In any MMORPG there are those who, within a few days of any new goal, have already completed it: following the release of a new class, they cap it within 48 hours; the new dungeon is completed several times immediately following an update; and so on. I'm not speaking about those individuals in this post.
What presently worries me is the longevity of FFXIV's content, defined loosely. Already, about a week after release (and with half of that crippled by server problems to boot), most players with an upper-moderate amount of time are closing in on level 40 or 50 -- with both a crafting and battle class. At even a few hours each day, it seems that the average person should be capping a single class in perhaps a month, as well as hold several others in their 20s. And of course this becomes much shorter with the aid of constant FATE parties, leve exploits, etc.
The problem is further compounded by the experience bonus your high-level class grants to lower level ones, making subsequent journeys that much shorter.
I realize we've been promised new content every 3 months, and that there are many classes available to fill the space between now and then, but by the first one of these patches many people will have run out of classes they're really interested in pursuing. By the second it seems that everyone will just be sitting on their hands for most of the three month interim.
In brief, I wonder what the effect of all these high level classes will have on the game at large. With it only taking a matter of days to get a gatherer or crafter up to 30 -- or, really, one day if you try -- what will this mean for these classes economically (already I seem to be able to get low-level gear for 20 gil or so), as well as for their intended roles in the game at large? I also wonder how many people will want to stick around when, in their view, they've managed to clear the story and cap several classes during a free-trial period.
So then it comes to this: how do you feel about the pace of leveling, not only from a personal perspective, but also with the greater ecosystem in mind? Do you think there are enough long-term goals to keep people progressing for six months? For three?
For my part, as much as I appreciate the removal of huge timesinks and enjoy the ability to accomplish certain goals in smaller bursts, I can't help but thinking that some of these much-maligned barriers against progress were necessary in ensuring the longevity of an online game.
Thanks for reading a much-too-wordy post.