Here's my 2c from a long time DAoC, WoW, WAR player.
I never believed the bugs or the bots were that serious. Those problems are easily fixable. The bigger problem, the one which caused the mass exodus is a design issue, imo.
In a nutshell the population spreads out so thinly by Vet time that the impetus for playing disappears. Certainly the “solo” aspect to the game compounds that problem, but in the world of MMO’s low population is king…of death. Maybe the game world in ESO and Cyrodill in particular is too big.
It seems to me the game was originally built with Cyrodill functioning as the main end game. (Certainly the itemization in the game leads one to that conclusion.) The decision to access the other realms and force Vet levels on everyone changed the nature of the game from pvp to pve. The pve was thus tacked on to a pvp game. (At least ESO can claim that as a first, dubious as it is).
I think Vet levels put an unexpected pve barrier between level 50 and Cyrodill effectively reducing the subscription population. So, is character progression necessary in the secondary realms? Can’t the other factions be a place of slightly harder dungeons or something?
The second thing on my mind is the lack of connections between places in the game world. WOW had linear progression zone by zone crap, but at least they had two continents which you continuously visited, and the major cities, Orgrimmar in my case, was a hub. Who the *** goes to Mournhold? But more importantly this zone by zone levelling is passé. Why can’t you do some level 1-20 quests in all the zones and then go back and forth? That would have made the most sense especially in a game like ESO. For example as a level 15 EP main story quest you travel to Auridon to assassinate someone.
I do believe this is the nicest game world I’ve seen and maybe, just maybe, the trend for these large companies to spend a ton of money on MMORPG game development only to see an epic fail is changing. Maybe it’s build it and then after 4-5 months close, rework, and reboot.