A few weeks back, I was struck by just how efficient and helpful it would be if we could access the existing inventory management screens from each of our characters.
Nothing new, or at least no new screens or new functions, but instead it would use existing screens, combined in such a way that we could toggle from one character to another quickly and without logging off. I even made up a prototype of how it might look.
It’s back in my head, and I can’t seem to stay away from the topic. This would make playing the game so much more fun, and let us spend so much more time actually playing. I know I am not the only one who hates logging in just to clean up backpacks and shared bank. I know most of us, maybe even all of us, would rather be questing than clicking about in our backpacks.
Here’s how it works.
- Log into your account, just like you do now
- Choose a server, just like you do now
- At the character selection screen, instead of selecting a character and clicking Enter (or Transport to Eberron or Transport to Forgotten Realms) you click a new button: “Inventory Manager”
And you get this:
There is still a character selector. You can still change from one character to the other. When you do, Inventory Manager changes to the new character, showing the new character’s backpack and bank windows.
The screen is divided into three zones:
From right to left, The character selector zone is filled with the existing selector UI. The character inventory zone shows the character backpack, bank, and any opened bags (bags are a special case because swapping to a different character closes bags). The Inventory feature zone shows the currently selected inventory UI: Auctions, Bank, Mail or Vendor.
We’ve already seen the screen when the Bank feature is selected. Clicking on the Auctions button yields this view:
The Mail view looks like this:
And the Vendor view looks like this:
I am swapping the background images on purpose, to emphasize to the user that there has been a change. I specifically chose images with different dominant colors. Simple UI concepts, simple views.
Simple is as simple does; nothing to it right? Except no, we all know better, it seems that anything involving this game is just massively difficult to code. I am hoping that the reuse of existing user interfaces would simplify the work, maybe even simplifying it to a point where we could actually get this done.
To that end, I am skipping a global inventory search feature. For now. But only for now, because that would be the second greatest thing we would want in an Inventory Manager.
I am also skipping TR banks, for now, maybe forever. We use TR banks now as extra mule accounts; with a truly functional inventory system, maybe that would not be so necessary.
It would also be okay with me if barter windows could not be be activated while in the Inventory Manager, especially if that rule makes this more likely to happen. I am fine with having to actually log into the character in order to place augments or swap Heart Seeds or whatever.
When I posted the original version of this idea, astute reader Hoardy said
All we need is a shared bank with hundredS of slots, organized as char inventory tab style. Nothing (I guess) too complicated to design & implement.
And you know what? That would be awesome. Is it enough? Hard to say, without knowing the relative difficulty of implementing these ideas.
But we need something. Something! Inventory has simply become unmanageable.
The Crafting Storage bank was a big idea, and it helped, a lot! We need more big ideas. Mine, Hoardy’s, something else entirely. But something.
Something! Soon! Please!
🙂 😀 🙂