Most everybody likes RolePlayingGames in any sort or form, everyone that matters anyway. Surely enough, I've played many of them in my life, ranging from good to bad, but most were mainly good. They are fun, but everyone agrees that RPGs have some very bad things in common, one is the constant running around without anything much going on, just the running ... the other is inventory managment, and this is probably even worse as it is usually the culprit behind the running.
So what is the problem with inventory managment one might ask? There is only one really, it is never made so it would work with the player but rather so it works against them. It is a thing that is there to make the game more boring, yet more realistic. So ... a device that makes a fantasy imaginative game more realistic and unfun ... why exactly do we need this aspect of realism?
Sure, so it makes the whole process a bit harder and the game last longer and it is kind of important in giving the game some basic rules, but I stand by the fact that it could be made easier and better.
There are many different ways in making the inventory hate the user. The basic is how Diablo 1 does it, where the inventory is a small area of a few blocks and you can only fit so much in them, Diablo 2 improves this a bit with a chest you can leave at home. Then in DnD based games we have the blocks method combined with weight and here you have to be careful of both size of objects and their weight, a much better method, but still very limited. The way this is improved is that you have a party to which you can distribute your load, or the inventory has several pages so you can fit more in. The best are bags, they enlargen your inventory even though they only sometimes help with the weight.
Now, the best inventory I've ever seen was in UltimaOnline. It was a simple backpack that didn't care about placement, size or even orderliness, it only cared about weight. You could stash as many bags or even backpacks into it and thus have some basic organisation and overview. The problem here is only that objects can hide underneath eachother and if you're not careful you soon end up with a big incoherent mess, but that's ok, that's easy and it's simple and it doesn't annoy more than you let it.
So really, why dont' more great games also have good inventories that are simple to use and don't make you run around after every level you clean ...
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