What I think the game needs in the near future to be able to get players back in aeternum is dozens of new enemy npc models, lots of open world environment cosmetic changes (right now almost the whole world feels samey), dozens of arena bosses and world bosses, multiple new expeditions, new invasion maps and bosses for raid like instanced experiences with some sort of a competitive leaderboard associated to these PVE modes.
And the removal of orb requirement for the first time a player zones into an instance for a given day as a group leader (for all instanced PVE content, so if 12 is the number of currently available expeditions plus arenas, then the first time a group leader zones into these 12 will be orb free). Having an orb afterwards also increases the chance of better loot and spawning of rare mini bosses.
That plus bringing back endless world PvP through a new system with its own rewards, dedicated always PvP-enabled areas and once players get used to playing the game, add a small scale competitive PvP instanced game mode. All PVP modes imo should be level 10+. Not 50+ or 60 only.
As for combat, currently on the March PTR, it’s starting to feel better and is getting closer to where it strikes a good balance between abilities and white damage. I still feel like non-cc offensive abilities could use shorter cooldowns to create both a faster paced variety in combat moves with less emphasis on mouse button clicking for white damage and an opening for a counter attack. A good ratio imho would be 20% cc/dodge/block abilities, 20% white damage mouse click heavy/light attacks and 40 percent keyboard based longer animation abilities within the span of a single fight against a given mob that’s the same as the player’s level.
Light/heavy attacks are great as buffing abilities on top of being basic attacks buffing dmg/defenses for what follows from keyboard abilities. Example: hitting with a light attack increases damage by 5% for 10 seconds stacking up to 20%, heavy attack increases defenses by 15% for 5 seconds stacking up to 30% damage redux …etc.
This covers pretty much everything combat wise with the current implementation: self buffing with heavy/light attacks, cc keyboard abilities with long cooldowns, defensive active abilities with dodge and block, and keyboard based fun offensive abilities without a specific rotation and with short cooldowns not exceeding 6 seconds per ability provided it doesn’t have cc associated with it or a self heal…etc with some abilities being single target and some aoe.
The vast majority of ff14, WoW, Elden ring and lost ark players are PVE players, PVE should be the priority. Pvpers will keep crying about balance issues while pvers will just happily wait until new content is released and come back to check it out then leave until new content is added again like with ff14, WoW…etc.
The March patch comes with many very much needed QoL changes and is a great base to build on top of. Hope to see a map expansion with sprawling cities and a mount system eventually.
Edit: added below.
Changing spell colors is a CRAZY request. The sacred ground aoe heal animations should simply not exist. I would replace it with an aoe HoT heal instead. If anything that’s what’s gonna fix lag issues and chaotic gameplay, not changing colors.