FFXI did have a very creative concept behind it's end game, it could have actually been very amazing, but it is true, it was not implemented correctly. I think Square Enix had good intentions to start out with, and thought things would be more simple on people at times than we make them out to be. But lo and behold, human nature kicked in and turned everything into a ruckus. I still don't know why they don't fix a lot of things in FFXI end game, many they have, many they say they plan to, but it's sad, because it's the leading cause to people quitting FFXI. So many people are not able to have fun with their friends, end up having to suck up and join groups they don't want to, and end up having to make a job out of a game, just to accomplish some things. Others eventually get frustrated and just quit.
Well, for first, they were newbs when it came to MMO's when Rise of the zilart came out.. and that's where most of the problem are from nowadays.
The problems go very deep to the games core... gear progression is all over the place since they didn't really think about how good gear should be at what level in RoTZ era. Now if they went and changed the stats, what would the players reaction be? Not positive, I can tell ya that. So in theory SE could fix the gear structure if they wanted, but is it worth the nerdrage that comes with it? Prolly not.
The good thing is, that while the problems from 2003 still persist, one can clearly see improvement later when it comes to handling endgame. HNM's pop in multiple areas, and you need a specific item to claim them- to prevent botting. The respawn rates are more random too, so it's hard to camp the mobs.
Events have gotten shorter, and there's more variety in what you can do. You can do Assaults or campaign for easy to get endgame equip, or Nyzul for more challenge. Most events released after 2005 last max 2hours, usually 30mins.
But since the progression is horizontal, the bad events and HNM's from 2003 will never be completely replaced and will stay around as long as the game lives most likely..
So, what if the basic events were just as fun and balanced as the newer events today? I bet it'd be awesome, although low drop rates would still remain if nothing drastically changes (which I don't see happening). But if the events are fun to do, it shouldn't be much of an issue.