I started playing Dominion in the beta and quickly got a pretty high Elo playing draft mode exclusively, peaking at 2271. While I enjoyed playing, I lost my patience in February and quit for about six months due to a lack of ranked play. There was simply no way for a player like me, who mostly soloed, to avoid playing against full premades of tournament players, who more or less farmed wins off a random group of mid-high rated players to gain 1 Elo. It felt like a total waste of time to spend 25 minutes in queue to get an eight minute stomp which can hardly be called a "game." It got to the point where people would friend these players to see if they were queuing, and would avoid queuing unless they were in a game. Of course, given how short their games were and how long queue times were, this often didn't help. A lot of people quit because of them, and I think that hurt Dominion in the long run.
Having said that, I don't begrudge them. It's not their fault. They were given the option to play this team game with the teammates of their choice, and they took it. Ultimately, it comes down to a lack of support from Riot. These players wanted a way to play competitively, but there was no way to do it. A lack of ranked play delegitimized Dominion from the very beginning, making it look casual. A lack of ranked play made it extra hard for players to find top players to emulate. A lack of ranked play forced the serious players and the laid back players into the same queue, ruining the quality of play. A lack of ranked play killed player retention.
How can the community to take us seriously when Riot doesn't outwardly take us seriously? We had footage in champion spotlights, but that was removed. We had balance changes at the beginning, but those were stopped. It took almost a year to get a reasonably basic bug fix to give draft mode a queue dodge penalty. We've never had ranked and we've been told we're not getting it. Of course the community doesn't take us seriously. It's cool that Riot's realized this and is finally supporting us, but it does nothing for the perception problem. Seeing a balance change in the patch notes isn't going to get SR players interested because they weren't paying enough attention to realize that we weren't getting any before. Riot posts in the Dominion forum don't mean anything to people who don't read it. Riot needs to make a STATEMENT. Incremental tweaks, while they may add up over time, do nothing to attract old players back. Only something like ranked will make that statement. It sends a message to everyone who doesn't play Dominion that we're a real game type with real depth and real players. Maybe it doesn't happen tomorrow, or next week, or next month, but it absolutely has to happen eventually, even if it means fragmenting an already small community. Until that happens, I don't see anything really changing.