Both the previous version of the message board and the latest one have a control ("button" or "link" ) that allow to sort in descending date order ("latest" ) so you did and do not need to click through pages of replies. My only wish to improve this was to be able to set my account to force "latest" order since I would always, for all threads, prefer to read in this order and therefore had/have an extra click (not 10 even if there are that many pages).
Still some may want the popularity listed somewhere. Maybe if hovering over some portion it could show a tool-tip with that information.
If interested in the top popular posts, you can sort the message topics in order of popularity.