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Posted: May 7th 2010 8:14AM Grok said

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Great article and I couldn't agree more. Inventory management is something I've grown very tired of in MMOs. It's one of the main reasons I stopped playing LOTRO.

I would log in, look at my bag and realize I had at least 15 to 20 minutes of inventory management before I could go out questing and it would just sap my will to even play. I want to play a game. If I wanted to "tidy up" I would have folded laundry or vacuumed the rug, or any other number of things my wife would much prefer me to do.

Inventory management is not fun. Kill it.

Posted: May 7th 2010 1:54PM yeppers said

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The issue with LotRO inventory is the drops. You get tons of gray, crafting, and class items off most of your kills. Thankfully, quest items don't affect your inventory. When I first started playing I kept wanting to save the drops for alts or auction it off to make money. Now I vend most of the stuff I acquire unless I know it will sell fast on the AH or I really need it.
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Posted: May 7th 2010 8:20AM (Unverified) said

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I could be wrong, but inventory limits are simply there to make the player waste time and resources -- time running back to dump the loot & back and resources for expanding the inventory limit(s).

It's one of those goofy traditions in MMOs (and rpgs in general) that will probably never go away. At least as long as there is loot in a game.

At least loot has gotten easier to deal with -- mmo devs *are* learning from the past. Remember lootris from Diablo/Diablo2? Those fun fill days of using the Huradrim cube to store stuff.... Oh and ask any FFXI veteran about having to spending millions of gil on gob-bag quest mats and storing gear for 10 different classes.

Posted: May 7th 2010 8:40AM Tanek said

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Inventory management has another aspect that is not directly related to gameplay mechanics. Database mechanics. Every item on every character has to be tracked in the game's database. Depending on the game, the number of players, the number of character slots per account...it can add up quickly.

I think quite a bit can be done to help with inventory bloat, though. Grok mentioned LotRO. While they still have a ways to go (get the skirmish marks out of our bags and give us a way to manage rep items, please! :) ), they did make one major improvement. Most quest items no longer need to go into your bags and are instead "stored" in your quest log.

Most of the inventory problems I have these days come from the "fluff" items. Cosmetic armor, festival doodads, etc. For some of the things like this, I'd actually like to see a system similar to how GuildWars deals with festival masks. As long as you have acquired a mask and shown it to a certain NPC, that NPC can, for a small fee, recreate that specific mask for your character at ant time. No need to hold onto it in inventory. I love that idea.

I am sure inventory management will continue to evolve. I don't see it going away entirely, but the devs will, I hope, continue to provide us tools that make it less of a hassle on both sides of the equation.
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Posted: May 7th 2010 10:06AM (Unverified) said

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I agree with Tanek, but it can be done. Eve-Online has unlimited inventory at stations. I think the way that it works with that game is that when you enter a system it tallies up all the items you have of a certain type. Since there are only a certain number of item types, and a certain number of items with certain stats it gives the possibility for the max number of records per character and that's something you can plan for and manage.

Apparently, technology and conventional play in eve have made places like jita possible. There are insane amounts of inventory there and more-over it's literally a stock-market kind of trade. Things are sold and bought at a phenomenal rate.

Surely if CCP can deal with "the Jita problem" if other companies didn't want to be cheap and safe they could come up with creative answers as well.
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Posted: May 7th 2010 8:26AM (Unverified) said

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I like realism in my games so I dont think they should take inventory managment out.

People cant carry 400lbs of gear in real life(example) so they shouldnt be able to in a game if the designers want it to have any realism.

Theyres a ton of ways around this from getting your strength attribute up through training or one of the items you carry around.

If we go the other way we'll still see people complaining but now it will be about how they have to much crap in their inventory and cant find things and they wished the game had limited it.

Posted: May 7th 2010 8:47AM engrey said

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The realism argument for games has always made me laugh. In a science-fiction/fantasy world how can a giant cow, wearing plate armor, swim in water? How can enemies not die instantly when I hit them with a lightsaber? You do not even have realism in most FPS games, shoot a guy with a gun he will loose some health. Stay out of combat for long enough and you regenerate it back. Honestly if you want realism in your game go play Rainbow Six with instant show kills on you and your enemies. Or go play Gran Turismo, the care handling is very realistic in that game. However when it comes to MMOs, or any game really, game-play mechanics will come before lore and realism every single time.
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Posted: May 7th 2010 9:25AM Ocho said

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Its called "willing suspension of disbelief". When fantasy or non-realistic elements are introduced in literature, movies, and games, the audience suspends their judgement of its implausibility in order to enjoy it more.

