Yeah - completely agreed, if witnesses have one defined responsibility, it's to maintain block production at the highest levels and to keep the network secure at all costs. Everything else is icing on top of that.
With regards to Vessel 2 - I appreciate the bit of confirmation, and am glad I'm not crazy for thinking this way. It was quite the internal struggle to pick this direction, and with so much unknown coming for Steem at an unknown date, it was really hard to get motivated to go hard on it. It's one of the biggest struggles for 3rd party developers, whether it's in blockchain, gaming, or open-source in general!