I just cam back to this server this year and have been playing around. During my game time I decided to leave again due to boredom. I feel like new players get excided when coming in the realm but then once your out doing the gearing part its very boring and drawn out. here is my idea.
lower the hp of the mobs for the gearing dungeons. my reasoning is its very hard to progress with a lack of player base and it takes so long to farm out for the materials with no other help. multiboxing did verify that if there was a group it would be better but since I don't like multiboxing progression is super slow.
also I miss the max haste. it seems like the server went in a different direction when I left and its not as fun. yes I know there is a haste tabard but its defiantly not as good stat wise for playstyle that is the current setup.
instead of lowing the hp of the mobs maybe just redo the way the gear is given. instead of having to farm for the upgrade mats, let the dungeon it self drop designated gear from certain bosses in the raids/dungeons and that way if you get a bigger group of friends they can boost you up to them so you can play with them on the same level quicker.
Also getting rid of the donation gear you have to pay for and making the playing field even for all players and find a way to intergrate the already existing donor gear into the game for players to achieve that way the people that paid for it still keep it and players can farm for the gear in a custom raid or dungeon.
now I know what your saying. well if we get rid of the donor gear we loose some funding. well not quite, see what you could do is sell the cosmetic things, like custom pets, player houses, custom in game races other cool cosmetic stuff crated unique and then players would be maybe willing to buy more and also feel like its not pay to win. for a example there is a server called RPH they have custom clothing hair and textures for the toons that you can download. they look amazing and I think could be a good selling point for some people.