If you enjoy expansive worlds, deep RPG mechanics, and regular content updates – ESO remains one of the top MMORPGs out there in 2023. Keep reading to see why it‘s absolutely worth playing today.
First released in 2014, The Elder Scrolls Online has not only stood the test of time – it has flourished. Let‘s discuss why ESO is still going strong in 2023 and is absolutely worth jumping into or returning to.
ESO‘s World Keeps Expanding
One of ESO‘s biggest strengths is allowing you to explore the gigantic, diverse continent of Tamriel. Every classic province from The Elder Scrolls series is recreated here, including:
- Black Marsh
- Summerset Isles
And unlike the single-player games, ESO‘s world continually expands year after year. Just look at how much content was added in 2022:
- Two massive new zones as part of the High Isle Chapter
- Dozens of new delves, world bosses, and points of interest
- Hundreds of new quests and storylines to enjoy
And ESO shows no signs of stopping. The upcoming Necrom Chapter in 2023 will add an entirely new zone packed with fresh adventures.
It‘s incredible how much ESO‘s world has grown since launch. Here‘s a quick breakdown:
|Year||New Zones Added|
|Base Game (2014)||23|
That‘s 40+ zones – all filled with quests, characters, dungeons, secrets, and stories for you to explore. Whether wandering misty forests, delving into Dwemer ruins, or sailing sunny islands, ESO‘s beautiful world is a joy to get lost in.
As a fan of open world exploration myself, ESO‘s ever-expanding landscapes make it hugely worthwhile in 2023.
Character Customization Has Unparalleled Depth
Let‘s discuss ESO‘s exemplary character development systems next. Frankly, I‘m amazed by the sheer depth of customization here.
With 6 distinct classes and a massive skill tree comprising over 300 abilities, you have an incredible amount of choice in how to build your character. You can take a Templar and craft completely unique builds like:
- A traditional healer
- An unkillable tank
- A close-range fire mage
- A ranged spellcaster
- And much more
The flexibility lets you construct any archetype you desire. And we‘re talking true customization here – not just following prescribed class roles. The champion system, crafting, armor skills, guild abilities and more add even further depth.
No other MMORPG grants this level of creative freedom in building your character. And character options continue expanding, with the intriguing Arcanist class slated for 2023.
I‘ve lost track of the hours I‘ve happily spent planning, testing, and tweaking character builds. If you love experimenting with unique character concepts, ESO simply can‘t be matched in its flexibility.
The Questing Here Is Second-to-None
Let‘s be real – questing in many MMORPGs ranges from boring to downright painful. Kill 10 rats, fetch 10 turnips, deliver this parcel – you‘ve done it all before.
Not so in ESO. Here, quests tell meaningful stories – with full voice acting bringing characters to life. The writing and lore stay true to classic Elder Scrolls games.
- Expose and dismantle a necromantic cult
- Uncover sinister experiments and bring the perpetrators to justice
- Help villages defend themselves from bandits
- And much more – usually with plot twists along the way!
Rather than reading walls of text, fully voiced NPCs make it feel like scenes are actually being performed for you. The stories drive you forward as much as the rewards.
Let‘s look at some stats:
- Over 60 hours of main storyline quests
- Over 300 hours of side quests
- 30+ hours of quests added in 2022‘s High Isle Chapter alone
For context, here‘s how much quest content competing MMORPGs launched with:
|Game||Launch Quest Hours|
|World of Warcraft||~60 hours|
|Final Fantasy XIV||~100 hours|
|Guild Wars 2||~60 hours|
And ESO releases this much new quest content every year. If you actually care about the stories you‘re engaging in, ESO simply can‘t be matched in its story-driven PvE content.
Satisfying PvE Challenges For Groups
Not everything in ESO caters to solo players though. If you crave challenging PvE group content, ESO has you covered with:
- Dozens of 4-player dungeons
- Over a dozen 12-player Trials (raids)
- Solo Arenas that test your skills 1v1 against a gauntlet of bosses
This content features complex boss mechanics that demand coordination and skill to overcome. Unique builds tailored for group roles like tank and healer are mandatory. I absolutely love mastering fights, optimizing strategies, and bonding with my group when we finally clinch victory.
Some highlights of recent PvE additions include:
- 4 new dungeons in 2022 like Coral Aerie and Embers of Sotha Sil
- 2 new 12-player trials like Dread Cellar and Red Petal Bastion
- A new solo arena, Halls of the Colossus
Veteran modes ratchet the difficulty up further with added mechanics. If you crave challenging and rewarding PvE group content, ESO consistently delivers the goods.
PvP In Cyrodiil Is Epic
Now I know PvP isn‘t everyone‘s cup of tea. But if you enjoy facing off against other players, ESO‘s Alliance War mode is simply incredible in terms of scale and design.
Three factions wage war across the vast province of Cyrodiil. You fight to control towns, resources, chokepoints, and massive fortresses. Sieging well-defended structures feels straight out of Lord of the Rings – trebuchets pounding walls while hundreds of players clash beneath.
- Work as part of a large army sieging castles
- Roam in small groups to ambush enemy supply caravans
- Scout ahead and infiltrate objectives as a solo operative
With easy travel and no loss of gear on death, it‘s newbie-friendly too. Performance and balance see regular improvements, so lag and cheese tactics get reduced.
