First things first, I think that ESO triumphs over other MMOs in terms if its questing content. Stories and experiences are weaved in a very organic way, leading you to become attached to the characters and stories, making questing a very engaging experience.
Edited by Spinkledorf on May 26, 2019 8:18AM
Quests excel in their stories, but unfortunately, while they do storytelling well, I believe it is the only thing they do well. In terms of gameplay or combat, they fall short.
This isn't due to underdeveloped game mechanics, or subpar level design, but to the lack of difficulty. ALL overland mobs, save world bosses, can be killed in a manner of seconds by even sub-level 50 characters. When questlines are built around killing bad guys that have been built up to be ultra powerful, it feels anticlimactic when I can kill a boss in under 10 seconds just by spamming warden birds.
This anti-climax becomes even more apparent with end-of-campaign bosses, like Nocturnal in Summerset for example. There was such a grand set up, and really cool visuals, but no difficulty or engagement to complement the great aspects. Although I haven't played Elsweyr, I would assume it will be largely similar.
The lack of difficulty also restricts the potential amount of players interested in questing. Given that the only value they provide is that of story and lore, this severely limits the number of people who actually do quests. Many people in my guild, for example, don't bother with quests, due to having zero interest in lore. Given that half of yearly updated are dedicated to giving quest content, this seems paradoxical. Why would ZOS not want to expand content for all audiences?
So what's the solution? I'm not a game designer by any means, but I really think that having a toggleable difficulty increase (and no, taking off all gear and CP doesn't work in this regard) - maybe to be that of the level of vMA would really help. Make it so that roll dodging, blocking, and interruptions are vital for survival. It would attract the more hardcore crowd, and keep people engaged due to another level of demand from the user. Killing a boss at the end of a quest would be truly earned. Introducing exclusive rewards for these 'veteran quests' would also go a long way, in order to reward players for their efforts. Maybe outfits, currency, mounts, something along those lines. That would make sure that players are consistently questing in order to obtain these rewards.
Some might be concerned that this would 'split the playerbase', but doesn't normal questing 'split the playerbase' anyway? And it's not like people aren't gonna do trials or dungeons anymore, this just gives players another difficult PvE avenue to pursue. Plus, with more and more people joining the game, the whole concenpt of 'splitting the playerbase' is becoming less and less relevant, imo.
I love ESO and its quests, but I can't help thinking that they fall short at times. I just want a fantastic gameplay experience to complement the fantastic stories being told, instead of just a mediocre gameplay experience.