Inventory Management

| Tuesday, December 1, 2015
I've been spoiled by World of Warcraft. Or more accurately, I've been spoiled by its openness to addons. I can customize my UI many ways: rearrange bars, change hotkeys, and most importantly: organize my bags. Everything is nicely sorted into gear sets, consumables, trade goods (by type), quests, trash, and so on. My auction addon gives a decent idea of what things are worth, too.

So when I complain about inventory management in Fallout 4, and Fallout 3, Fallout: New Vegas, Skyrim, and Oblivion, that's where I'm coming from. These games have terrible inventory management.

To begin: Miscellaneous. I've said before that this is a ridiculous 'category'. Some of these are crafting items. Some are vendor trash. Some are quest items, possibly for quests you don't even have.

On the first point: If a game has a crafting system that uses particular crafting materials, then those crafting materials should have their own tab. If there are multiple crafting types, then the materials for each should be able to be sorted or filtered.

Fallout 4 brings another level to this: materials within materials. Junk, once useless vendor trash, is now a source of rare crafting materials. Gun mods need nuclear material, turrets need circuits, electricity for your settlements (you do like indoor lighting, yes?) require copper. I've developed the habit of buying junk from vendors to get these materials. But which junk? Some junk gives steel, which is trivial to get. Some junk gives copper or oil, which are trickier. Yet, there is no way to filter by the type of sub-material in junk.

While we're at it, why not have a cost/weight display? I'm so often overloaded with items and stick the excessively weighty and non-valuable items in boxes to rot. I run the math in my head, but why not build it in? It's tiresome to wonder whether the 38 cap weapon for 3.9 weight is worthwhile, it's so close to 10/1 after all, but how close? Better than 54/5.2?

I give up! I have enough caps. I'll just pick up stuff that is worth my time. If it's not at least 100 caps, just don't even show it to me. Unless it's a junk item I need. Or a crafting material; I'm still leveling, after all.

Thanks, Piper, I can do something with this. No, Preston, this is not just junk. Maybe that's why your Minutemen fell apart, you didn't see the value in desk fans and dinner trays. Or maybe it's that you never stop asking people if you can have "that conversation". We had that conversation and I said I wasn't interested. Sexual harassment is not cool; not even in the post-apocalyptic future. I'm the man frozen in time since the future 50s, not you.


Kring said...

I don't know what's worse. Bad interfaces or addons which you have to download, configure, update and maintain. I hate both.

And I wonder why Blizzard didn't add a play store to their Battle.Net. Can you imagine how much money they could make with 30% of payed addons? And it would be a huge improvement for the players with a server side addon list and server side addon configuration.

Klepsacovic said...

I expect that a single-player game will have fewer and less frequent dramatically game-altering patches, so the addons should break less often. In WoW I've run supposedly out of date addons for months with few or no issues.

I'd argue that "configure" mostly means "customize", which is my goal anyway.

Charging for addons might be trouble. Since they're often UI improvements, it runs the risk of creating a worse game to have something to sell. That seems even worse than the risk of stripping content to sell later as DLC.

Beside that, tech support is expensive. It saves Blizzard a lot of money to be able to respond to all UI problems with "delete your WTF folder and disable addons". That will fix 99.99% of problems with the base UI. If it's theirs, then they have to fix it.

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