How Long Should Dungeons Take?

368 wc

I’ve been trying to figure out the optimal length of a dungeon run. There’s a point beyond which the dungeon goes from “this is really fun” to “oh god I can’t escape and this is never going to end.” It’s usually a hard line, too. It’s never a gradual process. One minute things are great, and the next minute it’s a life-draining death march from which you can’t escape.

For me I think that mark is around 30-35 minutes. That’s about the maximum amount of time I can stay focused and alert in a dungeon run. After that I just want it to be over. That’s one of the reasons I’ve never particularly pushed myself to do a lot of raiding. (The other reason being it’s hard to find guilds that are serious enough to complete raids, but casual enough not to be elite jerks about it.)

Case in point: The other day, I did a dungeon run of Aurum Vale in FFXIV. It’s a level 47 dungeon that most people just skip since they’re so close to 50 by then, but I needed it for a Grand Company quest. After the usual interminable DPS wait in the queue*, I entered into a group with a tank and healer duo who were pretty awesome. They explained everything at every step and we had no wipes and zero problems on any trash or bosses. But … it took about 50 minutes to get through the whole dungeon. Once I crossed that magic threshold, suddenly all the amusing inside jokes between the tank and healer stopped being funny. The perfectly executed trash pulls became excessively cautious and time-consuming. The excellent explanations of boss mechanics became tedious and verbose. When the last boss died, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, because I finally felt like I was free of my prison and had my life back again.

Or, it’s probably just me.

* One of the most awesome-est things about FFXIV, though, is that you can actually play and level on a different class while waiting for a dungeon queue. I’ve wanted to be able to play alts while waiting for queues ever since the dungeon queue was first invented.

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