But Tolkien did it without a database!
Lord of the Rings Online Developer Chris "NobOrBob" Foster shows off one of Turbine's myriad tools for game development, this one focusing on quest implementation. With this much storyline behind a certifiably graphics-intensive MMO, and with such a devout LotR playerbase, it's a good thing Turbine's streamlining things where they can.
For all these reasons and a few others, one of the biggest changes we made to the quest system was to replace the old quest file format with a new one. This unified quest file format contained nearly all of the information needed to place a quest in the world: the steps involved, the dialogue that each NPC says, the item that the monster should drop when it dies. In addition, the new quest file made it much easier to re-use the same characters on multiple quests...
Read more at the Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar official site. And be sure to check out the Ten Ton Hammer LotRO site for all the latest happenings!