Ok, so this thread has become TL,DR. I have not kept up with it over the past two weeks but here we go.
Solo sailing is punishing. I have played few solo missions due to few perks for doing so. I love to cruise around exploring solo and finding easter eggs. It's the only reason I would sail solo at this stage however.
I am not concerned about playing solo and PvP. There are plenty of other threads and resources dedicated to that aspect. I am focussing on current game balances and mechanics.
First and foremost:
Rewards for solo or duo teams need a reward multiplier on them. Why would a solo reward cashed in provide the same cut as a four man team? I want to see at least four or more times the reward for sailing solo. Provide a much greater incentive for solo sloops and smaller teams.
The option to purchase additional animal cages, coops, and baskets from Merchant Alliance, as well as having your free allotted cages for an assigned voyage. Loose a ship, for whatever reason, and you loose all hope of fulfilling an assignment. Just having the option to purchase cages without a quest requirement could be advantageous.
Finally, and most complex:
I have been disconnected from the game servers whilst on missions sailing solo. If disconnected from a game with crewmates they will essentially reserve the ship and your slot until such a time as you can reconnect.
Currently if you are disconnected from a game server your current session ends and you have to restart.
Can we have some sort of mechanic that essentially freezes a solo ship and preserves progress due to disconnects. That may come in the form of removing the ship from it's current location ingame, preserving everything, and respawning it exactly where you were, or having an anchor drop and timer to rejoin before having to restart from scratch.
On the topic of PvP and bounties and such:
I do not know if there are plans to alter the top most flags with cosmetics. Use the top flags as a form of signal to other ships of the current status of the crew and their infamy, or allegiances. Have they sunk a ship or two, have it fly a jolly roger. Have they completed recently completed a voyage, fly the colours of the faction. I would favor showing the colours of a recent completed voyage, rather than a current assignment. Sinking a ship or killing players would override any other colours. Of course server hopping would circumvent the mechanic, but that's a whole other issue.