This is a topic I have strong (if mixed) feelings about, and I'm happy that someone brought it up so that I can offer my own perspective.
Firstly, I should say that I am a role-player first and a computer gamer second. Thus, finding a good group of people to RP with is my primary concern. However, having said that, I come to CoH seeking a very specific kind of RP; namely- that of the Super Hero/Comic book genre.
Now, I got into the hobby of role-playing games way back in 1981, at the tender age of 9 years old. I started playing with the blue box dungeons & dragons game, by David Cook. I love old-school style D&D, where you start out as a common schlub with a sword and shield, and slowly overcome dangers and perils of all kinds, hopefully surviving long enough to grow in strength and power and carve out your own kingdom. As a lover of sword & sorcery and fantasy fiction, this style of play serves very well to emulate those genres.
However, as a reader of Marvel and DC comics since I was a wee lad, I'm looking for an experience that emulates the genre. In super hero comics, we don't typically (I won't be so dogmatic as to suggest that there are NO examples of this kind) read about the journey from being a common man and slowly training and learning, gaining power in increments over time, until the hero arrives at the pinnacle of power. Comic book heroes tend to be either naturally powerful at their outset (Superman and Wonder Woman) or are normal humans who, in a single incident (exposure to weird rays/chemicals, gaining a mystic artifact, etc.) are transformed into powerful beings with amazing powers. Even street level heroes such as Batman, Punisher, Captain America, etc... we don't spend half the run of the first volume detailing their years of training (Yes, we might have flashbacks to that training in certain issues, or a few panels that show the characters training; the X-men danger room, etc.). Instead, they tend to debut in their stories as extremely potent and capable beings, that are able to challenge foes that give the normal authorities (Police and such) too much to handle alone.
Comic book heroes often don't even change that much over time, in respect to their powersets. Captain America is relatively the same as he was at his inception. Superman has roughly the same powersets since his inception. Yes, the characters occasionally receive a power adjustment (up or down, or both, over time). Superman began as simply being able to jump over buildings, being more powerful than a locomotive, and having the ability to deflect bullets with his skin. In the sixties/seventies he grew in power to such a degree, that he could crack apart planetoids with his punch and fly through interstellar space. Later, he was nerfed back down, as writers felt he had gotten too powerful (and yes, there was that brief incidence where he was split into three weird versions. Fans didn't care for that, and it didn't last very long). My point is, conceptually and power-wise, most comic book heroes appear in their first issue with their classic set of abilities and retain (more or less) the same over time. They may grow and change a great deal, with regard to their relationships with other characters, their personalities, and the story of their various successes and failures. But their story is not one of grinding out levels and gaining power over time.
This is the style of RP I want to experience in CoX. I want to imagine a cool hero or villain with a certain array of powers and abilities, and I want to dive into and play the character that I imagine, without the grind of old-school, hero to zero, D&D mechanics. If I wanted that kind of experience, I would play a fantasy themed online game and level up slowly over time. But, again, that's not why I'm here. I want an authentic, comic-book super hero experience.
I'm always baffled by players that are distressed because other players don't want the classic D&D grind experience. Firstly, because it seems strange to me that people seeking super hero play would prefer that experience, to an experience that cleaves more closely to emulating the genre. But secondly, because they object to someone enjoying the game differently to them. I may not understand other players desire to grind out levels over time, but I DO respect their way to play the game the way they wish to.
In fact, a mechanism already exists to accommodate players of this kind. This is at the very bottom of the general tab in options- the last selection under miscellaneous, labelled "Turn off Experience." If you wish to control the rate at which you level, you can turn off experience (for example, when being side-kicked up to higher level teams, so that you can enjoy play with those teams and not level to o quickly). It also allows you to keep from out-levelling story content you haven't finished yet (even I have used it for this purpose, and I hate level grinding).
The same option does not exist, for players such as myself, who desire the opposite game experience. Yes, I can find someone to let me door sit and level in a fire farm. I can then use that character to grind influence, to more quickly accrue funds to fit my other characters with IO's (which are insanely expensive to gain through normal play), but I resent being forced to do these things to get the play experience I would like to enjoy, because I could otherwise be using that time do do something that I actually enjoy. The grinder has no restrictions preventing them from enjoying the game in the way that they desire (apart from finding like-minded players which, judging from the comments in this topic, should not be difficult to do).
Conversely, people like myself, DO find themselves restricted from enjoying the game in the way that they prefer. I feel quite frustrated about this. The grinders have the option to turn off experience gain. Why can't I have the option to make a character of whatever level I desire, and outfit it with whatever IO's I desire, without grinding for cash to do it? How would other players be disenfranchised, or their play experienced diminished, by the fact that I was enjoying the game in this way? Why can't players have the freedom to make a group of characters as powerful as the members of the Justice League, and then dive right into playing the characters (and supergroup) that they imagine?
Grinders (particularly grinders that are also role-players) tend to deride this kind of play as "Powergaming" and not "True" roleplay (whatever that is- what constitutes "good" or "real" role play is entirely a matter of subjective opinion). In the strictest sense, they are correct. Super Hero play, for me, is about having "Power" and "Agency", and the ability to leverage those powers directly to make a real difference in the environment by battling evil and righting wrongs. In the real world, I grind every day, struggling to enjoy my life, even though I'm poor, have little to no political or other secular power, and seem to never get ahead, no matter how hard I work.
Superhero play offers me (at least, theoretically) the opportunity to escape that reality (if only for a little while) and enjoy the fantasy of a different reality, in which I have power and the ability to do the things that heroes do in the comics. I would be very happy if the devs would include an option for me to enjoy the game in this way, rather than being forced to play as the grinders do, in order to enjoy the content, or jumping through hoops (such as farming for levels and influence) to do the same.
It's understandable that a pay to play MMO would require you to grind for levels and cash to get more abilities. Buying your way past these kinds of "Pay Walls" is how they generate income and run a profitable business. But the devs have provided access to these game severs for free and, while this is quite generous, and I certainly am thankful to them for doing it, I find it hard to understand why they (and other players) still want to box me into a certain type of play, as opposed to giving me the option to approach play according to my own preferences.
Anyway, I realize this was a rather long post, and I apologize for that, but I hope it at least gives you a better understanding of players that have a different view of game play than the OP, and why we feel this way.