So, I had an interesting experience today with a friend. He had never tried DDO, being a WoW guy (though he quit awhile back), but sounded excited that it was an MMO that could be both casual and hardcore. I helped him out to the best of my ability, explaining Enhancements and stuff when he got confused.
But we reached the quest on Korthos where you defend the Tavern, and then chase after Jacoby. Before entering, he hesitated. "Adventure: Long. What does that mean?" he asked.
Being rusty on this, I said, "In the range of about 15 minutes to an hour, generally. But it gets kind of vague later on." I don't know if it's accurate or not, but either way, he asked again how long it would take. "With the two of us, I would assume 10 to 15."
I started mulling it over during the quest. Quest duration says "Long", but how accurate is that, really? We pounded out the quest, and I looked at our completion time. Right around 12 minutes.
That got me thinking. The game already tracks how much time you're in the quest for. Would it be possible to put this to a better use? Perhaps chalk it into a "Server average" or something. Obviously at first, it will lead to some strange numbers -- quests taking a few hours, it could show. But over time, outliers like that would diminish in severity, giving you a pretty accurate measure of exactly how long groups usually take to complete said quest. You can even add in parenthesis, or somewhere else, how many times the quest has been run. Could possibly also change -- say I have Normal clicked, and it shows 5 minutes to complete. If I click to Elite, the average number will update to show average Elite completions; maybe this one is 15 minutes.
I think it would help ease the confusion my friend, and possibly other players, have on what exactly it meant by "Long", "Very Long", and the others terms. Giving players an average number helps them take a good guess at, "Will I have time to actually finish this quest?" Obviously, though, I have no idea if this would be hard to implement or not. I thought I'd share anyways.