I like the dead-territory idea and the seas, but I think the sea labels either need to go or made less obvious.
It'd be nice if the map was a bit brighter and used a wider variety of colours. It seems like you've got 3 colours for 6 continents.
I think the border lines are a bit too thick. Thick lines between continents works, but I feel they need to be thinner for the countries.
Can you maybe tone down the embossing look to the map? I like the variation of depth it gives, I feel it's a bit too much though.
Lastly, the countries in/around the Mediterranean are very crowded and I think it could be made a little easier to understand which label belongs to which country.
Overall though, I like the way the changes are heading. I think it needs some further tweaking, but that's just how I feel. My map making experience has taught me, no matter how you make it look, people are always going to complain.