You're assuming there is some finite and constant amount of resources that can be pumped into quests.
Yes, because that's how reality works. Businesses who make MMOs have finite resources. They have a budget, and that budget has to cover everything. Spend more on one thing, and you spend less on another. Have your quest developers spend 10 hours on one quest, and they are unable to spend those 10 hours making two lower quality quests instead. For you to argue against this is quite ignorant of the reality of how the industry works.
Here is you're mistake. There are as many resources for a particular aspect of the game the as the developer is willing to spend on a particular aspect of the game.
The amount of money for a given project might be fixed, but the amount of money allocated to varying parts of that project are not.
The developer decides to hire X number of people who can do a certain job well. Those people only have a certain amount of time to spend, and that time is budgeted.
There are two developers. One decides that quests don't matter very much and focuses all of their time on graphics, they create two quests. The other decides to blow their entire budget on questing and ignores graphics, they decide to have 100 quests. Each of those of those 100 quests can easily be better than the 2 quests from the first developer.
First of all, it doesn't matter what any other developers are doing. The one developer who is making FFXIV has made/will make a decision about how much time they want to dedicate to making quests. Maybe they'll allocate 50 million dollars to quests alone, or maybe they'll allocate 2 million or 5 million.
However big that pie is, they now have a decision about how to cut it up. Do they cut it into smaller pieces (lower quality, less immersive quests) in order to create more "bulk" to the content, or do they make it into fewer, larger pieces (higher quality quests with more bells and whistles, but lower quantity)?
It's not a complicated concept to understand.
Yes, one developer can allocate more resources to quests than another, for any number of reasons, but however many resources there are, they are still finite and they still need to be divided up in some way. The way in which they are divided up is part of the structural design of the game.
Furthermore, you can't simply wave away the significance of allocating more resources towards quest design, as if that has no consequences elsewhere. Graphics are important. Game systems and combat are important. Keeping tabs on the economy and RMT is important. Customer service is important. THe more resources you allocate to one thing, the less you have for another. Especially when you consider the diminishing returns of adding more people/hours/money with the expectation of getting more production.
It's true that one developer can choose to emphasize questing more than another, but not at no cost to the rest of the game. So when discussing what kinds of quests you'd like to see, it's more rational and scientific to assume all other things are equal, and that you're not going to simply inflate the quest design budget in place of making any actual design decisions. Edited, Jul 11th 2009 2:01pm by KarlHungis