Tamriel Infinium: Am I playing Elder Scrolls Online wrong?

Elder Scrolls Online and I have had an on-again-off-again relationship for the last several years. A lot of that relationship stemmed from my being steeped in another online community in another game, and the other part comes from the game just not being what I had hoped it would be. Despite my low-key participation in the community for the last couple of years, ESO‘s community has thrived, and the game itself has received a lot of praise after adding some much-needed features.

However, some of my friends, who have been playing consistently, are complaining that there isn’t anything left to do in the game. That doesn’t mean that they have done everything. I don’t see them walking around with the Dro-m’Athra skin or the Emperor title. However, I do understand what they mean: Anything else they can do in game would be boring or unachievable.

But I’m sitting here with only one high-level character and a bunch of alts around 25. I have plenty to do, and I’m still finding a lot of the game very interesting. I’m still finding intriguing niches in the community, not to mention that I still find stealing things from people and places a lot of fun despite having run through all of the Thieves Guild content twice now. (By the way, if anyone wants to run that again, let me know. It’s still my favorite content in game.)

With so many other people starting to get bored with the game and there are still number of things that I just haven’t done yet, I’ve begun to wonder if I’m just playing the game wrong.

My recent activity

Currently, I’m playing a Dunmer thief. I made her a Nightblade because I figured that the stealth skills would be very helpful (and so far they have been). I started the character in Ahab’s Landing, doing the Thieves Guild content first, bypassing all the Ebonheart Pact stuff. When I did start it, thanks to the One Tamriel update, I was actually able to start my Pact quests in Mournhold, bypassing all the Bleakrock and Stonefalls quests. I’m kind of glad that I did skip all that because the Ebonheart Pact questline, in general, is uninteresting to me, and with Morrowind around the corner, the Deshaan questline was much more appealing.

When you step into Mournhold, you are asked to immediately speak with the Dunmer god Almalexia. She asks you to investigate the Maulborn infestation. The Maulborn are Daedra worshipers who have been causing trouble in southern Morrowind. It’s no big spoiler to find out that there is an actual Daedric Prince behind the cult and the attack on Morrowind. I found this revelation particularly interesting because the Prince was Boethiah, the Daedra whom the Dunmer worshiped before turning their focus on the Tribunal.

Most of my time in game has been spent in the Daggerfall Covenant and the Aldemiri Dominion, so I had actually never played through that questline before. The last time I had actually touched the Ebonheart Pact was during beta. But currently, I’m doing a bit of backtracking and running through quests that seem interesting to me at the time. It tends to make leveling slow, but it’s super relaxing to just do whatever I want.

The day-to-day

From a daily perspective, I log in and run crafting writs. Those are super fast, and it helps me gather woodworking supplies, which is what I’ve decided my most recent character is going to be good at. From there, I do some thieving, which is the other thing my character is going to be good at. Then I look for quests that might be interesting or that I believe fit the character I want to play. Most of them revolve around Morrowind lore.

I don’t really have a guild. I mean, I’m in one, but it’s inactive. But that doesn’t exactly bother me because my interaction with other players is minimal. However, that overall concept is kind of strange to me because I’m kind of a social person in MMORPGs and soloing in MMOs always seemed weird to me in the first place. In fact, there was a time when I couldn’t understand playing an MMORPG solo at all. I had always thought, why not just play a single-player RPG? But I’ve come to find out that even passive interaction with people is still interaction, and in its own way, I enjoy it.

So what am I missing?

However, in having some discussions with my friends — remember the ones who are now bored with the game — I’ve begun to question how I’m playing the game. Am I playing it wrong? I feel there is so much that I’m missing because I’m not interacting with anyone on a direct and regular basis. I’ve not done a Trial because that requires a large group of coordinated people. I’ve done a few dungeons in PUGs and a couple with friends. Although the ones with friends were fun enough, the ones in PUGs were not fun at all, mostly because of the lack of communication. It’s like everyone knew what they were doing or perhaps they just didn’t want to talk to anyone — maybe there was no reason to communicate in the first place. Is that a design flaw or perk?

