Yeah the goal was to de-emphasize quests and ensuring that people didn't think they were sort of "the game". They're mostly there as bite-sized guideposts for improving skill and exploring everything the game has to offer. Thanks for the catch on the difficulty spike with non-default seed planting!
We were planning on adding some text that hopefully would point to the quest being de-emphasized like "Remember, it's not about the quests it's about getting to the top!" Or something along that line of communication. Does that feel like it'd help?
It also might potentially be a little different for someone who's not already an expert like you? The quest system has been simplified since the do-one-quest-at-a-time thing was a part of it so it's feasible to have them chain together one after another, but the de-emphasis is still somewhat important to me.