I want to pitch in on the "even mentioning high end stuff makes you irrelevant" side. By keeping on talking about elite gear people are just encouraging cheating. The maths have been done over and over. Your enigma is a fake, accept it!
Normal players will only get this sort of stuff through trading. I have traded some equipment and I will again, but it is BORING! I play this game to kill stuff. And if you do trade for anything high end you know it's a dupe.
Another thing. Hell is not impossible without elite gear. That's just justifying your own lack of creativity. With 2 or 3 characters you will eventually get lots of great gear for any character to solo hell with.
"the game is much more fun with high end runewords, play non-ladder" oh dear.... It's really a lot of fun to get a great item you worked hard for yourself and then see it in action. I picked up a guardian angel for my paladin, it's hardly mentioned in the current paladin builds, but it works a treat. Then I picked up a white 45 all res pala shield in a 26 minute old cow game, a few pdiamonds later and I immune to elemental attack. Now that is fun!