When the topic of exploration in an MMO comes up, it causes me to massive eyeroll. Usually what ‘exploration’ means in an MMO is heavily pre-planned, pre-set, and usually pre-marked locations for you to ‘explore’ off a checklist. It’s not only lame, but thinly veiled achiever stuff.
ESO is a bit different in this regard, because it has ‘true’ explorer content; completely optional, not must-have power, off-the-beat-path stuff that if you look around you can find, but if you don’t it doesn’t really matter in the long run. That last bit is especially important, because if the explorer content is found to be a must-have, it becomes part of every guide and recommendation and stops being something to find.
Speaking of guides, I think the best bit of advice I can offer related to ESO is don’t look stuff up as you play. Don’t look up maps, don’t look up builds, don’t look up ‘how to’ guides for crafting; just play the game. More than most recent MMOs, ESO offers a lot to someone willing to just play it, and so far it also hasn’t been punishing for ‘missing’ anything.
Maybe that balance shifts at later levels, but so far the game has just been a rewarding journey. Don’t spoil it for yourself to min/max; there will be plenty of time for that at the level cap.