I don't think choosing a difficulty is the same kind of self imposed restriction.Quote from KageKaze
I don't quite agree here. Just because something is there doesn't mean you have to use it and I think if some is really a hardcore gamer they will avoid what makes it 'too easy'. For example, if you pick up a game that's a pure action game. The game will let you play through the whole thing on 'easy'. The game also lets you choose 'ultra hard' but doesn't offer any bonuses for doing so. As a hardcore gamer, which do you choose? Those are built into the game just like the D3 Auction House.
Here's my take on playing ANY game:
1) The player sees the rules to the game
2) The player agrees to follow them.
3) Under the constraints of the rules every player can then use any methods possible to win or succeed. That's what makes it a game. The challenge comes from figuring out what you can do AFTER the rules have been set.
Choosing a difficulty is the action of seeing the rules and agreeing to follow them. You choose the difficulty before the game starts, right? Luckily, video games can enforce rules absolutely (besides exploits and hacks) without either 1) self enforcement from players or 2) referees.
What I personally don't enjoy (again, a personal problem) is agreeing to the rules, playing my best, and coming up with an experience that is mind numbingly easy from lvl 1-60. I'm not particularly rich or skilled, but because of the rules (looking at you RLR) it has become far too simple. RLR is just way too strong.