I'll admit, when I first got wind of the details of TESO, I was pissed and thought "Insta-Fail."
I had got it in my head that I'd be playing Oblivion/Skyrim/Morrowind but with others running around. Seeing the screens and hearing about turn based combat instantly turned me off.
Then I tried thinking about it in a different way. Maybe it won't be a BAD game if it does certain things right and gives you an Elder Scrolls feel to it as well.
Rules they can't break or it's going to fail big time:
Gear grinds through Tiers.
Small, instanced zones that break apart Tamriel (Think SWTOR)
The NEED to raid to participate and be successful in PvP (gear issue again)
Complicated gear stats
The lack of natural grouping
'Competing' in PvE.
I know that the initial shock of how DIFFERENT gameplay wise ESO will be than single player ES games is hard to shake, but that doesn't mean that this can't turn out to be a GOOD mmorpg. Now that I've thought about it a bit, got over the fact that I'm not playing Skyrim online, there is potential for this to be a really good MMORPG. Yeah, it won't rattle the world by being 100% different than WoW, but as long as they are smart about innovating within the genre and taking a hard look at what sucks in MMOs and remove it, this will be a good game.
About the bullet points. Gear grinds are horrible. I know that in TES lore there is magical gear that you wear to improve yourself as an adventurer. That needs to be in the game. But gear that provides so much power that someone with more skill but less gear stats loses every time to them should never exist. I hope Matt Froir (or whatever the DAoC dev's name is) learned from his mistakes with ToA. That expansion alone killed DAoC.
If they split off Tamriel into tiny zones that have multiple instances, that will kill the epic feel of the Elder Scrolls universe. I am most worried about this point because of the Hero engine, and SWTOR felt VERY small, despite the fact that it's span reached multiple planets. When I imagined myself playing SWTOR before it came out, I was thinking there would be multiple, HUGE planets to explore and that made me giddy. Turns out they were tiny, instanced zones, and that sucked really bad. I know that technological limitations will keep games from being completely open world for a long time, so splitting the game up between provinces and cities with a loading screen is fine. But damnit, if when I'm running across Skyrim in ESO, it shouldn't be broken down in load screens, and should be just like running through Skyrim in TESV.
One of the things I love about TES games is how natural, rewarding, and awesome questing is. If MMOs always featured quests like the ones in TES games, the quest era in MMOs wouldn't be stale like it is now. From what I read, there aren't quest hubs in this game which is great. But participating in the open world quests with other players better be natural, with equal rewards, and without forced grouping. It should be a lot like GW2.
The 3 faction PvP in ESO is what first caught my eye. As I mentioned before, ToA killed DAoC with it's need to participate in PvE trials and farm artifacts to stay relevant. Here's some obvious advice to developers that they seem to forget: PvPers want to PvP, not PvE then PvP. If I have to go do X raid to get X sword to not be at a major disadvantage in PvP, then forget it. This goes for stupid, pointless stats like TOR had with expertise. Keep it to +health, +magicka, +stamina, +carryweight, and resists, just like Skyrim.
Skill rotations, which were developed so retards could play MMOs, need to die. If Skyrim's combat is not going to be in ESO, then it needs to be like GW2. I played 30 hours in the BWE, and I've never had as much fun with combat in a game. I don't want ESO to COPY GW2, just like I don't want it to copy WoW, or any other game. But if it is going to be similar to one of those two games, make it GW2, not WoW.
Competeing in PvE. This is another thing that GW2 is getting right. Looks like ESO won't have quest hubs, but that doesn't matter at all if I'm clearing out a dungeon to rescue the hot Breton chick, and as I'm fighting the last mob, some jackass comes and swoops her away from me and gets the credit for the quest. GW2's lack of PvE competition is one of it's biggest assets, where I actually enjoy seeing other players come along. This is how it should be, and if ESO reverts to old competition-based PvE, it's not something that I can overlook now.
Hell, if they can pull this off, this could actually be a really good game. Sure, it won't play or be exactly like Skyrim, but that doesn't mean it's destined to fail. BUT, it has to do a lot right now to not come off as another WoW clone. I hope it will succeed in doing this stuff right, but I won't be buying this game until I know that it does. I'm not getting Biowared again.
Feel free to add, subtract, multiply, divide from what you think ESO has to do right, now that we know it's not Skyrim online, to succeed.