WoW does this perfectly by keeping a "cartoony" level of graphics. Not only is it easier on lower end systems, but it also makes the suspension process easier (I mean c'mon... Goretusks in Westfall... how come only 1 in 6 has a liver?!!! Mutant liver-less beasts...). The more realistic they make something, the more you start seeing complaints about implausibility.
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Posted: May 7th 2010 10:54AM engrey said

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I just call it a video game, even in racing or sports games, sure they look better then ever but that does not mean people still want it to be as realistic as possible. How many people really want to slow down for corners in a racing game instead of drifting or blazing through them? How many people really want a football game to last three hours and have a twenty minute half-time? How many people in BC:2 or MW2, want to die from one shot (Excluding the hardcore modes since that is a given?) I see your point but I still think it is one of the worst excuses, its a game, not real life.
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Posted: May 7th 2010 4:10PM drunkenpandaren said

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@MCRaider

I think he calls for a certain amount of realism not the extreme amount in any of those examples. Some people just like to play inventory tetris for example. Some people don't.
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Posted: May 7th 2010 8:25AM Beau Hindman said

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I'm not sure I see the problem, I find inv. management a lot of fun. (Where is Bhagpuss when you need him?) Seriously, though, if we want *any* kind of realism in our games, and allow it with systems like death (even in it's flawed way) then why don't we have to take a few moments and decided what is worth what?

Like I said, I enjoy it. Call me crazy.

Beau

Posted: May 7th 2010 8:25AM Dumac said

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Well if you have an inventory, you're going to have inventory management. Whether it's slot based, weight based, or has infinite capacity, your going to have to manage it, you're going to have to decide what to keep and what to sell, how to organize groups of potions and groups of weapons and such.

I don't see how you could get rid of it. Unless you invent a "cloud based" inventory in which items such as crafting items would only be available at your local crafting station/npc, or your weapons would only be available from your equipment screen, and such, and you don't bring anything with you.

But whether it's a good thing or a bad thing, it's here to stay and i'm kinda used to it. I don't have any negative feelings towards it.

Posted: May 7th 2010 8:36AM nomoredroids said

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^^ This was what I would have said, so I'll just let him say it :) ^^
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Posted: May 7th 2010 8:32AM Slowrollin said

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Rare/ex storage in ffxi if you have multiple capped jobs was always a bitch IMO.

Posted: May 7th 2010 8:37AM SgtBaker said

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More like asset management in EVE - logistics (moving your assets around) is a bit part of EVE strategy.. Your 0.0 space empire is going to be in trouble if you don't have working logistics dept (fuel for your towers, JB's, Caps etc) and good hauling infrastructure (Freighters, Jump Freighters, Jump Bridge networks) etc.

It takes a lot of thought and it's very integral part of EVE..

Posted: May 7th 2010 8:41AM SgtBaker said

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Oh and the flipside of the coin is - enemy logictics infrastructure should be attacked, their empire hauling corps war decced and their Jump Bridges camped.

If you can deny your enemy access to safe supply lines you've got a clear advantage when your main forces assault their space.
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Posted: May 7th 2010 9:09AM Tom in VA said

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Inventory management is ... OK.

Where it really gripes me is when it comes to those stupid reputation tokens. Reputation tokens should be immediately logged into whatever reputation it applies to and then ... disappear.

I can live with managing crafting items, gear, etc., but the piles and piles of different reputation tokens in one collects in WoW and LotRO drove me nuts.

Maybe the answer to inventory management is to allow the player to sell off items wherever they happen to be (rather than having to hunt for a merchant).

Posted: May 7th 2010 9:16AM Wisdomandlore said

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In regards to LOTRO, the techs over there explained that inventory was one of the biggest loads on the game (the other being quest tracking). These games are hosted on multiple servers, and any time you crossed between a server, the game had to transfer all your items from one to another. As thousands of players could be doing this simultaneously, Turbine couldn't up the amount of space given. And eventually they did fix many of the woes, upping stack sizes and removing quest items, although you still had to carry around a billion different barter tokens.

Two things really bug me about most MMO's inventory: trash loot and icons.

Trash loot is just an annoyance. No one is excited to get trash loot. It's an arbitrary mechanic to force you to go back to town and sell. And why any old trader NPC would buy "Noxious Goo" or "Broken Insect Wing" is beyond me. At least in FFXI, the mobs dropped crafting ingredients (of which there were tons) or crystals. Even if they weren't worth something, they had some purpose beyond taking up bag space.

The icon system most MMOs use drives me crazy, too. How on earth is 50-100 small icons better than a text list that can be sorted by alphabet, type, etc? Have the icons so you can drag them to your quick bar, but go back to text lists instead of bags and bags of tiny pictures.

Posted: May 7th 2010 10:31AM swarmofcats said

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SWG and EVE have good systems to handle this. You could get an icon with short overlay text or detailed list display depending on how you wanted your inventory window displayed at the time. It works similarly to how you can change between icon/list/detail display in Windows OS and is just as useful.
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Posted: May 7th 2010 9:23AM (Unverified) said

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I loved UO's system. It did not matter how MANY items you had but how HEAVY the items were. So a few sets of plate armor in your inventory would weigh you down a lot and you couldn't carry much else. But small items, tokens, tools, etc wouldn't be very heavy.

But try selling a system like this to today's players. "What? The light armored wizard can carry much more armor in his inventory than my paladin??? not fair! *cry*"

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