I'm somewhat hopeful for L5R with Skirmish. When I read the released in the design article, I agreed almost point by point with the diagnostic of the problems and it made me feel hopeful for the health of the game for the first time in months. On my area nL5R had a huge start because there was a lot of the original game looking forward to it. We sold tons of Core Sets and the first cycle. Then both sales and tournaments dried up. Now there is just a very reduced core of players, and sales are reduced to those and collectors. I am now one of the later. My experience last time I played with a friend over the weekend, was one single long, protacted game of endless micro-decisions. No "gotcha moment" in over an hour, no involvement. After some thought, I decided I wouldn't bother with the game, and decided I would only keep buying packs as they came out just for collecting purposes (I have loved the world almost since the beginning) and I wasn't at all surprised at all the following Monday back at the store, when my friend let us know he didn't want to continue buying packs and sold is collection.
Now, we weren't playing at a competitive level. I'm sure if we were really regular players we would have better decks that got to their point faster, some of those micro-decisions woud be on auto-pilot decisions based on experience. We wouldn't have to read and reread the other player's card to remember what they did. That game wouldn't have taken over an hour, maybe just 45 minutes. Still, I can't imagine teaching that game to a new player, or playing for fun as it is, honestly. I can play 3 games of MTG on Arena in that time. Again, it's not just the time it takes, but the involvement, too. All those decisions... there are a lot of cool mechanics and ideas, but the sheer accumulation of them takes the life of out it.
And speaking of taking the life out of it, putting together a legal deck is another chore. When you have a customizable game where you absolutely do need to use a website to deckbuild that tells you what is legal and what is not, you have a big problem. I'm not speaking only of banned/restricted lists, but also of role-locked cards. At first, I was not too against these, but i see now this is another layer of complication (as well as another set of decisions you have to make) on an already complex game.
Will it be enough to "save" the game, or is it too late already? Frankly, I haven't designed any decks based on the Skirmish ruleset and probably I won't bother until something exciting happens (for me, it would be the possibility to play a Shadowlands deck, for instance). However if I ever play again, it will be something like Skirmish, not the original game. Maybe somebody who has more experience playing will have more informed opinions, but I honestly think that if there is ever a second edition of the core set something like Skirmish should be the standard ruleset from then on, with the current "Stronghold" as just one more variant. That would mean no new role locked cards and phasing out those who are already in the pool. Maybe some of them are viable if reprinted without a role limitations, others less so.
About the only thing I don't like about Skirmish is the lack of Stronhgold cards. I think they add a lot of flavor to the game, so I hope some other iteration of the Skirmish ruleset puts them back in the game.