There's nothing wrong with the concept of leves. The issue is that there aren't enough of them, the ones I've seen are shallow in the extreme. There's lots of potential in the system, we're just not seeing it yet.
Yes, this is how I see it as well. I imagine Leves with 2 hour time limits, a great deal of mobs leading to a boss fight. Expanding on the Leve format can be done in a number of interesting ways.
I'd just be happy with leves that were diverse throughout the leve. Yes, certainly a little longer would be appreciated as well, but right now it's just so...limited. There's never really a feeling like you've done something significant. There's never really anything that makes you say, "Oh, wow! That's so cool!" at any point during any of the leves I've done. There's just a lot of running around killing a limited selection of mobs/leve with repetitive mechanics that aren't really all that interesting.
First it's kill things. Sometimes they'll be parties! Oh look, one is running away and he's spawned friends! Sometimes dodos get a proximity buff! This is just...so nothing new. To me, there's no difference between mobs in a party in FFXIV and group pulls in other MMOs. There's no difference between mobs running and spawning friends and mobs that run over and link with a buddy that was already there. Proximity buffs aren't new.
And all that in of itself is not a huge deal. I wouldn't necessarily expect or require SE to come up with all things new and innovative. The difficulty I have is that they've taken very limited aspects already present in other games, placed a ton of limitations on them, put their own limited spin on them, and then put them forward like it's actually going to entertain people for any length of time. If you're going to make a game that does things that have already been done, you need to do those things at least as well as what others have put forward or you're just not doing it right.
When SE first started going into details about levequests before the alpha started, it sounded like all the elements necessary to do some really neat things. Like you arrive in LL and go to the adventurer's guild and pick up a leve that tells you there's some weird happenings in central La Noscea and to head on over to Camp Bearded Rock and talk to whoever and see if you can't help out. So you arrive there and some lalafel is in a panic about rats acting strangely and could you go over and check it out so you accept and your rats spawn and you run over and find they're Tainted Wharf Rats or something so you kill them and report back and the lalafel is like, "zomfg thank you! I wonder what is causing this? Oh, I just got another report of tainted rats of there so go over there and see if you can find anything!" So you accept the leve (hint hint) and run over and it's more tainted rats milling about piles of corrupted food and after you kill the rats you go to inspect the food and a Tainted Rat Matriarch (lolboss) spawns and you have to kill her and take back the sample of tainted food...
...and on and on and on. Continuity. Something that ties you to your environment and gives you a reason to be there. And then maybe these leves are paced so that you can repeat them if you want and when you're ready you can move up and by the time you get to rank 8 or 9 you get one that sends you to a cave where an Imp is waiting and he beaks off at you about his "master" and then attacks you. And when that one is done the progression of leves sends you to Skull Valley.
...and on and on and on.
SE has given themselves the tools but they haven't been making use of them, and I resent the idea that the "interesting" leves are gated by faction currency. I'm not even talking about NM leves. I'm talking about things that add a little variety or have story elements that are slightly more interesting and named mobs and that kind of thing. We get none of that in your run-of-the-mill "something to do other than grind" variety of leves, and it hurts the game as a whole.