1. There has been a paradigm shift towards more Solo content. You can still do bosses and stuff in party but PQs and the like are not as prevalent anymore.
2. It is, mostly hunting bots and advertising bots. Mostly harmless but nothing has been done to solve it either.
3. Depends on your point of view. There are normal servers and the Reboot server. Reboot lacks trading but you can buy everything with Mesos and its completely F2P focused. Normal server progression depends on potential cubes which the better ones of can only be bought with NX, though there are many options to get potentials without paying a cent, as well as trading to get endgame tier equipment without having to beat the bosses, which with luck can mean you progress faster than Reboot even without paying. The game is mostly the same in both servers.
4. Mostly bossing. Black Mage is out, and with him a huge 200+ area called the Arcane River which is the absolute Endgame for Maple. You can still experience the story without having to beat the boss itself as there are story modes for most important content. There are plenty of bosses and quests to do on the way, even before the Arcane River so there is a lot to do in the game.
It's the same as florina beach; no one cared about the area until it was blocked off/removed.
No one cared because Nexon never tried to make it relevant. There is no 30-50 area in Victoria Island and since the change to Theme Dungeons means every monster scale it takes a while to get up to 60. Florina Beach could easily being used as a replacement. That or just keep the area for nostalgia sake, nostalgia sells. People clearly cares about the area to complain about its removal, whatever their reasons.
Haunted Mansion had unique items to get, a lot of nostalgia value behind, not mention that they promised they would fix a lot of NLC stuff and never did. They also promised that it would become a seasonal dungeon, which takes no effort to implement, and didn't.
Just because you don't care about the area doesn't mean it should just be cut. By that logic they might as well remove all non-meta content because "no one cares about it" which is setting a terrible precedent to a game that is lacking in variety.
I think having several servers of different sizes is preferable over having less servers but overloaded. I don't know about the market since my only experience has been with GRAZED-Elysium, so I wouldn't noticed such changes. I would have preferred that all of the smaller servers got merged into one but then you have to take into account that over 10 servers worth of characters would have been difficult to manage. I don't mind going through another server merge but lets be honest, under Nexon's management that won't happen even if it benefits the community.
I disagree. World transfers create a lot of unnecessary chaos as seen with the Bera incident we had the last World Leap, filling the server to a brim and causing many of the players that were away a lot of annoyance because their servers got emptier. World Merge was a necessity, World Leap is not. If a World Leap were to happen it won't be from Aurora and Elysium to elsewhere, but rather into them, as in the last leaps were Scania was barred off which lead people to filling Bera instead. It will take a lot of convincing to get Berans and Scanians into any of the two smallest servers and even then there will be one server that will remain small as it is highly unlikely everyone will make sure to fill them out evenly. A better solution imo would be to Merge Aurora and Elysium, though that would still cause problems as some will complain that the server has gotten overpopulated, from personal experience people in Elysium like their solitude.