About the NM pop rates, their loot and also the relic difficulty to obtain we can't really know anymore since it might all change with 2.0. (In 1.0 there were some NMs with longer spawn times or specific spawn conditions, but their drops were mostly redundant due to materia-melded gear being superior for 90% of your play)
So far all we know is the process to obtain relics are similar to 1.0, but the events themselves might undergo changes etc. On another note, relics in FFXI is stupidly easy to get now, even solo. It takes about 3 months of farming dynamis solo, and that's if dynamis is you ONLY source of income, so it's not really a big achievement anymore.
The relics power as it was in 1.0 was good, not game-breaking in any way, but stil a lot better than most, if not all, alternatives (quite similar to FFXI in this way i suppose)
As for jobs, leveling pugilist to 50 will automaticly leave you with level 50 monk too (the corresponding class and job levels are mirrored). In most circumstances it is a better choice to stay on the jobs (as of 1.0), with some instances which at times see uses for classes, (thaumaturge comes to mind).
You should take in mind though that straying too far from the "status quo" might prove difficult in terms of getting into end-game or parties which is always the case in MMOs (read: the infamous RDM melee debate), but in the end, do whtever floats your boat i suppose.