I think we can all agree that Atlas has been created with the intention of being difficult. I and the company I operate, find ourselves back on this game daily for 3-4 months now largely BECAUSE it's difficult. It's incredibly refreshing to find a game where everybody doesn't have the best of everything and what you do have, inherently garners much higher value to the player. Now that you understand my mindset going into this I'm going to address 4 things that I think will help this game immensely going forward.....
#1 - The Land vs Sea Argument - I watched the dev roadmap video on YouTube and I've read plenty on the forums about making sure that the game remains a "pirate game" (aka a sea focus). I think most have thought about this all wrong.... every imperialistic power in history has sought to gain land. For resources, to acquire population and equipment, etc. Not continuing to improve and develop the settlement building aspect of this game would be a tremendous waste of potential. Instead, we should view the water as the most vulnerable location in the game and work with that. While I'll admit I don't know what they need to look like; adding architecturally unique ships for transporting people and tames and others as cargo ships while keeping the current fleet as warships would entice more sea patrol because you have a much better idea as to what you stand to gain by attacking specific ship types. My other suggestion is river systems deep enough to bring ships into. Essentially proviing easier access to more of the island.
#2 - Tames - For one; PLEASE do not ever introduce anything that flies into this game. You saw it with Ark and you'll see it here; they will become the primary method of transport always. I'm also against sea tames for that matter, but much less so than flying. Only because I think we all agree that it should be fleet vs fleet vs monsters / pirates of the damned. With that said I have a modest wish list that I'm proposing more for a functional purpose than to get a T-Rex that can kill 99% of anything in the game.
Pigs - Regular pigs that produce meat at a higher rate than most animals, poop more often (similar to Phiomia in Ark), and reproduce quicker than most tames so they can be used as a meat source continually
Goats - Similar to sheep but produce goat milk which can in turn create new recipes without having to add a whole new subset of meats
Donkeys - Operate like a horse except they should be slower with a decreased jump rate and can have a tiller attached for farming
Dogs - A cross between wolves in stats with a lower damage effect and they cannot be ridden. You can even add tons of variants but their purpose would be the ability to search out specific items for digging. At the moment we use the shovel and any of 6-10 items can be dug up. A dog could help sniff out specific dig spots for nearby items. They could even be an alternative to a broken shovel but they dig up less of whatever item it is and less water
Koalas / Iguanas / Peacocks - All of these would be intended as shoulder pets from different biomes but their purposes would be small benefits to crew member morale (I would add cats to this too). Similar to the silos; any crew member on or docked at an island, on a boat with one of these animals would accumulate gold slightly slower and consumer less materials when repairing. The more you have and the higher the levels, the greater the benefit
#3 Building - The idea is to play as you want to play. The inevitable trolly kids will always seek to gain the best tools and weapons to take advantage of the weaker players. This game makes getting to that point a major time investment; a built-in anti-troll device! The players this game is intended to attract and should embrace this; want to play a game that provides purpose and options. Some will aggressively battle for land and resources, others will travel tirelessly to acquire rare items / resources / tames and operate as merchants, and others will enjoy attracting players to their complex cities / towns / ports. So give us lamp posts, more building design options, pillars, archways, more door / gate options and sizes, for the love of god give us glass!
#4 Decor / Settlement Enhancement - Playing off #3, give our settlements some life. If there were more reason to interact, it would foster an environment where towns and cities actually become an integral part of the game. Not just for the building company to store and construct in. Decorative plants and re-fertilizer (just like in Ark except show an ethereal image of what is about to be re-grown), streamers, various wall banners, different sized and styled flags, new lighting options, different tables / chairs / storage items / beds/ etc all provide ways for players to make their settlements unique and more organic to the world. You enhance immersion with mini games. Adding in bar games like darts and poker, betting on wrestling matches where players grapple in a designated area until one is damaged to the point where they take a knee, and many other ideas would all increase actual player interaction (you could do this with tames as well). And finally, add an actual bar top piece and barstools. The bar top piece and tables would show placeable meals and drinks for other players to interact with and pay money for. These types of things often occurred in Ark but with some cleaning up of the interactions and incentive provided by the game itself; I think you'd see a huge participation from players.