So here's the brief story thus far on the 4th edition game that has been described as both "storyless" and an epic story.
Act I, Part 1.
The players have been summoned into a mysterious room, one at a time and told they were needed. The tale is in more detail here. Chosen and must activate a beacon. (Here the group was given time to learn the basics of the game, being told not to worry about the prelude until after this section- one group complied, one did not). After briefly tumbling down a waterfall, finding their bearings and introducing themselves, the band is ready to depart on their adventure, hoping to learn more of their quest. (Here one group took time to go over the prelude after the introduction, one group ignored it). The most obvious direction was towards a stepped pyramid seen off in the distance. Roughly downstream.
Setting off, they quickly find evidence of goblins patrolling the area. They're quickly dispatched and the area searched. There was a small campsite nearby with a few pieces of equipment the group saves for later. Heading off the several day journey is fairly safe, except a few goblin hunting parties here and there. When they've gotten close to the temple they find a supply caravan for the goblins. At least they believe they have. Battling and winning over the goblins, the noise awakes something in the crate they were hauling. The crate bursts open revealing a small dragon. The goblins scatter, leaving the party to face the dragon. (Here one group stopped to discuss what goblins would be doing with a dragon out here and started coming up with theories on what might be in the temple, the other group merely pressed on).
After finally getting to the temple, the characters were able to rest, hiding off to the side. In the morning they took into the temple. Sure enough it was a goblin camp site, likely ransacked and taken over years ago. There's is naturally more to it. Battling their way deeper, after fight after fight against goblins, they are confronted with elemental mud. After that they find a cube (that happens to be guarded by a dragon). After slaying the dragon (one) group ponders the cube and questions if it's the beacon (the other group went to grab it immediately, wanting loot and not a beacon). The Room breaks away and the party is sent spinning into nothingness.
In the meantime here, there was also a lot of quest XP for fleshing out characters and giving me a wishlist of items. The wishlist is just that, not a shopping list of what I planned to give them, but a list of what I should look at for them. This was doubly important because I asked them if they wanted money to buy their own equipment or if they wanted me to give out equipment (both groups chose to receive equipment in treasure instead of the equivalent money).