Hey, I'm a relatively new listener, and considering and one of the guys who used to play RTS games a lot, and now moved to Lords Managements, I thought I could chime in to the discussion.
I used to play a lot of SCII back in it's golden days, around 2011/2012. I was 19/20 years old, in my first university years, and had plenty of time to play video games. SCII managed to grip me like nothing else had before. I loved how balanced the game was, how I felt rewarded for my effort, how I saw myself learning and improving with every game. I watched pro players, learned from Day 9, and wrote down build orders, for every race and every matchup (Random ftw). It was amazing, but it was SO time-consuming. and really, the enjoyment was less on the gameplay than it was on the self improvement, and the thrill of the competition.
Eventually, as other responsabilities/hobbies emerged, it started to fade. I recently tried to pick it up again, after almost 2 years of not playing and, no matter how much I tried to force myself, I couldn't enjoy it. I mean, it's a great game and all, but I felt clumsy, and my build orders were garbage. I knew what I had to do in order to improve all that, and I really didn't have the time/energy to do it. So I turned to LoL. There, I can log in for a while, joke about how I miss a flash over the wall, tease about how I'm a God descended from the Heavens when I get a triple kill as support, and then log off. Maybe I don't play for a week. But I know that after that I can log o and have all the same fun again. I can be terrible at LoL and still enjoy it. If I'm terrible at SC, there's really no fun there for me.
Something I wanted to point out, and which ties in well with the question about what do RTS players want today, is that I moved back into my old RTS favorites. I found a small community is still playing Battle for Middle Earth 2, and I can log in to GameRanger to play around, sumon a bunch of Nazgul and Mumakil, or even a friggin Army of the Dead, and roll over my enemies (or get rolled over). I can fire up Age of Mythology and summon the wrath of Zeus uppon my foes. And that is something many new RTS games seem to be missing IMO. The stupid, flashy and amazingly overpowered effects or powers that are so much fun to use, and that many times make games amazing.
Anyway those are my two cents, hope I haven't ranted to much