Let me just start by saying I love Elder Scrolls Online, I find the story line great, the voice acting is amazing and it is by far one of the most beautiful looking games I have ever seen but sitting at end game I am getting very bored very fast. I think as with most game developers ZOS has greatly underestimated how fast people would burn through content as the current endgame content is proving to be very limited. I know the game is new and yes ZOS is so far doing a good job at getting new content out in a timely manner but having said that … I have been burned before, I have been promised wondrous and exciting things only to be left as disappointed and heart broken as a kid who just dropped their ice cream and as a result can’t help but have that little niggling in the back of my mind panicking that it is going down the SWTOR road.
Like ESO I loved levelling through SWTOR, I loved the story and I enjoyed the mechanics but come endgame it felt more like a repetitive chore than anything. The content at end game was limited to Operations (raids), dailies, PvP, farming, rolling alts and nothing else. At the time none of the casino games could be played, there was no in depth achievements system to work through nor any huge customization options. The game was well and truly limited to the 5 core features of most MMOs and the response to the demand for more was simply more of the same.
This is the mistake other games have made when players have asked for more to do, having a new raid and some new daily quests every 6-8 weeks is nice and all but there is only so much of this one can do before turning around and asking “is that it?” By more content I don’t mean more trials and more dailies no what I mean more things to do, stuff to kill time while I wait for my guildies to get online, some solo content other than farming and rolling alts. One can not always just do group stuff like PvP and dungeons it gets stale and repetitive and most people aren’t going to pay a monthly sub just to log in 2 to 3 times a week for a guild trial run.
A dozen little things will keep people active a lot longer than one big raid patch, these can be things like mini-games such as puzzles and artefact hunting, a more in depth achievement system with a bunch of rewards like costumes and mounts, even something like oh I don’t know maybe GAMBLING!! I mean seriously, I find it kind of hard to believe that the Khajiit haven’t come up with some kind of card or dice game to swindle people out of their gold.
The achievment system alone is a great tool for not only giving people something to do but something to take pride in. Rift and WoW both had very detailed in depth achievement systems that players could work their way through to gain things like rare mounts, titles and costumes. I would spend entire days going through zones ticking things off the list so that I could run around with a title that few others would have.
Housing is also a great option for time kills, I spent weeks building stuff in RIFTs dimension crafting, constructing things like my own customized mansions plank by plank and a soccer field for guilds to verse each other, I even built a giant floating inn for my guild to hang out and get drunk in. This in turn can lead to other things to do like hunt for rare trophies to hang on your walls and other such stuff, for example a rare spawn bear that we could kill, skin and turn into a rug. Thing like this, that will get people out exploring Tamriel.
ZOS have done such an amazing job at creating a huge, beautiful world and the more reasons they can give people to go explore it the better. Basically anything other than stuff that requires a group or repeating the same quests each day is going keep people around and the sooner the can do that the sooner people will have more confidence in the tremendous potential Elder Scrolls Online has.