There is also a thriving roleplay community that I knew about only peripherally. I know where to find them out of game, and I’ve seen the advertisements in zone chat, but I couldn’t tell you where they normally hang out. In fact, there are regular events that I’m aware of, but I’m unsure when and where they happen. Clearly, I’m doing roleplay in ESO wrong because I’m really not doing it at all, despite being the kind of player who writes backstories for my characters and roleplays heavily in other games.

Leading up to the launch of the Morrowind expansion (using the term Morrowind is getting really confusing now), I will be in heavy research mode. I’m going to try all of the parts of the game I haven’t tried for the longest time: PvP, Trials, dungeons, roleplay, and anything else that I can find. I know that I might not be playing the game wrong because I’m playing it how I enjoy it, but I want to ensure I’m not poorly serving those of you who read this column by making my scope so narrow.

So your homework in the comments is to let me know what I’m missing. What should I be playing? What has been your favorite content? Solo or in a group? I look forward to reading about them, and in the coming weeks, I will give them a try. Thank you in advance.

Traverse the troubled land of Tamriel in the Elder Scrolls Online. Larry Everett will be your guide here in Tamriel Infinium every other week as you explore together the land created by ZeniMax and Bethesda. If you have any burning questions, send them his way via email or via Twitter.
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74 Comments on "Tamriel Infinium: Am I playing Elder Scrolls Online wrong?"

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Godson69

I like to think where ESO shines is the great stories, and how certain NPC’s have a history that you get to see unfold. This is also a downside, especially if you are a completionist, because once you have done everything once, you get to do it again on an alt, and again on another alt….

The best way, in my opinion, to play the game is to take your time, play it as you get to it. Don’t make a checklist for each zone, save all that for when you start to get bored. Then go after achievements, or just find another game to juggle back and forth between. I usually play ESO as my main game, STO whenever a new episode comes out, and Warframe when I just want to mindlessly kill crap. Someday I might even go back to SWtoR, if they ever figure out what game they are supposed to be producing…

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Ryan Brown

I’ve been playing ESO for a few years now. I’d have to say mostly non-stop. I have lots of kids so I’m limited to about 3 hrs a day. I find it difficult to make gold and I grind exploring all the time. I run around solo most of the time, unless somebody in my guild is actually interested in pairing up for a while. I am not very impressed with the gear I have found in the time I’ve played. It seems like at cp 211 I can’t find any equipment better than what I’ve had since cp 100. I’ve built myself a dragonknight tank as my main. I would like to do more group instances but it seems like no matter who I am with we get our assess kicked in dungeons.
Saying all this, I will put in that I love this game and am still consumed by it every day.
I would love any advice on the gold situation. I see people trying to sell things for 50k or more. I think in the few years I’ve been playing I’ve made a total of 150k. Where are people getting the gold to buy these items and also some of these houses?

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Jokerchyld

Thought I was the only one who felt this way :) I came back after One Tamriel and it was great. ESO had everything that I wanted. Sandbox gameplay (do whatever I want, go where I want). Housing. Strong character customization. Justice system. Dungeons. Explorations. Collectibles. Fully-voiced quests. What else could I want?

But after I play for a few hours I lose interest and want to play something else. Now I always come back to ESO I’m level 28 now. But I definitely haven’t been able to do the long type gaming sessions that I would do in say WoW or Everquest.

At first I thought it was my crazy restrictions (like not doing Thieves guild or Dark Brotherhood before finishing AD quests). Thats part of it, I need to stop “forcing” myself to play linearly and just run around doing whatever content I think is cool at the moment. That hasnt worked out for me in the past which is I stopped it, but maybe for ESO it will work.

I do also tend to agree with others here about the combat. While I do enjoy it, it IS engaging. I have to dodge, block, strong attack, skill, light attack dodge! After a few hours it does get tiring especially since the enemies scale with you (it never gets easier).

