What defines the journey of leveling is completely objective.
It's why there's such a difference between western and eastern RPGs.
Western RPGs always have been about freedom of choice. Japanese RPGs, on the other hand, have always been very linear with a specific narrative in mind.
Then there's Korean games which really are just "click this many times to win while watching pretty graphics" hidden in the form of a "game."
XIV "starts" at 50, but that doesn't necessarily mean the player is endgame ready.
What they've done is created a game within a game. The first trip from 1-50 plays out like an extended tutorial mixed with a traditional Final Fantasy JRPG.
A Warrior of Light bands with friends to take on an evil Empire. All the while, the player is drip fed traditional MMO mechanics.
1-15: Learn how to play the game. Controls, simple battle and interacting with a vast world.
15-20: Learn grouping and basic dungeon play.
20-30: Learn intermediate dungeon play.
30-40: Learn jobs.
40-50: Introduction to endgame material.
All the while, a story unfolds in an old school JRPG kind of way that compels the player forward.
By the time they've reached 50, a player can feel satisfied they've experienced a true Final Fantasy numbered title.
And that's when the MMO "journey" begins.
Before a player ever steps foot in end game, there's housing, crafting, the materia system, numerous other classes that need to be leveled and an entire Free Company and PvP system of which we have 't even scratched the surface.
So, sure, a player can reach 50 with one class at a relatively comfortable pace. But after that, the quests are finished and there's still a lot of work to be done before a character is really end game ready.
Edited, Jun 25th 2013 4:34pm by Sephrick