If I were to rework Dressrosa to fix the pacing while trying to keep everything as much the same as possible, I'd simply divide it into three arcs:
- The Corrida Coliseum
- Green Bit
Essentially, I'd move some of the locations from Dressrosa to a nearby island that is known as a "hive of scum and villainy" where Doflamingo does his shady business. That's where the Coliseum is now located.
First Arc: Corrida Coliseum
Law's plan is a bit different. He gives Doflamingo one more day to decide to take the deal and quit being a Warlord. While waiting for Doflamingo's decision, the Straw Hats + Law first visit this new island to seek info about the Smile Factory's location, since they must be ready to strike it as soon as they reach Dressrosa. Luffy, Kin'emon, Robin and Franky go on this mission and are expected to take a ferry to Dressrosa before next day.
Meanwhile, the Sunny with the other Straw Hats and Law head to Green Bit so they can be sure they can scout it and prepare for the next stage ahead of time.
So, the Coliseum arc contains:
- Introduces the competition and the Mera Mera No Mi prize.
- Rebecca introduction.
- Goes basicly the same with the Chinjao stuff, introducing Sai, Barto, Cavendish, Burgess
- Foreshadows the toys by the disappearing competitors
- Foreshadows Trebol and Sugar
- Foreshadows Viola keeping an watch on everything
- Revolutionary stuff goes here, as they act behind the scenes. Sabo and Luffy reunion, Sabo asks to replace Luffy to recover the Mera Mera no Mi.
- Bellamy actually fights Luffy to assassinate him rather than being taken down off-panel by Dellinger. Bellamy hesitates and gives up, showing he truly changed.
- Koala getting the secrets behind the weapons trade. Robin, Franky and Kin'emon help her. They find some unclear info that foreshadows the mystery of disappearing people but can't fully understand it.
- Bellamy is almost killed by Dellinger as punishment, but ends up saved by Barto.
- In the end, Sabo and Luffy fight off Burgess together away from the coliseum, after Sabo has eaten the Mera Mera no Mi. Burgess is seemly defeated.
- Sabo and Koala stay in the island to continue their operation to steal the weapons, while Rebecca and Barto join with the Straw Hat group as they move to Dressrosa.
Second Arc: Green Bit
- Short arc featuring Law as the "replacement main character".
- Doflamingo resigns from the Warlords
- Usopp and Zoro go into the island with Law and Caesar.
- Because of the fighting fish, Sanji, Nami, Momonosuke, Brook and Chopper remain in the Sunny waiting off-shore to retrieve the others.
- Zoro's sword is taken. Zoro leads to Usopp also getting lost. Dwarf reveal stuff. (No dwarf-in-Robin's-cleavage scene because she's not here in this version)
- Fujitora is introduced here, appearing out of nowhere and being shown as a mysterious Admiral with unclear perspective on justice. Seems to be on Doflamingo's side.
- Essentially the 3-way fight between Fujitora, Doflamingo and Law stays the same. Doflamingo targetting the Sunny. Sanji vs. Doflamingo. Caesar back on the ship. Law resumes fight with Doflamingo.
- Big Mom Pirates appear after Caesar. Slightly more action before Luffy gives them permission to leave for Zou. (Luffy is on route to Dressrosa when they talk via snailphone)
- Law is defeated and captured.
- Fujitora's character further fleshed out, has his conversation with Doflamingo about the abolition of the Warlords.
- Norland connection with dwarves reveZoro and Usopp ally with the dwarves with the "Usolanders" lie.
- Luffy's group arrives in Dressrosa
Third Arc: Dressrosa
- Introduction of the toys and the toy soldier.
- Dressrosa revealed as full of marines.
- Doflamingo family fully revealed. Bellamy revealed to have been punished for his failure.
- SOAP operation starts. The nature of Sugar's powers are kept mysterious a bit longer (only explained way later, just before they attack her). Also, we don't know what happened to the coliseum fighters, as they just seemly disappeared completely in the Coliseum arc)
- Viola changes sides on her own, joins SOAP Operation.
- Viola leads Soldier, Luffy, Zoro and Kin'emon to the palace to save Riku and Law.
- Franky acting as distraction as in the original story.
- Robin, Usopp and the Tontatta infiltrate the factory.
- Essentially, the rest goes as original story: Sugar reveal, Usopp saves the day (I'd make Usopp vs Trebol a bit more fleshed out), the Coliseum fighters revealed to have been turned into toys all along, Kyros revealed to be Rebecca's father, Doflamingo's game, Kin finds Kanjuro, the Sabo and Koala appear to help with the marines… Essentially, everything stays the almost the same.
- One of the few key differences is that there's no Burgess in the final act (Burgess is revealed in Baltigo later as in the original, but that's it), which helps make the Luffy recovery and Birdcage shrinking plots feel a bit faster. Sabo just gets occupied with Fujitora longer.
- Another great change is that we need no Mainard to tarnish the reputation of the Vice-Admirals.
What do you think?
It's essentially the same thing, but less plots at the same time, and readers get the feeling of the story going faster. Also allows for a bit of fleshing out of some small scenes.