Players of MMORPGs are no strangers to long game times. I'm not talking like 3-4 hours, but more like 8-10 sessions filled with leveling, looting, and monster slaying. If a game is fun, that's all well and good, but you have to know when to stop. Square Enix has created a solution of their own and has implemented it in the beta of their MMORPG Final Fantasy XIV. The game's director, Nobuaki Komoto, detailed the system during Gamescom and the system, while creating an interesting dynamic, might make some players shy away.
The 'Fatigue' system, in a nut shell, allows players to play a total of eight hours where you will earn 100% of your experience. After you reach that threshold, over the course of play of seven additional hours, your experience earnings will begin decreasing percentage point by percentage point, and eventually you will earn none. Experience earned after the threshold will count as "surplus", but there hasn't been word on what it can be used for. This will affect both the physical level of your character and the class level. You will not be able to earn any more experience until a week has passed, wherein the timer starts again and you have that 15 hour period to play.
You can see Komoto's explanation of the system here.
The system has yet to be finalized and there are sure to be changes made to it depending on player feedback. I'm very sure that the system will be tweaked to a large degree to allow for larger play times for full experience, but it seems like Komoto wants to keep the system in the game. I'm all for limiting gaming time, everyone has other things to do, but "forcing" it upon the gamer seems to wield a double edge sword. Some people don't know when to stop, but there are other people who are plenty capable of stopping when they feel like it. It does feel like a penalization to me.
Gamers will already have their hands busy with the 18 classes present in the title, so by limiting play time, it will take them longer to really get into each one.
Final Fantasy XIV will be exploring the world of Eorzea 15 hours at a time on the PC starting September 30, 2010. The PS3 version is scheduled to arrive in March of 2011. And there just might be a Xbox 360 version too.