You can still gear for close to perm PA, I’m playing with time vs dark to see the various effectiveness of the two specs. Dark is really tough to beat, as the debuffs to especially bosses are impossible to beat, you really can turn bosses into pretty much nothing to deal with if they aren’t immune or highly resistant. Time is more of an AOE catch all spec, it’s insane against large groups. The toggle AOE slow makes normal content really trivial. Combined with the hard CC and charm from illusion, it’s pretty fun.
Ill is still a great spec, it may not be what it was pre nerfs, but it’s still really powerful.
CoH is a fairly clunky game UI wise. You don’t have the greatest tools to manage some specs. MM certainly falls into that category. It’s much better now than it was for a long time though, they made some quality of life improvements near the end that really helped quite a bit. Oddly enough, EQ still has probably the best UI for management if you got into macros heavily.