I'm going to be honest. I read your post Kris and from the details you provide, the new combat system seems to be far superior. Having played with the new system and the old system, I really don't mind the new one. I have max gear and can still kill bosses with relative ease although the bonuses have been decreased a little bit. I am ready to trade my gear bonuses for a better game/PvM experience. You've done some great work with this latest update and I am looking forward to the addition of new bosses in the future. Personally, I like that now melee, range AND mage are all viable options for PvM rather than just range. It was certainly unbalanced before and more balanced now.
I think one of the problems that has arisen from this update is item pricing. Items that were overpowered previously (ex. drygore mace) has gotten a significant balance while the drygore longsword has gotten a significant "buff." Considering that a mace was around 5b to 6b and a longsword was around 700m, the idea that they are now relatively similar in power may be irritating to some people. Nevertheless, I believe the economy will recover from this, it will just take time.