I found the missions in FFXI to be very enjoyable and they told a pretty good story. There was plenty of NPC rivalries and political intrigue to witness. One of the main problems with FFXI was that these were not actually integrated into the gameplay experience. You would grind for a few weeks, be able to do a mission and get part of the story, and then grind another few weeks before you saw another part. Now I do not like the current direction of MMOs (lots of solo questing) and prefer hanging out in a group with down time to chat, but there should be a way to integrate strong FFXI like sories into a good social environment.
One good quest that comes to mind is an early dwarf/gnome quest in WoW. you have to recover a box of ammunition and deliver it to some guys down the road from Ironforge. After you deliver it they go through this long skit where they are doing target practice with lots of lines thrown in from movies. It is a pretty funny quest and I always enjoy doing it.
Elder Game said:
Now take it a tiny step further. Give each town something memorable. What if this town…
- Is full of mimes
- Is having a feud with the town across the river
- Is full of aristocrats who despise common adventurers… but need their help
- Has a strictly-enforced dress code
- Has a very unusual religious belief
- Has just been terribly conned by a snake-oil salesman
One thing that came to mind when I read this was that I would really enjoy a quest line based on the events in The Music Man. If you are not familiar with the movie, a shyster comes to town and convinces the town they need a band for the kids because they are all being turned to evil by the pool hall. They get him to be their band director even though he has no real ability to teach the students to play their instruments. If the player was given a quest line where they slowly uncovered that the town was being duped and even got to choose whether to reveal it or cash in on it that would be a lot of fun. If the text and events were well written the whole chain could be nothing but fed-ex quests and still be a blast.