When I last played Magic: The Gathering, Wizards of the Coast were the formal owners of the franchise. They weren't bound by the will of Hasbro and could do whatever they wanted. I don't think Hasbro has entirely hurt WotC though I do pine for the days when TSR owned Dungeons and Dragons, which is another aside.
Overall I think the years which I didn't play Magic didn't really change or hinder the game play that much. I had known what planeswalkers were, only that the planeswalkers were supposed to be ourselves playing the game, not cards on the table.
Magic Online offered me my first foray into what had changed. I bought an account and was given a set of "planeswalker" cards which were not Type 2 Standard. "Huh", I questioned. "Are these cards much like the "Portal" series of the late 90s?" I asked the WotC employee. It'd taken them a considerable time to tell me that yes, they are the equivalent.
To me, Magic was never entirely about the card mechanics or the rules, it was something that you could engage in at a kitchen table and have fun with your friends. While I do participate in local sanctioned sealed and draft, this has always been what the major motivator to play was -- the social aspect.
I can understand the gripes with modern gameplay mechanics, but I can also point out when the earlier series got really dumb as well as with phasing and banding.