Why ESO PvE Is Amazing and How it Could be Better

The ESO PvE endgame is one of the best on the MMO market, but why ESO PvE Is Amazing and How it Could be Better.

In this written and video opinion piece, Deltia lays out his reason’s for ESO having one of the best PvE systems and some feedback on how it can be better.

Last Updated for ESO Blackwood Update 30. If you want the latest information on the Waking Flames DLC patch update click here. For a high level summary of the changes affecting combat, please visit this forum post.

Video Opinion

Table of Contents



ESO PvE is My Personal Favorite MMO

I’ve been playing MMORPGS since Ultima Online (you know when dinosaurs roamed the earth and dial up internet was best in slot!) So, what if I told you Elder Scrolls Online is by far my favorite PvE out of any MMO I’ve ever played?

ESO PvE Has Come a Long Way

After recently completing both new Veteran dungeons on the public test server and one on Hardmode, I was reflecting on just how far Elder Scrolls Online has come. Do you remember the good old days of ESO when all the trials you had were Atherian Archieve and Hel Ra Citadel? When barely anyone could beat the trial and you used flawless dawnbreaker as your front bar utlimate and everyone played magicka sorcerer?

Well, everyone still plays magicka sorcerer, but the point is this: wow ESO PvE has come so far! After taking a two-and-a-half-year hiatus, I noticed one thing was abundantly clear: they had made significant changes concerning acquiring gear with the new sticker book feature

Chasing the Meta

This was great news as the biggest hang up I had with ESO’s PvE was the sheer time commitment it took to get new and relevant gear. It seemed every 3 months, ESO would “one up” their previous sets, requiring you to stay on the never ending hamster wheel of MMO gear grinding

While I love new content, other MMOs felt like you would need to re-grind every 6 months to a year with a new level cap increase. I couldn’t take spending 8 hours a day in Imperial City Prison to get a divines belt of scathing mage back in 2016 just so I could complete do Maw of Lorkaj

I was spending 99% of my time in ESO doing things I didn’t enjoy just so that I could do the 1% I enjoyed to the maxThis was the biggest obvious positive change that I’ve noticed and I want to break down some others

The Good in ESO PvE

The Grind for Gear

When MMOs launch, they typically lack a robust PvE end game experience. This was certainly true for ESO back in 2014. The grind was real and the only end game was a couple of dungeons and trials and the grind with Veteran Ranks were a pain! Just reaching end game was an accomplishment, next came getting one of two relevant gear sets that mostly had to be obtained in PvE trials

Most gamers never complain about new content but ESO’s content candence is mind-blowing. Previously, you could expect every 3 months most of you gear to be irrelevant: Monster helms, 5 pieces sets, arena weapons, crafting sets, you name it

Changes that Improved the Grind

Flash forward to today’s game and while some of this is still true, there are many options and ways to get obtain relevant gear. The two major additions that made it easier to obtain gear were gear trading and the transmute system. Gear trading was huge step in the right direction allowing for needless gear sets to be traded to friends.

Next, came transmuting and jewelry crafting. Now you could speed up that gear grind drastically just by obtaining the item and farming transmutes to transmute the gear into the desirable trait. But, the mother of all updates, was update 28 which added the sticker book. This became the holy grail of gear grinding solutions. A system to allow a collection of items by binding, selling or deconstructing and recreating it at with the transmute currency

Now, nearly every activity you do in ESO can feel rewarding

When someone asks you to do a random dungeon that otherwise wouldn’t interest you, guess what? You’ll need some random item from this dungeon to add to your sticker book so a no becomes a sure.

That random dungeon finder you were avoiding? now becomes a yes

That annoying AA trial you don’t want to see for the rest of time becomes a yes because you might as well fill out the sticker book

With these changes, it made the biggest problem I had with the game a non-issue.

