I think I am surprised that no one has come up with something really new in the 20 years or so I was out of the loop - unless of course, as I said, people can direct me to effects I've not heard of yet.Perhaps there is only so much you can do with sound ... reverb it, echo, distort it in various ways, bit crush, rhythmic gate, slow/speed it up, and now granular treatments. What a lot of modern effects do is simply variations on these. But they can make complex things simpler, especially with more powerful CPUs. They can also give you a lot of things in one plugin (Sugar Bytes plugins for example). I'm not sure there can be a great new effect that is not a variation on the established ones. What is really new and exciting, though, is what artists and engineers get up to with those effects. There are certainly tracks and musical styles created now that were not around, or attempted, 20 years ago. It's a creative thing.
On effects, I personally like to chain effects/instruments using some sort of VST host program. You can mix effects and synths to considerable ... er, effect. To sculpt or find your own sound. And save the whole ensemble as a re-usable unit. And this ability is where CPU power really becomes important.