I had a longer post written up, but insomnia's kicking my **** so it probably wasn't going to come out as well as I'd like. Instead, I'll pose the following question with a bit to follow:
Can you expect equal rewards from content of unequal difficulties?
Now let me specify.
Can you expect equal rewards from content you can solo and content that requires 16+ players?
If the answer is no, then you are not offering alternative gear, and the potential rarity and difficulty of rare spawns invites the same ego raiders carry in demanding their own efforts yield superior loot no matter how much effort someone puts in elsewhere. R/Ex does not guarantee people still won't sell party slots for the chance for someone to get things. You'll still have the same logistics and personality issues that keep some from the raiding game away from the world spawn game. My ultimate take is that equal, alternative sources does not harm those who do things "the hard way", but poorly designed and positioned (H)NMs can harm those doing things "the easy way". It risks further muddying of the gear hierarchy and basically supports a system of haves and have-nots.
Maybe I'm too cynical in believing people don't want challenge alone when they ask for hard(er) stuff, but you can't deny the presence of sub-communities within games that thrive on the negative aspects of elitism and mocking those beneath them. I'd rather give no chance for that kind of sh*t to take root. And I have no delusion that'll ruffle feathers, if only for a time. All it'll take is a dev ballsy enough to do it and snub a typically vocal minority
*, because Rift or GW2 sure didn't. Yoshi has shown me no signs he intends to with XIV, either.
This is why I proposed several methods of gaining gear. This would allow them to scale how quickly you can get the gear with how challenging the content is. For instance, let's say there are
world HNMs, and they are SUPER hard. Like, it takes a very skilled group to bring them down. However, for that hard work, the odds are very high that you will get 1-3 very nice drops.
Now you compare that to raiding. I know a lot of people don't love token/mark/whatever grinding, but I do think that as long as it's not the only viable option of gearing, it can be very effective. So you make your raids drop tokens or whatever, and maybe have a much smaller chance at outright dropping the gear itself.
Then you also add a crafting/gathering avenue, where gatherers can dig up rare/ex materials (very infrequently), maybe even as part of a repeatable questline, that they can then either combine with other crafters to make the gear or possibly make themselves if they have all crafts required to make it (multiple 50's).
Now you have three avenues through which to get your gear. Crafters can still get theirs, albeit it will take a while to get all mats and have it crafted. Or, you can raid for it and slowly progress towards it or get lucky on a drop. Or, you can do HNM battles for it and have a higher chance of seeing it drop, if you can beat the challenge. Heck, you could even throw in a fourth avenue for the all-around players, where HNM's and raid bosses can also drop mats for crafters as well.
Does this system completely eliminate competition on the HNMs? No, probably not, which is why you make the spawns considerably more random or conditional based, or some even trigger item based. But it at least gives enough options for all types of players to obtain their gear.
All I'm really saying is, don't discount content in the game simply because it's not your cup of tea. You really can add stuff like this to the game as long as it's done well and balanced, which it absolutely can be. Everyone just thinks of the worst case scenario like in FFXI where for YEARS the HNMs were the only way to obtain the gear and the camping, botting, hacking was attrocious. That could be mostly rectified with a system that has multiple paths to gear acquisition. Nothing will be perfect, but I definitely think it can work.