Either the game spells out where these "waypoints" are or a wiki will. So it's simply "feature complete" for the game to offer what most people want to know. You're under no obligation to use it, however, so you can get that roam-in-the-dark feeling all you want. Shouldn't that satisfy the issue?
There's no way to turn it off is there?
And even if the wiki is there, you still have to pay attention to cues a lot of the time to know what point in the quest you're in. As it is now, It's way point or no way. Most dialogue doesn't give any clue on how to achieve your goal, just giving you the goal itself, and you instead have this giant "x" so to speak on a map.
It's like that testing that was done when people know it's something they could look up on the inter, they're least likely to remember it themselves. Subconscious or conscious, it's like a psychological trick.
its nothing like a psychological trick.
its really simple. if devs dont hold people by the hand, people look to wikis. history has proven this. while some people might refuse, the majority prefer looking it up online if it isnt spelled out ingame.
the option idea...doesnt really work. unless you are playing solo all the time. people will "spoil" your quests.
being vague and not really telling players where exactly to go doesnt work, because players have gotten used to the handholding. not to mention that kind of thing is seen by contemporary devs as bad game design. if you have to log off the game or alt-tab to complete a quest, its considered fail from a design perspective.
handholding makes the game feel more linear, less yours. you feel like youre just on the same track as everyone else.
idk, the whole mmo model needs to be reworked. which is happening. but due to the nature of the genre, and due to people's fear of things new and different, it is happening slowly. and a lot of the changes seem aimed at "streamlining" the whole experience, (WoW basically started the trend) which isnt necessarily the way to go with an MMO.
personally id prefer a game where the npcs just describe to the player, in detail, where to go. ie, theres a large rock to the west of X outpost. the rock looks like a dragon head when viewed from the outpost. theres a tiny oasis next to the rock. and a strange shaped cactus. go there and search around it. or something.
the problem with that kind of detailed info, from a dev perspective, is that it requires more work than just tossing some waypoints at a map. you need landmarks, which means actually utilizing intelligent level design. waypoints are fine for beginner quests that are designed to familiarize the player with their new world. other than that, meh.
GW2 has made strides by going a bit outside the mmo box. many quests come from npcs who may run up to you, poke you and say "hey come with me i need help". they lead you to the quest. following them and protecting them IS part of the quest. much more organic and immersive. plus, if you stick around after "completing" said quest, the npc will usually have something else for you to do. (thanks for escorting me to this treasure, oh hey now that we're back at camp, i could use your help defending against the angry bandits we stole said treasure from, etc etc and all of a sudden youre doing a quest chain)
sorry, kinda unfocused post.