We do NOT need less quests, we need MORE. The next generation of games needs an absolute shitload of intense, long-term, meaniningful quests. We need so many quests, so many options and possible paths that you can't even keep track of them, and you'll never be able to complete them all. There will even be quests you'll never have the chance to complete because you weren't in the right place at the right time.
There need to be so many quests that when you're talking with friends about what you've all been doing, you learn abou things you've never heard of, and you're able to brag and impress them with your own exploits.
We need guidance, we need things to do, but we also need choices. We need consequences to our actions, things we can't take back. If you fail a quest, suffer from it, knowing you're never going to get a second chance. If two quests conflict with each other, you'd better make damn sure you pick the right one.
If we want realism, if we want a "life simulation", then quests have to be part of it. They're a part of life. They just need to be more complex and well thought-out. And there need to be TONS of them... like, seriously, an unholy amount of quests...