This hasn't changed any for me over the years.
I can forgive a lackluster plot if I'm fully invested in the people.
It's really interesting though. I've heard quite a bit of talk lately about likeable characters being overrated. Unnecessary, etcetera.
As someone that loves books usually based on the characters, I totally disagree with that. However…
I often find myself not liking the 'typically likable' characters. I often find them too boring.
I like characters that are maybe a little grey, but very interesting. Characters that keep you on your toes. That always have something going on.
To me, likeable characters are definitely the second most important thing in a book. (The first being the writing itself, because certain books have actually given me a headache because of how they are written.) But I don't think that 'likable character' is a character type.
What I'm getting at is a character shouldn't just be likable. You can have a character that makes questionable decisions and maybe isn't lawful good - if you pardon and D&D term - and still have them be likable.
By the same token, a morally upright, good, nice, sweet person - all things that would be commonly considered 'likable' - could be the most hated character in the book.
And, for me, they usually are - unless they are such a good person that you can't hate them. And I think I've come across one person like that in my life.
So, do you find yourself liking the characters you're 'supposed' to? Or are you like me and tend to go for the anti-hero at best and the villain at worst?