I have been thinking a lot lately about Dragon's Spine (because I have nothing else going in my life, obviously :D) trying to nail what is really wrong with this content. Although I am not a big fan of deserts DS looks very fine. But with all this eye candy comes very little content and whatever we have now gets topped easily by ROGS expansions which is still "go-to" zone for lvl80 characters.
What I do like about DS is that it is a harsh, unforgiving land with tough mobs. I got the same vibe from Kara Korum (back in the days of wearing blue items :X) and I like to be challenged by the environment rather than walking over whatever inhabitants of the zone I can get my daggers into. The second thing is overall design of the zone which feels very much hand-crafted with a lot of attention to the details. Nothing seems randomly generated. Sadly, that is about it.
Dragon's Spine is simply thin on content. Yes there is "epic" chain of quests, but apart from well written, Kull based stor,y DS can be "beaten" in one sitting and pretty much there is no reason to return to the zone. EVER.
What can be done about this?
MOA rewards and bags - with recent changes on TL quests in DS got MOA rewards and caravan bags. That is a step in the right direction, but far from what is needed to make the DS a destination for veteran players. Right now DS is offering few repetable quests that are on par with Chosain and Paikang so that is pretty good, right? Wrong. Not only questing in Chosain and Paikang is easier (quests givers and quest objectives are close to each other), but also you can level up you factions at the same time. More so in Paikang you can also hunt nightmare bubbles while questing and get a rare token for it. Simply jacking up MOA value per quest in DS is not the way to go so it has to be that second factor that is making ROGS more interesting: factions.
Factions - Lack of factions in DS is simply staggering. Faction game play doesn't have to be as elaborate as in ROGS, but many players enjoy the progression that comes from leveling faction (access to new items, quests and story). What factions we could have in DS? Expedition Guards faction and Bandits. Expedition Guards quests are ready as we could have whatever is now in DS. Bandits are also present in DS zone, but the current story doesn't even mentions them. Expedition Guards would give "protect" type of missions and Bandits would give "raid" type of missions. Rewards? Take whatever social armors you have crammed into Wyrm (there are 3 or 4 dropping there I think) and make them faction rewards bought with few rares. Add a buy-able camel mount (there is no in-game one currently) and a guard/bandit combat pet that deals some damage (like wolf/tiger) and gives a minor buff (like Kappa). Funcom doesn't need to give players more power via armor sets, but at the same time people like me are sitting on hundreds of rare tokens with NOTHING to spend them on. Give us stuff to buy.
Rare spawns - I have always enjoyed the thrill of killing a rare spawn monster that can drop blue/epic loot. Adding a random spawns to DS would make questing in DS more exciting, just like hunting for nightmare bubbles in Paikang.
Dig sites - ROGS had hidden treasures that you could dig up with a shovel. The problem was that those treasures were bags that gave us crap items. Take the same concept in DS, but at the same time upgrade the rewards so the searching for lost treasures is worthwhile. C'mon, this is ancient dig site, there is bound to be some cool crap laying around.
This zone has a lot of potential, but it needs some work to bring it up to speed. For the love of Mitra DON'T LEAVE IT AS IT IS because it will be a huge waste. The current version of DS offers so little value to the players that you can't even justify it being a premium content.