I wouldn't go back to steel after riding Ti Hardtails for the last 4 years or so. I had a canfield Nimble 9 before and it felt like an anchor in comparison. I'm sure there are some nice steel hardtails, I just never owned one. For me, steel was either heavy or flexy (I'm a big guy mind you). My Lynskey is a nice combo of light and stiff. A made in Canada Steel Cromag is $1900. I got my made in Tennessee Ti Lynskey for $1500. In the last 5 years, I have broken 3 made in china hardtails (each in about a year or less). In my mind it isn't a very hard choice but I don't think I would pay $3000+ and it isn't for everyone. I'm not a big fan of extra fat tires as I roll them off the rims unless I am running huge pressures. With 2.4-2.5 tires I run around 23psi in the back and 20 in the front and I definitely like having a compliant frame as well. It's nuanced, but certainly perceptible.
I managed a bike shop back in the late 90's and raced around that time as well. Titanium was the lusted after material. The durability, quality and understated looks of well made titanium frame is timeless. I could never afford Ti when I was in my 20's but 20 years later I treated myself and never regret it.