We had a similar "learning curve" issue last year with the Wed group because of "FOMO". (Fear Of Missing Out)
One of the concepts we are trying to foster is that we have fun even if our characters don't progress in XP.
Wandering around and falling of the cliffs would have prevented the Quest completion, but the fun of doing so more than makes up for it.
Keep in mind the Groups Motto: It's not the Destination, but the Journey that makes each gamenight special.