It's a mix of both...
Deltas right now are much harder than cartesians to calibrate - simply because there are far fewer of us in the 3D printing community and less work has been done on them.
In general, Delta's will always involve a higher degree of difficulty because of more variables, but that's offset (for most of us here) by the benefits of a finely tuned machine.
The issues with calibration that you've read and are scared of are real issues, but they probably won't affect you if you're an average or light user of your machine. I say that because the super technical calibration posts and info really only apply if you're trying to get crazy good tolerances all the way out to the perimeter of your build plate.
For the first month or so with my machine, I was getting great prints - equal to or better than my Airwolf 3D v5.5 - and I was happy. As soon as I started printing bigger (150mm+ diameter), I ran into issues. I upgraded to the TL arms, I got the E3D hot end, and I used a friend and machinist's tools to square and level my machine (as you likely know, it's not easy to properly square and level your towers by yourself).
But here's the real issue that people do not yet understand about 3D printing (or life in general, but that's for another forum). Time in = results out.
There is no amount of reading you can do, no amount of videos you can watch, or forums posts you can scour that will do ANYTHING for you if you aren't trying to print stuff - and trying to print a LOT of stuff. I've said it before, but hobby level 3D printing is not a science right now. It's an art. The ONLY way you will learn to tune your machine and get great prints is to print stuff - print lots and lots of stuff. You'll print something 1 day and it'll be perfect, and you'll come back the next day, try the same file, with the same gcode, with the same filament, and it'll fail. And you'll have to figure out what variable changed and caused it. And when you figure it out, you will have added to your knowledge base and will likely never have that same issue again. And when you come up against an issue you can't seem to figure out, then you post on the forum and get all of us to chime in with our experiences from printing and it's very likely we'll help you figure it out.
Yes, having a MakerBot (I've been playing with one for about 3 months now) can be very nice for people. You drop a file in, hit print, and you get pretty good results. You're very limited in your options, but for a lot of people, that is all they need.
If you don't want to deal with the issues that arise with kits like the Max (and that's not a negative at all - I use my printers for work and pleasure, so I fully understand not having the time to spend fixing or calibrating things), then I would recommend selling it and getting something like a MakerBot. You'll pay a lot more, and you'll get a lot less as far as features go, but that may be worth it to you for your needs.
Totally understand your frustration, but I guarantee that if you're patient and put the time in, you'll come to the realization that the Max is one of, if not the best values on the market.
Fellow Philosophy majors unite!
"The proverbial achilles heel of property monistic epiphenomenalism is the apparent impossibility of ex-nihilo materialization of non-structural and qualitatively new causal powers."