Sadly the reason of the latest player increase is Covid. Which will decrease again.
Hi-Rez is killing the game.
-They love their customer unfriendly business practices. Like you could buy deal of the day with crystal but they removed that without telling. They only put it to patch notes after people start asking wtf happened. Also they insist on chests.
-They are not trying to fix the bugs even anymore. Instead of that they are trying to hide them. They removed 3th person, kill cam but bugs are still there also there are more cheaters in the game now.
-Really really bad balancing. Good example is Evie. She is unplayable now thx to shitty balancing.
-Boring, bad and grindy battlepass and challenges. Which do nuffin but inducing stress and toxicity to the game. Also killing the casual play. You need to play like 10 games a day if you want to reach max lvl. Playing 1-3 games not gonna cut it also no crystals anymore unless you grind. Not come with oh you just want free stuff lousy argument. I bought the founders pack. Cuz i saw the potential in the game. Holy shit Paladins was a good game. I bought skins till OB64. And i stop playing the game cuz of this shitty battle pass system.(also bunch of other reasons like lags bugs cheaters bad balancing) It is hi-rez's fault. They know how to repel customers and players.
-Copying Overwatch. Yes they are actually doing that. Not only main menu but also "Burst Meta". This game was much better when it had hyper mobility and its own main menu. Skill is not as much as important anymore. A noob player can cause havoc with andro, koga, talus, zhin whatever.
-Apparently they are censoring female champions now. (non furry skins like Evie's candy shop)
All those things above considered, i think game is dying and hi-rez is only trying to get as much as money possible before game dies.