One of my favorite things in Rift is Instant Adventures. You can start these practically at level 10 and they throw you into random quests with a group of people, up to 40 I think. Could be escorting someone, could be protecting a specific area, could be killing a boss, could just be random attacks. The point is, that in a small timeframe (well under a minute) you can join a group of people and have fun. You can continue to do this all the way to 50. Probably all the way to 60 with the expansion pack around the corner. Rift is certainly defined by the ease of grouping.
WoW this expansion re-introduced group quests, called them scenarios, only allows 3 players in one group and locked them to level 90 only players. It takes about a minute to start one and to complete one can take 5 minutes like it can take 20. Plus, if you slack for 30 seconds, you could kill everyone around you. No /afk for you!
The metric for short adventures is the “fun” stick. Do I have fun? In Rift, the answer is yes. Each is different and the people make it fun to boot. In WoW, the answer is yes, for now. While the Rift rewards are always relevant, the WoW rewards stop being relevant once you have dungeon/faction equipment. Since scenarios are fixed stories, once you’ve run each a few times, you know exactly how they will work out the next time. Small groups made of players from different servers doesn’t make for community either. Mind you, the people who DO select scenarios in the first place are people who aren’t necessarily gear hunting but looking for something different.
I do wish they were available before level 90 though. They are such a nice addition to the game but they are put in such a place that people have to make a conscious decision to partake in the fun. Do you run dailies for 15 minutes? Do you run a dungeon for 45? Do you run a scenario that only rewards cash (and story) for 15 minutes? Or Raid, or pets, or god knows what else.
I’ll keep giving them a shot.