In regards to the conversation for skill changing over time, the other day I took a look at my POV replays from 2012. No hotkeys, no UI mods... I was either +200E or -200E for the first 10 minutes of the game. No eco skills or any sort of plan/direction visible in my gameplay. Reclaim was hardly prioritized. Efficiency wasnt discovered yet. Micro was poor. Multitasking/prioritizing was out of balance. Builds were non-existent. All I knew how to do was drag a line of factories down the map and win at t1 stage. And somehow that was good enough for 2k 1v1 ladder. Times have changed for sure. 2021 Tex could play a BO99 with 2012 Tex and do a clean sweep in 50 games. Overall average FAF skill is much higher now then it was in the old days.
If you play your BO99 on random maps, the result will probably be somewhat even.
Whenever people go on about how the level nowadays is "much higher", they dont understand that this is driven by repetition of maps and BO specification, and potentially better UI mods. Those improvements can be easily learned (and as easily forgotten during a break).
The decision making, the efficiency, the game understanding et al has not increased whatsoever (at the highest lvl this game has to offer). This is plainly illustrated by fully inactive briefly returning players. When I look at my POVs from 2013, I see a superior player, faster, more efficient, more aware. Its nice that you have gotten better, I havent. I dont even know how to cloak a selen anymore because it got changed and I'm too old and soft to adapt to it.
You especially, as evidenced from your comments on streams, seem to think that the old players are some kind of inferior species. While I do share this arrogance (just the other way around), it is not correct. The level of a game generally is set by a few select of driving individuals defining the meta and the quality of play. Others will catch up and try to match them, but as long as no incredibly dominant new force emerges, the level of play does not significantly rise.
FAF still has the oldass circuit of pros. There is no player that has played less than 2 years and is good, and the "absolute top" is still composed of the same people from 5-10 years ago. Do you think they have gotten much better? I dont think so.