But I think the thing in the back of my mind that bugs me is the pacing. I haven’t found any over the top epic content to complete. I noticed that was what I liked about wow. For all of its faults it made fighting and progressing fun.

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Hazel Pendley

What I’ve always loved about the ES game line is there is no “wrong.” It’s massively open map, diverse quest lines and varied themes allow for a lot of individuality. The inclusion of zenimax and mom RPG traded some of the depth traditionally found in Bethesda titles for broader range of interaction. That being said, do what intrigues you and you won’t ever be bored. I love the trial content and teaching. So, I run a Trials training guild. I teach all 4 trials and do a loop of them every Saturday. I teach vet progression as well. I have support chats for members interested in refining builds for specific roles, and when player skill exceeds the level needed for my guild, I connect them to other guilds that do harder content. In theory, I do the same content over and over every week. In reality, that content is enjoyed through the lens of people who ate new to it and find it exciting. Find what you like and enjoy it how you want to. The game offers a lot for those willing to look into it. That being said, I am on PS4 and if anyone is interested in or intimidated by trial content and wants an Intro, feel free to message me. Lady_Ramoth GM of Trait Research

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Scott

“However, some of my friends, who have been playing consistently, are complaining that there isn’t anything left to do in the game.”

Isn’t this what those same people, who probably play one game for 4 hrs a day will say for ANY MMO?

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MrSaxon

My friends and I currently spend our weeks in ESO doing solo activity and then meeting up every Saturday for a few hours of dungeon running. It’s a lot of fun because you spend the preceding five or six days playing around with your character build (and maybe even getting new skills) and then you get to test them out together.

hurbster
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hurbster

My main is about cp 250, and is coming to the end of the Daggerfall campaign (started out in EHP). I have just maxed out Mages Guild so I now have the last Ultimate for my build.

I have a bunch of low level ALTs from back when we needed them as mules.

I am in two guilds, both social/trading ones. One of them may involve Llamas, the other Wulves. I can sell all my stuff with those two but I’m mainly there for the chat.

I have zero interest in group dungeons, arenas, trials or PvP. I realise that I’m never going to have best in slot, quite happy running in julianos/mother’s sorrow. If I really want to go that route I can just visit the various Guild shops and buy them.

Not bored yet 😎

Your friends should take a break and come back when Morrowind drops, that’s what most people do.

My main in the same guy I have played since beta, I took a break for a year and came back for One Tamriel.

Also​, never forgot all the crap I took for liking ESO from certain forum posters.

dixa
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dixa

i see a few comments about getting to cp200+ etc and stopping because the combat is boring.

that is not why you stopped.

I too find myself stopping around this point, or when I’ve taken an alt to 50 and started on cadwell’s.

The problem is that the combat is tiring. It’s not braindead hotkey mashing, you have to pay attention. A lot. for long stretches.

I love ESO and i have no MAIN mmorpg that i play as I play several, but this is a game i can only do a few times a year because the combat wears me the hell out after only a couple of hours of play.

good thing? bad thing? nah, i’m just getting old.

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Mr Poolaty

I got very board with the game after learning at the recipes and weapon armor types… The provisioning/cooking skill was so vanilla besides collecting recipes with level 1 recipes being the hardest to obtain…
As a crafter I find this game to be shit!

Also there is no epic relic mythic legendary armor weapons to chase or grind for….

And getting to max level is an easy ass walkthrough… I mean I don’t think my 5 year old nephew would have a hard time getting there…

Overall I just think there is to much for me not to like about this game for me to come back…

hurbster
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hurbster

My main is a crafter and I like the crafting system. It’s all about the rare styles you can find.

And why chase mythic stuff when I can make my own ?

django857
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django857

I got a character to CP 254 and i just couldn’t play it anymore. The combat is so boring with only limited hot keys. If the combat is boring then people will leave the game. I just got so sick of it. And with group content in control by elitist well that doesn’t help the game much.