I use it. It's worthwhile for me. BUT I also pay for the content on sites I really like, and frequent. I don't know if it offsets the ad money these sites would make if I didn't have Adblock on, but... meh. I hate ads. It's of benefit to me across the board.
Drew has a bit to go before he is good at podcasting, but the others are definitely taking up the charge where Ryan's absence is felt. Like stated, it is definitely there, and you can hear on a weekly basis that the crew is still very hurt and still grieving, but... it's getting better. They don't know what to do yet because it all blind sided them. I don't blame them.
As others have said, Ryan's absence is very felt. He was great at keeping things moving, tying jokes together, and all around just chugging the 3-hour beast along.
Without him there, it's easy to see and hear that the group is trying to pick up the remains and put it back together. They will get it done, but they are still sad and a bit confused... and it shows. They hint often that they have been going out of their way to stay active, engaged, and otherwise doing things differently in both their professional and personal life because of how big of a hole Ryan left. I think they are afraid to be alone with their thoughts so they're trying things differently to stay away from it. I'm hoping they can get past it since it will become too much if they keep harping on it, but... I'd understand. Ryan was a great guy. I don't know how I'd be in their shoes.
I'm so glad you enjoyed the game Patrick. There's reasons why it's my favorite game of all time, and I hope you experienced at least a portion of it. Just imagine how this game was beloved almost 20 years ago. Things have changed a lot.