Scale & Scope in ESO PvE

Content Cadence

Remember how I mentioned ESO’s never-ending content cadence? Well, if you love end game and enjoy always having something to do (outside of grinding) this is the game for you

Nearly every three months you either get some type of new PvE content whether it be a trial, dungeon, or feature. Almost without fail SOMETHING is added to the game. ESO has many forms of end game pve from housing, questing and so on

As far as content, ESO has two solo arenas Maelstrom Arena and Vateshran Hollows. Additionally, there are two four player arenas Dragonstar and Black Rose Prison. And an obscene 44 dungeons and counting designed for four players. Along with 10 different trials designed for 12 player groups to complete.

That is truly a heap of content comparing to games like Star Wars The Old Republic which is getting close to 10-year anniversary

Shockingly, ESO has managed to keep at least one to two gear sets relevant with each patch. Moreover, every patch an old useless set could get a re-work so even if you don’t see value in a set piece now, it surely could become meta the next update. Thus, the sticker book and the collection progress is a treasure hunt giving players like me an incentive to do nearly everything over and over and over

Incentives + variety + quality = a home run PvE game

Accessibility in ESO PvE

With a horde of content, it can be daunting to find what to do and an area to focus on, which is a critique I will get to later. However, an issue that has changed for the better is the ease and accessibility to play the normal versions of PvE

Nerfs Can Create Accessibility

It used to be very difficult to get a normal trials group together. Hours laters, and many soul gems consumed, my experience would usually end up in frustration and disappointment

ESO has really scaled back the difficulty of “normal” mode trials, dungeons and arenas—allowing for most players to get a taste of the content. With this change, you now can complete most normal arenas, dungeons and trials with ease. Especially always having a battle buddy at your side, with the addition of companions.

This is important because this means that virtually all players, no matter your skill level, have access to the same gear, just lower quality. I remember when very few groups could complete White Gold Tower. I mean, flexing a Molag Kena helm made you feel like you had achieved boss level

Speaking of flexing, the sheer amount of achievements is daunting. ESO started adding many more mementos, titles, skins, dyes, etc. back in 2016 and never really stopped. Incentives, utility, enjoyment…this is what ESO end game PvE is all about

Improvement with Dungeon Design & Mechanics

Lastly, ESO made many positive changes on dungeon design and mechanics. Making content more enjoyable and rewarding to complete.

Take Fungal Grotto 1 for example. The dungeon is so simplistic that it can be completed in less than 5 minutes on normal. But fast forward to the two new dungeons, Red Pedal Bastion and Dread Cellar, and there is enormous improvement. Each of these dungeons has puzzles, secret bosses, tons of achievements and three separate hard modes. It takes hours to master and beating all three hards modes is a legit challenge for the sweatiest of PvErs, including myself

The developers have also really expanded the types of mechanics in each dungeon. Take for example, Unhallowed Grave, this dungeons has mechanics like needing to swing between grappling points to get to the dungeon bosses and survive in battle. This is a far cry from most PvE content, where you could skip nearly every mechanic high DPS

There is Always Something To Do in ESO

So no matter what kind of a player you are, casual, hardcore, or middle of the road, there is something for you to do in ESO.

You like questing? Great, you’ll have gazzilion hours worth!

You’re a hardcore sweaty player trying to push score and set records on the leaderboards? Great, there’s a lot for you to do

Or if you’re like me, you love 4 player content and the occasional lone wolf arena

But not everything can be good, right?

The Bad in ESO PvE

So Much To Do in, So Little Time

Remember when we talked about the endless amount of content in ESO? While that can be a good thing as there is always something to do, it can also be a big downside, as it can be overwhelming for many players since there is not necessarily any clear linear direction. Other games have a clear sense of progression that usually starts with leveling the character. Once you reach max level, you start to improve your gear. Gear is boosted by stats primarily, with a moderate emphasis placed on set bonuses

Level cap typically increases throughout the life cycle of the game. Thus, a need to increase level and re-grind gear. However, ESO’s endgame is a bit more deceptive than that

No Clear Path

First you hit level 50, now what?

Well, just because your level 50 doesn’t mean your character is optimized! Half the time, once I reach max level, I spend another 10-20 hours leveling up skills, skill lines and finishing maxing out my morphs. (I’m looking at you undaunted, fighters guild and psijic skill line)

Okay so 50 is max level?

