Yes and no. I have an old Blackfoot that I run with a manual esc and an AM radio. I like the feeling of it not being "updated". It runs just fine the way it is. I have a couple other rc's set up the same way. I tried it with my second Clodbuster for a couple runs. I couldn't stand it and replaced it with an esc. I think it's case by case for me. If I have issues with manual esc's, then I'll just forgo the frustration and switch to a cheap esc.
The lipo cells I like and hate, but a good old NiMH I love. I don't have to worry about the possibility of combustion.
The set up of some brands of brushless escs drive me up a freaking wall. I have a programmable Castle in my HPI Baja. I dread hooking it up to the computer to adjust settings. Switching an esc between lipo and NiMH drives me insane. I'm staring at instructions trying to decide if I did it correctly based off the lights and beeps.