The Daily Grind: What’s the ideal length for MMO group content?

Litany of lineups.

An average run of content in Final Fantasy XIV is going to take me about half an hour… usually. It’s actually more fiddly than that. With a good group, I can easily tank my way through an Expert dungeon in about 15 minutes… or I can wind up with a group wherein the DPS can’t AoE anything down and I wind up stuck there for closer to 40 minutes, sometimes soloing a boss down for the last 10% because when you know how to turtle up properly as a Paladin you can turn a loss into winning very slowly.

Yes, I am speaking from experience.

None of that holds a candle to the days of hour-long dungeon runs in World of Warcraft back in the day, of course. Or the length of time spent doing things in a group in Final Fantasy XI, which was the equivalent of a party invitation listing the end time as a series of question marks. But is longer better? I’m curious to see what you think. What’s the ideal length of time for MMO group content to take, on average?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!

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Anton Mochalin

The more important question is should the group events have a single set of objectives which brings about some average time to complete. I’m thinking about some missions in Warframe where you can leave the squad early or stay for long if the squad suits your expectations. That’s the future I think. It’s still not a free roam in a party but some particular mission which still at some point ends and the results are then somehow “summarized” providing feedback (= motivation to get better) usually saying “mission success” or “mission failed”.


With a group of strangers shorter is better. Over 30 minutes is dangerous, over 1 hour is bad.
With your own guildies 1-2 hours is okay. Have played for 7.5 hours too but not all has that much patience.


I can’t fathom playing MMORPG comtent for anything less than an hour .

The OP and comments here about content in the 15 to 30 minute range shows how out of touch I am with modern games and perhaps why I find the genre as a whole to be dead for the most part.

These were supposed to be virtual worlds, instead they became shallow “games” with no soul.

I don’t even log into single player games unless I plan on playing for at least an hour.

Anything less, that’s time for posting on forums on my cell phone.

Toy Clown

EQ1 broke me when it comes to spending time on group content. 8-hr raids and corpse recoveries that resulted in getting fired from a job and marital problems. Ever since, group content has made me squirm in my seat.

FFXIV has gone a long way toward delivering me from that past trauma, as most of the group content is under an hour, usually half an hour, which I can sit through without hyperventilating. There have been a few times where a dungeon that should have been easy is made lengthy and hard due to people not gearing their characters, or bothering to learn how to play the class. I have a 3-strike rule when it comes to deaths. As a healer, if I die three times and problems aren’t getting corrected, I leave to save my sanity. (Aren’t we supposed to play games to save our sanity? ><)

Seriously, I can sit for 4-6 hours decorating a house, but when it comes to running group content, I'm going spastic the longer it draws out, at least until I hit the escape button.


Must be something like … 4 hours?

Back in the day, when I still used to play Lotro, we roleplayed our way through barrow downs. We never finished. Haven’t had that much fun ever since.

Ashley Bau

I don’t feel that there is a specific ideal length of time for group content. It varies too much due to the factors involved. I am sure many people who are used to very specific content in a very specific setting will have an opinion on how long it should be but in my experience the type of content and the setting for said content makes a huge difference.

For example, a simple A to B romp with little substance between primary bosses such as a ffxiv dungeon in the setting of ffxiv where mechanics are relatively simple and reflexive requiring little to no coordination for most content. In a content/setting like that, shorter times are more likely to be the preference. In a slower paced, more mechanically complex environment that rewards greater interaction with slower paced and more exploration driven content, I think longer times are in order.


If you have a group of folks whose full attention is to the game they are playing, an hour or an hour and a half.

Unfortunately most people playing games today are also doing 6 or 7 other things on the internet or are limited time players. You’re lucky if you get 15 minutes of focused effort.

Alex Berthin

“An average run of content in Final Fantasy XIV is going to take me about half an hour”

WTF? Heh. That’s my initial reaction to the initial part of your post.

Is that really average? I think my average is 14 minutes, maybe? 12-16 anyhow.

Anyway, I don’t think that longer dungeons is necessarily better. FFXIV’s problem with dungeons is certainly not its length, but its engagement. They’re very linear, and it’s just a stream of mindless DPSing. Dungeons would be better if CC was required, alternate paths could be taken (quick and dangerous vs slow and safe etc.). It’d be better if teamwork and communication was a bonus, rather than a nuisance. Other than that, the time of 15 minutes per dungeon is fine.

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30 mins TOPS… anything longer than that in my experience and things start going to awry anyway.. tempers fray, patience goes, interest wanes, things come up IRL (kids bedtimes, chores, pet walking, work etc..etc..) and afks happen.

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

I’m going to cheat and make my own rules here – I would like a longer dungeon that can be completed in 30 minute chunks — kind of like the current implementation of Mara or BRD in WoW. Just with the option to stop and pick up at certain points.

Really I like the idea of a longer dungeon that might take a few different play sessions to complete, but I also have problems sitting still / in one place for longer periods of time now — I get antsy. So having built in break points where you can drop and come back around a 20-45 minute range would be really cool I think.