There are players that like to raid (read: defeat difficult encounters with many other players), and there are players that want purple pixels.I'm sure he didn't mean it as a dichotomy for the overall population, but for the population that raids. In other words, some people raid to raid and some people raid for loot. Even then, it's a bit of a stark divide. I raided because I enjoyed it, but I definitely liked the loot as well. I know that my preferences are not universal, but I think that the particular trait, being able to enjoy both an activity and the reward from it, is universal, or fairly close. People can enjoy raiding and enjoy getting loot and may raid partially for loot and partially for the experience.
In fact, I think these are linked, and that's the root of the problem with easymode raids. Despite my absurd claim that loot has intrinsic value based on the number attached to it, it doesn't. Loot is relative. Relatively relative.
Gear rewards have two parts: the gear (tool) and reward (reward). Higher stats make me better able to play and are a useful tool when attempting to kill internet dragons. But the loot itself, regardless of the stats, has a reward aspect to it, which is derived from the experience. The loot is a symbol of the experience. For example, getting Thunderfury was effectively useless as a tool because by the time I got it it was a couple expansions behind and was more useful to a different class anyway. But as a symbolic reward, it was tied to many experiences. It drew from my early days in MC and the status of such a weapon back then. It symbolized the time I had spent farming MC in BC and LK. It symbolized a social effort to get the raid members I needed and to find the materials as well. Also it just looks awesome.
From that we can see that the gear reward is not a matter of the stats or power of the item, but of the meaning it carries for the player. Certain tier pieces in BC symbolized having struggling and succeeded to kill a tricky boss. These days the stats would be laughable, but the symbolic meaning is still there.
Over time this meaning has become ingrained in the item system. Higher level gear came from higher level raids which required more perseverance, more struggle, more skill (please don't argue this last one, it never gets anywhere). With this pattern firmly established, it would be easy to see how the connection could get reversed. Gear, carrying the symbolic meaning of some achievement, could substitute for the achievement. To a limited degree this can work, with badges giving that tier piece that never dropped or in my case, going back later to get the badass sword that shamans could not use. If an experience gave loot, then it is not unreasonable to think that the loot implies the experience. Loot can become fun.
That connection relies on the loot, the reward, being linked most strongly to the specific experience. There can be side links, such as the badge system, but the reward should primarily invoke the main experience, such as killing a particular boss.
That connection can be distorted or broken if the reward changes sources. If a chest piece started off coming from a very hard raid, we'd link it to that raid. If much easier content began to give that reward, then the link changes. This is not necessarily a bad thing. That easier content could be a lot of fun, in which case the reward switches the link from challenge to fun. For some that is better, for some it is worse, but objectively we can't say that the item is degraded. However, if the easier content is not fun, then the reward switches the link from challenge to drudgery. In that case, the item is degraded.
So to get back to the Purple Pixel People, there may be people who are attracted to purple or big numbers, but they are a minority. Most people are instead attracted to the symbolism of the items and how they evoke an experience, maybe fun, maybe challenging, maybe social. The reward is a means to an end, the end being the experience. This can happen directly, with the reward-as-tool allowing them to confront and overcome the challenge. It can happen indirectly, with the reward giving them the image of one who has overcome the challenge, like putting on a uniform to appear authoritative, or lacy underwear to appear pretty. Not that I am suggesting that I or any other raiders, former or present, do or have done that.
There is also status. Good gear confers, or is hoped by the player to confer, status. "Look at this gear and know that I am a badass." This works as long as the gear is primarily linked to something badass, such as killing something badass. If the gear is instead linked to spending ten hours a day watching My Little Pony (before the remake of it), then even if it could also be gotten from a world-first Sargeras kill, it wouldn't confer much status.
Maybe I haven't quite convinced you, so I'm going to make you an offer. I'm running an MMO and if you want, I can give you a full suit of Awesomeslayer Armor which has +tenbajillion^7 attack damage power. Do you want it? Let me assure you, this armor is way better than anything else out there. Do you want it? Better question: Do you even care? Probably not. The armor has no link to anything, no symbolic meaning and no clear usefulness, given that for all you know my MMO was made up on the spot to prove a point. What if I said that it has a particularly purple shade of purple text? No? Okay.
In conclusion, Purple Pixel People are an irrelevant minority that are not protected under anti-discrimination laws so I can safely say that. If people appear to want epics, it is because they want epic experiences. It is because they want content. That does not mean it is content that showers them with loot. In fact, a loot shower may be counter-productive, as well as dangerous if we were to imagine the literal scenario.