If you enjoy PvP, there‘s simply nothing else like Alliance War‘s grand battles. It‘s worth playing ESO for this experience alone.
Player Housing Is Wonderfully Addictive
Housing is another standout feature in ESO. You can acquire and furnish your own in-game home, with thousands of decorations available. The freedom in designing your perfect space is amazing.
You start small – maybe a room at the inn. As you progress, mansions, island retreats, and even massive guild halls become options. Let your imagination run wild while personalizing every detail – I‘ve lost hours at a time tinkering with my home layouts and designs.
If you love collecting, building, and showing off your creativity, ESO‘s housing will absorb you completely. It‘s an exceptionally relaxing yet engaging element of the game.
Crafting Offers Impressive Depth
Now, I‘ll be the first to admit crafting systems in many MMORPGs feel tacked-on and dull. Not so in ESO. Crafting here has tremendous depth with meaningful rewards.
Learning traits to improve gear, researching styles, investing skill points into passives – master crafters are hugely powerful. And the fruits of your labor? Crafting potent gear other players covet and selling goods for immense profits.
Recent updates like the Armory system and Scrapbox storage make juggling crafting across characters easier than ever. Dedicated crafters contribute meaningfully to the economy and their guilds too via valuable writs.
If you enjoy complexity and long-term progression systems, I assure you ESO‘s crafting will keep you engaged for hundreds of hours. It‘s been tremendously refined over the years.
The Community Is Still Going Strong
ESO launched way back in 2014 – an eternity in gaming years. Many titles quickly fade away. But ESO‘s community has only grown stronger with time.
By all estimates, the game currently sees a very healthy population of millions of monthly players. The world feels vibrantly alive – cities bustle and you can find groups any time of day.
Let‘s compare some player population estimates:
|Game||Approx. Monthly Players|
|World of Warcraft||2.5 million|
|Elder Scrolls Online||4+ million|
|Final Fantasy XIV||2+ million|
For an 8 year old game, these numbers are incredibly impressive. I never struggle to find guilds, groups, and people to adventure with. ESO still undoubtedly has one of the healthiest MMORPG populations out there.
The game also sees frequent community events, celebrations, and promotions. The dedicated community team keeps players engaged and happy to log in.
Major Updates Roll Out Quarterly
The reason ESO retains such an enthusiastic playerbase? The constant flow of new content updates. Every 3 months, ESO receives significant patches adding meaty new gameplay features and content.
Just look at 2022‘s roadmap:
- High Isle Chapter (June) – huge new zone + 30 hours of quests
- Ascending Tide DLC (March) – Mythic items, companions, dungeon
- Firesong DLC (December) – Dread Cellar trial + quests
- Performance improvements, class changes, events
This cadence will continue in 2023 with the Necrom Chapter and more. ESO always feels fresh and vibrant thanks to the frequent content drops.
The consistent updates incentivize exist players to keep engaged. And they make it easy for lapsed players to return and see what‘s new. ESO leverages this update model incredibly well.
Accessibility for New Players
As a game ages, catch-up mechanics and accessibility become crucial. Some MMOs like WoW can be downright painful for newcomers at this stage.
ESO smartly counters this with excellent systems enabling new players to quickly experience the full game:
- Level scaling – you can adventure anywhere without out-leveling zones
- Enlightenment – accelerated XP after rest XP builds up
- Leveling events – periodic events granting huge bonuses to XP gain
- Streamlined leveling – fast progress to endgame without grind
- Improved tutorial – teaches mechanics smoothly
With enlightenment and XP events, I can blast a character from level 1 to 50 in under 20 hours /played time. That‘s incredibly fast compared to most RPGs.
Catch-up mechanics let you quickly gear up as well. ESO removes nearly all barriers to jumping in and catching up to veterans.
Flexible Solo AND Group Play
A common question around ESO is whether it‘s better for playing solo or with groups. Happily, ESO provides plenty of options for both preferred playstyles.
Early zones and story questing pose few issues for capable solo players. And if you desire, you can play through 99% of the overland PvE content alone – ESO never forces you to group.
But the advanced dungeons, raids, and PvP modes really encourage (and often require) teaming up with others. Joining guilds opens up group activities ranging from casual to hardcore.
In a typical play session, I‘ll knock out some daily crafting writs solo, quest with my partner, then tackle a dungeon with guildmates at night. ESO makes mingling group and solo content seamless.
So whether you‘re a lone wolf or social butterfly, ESO caters to your preferred style. You can group effortlessly when desired.
Is ESO Worth Playing in 2023 – The Verdict
If you enjoy expansive open worlds, fleshed out RPG mechanics, and regular content updates – ESO remains one of the top MMORPGs out there in 2023.
From the ever-growing world and deep customization to stellar questing and endgame challenges, ESO sticks to a proven formula while improving and expanding upon it each year.
9 years post-launch, ESO still feels incredibly lively thanks to its vibrant community and constant flow of new content. And catching up is easier than ever for new and returning players.
MMORPGs often stall and fade away after such a long run. Not so with ESO – it‘s going as strong as ever in 2023.
So if you have any interest in massive online RPGs, I highly recommend jumping into ESO or returning to see how far it‘s come. There‘s never been a better time to explore the vast lands of Tamriel and lose yourself in this incredibly well-supported game.
See you in Tamriel, my friend! Let the adventures begin…