Last night I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about MMORPGs and she mentioned that she had logged into a game recently and had a visceral reaction. Upon logging in she saw what a state of disarray her bags were, and when she tried to go to the bank to simply just stuff it all in there… was confronted with the same thing going on there. She ultimately just logged out and went on to play something else. This exact sequence has happened to me time and time again and is the biggest obstacle for me playing certain games. A big game on that list is Rift. Right now every single corner of my bank is full, and most of my bags as well. Every so often I have the desire to play the game, but when I log in and see a few hours worth of sorting ahead of me to get my bags into a state where I can feel comfortable playing… I just log back out frustrated. In my case the bags are full of non-critical items like dimension stuff and crafting materials… but it isn’t stuff I am willing to part with either. So instead of playing the game like I originally wanted, I just lament how I don’t have a good solution to fix the problem.
I am in a similar place right now with World of Warcraft. My bags, bank, and void storage are completely full with cosmetic gear for transmogrification. I know that with Legion they are putting in a system that will allow me to save the graphic and not have to keep the item. However in the mean time I am stuck juggling all of this loot with no real end in sight. Sure I could get marginally larger bags, but that would only buy me a few slots worth of reprieve rather than being a permanent solution. So with World of Warcraft, I honestly doubt I will be seriously playing that game until the pre-legion patch launches… that hopefully gives us the transmog solution. This is a situation I am very familiar with because I have struggled with it for years in Everquest II, but in that case it is simply because the inventory maintenance systems they have are pretty horrible and I can’t remember what half of the items I have looted actually do. I wish games would have tool tips that clearly identified what an item is used for, because in the past I have accidentally sold that one important item that I could never get back to complete a quest, and I am in constant paralysis when it comes to potentially doing the same thing again.
Since Rift is the king of adding in new and interesting systems to solve problems. I would like to humbly suggest two more be added to the pile. Basically for me personally I need bulk storage for Dimension items and Crafting materials. So what I propose is an account wide bulk storage system. For the dimensions some sort of toolbox that you can dump items into and then place them directly from a panel that collects and shows you how many of each item you have. In order to remove items from the economy and not allow players to just horde items that they might later sell, I would suggest that adding a dimension item binds it to you so that it can only be used in dimensions attached to your account. There would probably need to be a limit to the number of a single item you are storing, but in theory it just goes into the void and then is summoned inside of your dimension via the toolbox panel. This solves a bunch of problems other than storage, namely that the toolbox interface would allow you to see just what you had to place, and even more so what you were lacking so you could go off and acquire those items in particular. Wildstar has a system very similar to this, and it works amazingly well. Having something in place similar would allow me at least to tame my bag bloat.
From the crafting side of the equation I suggest a similar system. When you dump your crafting materials into bulk storage they again go into the void and are only extracted through crafting. Once again this keeps players from stockpiling materials that could then be used to flood the market at a later date. Putting them into bulk storage would essentially remove them from the economy. Once again it would be best to have this system be account wide, so that you could farm materials on any of your characters and share them for the purpose of crafting. I would absolutely love something like this because I obsessively harvest nodes… but often times have nothing I really need to do with them. I simply stockpile them for that moment I will eventually need them. If I were smart I would simply sell them on the open market, knowing that I could buy them once more if I actually needed them for a project. Instead I dump them in my bank and they take up space. What I envision for an interface is a pretty minimal on, with just each of the crafting materials listed out by category… and a number beside each indicating how many you have in bulk storage. Guild Wars 2 has a similar system that works amazingly well, and seeing something like that in Rift would make my day. Basically having these two systems, combined with the “appearance saving” systems that Rift and Wildstar already have… and World of Warcraft is about to get… would fix almost all of my bag woes.