Lately I've been thinking a lot about exploration and how to encourage it. Vanilla sort of did, with quests starting all over the place, so unless you were the type that went all over and talked to all he NPCs, you weren't going to have all the quests for an instance. I tried to call that rewarding exploration, but in reality it was more like punishing lack of exploration.
The problem is one of lost opportunity. Back when epics were hard to come by and even blues weren't exactly thrown out like candy, a decent quest reward could be serious business. Some chains were needed to get access to certain patterns. For example, there are a few BS plans from a vendor outside Scholomance. I suppose you don't actually have to do any quests, it's not as if he requires you to do anything. The problem is that you can't see him. You have to get a trinket that lets you see ghosts and that trinket is from a quest chain in Scholomance.
WoW is all about alternative advancement now. Many paths. I like the idea. We can PvP or raid or run heroics or any of that and we will progress in gear. If you're not raiding you're going to run out of content very fast, even if you are raiding you still will, but Blizzard doesn't make many more BGs/arenas or 5-mans between expansions. The goal is that you do what you want to do and you aren't denied opportunity because of it. PvP has its gear, raiding has its gear, heroics have their gear, quests... those have blues at best and very very few challenges. But they do have the lore and no loot drama.
Where was I going? Oh yes; we're at a point when alternate progression makes exploration rewardable. Don't want to explore? Fine, don't. Skip the quest chain that starts off the coast of Azshara and takes you through the Molten Core. Don't bother to talk with the Tauren in Orgrimmar who will send you all over the world from Stratholme to Dire Maul and everywhere in between.
Of course people still miss rewards. But they have equivalent rewards. PvP won't give T9, but it gives its own season gear. The time has come to do the same for exploration. Put the NPC somewhere obscure. Make the quest start from a Tharussian artifact laying on the ground. BTW, it doesn't start a quest, but if you find one, pick it up, you might be surprised. Will people lose out for not doing quests? Of course. Too bad. They have their own rewards from what they want to do.
Now when I ask for questing gear, I'm not asking for epics. Those might be nice, but we don't need them. Currently most quests aren't very hard and if they are, they are for groups, not for overgeared soloists. Instead I'd rather see gear that looks cool. Not flashy. I don't need or want gigantic glowing shoulders. But something that looks good. Think something like the DK starting gear; a 'set' that looks cool and comes from questing. Let us find artifacts that do strange things like teleport us to ancient ruins. Or even better, another trinket of Caer Darrow that lets us see the world which others ignore.
Let them kill the giants. Let them kill each other. We Loremasters will be finding out what came before and what is to come. We will know the world that they ignore.