I'd assume that everybody knows what I mean by this, but there is compelling evidence that I'm the only one who actually cares, so I'll spell it out for those who don't let stuff like this bug them: Questgiver NPC Guy stands out in the middle of the town square, staying in exactly the same spot throughout all the years of the game's life cycle, endlessly telling any player characters of a certain level range about how he lost his lucky hat in the haunted forest, and would they go get it back for him? Questgiver Guy remains in that spot, collecting the lucky hats which are delivered, night and day, by an endless stream of PCs, giving each of them a fairly item (or a choice of a few items) which he has no particular reason to possess. And still he stands there, eternally hatless, eternally begging for aid from the hordes of appropriately-leveled PCs.
So, naturally, if any two player characters of similar level were to share stories of their past adventures, they'd usually find their pasts to be remarkably similar, differing only in the exact order in which they did their favors for various Questgiver Guys. Worse, in a lot of games, this means often that a player won't be able to find the goblin who stole the lucky hat because some other player has already killed it. Instead, they have to wait for the goblin (and the hat) to respawn in order to kill it all over again.
I think the tremendous popularity of these games is compelling evidence that other people don't really let implied absurdities like this bother them, but seriously, they drive me fuckin nuts.
So what kind of alternative am I looking for? Yeah, that's a tougher question. Personally, I don't think I'm so enamored of cute banter and deep dialog trees that I'd mind randomly-generated NPCs giving out randomly-generated quests along these lines:
I'm [FIRSTNAME] [LASTNAME], the [OCCUPATION] here in [TOWN]. I was attacked by [MONSTER]s over in [LOCATION], and they took my [ADJECTIVE] [OBJECT]. Could you get it back for me? I'd go after it myself, but [WEAKEXCUSE].
Hell yes I would prefer that Mad Libs shit to doing the same damn quests that every other player has already done. And, to be honest, I really think that with a flexible enough modular quest/NPC system, a big list of basic quest forms (fetch, escort, scavenger hunt, etc.), and enough attention paid to creating generators that are limited to somewhat logical results, I think this could actually be really great. And the best part might be that it would be extremely easy to add new component pieces--new OCCUPATIONs, new OBJECTs, new WEAKEXCUSEs,etc.--whenever the developers can write them up. Hell, they could even include screened submissions from the players. With enough care, I honestly think that random quest system doesn't have to result in bland and nonsensical quests.
I could keep going on about this, but I think I've played backseat game designer for enough paragraphs, already.