Leupold is a good scope and I do not think you'd be disappointed with it.
As far as Leupold marketing goes, well I suppose that's what the price premium is going toward: paying for the marketing.
As for the dark side, I do believe I was recently annointed as a "Dark Lord of Optics" by cheaptrick. If that is the case, I can emphatically inform you that here on the dark side Leupolds are not well represented at all since I sold of the Leupys I had except for a 2.5x28 scout scope. My safe is populated with decidedly non-Leupy products. Generally, my preferred brands are SIghtron, Burris and IOR although there are quite a few others. A few scopes that I have not yet sold/traded/etc that I can think of are Elite 4200 6-24x40MD, Sightron S2 3-9x42MD, 4-16x42 MD and 6x42HBR as well as S1 3-9x40MD, a couple of Nimrod 6x40 scopes, Pentax Lighseeker 2-8x32, Leupold 2.5x28 scout, Burris 4x20 compact, and Fullfield II 6.5-20x50, IOR 4x24M1 CQB, Weaver K2.5. There are a few others here and there, but I think I gave you a pretty good cross section of what I have. On my list of scopes to get in reasonably near future are Burris Fullfield II 2-7x35 with BPlex and Bushnell Holosight XLP when they hit the shelves. Depending on what will end up being my next project after that, I may get a Burris Euro Diamond 1-4x22.