You get your 14 Obsidian, grab a flint and steel, summon a purple ominous gateway, step through and see.... nothing but red, glowing red below, and pigmen shuffle around.... Why am I doing this again?
First of all, I have to apologize to all of the rest of you writing how to fix up the nether by adding new biomes, mobs, flora, and such. Most of what I've read skimming through sounds completely unrealistic for an official update, going way above and beyond and using items like Wither Roses (which are only created by a Wither killing an entity) to accent the bleak red hellscape. My approach will be a bit... simpler.
Now into the details. The Nether is currently visited for exactly five reasons: pigmen farms (gold and/or XP), travel (because the 8x distance conversion), lava (idk why you need so much lava, but you might), Blaze drops (because potions), and Wither Skulls (because Beacons). The first three can be taken care of anywhere, effectively, but the latter two are stuck inside the Nether Fortress: a structure that hasn't changed at all as far as us players can tell, which is also a pain to find and not super interesting once you do.
The "easiest" way to fix the Nether is to simply add more forms of "life" to it. In addition to the small mushrooms found along the surface, more types of 'shrooms and the occasional large 'shroom would easily give the Nether more diversity. Using the mod Natura for inspiration, I would suggest an off-blue or green 'shroom, possibly glowing, which would have a more needle like large mushroom design. These mushrooms could even be used to craft "nether sticks" and allow a more complete survival experience in the Nether. If mushroom sticks don't work, adding one of the variety of burnt/charred tree designs suggested elsewhere would work too; even without saplings just having charred logs would benefit emergency crafting in the Nether.
Adding more mobs to the Nether is tempting, but I will instead suggest something different: have (more?) magma cubes in the tunnels and plateaus of the Nether. The darkish cubes really break up the currently dull Nether quite a lot, and having more of them probably wouldn't hurt, especially if you could use their drops to make magma slime blocks!
Beyond these changes, adding more variation and visual interest to the currently drab/monotone design of the Nether Fortress would be a huge plus, especially with things like Red Nether Bricks, Nether wart Blocks, and Quartz in the game. More structures would be nice too (I would love smaller shelters styled after the Fortresses), but I would welcome anything to help with the sheer desolation in the Nether.
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