I remember the grand days of Gaming before MMO's. I'm in my 30's so I lived through the early days...
Like someone else said, if you're 30 you would usually be part of a demographic that very much appreciates a concise gaming experience. Most gamers who grew up during these eras now have full time jobs and relationships, let alone families, and can't dump 5 hours into a game a day without massive rescheduling. Game journalists in their mid-twenties and thirties write about these kinds of experiences all the time.
Conversely, I might be "with you" in that I hope they don't make FFXIV "short". One of the large aspects of FFXI's personality that appealed to the people who really loved it was how the journey was the important part, the enjoyable slice, and not the destination.
Unfortunately this journey was something only people who were already inclined a certain way really found them deriving joy from. And while it's true that there are always going to be people who aren't into that sort of thing, I think there's a lot Square could have done (and hopefully will do) to help show off the fun of the 'journey' more.
In FFXI they basically set up a nice world and a level journey and said "Enjoy!" Some players enjoyed the sights and sounds because they were looking for them. Some weren't and didn't get much out of the game. They don't have to make XIV "quick" to keep these people entertained; they just need to learn how to say, "Stop and smell the flowers, goddamnit," and actually make the journey varied and interesting enough to keep a variety of people engaged. Not just people who don't mind sitting on their thumbs levelling and LFG.
You have to "work" for your drops. Spend time with your friends while camping an HNM, learn to work as a team (In WoW you just have to know your Class and what's expected from you in this or that dungeon). Enjoying storys together, stay together until morning arrives to get the last one his level etc. That's thing that no one really cares about in other MMO's!
Provided you find good friends. Who also have the time to spend to camp an HNM. And who'll be on long enough for you to learn to play together well, and who are this fun to hang out with for hours on end.
Really, if this the "best" part of FFXI, then we're talking about a small percentage of players that will ever be lucky enough to enjoy these things.
Square isn't making the community, they're making the game. And while they can do some things to encourage different types of community, they simply can't build a game around hoping every player gets lucky
enough to find all these things. There should be team activities and a focus on community, sure, but the fact that this is where you're putting the focus throws into light how many people won't even get to enjoy a game like this.
And I don't think XI's community was that great at all, honestly. In all the time I spent in the game, I never found anyone who was really fun to hang out with, who made playing the game worth it for me. I don't think FFXIV should be so short that I never even bother hanging out with other players, and I don't think it should let me do everything in the game alone. I just want it to have enough to do so I can at least stay interested in playing until those people do come along.