So, just to be perfectly frank: Elder Scrolls Online is rapidly shaping up to be the buggiest game I've ever played.
There are broken items, broken abilities, broken quests, and broken achievements. My current favorite personal bug are the occasions where the game gives you a sidekick, balances the quests to include the sidekick's input... and then the sidekick stands there doing nothing while you get your ass hammered by a quest half again too strong for you. There are three impossible achievements I've noticed so far. There are locations you can get yourself into that it is impossible to get yourself out of. I've mentioned the dupe bug already, of course.
And that's just the stuff that's broken. Balance across the game is also marginal or bad. My favorite bit here is Enchanting, where the entire structure is based on limited availability of Aspect runes, one of the three types of runes needed to do any Enchanting at all. As a result, Enchanting skill increases painfully slowly and the overrun of the two other types of runes combined with the drought of Aspect runes quickly floods your inventory... and of course most runes are worthless and so can't be sold. But that's not the only place balance is questionable: the game itself varies between ridiculously easy and ludicrously difficult at the drop of a hat.
And that's before you add a single player to the game. There are dozens of issues once you start adding players, from the lack of foresight into designing areas like banks to the issues of spawn rates for quest objectives and exploration items to the fact that high-level dungeons are incredibly bot heavy. Remember how I said that fishing was a grinding technique worth 600-750 gold per hour? Botting in dungeons generates about five high level potions per minute average... for 1500-1800 gold per hour.
And that's before you get into game design flaws, where the definition of "design flaw" varies by player, of course. For me, the lack of an open player market in favor of guild markets strikes me as a very poor design choice.
Now, don't get me wrong: I'm still having a great time with this game and it shows an incredible amount of potential. I'm enjoying myself. But it's clear that the game wasn't ready for prime time. It's playable, certainly... but sometimes frustrating. This is where my post a few weeks ago about giving the developers a chance to address the issues in their game over a period of time becomes paramount: will the ESO devs get the time they need? We'll see.
In the meantime, Matt Firor, who is the Director of The Elder Scrolls Online, released a "State of the Game" post on the ESO forums that is surprisingly frank and uncompromising in his view of the game. It's a refreshing read and if you're interested in ESO at all, it's worth your time. Hardcore Casual has also written a nice state of the game analysis from the perspective of someone who's played a lot more MMOs than I have.
As I imagine you can guess, I'm really pleased at this example of open communications and I hope that it continues. Being up-front like this goes a long way with me.
My overall impression of the game itself still remains mostly positive, and I continue to believe that the game is at its best when you get off the beaten track and treat it as an exploration game. I have a new favorite moment that I'd like to share. In the far wilderness I came upon a little stone platform on the bank of a river. As I approached it, a fire mage and an ice mage teleported in... and then started a duel. Both were tagged as hostile so I could have interfered had I chosen to. Instead, I decided to watch. After a few minutes, the fire mage won the duel and teleported out... and I was given a pile of XP that would have far exceeded the small amount of XP I would have received for wading in. Cute!
It's these kinds of small personal touches that really remind me I'm playing an Elder Scrolls game and keep me logging in. So yeah, I'm willing to give Matt and his team time to improve the state of the game.