After playing countless hours of games like Skyrim and The Old Republic, I'm starting to think developer perceptions of what constitutes a "side-quest" are harming their games. The radiant questing from Skyrim created countless pointless side missions that provided no real diversion to the structured content from the game. The Old Republic needlessly pads every storyline quest with 4-5 "kill this many of x" side-quests. And now it looks like based on the QL that Amalur has similarly boring and poorly designed side-quests.
I get that these side-quests are typically optional, but I think these side-quests are diluting and padding out what could have been a great 20-30 hour game into a mediocre 60 hour game. (It obviously doesn't have to be that way. But fetch quests and kill quests seem to be becoming the norm.)
If developers aren't going to put in the time and effort to make these side-quests interesting, I would prefer they leave them out wholesale. Would you rather these game have facile, optional quests or simply exist without them?