This is my conceptual combat system, focusing on combat.
Cooldown would act differently, being more like a "stamina bar". Each attack would lower the stamina a certain amount, depending on the weapon you use. Your damage would be scaled based on how full your stamina bar is.
These could include the short sword, which could take less stamina, but only deal 1 extra damage per tier, or the scythe, which could have a 25% chance to deal 3x the damage, but take tons of stamina to use.
Absorption should not wear off, due to its property of giving extra hearts. Instead of being stackable, potions when left clicked, should be "sipped". This would give the potion effect, and would leave some of the potion left over, so more can be consumed. If left clicked while crouching, You should drink the entire potion, giving a longer potion effect time based on the remaining capacity of the potion. There should also be more potions, such as absorption potions and resistance potions.
Critical hit spamming is a huge problem in both 1.8 and 1.9. So instead of having critical attacks, we should have "special attacks". Special attacks would be activated by left clicking a weapon. Here are some examples:
You swing your sword, creating a fast flurry of flying slices, which damages anyone who touches it.
You swing your axe downwards, doing high damage and resetting the attack cool down of anyone who is hit by it.
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