I have no idea how long this has been happening, but I have entered many many many Klei public servers with this issue because that is where I play generally. I've noticed that there's no clockwork set pieces in the overworld. I don't know if this was always a thing, or a recent phenomenon. Private servers will have clockworks set pieces above, but Klei pubs will not.
First became aware of this when every single game was starved of gears if no one went to ruins. I like to go to ruins a lot,