It seems like questing is the primary means of gameplay for PVE content in most MMORPGS. Frequently as players we experience the super themepark approach where the zone is littered with quest hubs and quest markers for NPC's. Content becomes this linear experience where players bounce around to quest hubs. The lack of initiative to explore wanes away from the player to be motivated to explore further in the world.
The two contrasting examples I can give are Everquest and World of Warcraft.
Everquest - Had a more sandpark approach, where players predominantly explored the zones and finding new named mobs or found a small cave or a dungeon. Players can pick and choose what zones they wanted to explore and level in, there were no specific path. There is no linear approach to questing, simply Everquest didn't have the model we have today.
World of Warcraft - There were some zone choice of where a player can choose to level in but typically when they enter a zone they're directed to follow a path form quest hub to quest hub. A very contrasting approach to Everquest.
For me as a player, I feel like the quest hub does eliminate the need to explore the world as you're directed to go here and there on your own accord. Questing should be something that you stumble upon and find hidden away that could lead to interesting rare treasure. I think quest hubs omit the sense of danger in the world because it creates an expectation already.
I do know that there are players who do explore no matter what, but the thread is merely about, do quest hubs eliminate your desire to explore and does it give the perception of a smaller world?