1. One of our goals, which we didn't get to before this project went on hiatus, was to address the abundance of unnecessary Ask/Learn/Item situations. Sadly, this is still incomplete, so for now it's an As Is. Sorry about that.
2. The base formula, which has been untouched in Restored if I remember correctly, is that the Spell Level determines the maximum number of potential successes. This means that in order to get all 8 effects from Aura, you would have to have Level 8 to 16. This, however, only "unlocks" those successes, and the number of successes that actually occur on each cast are determined by "spell power" which, if I recall, is affected by Intellect. Bear in mind that your spell power receives a malus from certain armor types, so the higher your defense / lower your evasion is, the bigger the spell power malus. People wearing full Genji Armor will almost never be worth a toss using spells, due to the inability to get high numbers of spell successes even with all spells at level 16. Target all spells also reduce the number of successes by 1, I believe, guaranteed.
3. I can assure you that while situations as you described will arise, it is operating under proper equal distribution now. In my case personally for my testing, it was actually my first character that had the most HP. Your Mileage May Vary.
4. Yes, MP growth definitely becomes an issue as the game goes on, and the base mechanics for this are unpolished. For Restored, we had been toying with the idea of something of a running growth chance as the game goes on to address these issues. Again, due to project hiatus, As Is.
5. The game definitely promotes grinding at its core due to its unorthodox mechanics, and that's something that could potentially be considered for Restored had the project continued moving forward.
6. Evasion is absolutely more effective throughout the game than defense. Even on a Restored project, my design philosophy was always extremely hesitant to take excessive liberties with game mechanics, so tweaking monster damage or the effects of defense was one of those things on the back burner. I wanted to finish Bug Fix before giving Restored much attention, but either way, here we are. You are right in your assessment between the two stats.
7. I feel that change was an incredible Quality of Life change.
As to your final note, I wholly agree regarding the game's balance but, being something of a purist, or at the very least an advocate for purists, I would prefer to leave entire rebalancing patches up to another ambitious hacker. I am very pleased that we got as far with Bug Fix as we did, and hope that people will use it as a foundation (with appropriate credit to abw and, to a lesser extent, myself given) for their patches. It really was the most important thing to me that the game-breaking bugs be addressed, and I'm proud that we were able to get to that point.
Thank you for giving it your attention and playtesting, and please tell others about this patch.