The Daily Grind: What’s the most important feature of MMO inventory systems?

A couple of weeks ago, we ran a story on ARK Park that included the image above, which just cracked me up. I mean, I get that VR games have an extra challenge when it comes to how they’re going to display your inventory in a believable and immersive way, but I was figuring that would manifest as a bag you can virtually rifle through, or store shelves at the merchant. I didn’t figure on a 3-D view on a panel within your field of view — it seems like a step backward for immersion.

That got me thinking about what I want out of MMO inventories in general. I’m playing Guild Wars 2 right now, and I have to say that the basic inventory right out of the box with even just a few option tweaks is one of the best in the genre, full stop, thanks to good color coding, a wallet, sorting bags, a “one bag” feature, the automatic compact option, and above all else, that “deposit all materials” clicky. I have to use several mods in top-end MMOs like World of Warcraft or Elder Scrolls Online to get my character inventory to this level, and even then this is just slicker. And that’s before I get to the shared bank and crafting — for me, the ability to craft without hauling crap out of my bank or bag is the number one thing I look for when it comes to MMO inventories (and I’m so glad to see it becoming more and more common!).

How about you? What’s the most important feature of MMO inventory systems?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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30 Comments on "The Daily Grind: What’s the most important feature of MMO inventory systems?"

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camelotcrusade

For me the interesting thing about the GW2 inventory is that is pretty much acknowledges your “stuff” may as well be values on a spreadsheet. Then it gives you some tools to manage your ever-growing dataset.

That’s good, but what do I really like? Not needing so much “stuff” in the first place. I liked the early days of SWTOR when it didn’t matter that I didn’t have much bag space because frankly I didn’t have much that I needed put in it. Having come into it fresh off of EQ2, where I hoarded literally everything (banks with bags within bags, click the “open all” button and have a bag-pocalypse) it was a breath of the freshest air.

Duane_Does_not_check_email
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Duane_Does_not_check_email

Throw away junk

Polyanna
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Polyanna

The only inventory feature that ever has impressed me, and even changed my behavior in playing the game, is ESO’s Crafting Bag, with infinite space for crafting materials.

This is exactly the sort of actual tangible benefit to gameplay that I’m happy to pay a subscription to have. It’s not game breaking and doesn’t grant actual character power, but it’s a huge and hugely welcome convenience, especially because it’s entirely transparent and requires exactly zero fiddling or “management” in any form.

It’s even made me enjoy a whole new aspect of the game in crafting and gathering, to the extent that I’ll go ridiculously far out of my way to gather any harvest node that I happen to sight in-game, I obsessively open every single crate and sack and cupboard that I find in every dungeon and house, and I love coming back to town with bags busting full of gear to deconstruct into materials.

For whatever reason, I just enjoy collecting all this crap a whole lot more when I know there is no limit to how much of it I can packrat away to use “someday,” and I never even knew this was something that was fun until I had this wonderful bottomless bag to (never) fill up with things.

Compared with everything else I have ever seen done with “inventory” in games, this is the only one that stands out to me as actually good, rather than merely tolerable.

Aside from that, the only other thing I’ll say is that I far prefer ESO’s minimalist scrolling list of items, with no attempt at any actual “bag” or “grid” presentation. It’s one of those teeny little things that shouldn’t bug me, but does, when any system attempts to impose some sort of physical metaphor on inventory, like any sort of “grid,” I just wind up spending far more time than I actually should making things “even out.” So please just don’t.

I mean, I’m lugging around sixteen greatswords in this magical invisible bag as it is. No need to pretend we’re striving for any actual semblance of reality here. Just let me pay as little attention as I possibly can to it.

flatline4400
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flatline4400

One thing I desperately miss from EQ1 is the ability to just press a key and have all the tooltips for the items in my open bags appear at once, essentially in a list form. It’s a lot easier to discern by reading than trying to tell the difference between low-rez-blob and slightly-different-colour low-rez-blob…

Or just be like EVE and show it all to me in a list/spreadsheet. I’m good with that.

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Rottenrotny

Gonna have to agree with the other and say stacking.

Also, some kind of sort function and I always appreciate account/server wide bank space.

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Chris Brown-DeMoreno

Convenience features. Things like the ability to store crafting materials in permanent storage and craft from that storage without having to withdraw them to your character inventory (even if this requires you to be in the town its stored in). Things that reduce a lot of running around and unnecessary clicking.

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Armsbend

Stacking, sort options and not creating an item pool intentionally created simply to fill your boxes for a trip to the cash shop – Like Marvel Heroes and Dungeon Fighter. The latter is a an instant delete from hard drive once I see it now.

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Paragon Lost

Stacking.

styopa
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styopa

I liked GW2s…until I realized it was entirely too convenient. I play a fantasy-medieval mmo on purpose, because the world has constraints. No cars, no jet airliners, no telephones.

Nah, I don’t like the ease of use features. I prefer the somewhat-clumsy-and-tedious (to a point) that makes me feel like it’s more like real life than, say, a superconvenient video game where everything is easy at your fingertips.

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Little Bugbear

Crafting bags and lots of bank space.