Forget premades -- they might have a *slight* advantage in an evenly matched game, but I think the point is that premades are consistently stomping teams of inexperienced players, leading people to think they're unfair.
This is definately a problem. I joined a game with my friend and the opposing group told us no premades. After chatting for a minute, they let ius play with a pickup. We looked up their stats and they were a team with a high win %. It was a really decnt game for 5 minutes until we rolled them and they raged by telling us to "F*** off" and "go to hell" before disconnecting.
My personal feelings are that the numbers are holding fairly steady. The drop we see comes from 7 main things:
1) Summer is over.
2) Lots of people have short attention spans.
3) Game got poor initial reviews due to connectivity, preventing high initial player base.
4) People are waiting,.. and waiting for 1.2 and new demigods.
5) No league, ladder, team matching.
6) Too many teams who prefer pug stomp, hurting new players from continuing to play.
7) No easy way to see if teams are balanced.
ranking on pantheon seems abit flawed
Though I don't care about ranking, this is indeed a huge problem
it is the easiest game to learn and play out of other games in this same genre
Personally, I think is due to refinement of gameplay with good production values. JKust because a game is laborous to learn, does not make it more strategic.