I think the caves in the Diadem where flying is suddenly not allowed were actually my favourite bits of the entire experience. Now it’s all dino island grind, but back when it was new, those caves were the exciting parts. Your idea makes it sound like an expansion of just those types of areas, and of that I’d approve that!
1. Stronger mobs with lower health.
Make the combat actually interesting, not just bashing your face against a health wall repeatedly. Whose idea was that?
Also reduce the “expected” party fighting these to 4. Free up half the party to help in other ways.
2. Change the “tracking” system to actually be tracking.
Give each party one specific “target” mob on the map that will spawn their next NM. When you kill a mob, have it tell you how far away your target is. By killing a couple, you can get your bearings and head of in the right direction to find your mark. It makes the hunt engaging instead of just zerging to quickly rush up a counter. Again, 4-man miniboss mobs for normal mobs, and dungeon boss style fights for the NMs.
3. Replace the chest “pops” with mini dungeons.
Currently the chest “pop” spots are fixed locations that take forever to respawn meaning when you get in, they’re likely all already taken by some other party. I would replace that with a system that constantly keeps a number of them up across the map as a whole, respawning a new one somewhere else when one is used.
Now, instead of just giving a chest, popping one of these teleports the user to a solo mini-dungeon. Inside is some sort of challenge. A puzzle, a platforming challenge, an arena of AoEs to dodge for a time, etc. Make something interesting. If the player wins the challenge within the time limit, it spawns a silver or gold chest. If they fail, they get bronze.
Head off into a cave network, use stealth to sneek around (or pure bad assery to break through) mobs. In fact, it’d be cool if there were lower powered enemies with high HP and strong enemies with low hp. As well as HNMs that are so powerful it’s going to destroy anything but a full Allience Raid to defeat. (With rewards to match).
Kinda wanting a laberynth to explore rather than Floating islands with stupid mobs that need a full 8 man party to take down so much as a driggen reskined normal mob.
I tried Diadem yesterday and it was very boring. Everybody running like crazy to attune with aether current, then everybody flying everywhere, then we fight some mobs and it took a long time because half the party was gathering. Once the exploration mission finished, three players left, and the other four started to gathering. A 45 minutes wait for that? Never agains… I like a lot of thing in FF14, but not that. I never had the feeling I was EXPLORING.
Gave a like to these ideas. Especially the HNM one. I really thought this would be something like sky or sea, mix it up with additional explorations I would love to go back to this content. Doing HNM with a token system or just have it random two drops would be great.