Heat treating is one of the most important aspects of quality in a knife. However, it plays more of a secondary supporting role to geometry, balance, "feel", ergonomics, aesthetics etc... the things which make any hand tool a pleasure to use.
Everything else being equal though,... the tool with better heat treating will perform "better", according to and in line with personal tastes, opinions and preferences of performance.
To hype heat treating as the single most important aspect isolated from the rest, is also misleading.
finally, something that pierced thru my add/adhd riddled brain. It is the package/final product/system we are talking about, with ht being one of the parts. Ht is very important, but everything else must be at the top of it's game also. If i ht an o1 blade with 40degree total angle to rc62-63 and stick a plastic one size fits none handle on it, i will have a medicore knife no better than the stuff you by at w*l-m*rt; my final product is flawed and all the time spent squeezing max hardness and toughness from the steel wasted.
Heat treating "science" is rife with false knowledge that is pedaled as truth in the form of hype. False knowledge is dangerous, and in the manner described previously, it's dishonest.
I never caught that one ?? what specific info was dishonest : inquiring minds must have answers ...... Knowlwedge is good, bad information is not ... Thanks Bubba-san
The only thing to "catch" here is the same pitch that has been thrown by several others in this thread. The pitch relates to heat treating art, science and hype.
Trying to pass off art as science, theory as truth and pedaling hype are all a forms of dishonesty.
ps Knowledge is not always good. Knowledge without virtue can be bad. Saying "Knowledge is good" is "bad information".