I'm in the minority here when it comes to auto-target, I guess.
I get it, though.
My hypothetical solution to this in my dream redesign document for FF1 is an idea for making auto-target a function of the character's intelligence and dexterity.
Basically, if the character is mentally and/or physically slow, they will have a harder time redirecting their attack in the heat of battle.
You get to keep some of the strategy of the 'ineffective' system and the smarter/faster characters (that tend to do less damage) are able to hit more consistently to balance things out a bit more.
The MP situation is one of my pet peeves.
Mostly it's because I loathe the Vancian casting system for it's inflexibility.
In my branch I definitely going to nix it in favor of a an MP pool.
The inclusion of ethers is great though.
To start, I think having them be available in Elfheim for at least 2x the cost of a Potion would work well.
I distinctly remember when I first played the game years ago having to treck back out of the Marsh cave once or twice in order to refill on spell charges before I could explore the whole thing.
Actually, I was thinking about tents, cabins, and houses last night.
FF1 is heavily influenced by D&D, so it struck me as strange that the Tent and Cabin don't let you restore your spell charges.
I know it was for balance purposes since the passage of time really has no meaning in the game, but I think it would be fine to have only have the Tent and Cabin items.
They would both restore all spell charges.
Tents would restore HP based on each character's level and stamina.
Cabins would restore maybe 3x the amount of HP?
That would put them a bit more in line with D&D.
To further that idea in a different, more realistic direction for a hypothetical branch project...
Turn the Tent and Cabin into artifacts/quest items.
Scrap the House and use it for something else.
The main menu would have a new command called Rest.
By default the Rest command would restore all spell charges and heal a minimal amount of HP equal to the character's level.
However, when using it like this there is a chance that instead of resting you could be forced into an a random battle with a higher chance to get ambushed.
If you have a Tent, you may choose to use it when resting.
Each tent has a total of 10 uses, and each time it is used it has a chance to consume 2 uses due to wear and tear.
While using a tent, the party still regains all spell charges, but instead restores HP based on level x some fraction of their stamina (level * stamina/4 or something).
When using a tent, the chances of getting attacked and of getting ambushed is reduced by 1/2.
Each tent would be at least 10x more expensive.
If you have a Cabin, you may use it during rest.
The cabin would work largely the same way as the Tent with only 1/2 as much chance of the wear and tear penalty on uses.
The amount of healing would be bumped up to 2x to 4x that of the tent.
Unlike tents, cabins provide sturdy enough shelter that there is no chance of getting attacked overnight.
Cabins should also be at least 10x their original price.
Now you have a more realistic resting system.
Ideally, you'd be limited to a maximum of 1 tent and 1 Cabin at any time.
If need be you could even give it a pseudo day/night cycle by giving it a cooldown period between uses.
And if I'm not mistaken it should even be possible to darken the screen on the overworld for a little tent/cabin cutscene like in the later games.