In the last post I touched on space issues in WoW and the impact they have on our gaming experience. There were a lot of points that I left unsaid, so I thought I’d delve into that a bit more as a separate post. Space is something that affects all of us and I think we all struggle with it at one point or another. We start out with one bag and very early on we start purchasing additional bags. Then we start segregating our junk between the bank and our bags. At some point we realize this isn’t sufficient for our needs and we start creating alts to house our extra stuff.
First, I’d like to comment on the whole concept of a bank alt. Anytime you’re in a situation where you abuse an existing game mechanic (multiple toons per server) to solve an unrelated problem (lack of space), that’s bad design. In the past Blizzard has argued that we should be required to make hard choices, they don’t want us to save everything. But lately they’ve been getting just as gluttonous as we have. In Wrath, every quest has a gizmo that you’re required to use to complete it. In-game events have more novelty items added every year. The whole situation is getting truly ridiculous. If they continue to stand by the ideal that players need to be selective in their packrat ways, the game designers need to start making those hard choices too.
Obviously there are two solutions here, they can either do away with unnecessary item glut such as quest objects or give us more space to compensate for them. Quite frankly, I think they should get rid of them. They’ve already integrated quest objects into the quest tracking interface, so we shouldn’t even need the stupid things in our bag. Just let us “use” items from the quest tracker and remove the need to store an identical object in a bag slot. If they don’t want to do that, they I expect compensation in the form of 25 free bag slots for quest items. My quest log holds 25 quests and theoretically I could have an object for each quest. The way I see it, they owe me 25 bag slots.
Then we have the bank system. I know they felt very generous when they gave us extra bank slots and such, but we all know that this is a joke. We all keep alts so we can double or triple our available space, so clearly the current bank space is not sufficient for the vast majority of players. Instead of turning a blind eye, let’s face the music here. People need more room for their stuff and if the developers refuse to address it then they should force themselves to do the same economizing they want us to do.
While I’m on the subject of unreasonable design, let’s talk about stack sizes. Is there any valid reason to stubbornly retain the 5 stack limit?? Seriously, why can’t we standardize on the 20 stack size? What are we proving here by forcing people to deal with 5 stacks of certain items? If the developers refuse to introduce major changes to inventory management, the least they could do is increase stack sizes so we can more effectively work within the current system. At this point we know it’s possible to go as high as 1000 objects in a stack, so a ridiculous limit like 5 is…. well, ridiculous.
There are also some special cases to consider, one of which is old gear. I know there are lots of us who would like to save our old gear, not to wear it but purely to honor or commemorate our past achievements. Blizzard gives us no way to do this… but why not? Especially now that we have Achievements in the game, why can’t we retire our old gear and relevant goodies from vanilla WoW or Burning Crusade? They want us to bond with our characters, feel a true sense of attachment that keeps us improving on them. Part of that bond includes the pride we get from previous achievements, but right now most of us are forced to throw our old glories away like last week’s leftovers. It’s sad to see gear you spent months accumulating end up in the trash heap behind the “Tanks for Everything” shop. I think the developers need to seriously consider implementing some mechanism that allows us to save our old gear. It could be as simple as an “Achievement” type window that let’s us archive older items that we want to save for posterity.
The last thing I want to talk about is novelty items. I will grant that some headway has been made in this area. Non-combat pets have been rolled into the interface, as well as mounts. This is great and has facilitated some collectors, but other collectors are still ignored. Tabards, holiday outfits and holiday trinkets are just a few items that still need attention. I mean, at one point we had an achievement that encouraged us to collect 20 costume masks for each racial/gender combination in the game. Why ask people to do this sort of thing when you know full well that it creates an inventory nightmare? The same could be said of collecting 200 chocolate eggs that only stack to 20. Holidays are getting out of control when it comes to inventory management, and I personally don’t think it’s fair to dump all this collecting in our laps and continue to ignore the aggravation it creates. Either remove the insane collection requirements or change the inventory system to account for them. Once again, a simple solution could be tweaking stack sizes. Let the chocolates stack to 250 so I don’t have to suck up 10 bag slots with them. And why can’t wands stack as well? If not, then just change the number of charges on each wand so I don’t need as many. This isn’t rocket science here, just common sense.
In closing, I think inventory management needs some attention and this is just a few of the areas that I think create the most frustration. Feel free to add your own comments as well.