I still maintain that the problem is “lack of good wars”. Combination of fault of the community and fault of the mechanics.
Main1 was by far the most fun for me. Logged in every day for like 3 months fighting all my neighbors and it was a pretty even fight for a long time. They outnumbered me but I played more (and thus built more and moved more ships). But logging in every day to a war was tremendous fun and gave me real hope for the game even if some of the war mechanics themselves needed work.
What broke it was a combination of minefields and simply a lack of other wars. The groups I was fighting consisted of big coalitions of bored players who didn’t have anyone else to fight so while it took them a few months, they eventually just swamped me with more and more players from further and further away because they had nothing else to do. I was the only game in town. If they had some real enemies it would have been more fun for all. I could have kept fighting my local wars maybe indefinitely and their more distant players would have had their own wars to keep them busy.
Main2 was mostly just a dud for most of us. The alliances kinda stared at each other until everyone got bored and quit. If not for Black Sails, I don’t think much of anything would have happened in Main2. There were some solo players who got beat up but no major wars outside of Black Sails that I know of and the MOW leaderboard supports that pretty well.
High speed galaxy not only doesn’t address the problems but makes some of them significantly worse, notably the online vs offline problems.
Unlimited fleet range with no real upkeep means that a galaxy-spanning coalition can target individuals one at a time 15v1 if they want to so local wars end up squashed.
I believe this is all fixable, I just don’t believe the devs see the problem. And they listen more to the coalitions that are actually driving the death of the game. The more they get what they want, the more the game dies.