It would be great to see new exciting features in Scribus but, just to play "devil's advocate" and see things from a different viewpoint, here are some comments that might take this discussion in some interesting directions.
Inkscape already does all of these functions - and many more - really well. Would it not be better, and more productive, to make Scribus able to handle importing SVGs in a more comprehensive way so that it can handle everything that is made in Inkscape?
That way all of the "special effect" work can be farmed out to Inkscape so that Scribus can concentrate on layout and typography (for example, the important RTL work that is ongoing).
I'm not talking about simple stuff like skewing shapes and the like but, really, how many times will the average Scribus user need something like 3D Perspective text?
Might it not be better to stop adding new special stuff that the average user will never use and even lose some of the functions that are already there but aren't used much? ("Fish Eye Lens" function, I'm looking at you! )
The less code that's in there dealing with stuff that is hardly used the more the developers will be able to concentrate on making the core functions of Scribus rock solid which is what the vast majority of users will depend on. (It's not "sexy" and fun but it's very important.)
I know it's nice to get new functionality - and I've asked for plenty in the past myself - but would now not be a good time to make sure that Scribus does what it currently does as well as possible?
Anyway, some comments on what's been written by previous posters:
1. In my opinion Mesh Distortion doesn't work well enough to be a properly usable tool. You can't see what it will do on the page until your press OK, you have no precision over what you can do, and you can't undo what it's done. Can it be dropped as a feature until it works well?
2. I'd say that "making letters higher or wider" is a typography thing rather than a distortion thing so I don't really think it needs to be discussed here.
3. I'd say that attaching text to a path was more of a typography thing than a distortion thing too. The letters don't change shape, only their positions do, so I think that's a separate thing also.
4. Skewing geometries is available via the Transform function, along with Translate, Rotate and Scale. Since these functions are available via other tools would now be a good time to think about either dropping this function or adding a lot of the other transform/deform functions into it. (At present it's not much more than a way of testing those functions.)
5. Fitting text into a shape is very much dependant on how the shape is drawn and from which starting node. If you start drawing the shape from the bottom left and go clockwise, it's a very different shape to one that is drawn starting from the top right and going anticlockwise (see the Inkscape Perspective Transform for an idea of what happens). As you can't change the starting node and direction of drawing in Scribus - for standard shapes - you can't be certain of what will happen. (For example, where is the start node in an "Up Arrow"?)
6. I'd say that distortion of images should be left to something like GIMP. Is it really a layout and typography thing? And if not, should it be in Scribus?
Bottom line: Shouldn't we leave all of the "special effects" to the software that already does it really well and let the Scribus developers concentrate on the core functions such as layout and typography?
And now I'll sit back and wait for angry replies from people who haven't read what I've written right at the top of this post.