTD kind of sub brand, I think of it as an ESP E-II standard serie guitar cause that is what it is. I have no problem with the name cause I know what kind of quality it stands for!!
Keep an eye on Frankfurt Musikmesse 2014 12-15 marts, ESP usually comes with a lot of new guitars for the export marked. Maybe we will see an re-entry of the Horizon NT-7 model within the E-II guitars. Some american dealers offer export models like drumcityguitarland... The ESP Horizon FR-7 is available now as the E-II Horizon FR-7 as you already know. If you think the Horizons 7s are the best 7 string out there then guess what, it still is !! ....now as an E-II !!