I came back recently as well, I was most active on worlds like world 1 and world 2, then more active on 20ish... worlds so to me It was a pretty hard blow to see the game completely change as well...I am finding more and more how much has changed. It's pretty mind blowing really. I can see that people can point whore their way into the top, but the real question is, How does it affect the midway and later stages? Do the Pay to play players end up trumping the skill of the skilled players?
You're kind of assuming that the skilled players aren't p2p though, I honestly feel there aren't many really good players who would actually play without at least pp farming before committing themselves to a world. Either way, late game is still trumped by the better players or the 'more active' players imho. By modern TW standards if an account only has 1 user It's basically inactive, lol.