it might not be as good as max, but duplicating with transform does nice things. you click the object, duplicate with transform (default it is SHIFT-D) then move, rotate, scale. and if you afterwards hit shift-d over and over again - it duplicates and repeats the movement for each duplicate.
and the only origin thing - cant say that i really need miss creating somewhere else. you dont have to work in origin. you dont even have to see the origin when you create a thing. just create, the activate your move tool hit the x-key for grid snap and mmb-drag to where you are working - and the created object will be where you are. you might need a click more than max, but at least it would be accurately placed. if you click a few pixel wrong in max, dont you have to move the object then to the right place? but then, i have not enough experience with max (almost none)