This may or may not help you feel better about prestige skins, simply my take.
People keep saying that Prestige Skins are worth $100-120. This is the figure that gets thrown around to show how jaded Riot has become. But I think that leaves out an important part of the story; you can't even buy prestige points alone. They come in bundles with other content. Now, admittedly, I haven't priced out how much prestige points would supposedly be worth if you accounted for the other stuff in the bundle for the overall price, but that *does* shift the way I see see them.
When I was a teenager, my parents taught me the magic of their southwest airlines credit card. They bought stuff with the card, and in return, the got "points" they could use to buy flights later. Is it really "free" flights? Eh.... not exactly, but it's designed to make the conscious consumer happy with their card and with the airline. As long as you pay off that card and never have debt on it, you're almost certainly getting your money's worth (at least, that was the perception back then. I haven't priced that kind of nonsense more recently). But if you try to calculate how much you'll have to spend to get a free flight... that's a lot. Not a good trade. It's only good because you're *already buying that other stuff,* so the flight comes along with it.
It's not a perfect analogy, but that's sort of how I see the prestige skins. It's Riot providing a sort of reward for their more consistent customers. Many, many companies do this. Yeah, yeah, ik, smol indie company jokez, but really, skins *are* their only source of income for this game atm (at least until eSports becomes profitable, which I heard was not last year). If we *all* stopped buying them, we really would tank the company. Just like if we stopped flying, airlines would go out of business. So frequent flier programs exist.
So, as per the title, here's what I plan to do: I'm just going to buy the bundles that appeal to me, and when I get 100 PP, I'll buy the skin that came out this year that I like best. It's that simple. To me, it's not really worth worrying how much a prestige skin costs or whatever; at the end of the day, the skin that actually matches the base theme can be bought with rp. Might I buy extra 20PP bundle at the end of the year to ensure I make it to 100PP? Maybe. Is that exploitative? Eh. I just can't find my anger about it, tbh. It's a smart program for a company trying to figure out how a "frequent flier" program works in games.
Am I saying to stop complaining? NO.
Riot needs feedback about this. If it makes you unhappy, tell them! All I wanted to do with this thread was try to offer an alternate perspective. With some good feedback, and good refinement, this idea could morph into something that appeals to us quite a lot. I guess we'll see!
(And yes, I already see the top argument coming from a mile off. "Frequent flier programs and airline cards give you *already existing* flights for free, so why can't Riot do that?!" They could. But this is a more... prestigious way to reward people, and they know that. To a certain extent, they have to sell what people will buy, and as much as many of us in this community hate it, this is going to sell.)