Each quest in an RPG is typically the same as the last. Its the quest scenario and setting that changes, not the quest type. As far as I can tell there are four different quest types:
- Search and Destroy Type: Go somewhere kill somebody. Destroy the facility at location x.
- Courier Type: Take object x to destination y. Go somewhere collect object x.
- Protect/Escort Type: Protect someone or stand your ground for n amount of time. Ensure NPC gets to destination y.
- Explore Type: Uncover the map. Find somebody or something. Follow the clues. Respond to hot/cold type messages.
So how do we solve the problem of 'deja vu' questing in RPGs? Sadly I don't believe we can. Quest types in RPGs will always be limited to the same four types. There is however hope in reducing the questing 'deja vu factor' through clever disguises. I've seen techniques like creative story telling, appealing quest UIs, cinematic cut scenes and clever NPC interaction used to make receiving a quest more entertaining and enjoyable.
If RPG quests were treated more like puzzles rather than tasks, I think players would be forced to pay more attention to the quest instructions, and gain greater satisfaction from completing them. Adding random elements to the quests would also increase re-playability and reduce the 'deja vu factor'.