You probably don’t sit down to watch a movie when you have five minutes before you leave for a doctor’s appointment, and you do not set aside two hours of your time to read a pamphlet from the doctor’s office. MMOs aren’t all that different. I vividly remember knowing that in order to play Final Fantasy XI I needed to be sure to set aside at least an hour – I would need time to get from the city to the camp spot, find a party, get some experience, and then get back to the city without dying. I couldn’t accomplish much in any less time.
More recent MMOs frequently allow you to accomplish as much or more in less time, and there’s the question of what you’re trying to accomplish in that time as well. Games like Neverwinter let you drop in and out of content quickly, and an episode in Star Trek Online can usually be run through in about fifteen minutes with some practice. But is that enough? What’s the minimum amount of time you need to set aside in order for it to qualify as a worthwhile play session in your favorite game?