My friend and I discuss ideas for a Maxwell refresh quite a bit and we have a some ideas that we like.
1. Maxwell's shadow duelists should be invulnerable to all types of enemies barring Greater Gestalts/Celestial Champion (more on the moon later). To balance this out, Maxwell has to be actively engaged with an enemy for the duelists to attack. If Maxwell goes a certain amount of time without dealing damage they will deaggro and return to Maxwell's side.
2. The Stagehand could be used to buff Maxwell's magic in some way. It could either be a crafting station or give Maxwell a magic buff while nearby.
3. Maxwell needs an overall magic buff, Wes should not be a better spell caster than Maxwell. Maxwell should get a durability buff to Ice/Fire Staff usages and possibly get unique spells that only he can use. For example, with a Fire Staff Maxwell could cast a damaging fireball in addition to the short damage over time you normally get, or his fire only effects enemies and doesn't spread to items/structures (unless actively targeted).
4. Give the poor man his 20 sanity/min regen back. One of his gimmicks in DS was that he had half the health of a normal character but essentially removed the sanity meter. In DST this can be a blessing and a curse, while having high sanity is always nice, it makes it hard to deal with the lunar areas. This leads me into...
1. Lunar magic. I'm sure the moon wouldn't play nice with the former "Shadow King". We see in Cyclum that while Maxwell's ability to control shadow magic is pitiful, he still has shadow magic within him. Greater Gestalts could attack Maxwell by default (but with a FAR smaller aggro range than normal, it's annoying enough to stroll through the grotto as it is). Lunar items could function slightly worse for Maxwell as well, Glass Axes wouldn't be as efficient, Glass Cutters wouldn't have the bonus durability to shadows, etc.
2. 20 sanity/min would make doing lunar activities harder without having shadow followers, it would also make gathering nightmare fuel a bit harder.
1. All survivors that were brought in by Maxwell gain 5 sanity for punching him when PVP is on (Except for Wes, he's too pure for that).
2. Maxwell can now finish his thoughts and no longer trails off when discussing key lore details (It couldn't be...).
Of course we're not game devs, for all we know some of this could be absolutely game breaking somehow. But Maxwell is just such a cool character conceptually and lorewise, it's saddening to see his current state in DST. Hopefully the refresh delivers some much needed love to our love deprived egomaniac.
Oh and don't get us started on the refresh trailer oh my GOD there's so much they could do there.