I will try to avoid names beacuse the discussion is more about names.
I'll skip the start that was a bit unconstructive and get to the interesting part.
A couple of months back, when some new LT games reared their heads, I wound up discussing strategy to hopefully get better myself. Current versions of the rulesets for those games were already up, so we took a look at those. Now, at this point, I can't make any calls as to the actual quality of various strategies and truthfulness of certain theses, but the basic gist was that while the multiplayer ruleset (as shipped with Freeciv) is delicately balanced (for the most part), so that at most points there isn't a single best solution, but multiple different courses of action with different strengths and weaknesses, the rulesets used here basically reduced diversity in different viable courses of action, penalizing certain game paths and favoring others, as well as reducing depth by removing entire features (such as rapture). The first part of this statement (multiplayer ruleset allowing for different viable strategies) is evidenced by the fact that the person saying it is one of the top players over there; the second part is for the experienced players here to judge – are there actually completely different completely viable courses of action at multiple points throughout the game?
In general, I think it's quite possible that at some points, a certain change was made. However, that change led to an exploit, or simply something counter-intuitive that the majority of players didn't like, so it was made impossible, thus reducing the amount of possibly courses of action. This might have happened multiple times, in general giving more power to things the majority of the players liked and weakening or disabling things a majority of players disliked. Any players that disagreed eventually lost interest and left, further increasing the power of the majority; thus leading to a form of "inbred culture". Undoing something like this seems hard, since multiple changes have to be made at the same time to add that complexity back in without creating imbalance.
This is, of course, only speculation, but it seems plausible in its own right.
One of the biggest problems with the multiplayer ruleset and with the LT rulesets comes in the form of people allying and making one of them the science engine. The science person is protected by the others and will build no military units of very few of those during the mid game. This may allow that one player to become super powerful compared to the others and you know how that will end. Of course this strategy is not foolproof and it's not that easy to implement. However if it succeeds...
With the LT rulesets there are less of ways to get rich fast. At least compared to the others.
With rapture growth and tech trading doing that is so much more easy to do. And also start. To simplify this: Create an alliance, let one of the players rush for republic and you are on the route to rapture. 10 turns after getting republic you may have 2x powerful nations compared to those who played well but didn't have allies.
The idea kind of was to make it less about trading and more about managing the nation. That's for the tech trading part. Something is of course lost when this happens, so now we have another attempt with a new idea for tech trading with LT40. Standard Freeciv mechanics are not used but there is a way to trade techs.
Now rapture is another beast and was simply removed because it made the rich even more rich and the poor... well it just left them poor. But in the early game. It takes not that much time to get to republic. Instead there is rapture like but less powerful method of growth with granaries. There are similar downsides to using celebrations. There is also the need to use lux and figure out how to use lux if you want big cities.
Those were at least the ideas for how it was supposed to work. Was there some strategy that was not possible or usable with the LT rulesets? I've considered food/celebration growth like the same strategy but with a slightly different implementation. Someone might have a different view on this.
Some players have succeeded with focusing on military, some on science and some on economy. Using the lux was usually included on all those strategies, at least when someone was trying to maximize military or economy. Celebration trade bonus with high lux is available on LT games and also probably one of the hardest ways to win and it's rarely used while really powerful.
There is actually one thing about LT40 and rapture that was briefly talked about but not added to the game. There was this idea of adding celebration growth with the new LT40 government nationalism. There would have been some historical background to that and it might have provided a new approach to the rapture feature. For several reasons this was at least postponed and not included to the game. If implemented nationalism would have been the only government with the rapture growth. Several reasons why not added for LT40...
Maybe best to say never say never. Some of the features may return and probably will return but the games are really different if there are 5, 30 or 150 players.
Anyway, if there is some strategy that can't be used, please let us know and we will try to figure out how it might work without breaking the game