Over the last couple weekends I pushed myself to get through Episode 2, chapter 5 for the event rewards. While playing, the length of each individual quest was usually around 1-2 minutes. Pop down to the surface, exchange a couple words with an NPC (you say forces are the best? thanks for that info, bye!), and back to the menu. Combat missions were more variable. Most tended to be a boss battle, with maybe a little bit of mob clearing before hand - nothing more than you would see in a normal expedition type quest.
Then there are a few specific quests that took 1-2 hours to complete. These behemoths (I'm sure you know which ones I mean) feature 6-9 areas, multiple cut scenes between each area, multiple boss fights, and dialogue variations between being able to actively move to the next dialogue or not. Why? Let's hit a few bullet points of the problems with these.
- There is no indicator in the quest list of how long a mission is expected to take. I would really appreciate an indicator of how much time I should set aside to run the next story quest, that way I'm not starting what looks like a simple boss fight before dinner, only to get sucked into a 2 hour rundown of basically the entire plot of episode 2.
- There is no pause function. Of course you can't pause during multiplayer, but when you end up in these long quests the only way to take a break without potentially impacting your rating at the end is to find one of the cutscenes that allows you to advance dialogue yourself, and not advance the dialogue. This is a single player game mode, and not being able to actively pause during the story is pretty frustrating.
- The length balance is just whack. Putting aside the functionality that would be required to resolve my previous points, there is absolutely no reason that I should have some quests that are only about 3 lines of dialogue, some entire chapters that take under an hour, and some quests that take longer to complete than a full feature length movie. Break these things up. I realize that each quest is essentially your character going through an entire trip away from the ship, but the continuity of it really really doesn't matter that much. It just feels fatiguing to try to play through some quests.
I am really enjoying the story so far. But man I do not enjoy the format in which the story is presented. Sitting down for a snack and getting a 9 course meal is just exhausting.