I do believe I did get more unfarmable mats when I first started playing (roughly one year ago), but I have been corrected repeatedly by several more knowledgeable players who all fervently insisted that I was remembering things wrong.
There are two major factors that are (somewhat) within your control: how much money you spend, and what level titans your alliance is killing. Buy enough gems and you can just buy ascension mats whenever they pop up in the store (too much $$$ for me, and besides, even the regular spenders say those items don’t pop up very often). Kill bigger titans and you get more chances at ascension mats (that’s assuming that you have the ability to kill said titans, and the loot is still RNG based, so zero guarantees, especially if you have a weaker team than your alliance mates and end up with a lower score and reduced loot tier).
Ultimately though the biggest factor is and always has been RNG. Bigger titans? My first alliance fought mostly 3-4* titans and I think I got more unfarmables there than I’ve gotten since my current alliance started regularly taking down 5-6*. Now the game experts will tell you that 5-6* titans are still pretty weak and aren’t supposed to give you good loot, but occasionally some members of my team score some pretty nice loot from them (in spite of my score being much better than theirs and my loot being total crap). RNG at work. And also I recall a time when I would receive a compass, warm cape, etc. at least once a week from even the most mundane things - monster chests, killing a 3* titan, elemental chests (which I used to get 2-3 times a month and lately seems like once a month at best, and even then the loot doesn’t seem to be as good as it used to be - but I digress, once again I’m obviously “remembering it wrong” and viewing the past through rose colored glasses).
Any more, I have stopped depending on RNG to give me the mats I need. I just keep my eyes open for the quests and events that have guaranteed unfarmables as rewards, and try to complete every single one that I can, even if I don’t need that one particular item at the time. Because I know that I’ll need it eventually, and it’s always better to have it and not need it vs. needing it and not having it.