no it is not the same, it is worse as there is even more incentive to drop. Previously you only dropped fief to get good matchup. Now dropping to get good match up is not good enough, you have to drop more than the similar strength (or stronger) alliance.
Eg, say top 20 alliance fight each other, previously they just dropped to try not to meet 120 fief alliance. When they are matched up they can fight it out between each other. Now if they meet each other, assuming relatively even strength the alliance that drops more wins due to higher LB.
Does this sound like fun for you? when you fight alliance equal strength, no point fighting if they have lower fief, they will win if they want?
And yes the middle alliances can beat the top now - if they drop more fief than the top alliance. So now the top alliances more incentive to drop, middle more incentive to drop, everyone just dropping fief like crazy. If you don’t drop as middle alliance, then you will fight wars you have no chance in, since the top alliances you fight will have less fief than you. Let me know how you think a middle alliance can beat a top alliance in this situation. If you lose, you get less LB. But if you somehow manage to beat the top alliance, they will get bigger LB since they have less fief.
Maybe it is not just the new LB rules, but just natural progression where as more alliances are trying to drop fiefs, more alliances in turn are resorting to dropping fief. But I think currently the war situation is worse than a year ago.