I think that the primary difficulty with the repair system is that it's a controversial system to begin with regardless of which game you're referring to. If it's done right, players see it as a necessary evil but it rarely becomes obtrusive. If done the way it's done in XIV, it becomes far too much of a consideration for day to day gameplay.
I think that SE needs to rethink their notion that there's anything they can do that will make any level of reliance on repairs from players (self or others) something that players are going to tolerate. The reliance adds nothing to the game. I'd rather see them cut durability decay rates and the NPC repair cost by 75%, increase the result from NPC repairs to 100% durability, and then tweak the crafter repair options to be a perk and not something players see as the only way to really go about getting their gear fixed. Options to do that would include vastly streamlining the repair UI, increasing the yield of repair materials, and fully eliminating the option to fail a repair attempt.
That way, players who can't find or can't be bothered to find someone to repair their gear don't feel that their time/gil are being wasted at the repair NPC and there is still incentive to repair your own gear because repair mats are available in abundance, the process is quick and easy and it's still cheaper than paying the NPC to do it for you.
And if SE could manage all of that and decide to balance the changes by introducing durability loss as a penalty for dying, I wouldn't mind. If repairing your gear is neither excessively expensive nor excessively time consuming/frustrating, having to repair sooner than you might have liked because you got roflstomped a few times in your SP party wouldn't be all that horrible. And it would certainly be better than what we have now.