How much more exciting would a behest be if a random NM would spawn once and awhile with a somewhat rare drop? Bonus points if the drop is something you can actually use.
What if actually killing mobs in DH gave a % chance to pop a Imperial Garlean Captain? Say our new captain's capture or defeat would satisfy a new Grand Company quest requirement!
Not every event needs to reward us in equipment either. I would be thrilled at seeing a cutscene furthering a storyline or unlocking a new questchain/map/shady npc.
Now I have to admit that FFXI and the ferry ride is one of my favorite FF memories. The sea horror on my first ride! Attacked by pirates! Arriving dead on the dock on the other side! Raising people smashed by the sea horror on the other side! The quest that had me riding the ferry back and forth waiting for pirates. Switching from my fishing rod to my weapon when I hear that unforgettable music!
And no, I don't want to go back to FFXI or to copy everything from that game, I just want this one to be at least as fun as that one was. If anything I want FFXIV to be way more exciting and dynamic than FFXI ever was with lots of brand new ideas and fresh content. But nothing wrong with using a formula that works for some things. Wheels are still round after all, no need to reinvent them....
*Good call SE, making the raid drops trade-able for GC seals!