I see a few players who points at the real problems. In my opinion it not the skill gain, it is how you progress in game, where other games has levels, items and tokens.
The purpose of play in WO and not in WU is the other players. Since I started (may 2009) almost all changes worked towards the opposite, made it easier and easier to play alone.
The ideal Wurm world only has one server but back then technology made it impossible so had to add a server, deli added it immediate was popular and filled up fast so exo was added and everything was in balance. The for unknown reason cele was added, a big mistake in my opinion I never went to cele I plain ignored it in all my time. Result exo got a bad start and never got populated.
Xanadu were an experiment originally as test server it were 4 times bigger but lag killed that experiment, so size adjust but it still lagged and experiment should have been closed down, experiments failed. Ideal size is indy size for a server (same as har/cad).
When I started Rolf had guts to do the necessary close down two servers to make one new, people got compensated and could move items in ships. I think it is necessary to do again but maybe to late, should have done it before steam release. It is not good there is only half empty servers. 15 player on epic 4 servers they are dead and should be closed down. Wurm can only sustain on pvp cluster and best not connected to pve like chaos, it causes to many issues, just like predicted by many before wild got to chaos.
Creature ai have never been good and filled with many problems but worst one is the one we have now in my opinion. When I started most creatures spawn and stayed static and only a few selected roamed around. That made hunting a lot more interesting and it was something you chose and not enforced. The worst creature the hell hound is a big mistake it is dangerous for all new and huge agro and deathly attacks and roam a lot.
Like many changes in past combat system were changed because of pvp and not necessary good for pve. The combat to random.
I think the best system would be to have easier creatures near start and the further you get away the more dangerous they get and maybe have area where you cannot settle where the most dangerous live, hunting zones. Make those so you cannot solo them but need a small group. Not scheduled events like rift, I hate them, I want to play with people I chose to play with. Uniques is no challenge they attacks to weak and you can just zerk them.
More small group content for everyone. Have to ensure it not a farming target for the few.
The current server travel system is necessary because most servers is more or less empty (old cluster) but I think servers should be more local so you get a better community on each server. No mail between servers only travel by ships and servers like when introduced just expansion of the map into fragments, yes travel from one end to the other takes time but we max need 2-3 indy size servers.
This is my take on the problems but Im old school and never do other things while play Wurm unless Im not motivated and just stay in game to chat with friends. Maybe the new generations has no patience/attention span for a game like Wurm and have to watch movies next to they play instead of interact with real humans playing the game.