Not quite…now you have champion points to grind, at least to CP level 160

Now I surely must be at end game?

Nope, you’ll need to continue to increase your CP up to 1500-1600 to fully reach max potential

So, let’s say you’re one of the few to do that, now what Well…..that’s tricky because there is no clear path, there is no gear score and no real sense of which trial or dungeon to start

How Can ESO PvE Be Fixed?

Take for example, the “random dungeon finder.” It’s a total crap shoot depending on what you get. Maybe you get Fungal Grotto 1 Veteran and it takes you 10 minutes with a pug group. Or maybe you get Stone Garden and you cannot complete the first boss 4 hours in…The game seems to favor immersion over a helpful que finder and tiered rewards based on the challenges

Tier System Based on Difficulty

My Solution? Have a bracket system based on dungeon difficulty

For Tier 1 you could have your base game non-dlc content like the Banished Cells, Spindlecutch, and Fungal Grotto

Tier 2 could be your early DLC dungeons like Imperial City Prison and White Gold Tower

Tier 3 could consist of super challenging dungeons like Lair of Maarselok and Stone Garden

Each tier should come with increased incentives and rewards. For example, let’s say 2 undaunted keys for t1 hard mode, 4 keys for t2, and 6 keys for t3 with increased experience. With 44 dungeons and more to come from, it’s absolutely impossible for the average, new, or returning player to know what the heck to do in all of these dungeons!

Speaking of the que finder, why aren’t trials in there?

Yes, most folks reluctantly sit in Craglorn, flexing their achievements and soliciting for a trial group, but the game should have some built in system to make it easier for players to run trials.

Again, stagger the tier so it’s a logical progression with AA/Hel ra in t1 all the way up to Rockgrove in t3

Champion Points in ESO PvE

Flaws With The Champion Point System

I’m not a big fan of the companion point system as I much prefer static level increases yearly with chapters, although I may be in the minority. I believe that the Champion Point System hinders new players wanting to try ESO out because they are so far behind. People hop into my stream every day and ask if it’s possible to catch up to max CP, so I know it’s a concern.

ESO could go one of a few ways with the champion points. They could go with a classic tree/specialization that is somewhat boring, and what most games rely on. They could increase levels every year though that would separate a large part of the community with those who bought the chapter and those would didn’t. Or they could make the power ceiling of the champion point system much lower, BUT the utility much higher. Meaning, let’s say it takes roughly 1600 to reach maximum effectiveness within Champion Points, why not make it 400?

Now instead of having a bunch of useless slottables that no one uses they could expand on the green tree’s utility passive perks, adding helpful crafting passives, speed boost, and questing perks. They could have increased incentives for gold gains, alliance point gains, random treasure perks, faster lock picks, etc. This would create a ton of utility to gameplay. Now, new and returning players are not at a massive disadvantage and more seasoned players like myself still have a reason to collect champion points.

As a business, I’d think ESO would want to attract newer players to jump in and feel like they can reach end game in obtainable time. However, if they want to achieve that successfully, they will need to make some changes to the end game and create a more clear path of progression for newer players


While I may have given some critical feedback there, I had to dig deep to come up with improvements for ESO PvE. That’s because ESO PvE is so damn good in comparison to other MMOs! I consider myself a medium sweaty PvPer who loves PvE, so let me leave you with this story: Dragonstar Arena is older than my 5-year-old son, and I still try to play it once a week because I love it. Not only is this content still relevant and fun, but ESO has something for everyone!

Hardcore solo players have VMA/Vateshran score pushes

Casual trials can pug together and complete something on normal

Or Sweat Lord PvErs who love challenges and achievements, can push trial scores with burn strats

You could spend an entire lifetime collecting achievements, questing, and now running around with your companions. There’s just a few changes that need to be made to end game to give the average player a clear sense of direction and ease to enter. But then again, I’m just one player with a strong opinion!

So, what did I miss, what do you agree or disagree with? I look forward from learning from you as always!