Why all the talk, indeed.
I think it's mostly 25 years of pipe forums doing the fractal thing. Pipes ARE pretty simple, and if you didn't "deep dive" subjects conversation would die after a while. Human nature did the rest.
What am I basing that on? I've known pipes with .110" diameter airways that smoked no differently than ones with .177" airways. That's 2.57 times the volume of air moving from the chamber to the button with each puff.
I've also known pipes with massively off-line drilling that smoked really well, and perfectly aligned ones that wouldn't stay lit if you squirted gasoline on the tobacco.
And so on.
The longer/more you smoke a pipe, the more you realize that craftsmanship is only a general indicator of smoking quality AT BEST. Good craftsmanship and/or internal alignment(s) probably improves a pipe's CHANCES of it being a good smoker, but it guarantees nothing.
Why? Because there are too many variables in play with every smoke: Ambient air temperature, ambient humidity, tobacco brand, tobacco label, tobacco lot number, tobacco moisture level, and so forth all combinatorially churned with pipe dimensions, angles, hole sizes, and etc. which is then churned AGAIN by the smoker himself. Puff rate, puff strength, the angle the pipe is held/clenched, how cool is it allowed to get between re-lights, and so on.
Oh yeah... there's also the Placebo Effect. Expectation modifying experience. It's very real. Not imaginary. And there are a thousand reasons someone could have different expectations about a given pipe.
Still more: the smoker's mood overall, what he last ate or drank, and how long ago he consumed it.
Anyway, you get the idea.