Feb 162016
 

Inventory Manager Again
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.

  1. Log into your account, just like you do now
  2. Choose a server, just like you do now
  3. 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:

 

Inventory Manager Bank screen

The Inventory Manager shared bank page. Click to enlarge

 

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:

 

Inventory Mananger screen allocation

 

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:

 

Inventory Manager Auction view

The Inventory Manager Auctions view. Click to enlarge.

 

The Mail view looks like this:

 

Inventory Manager Mail view

The Inventory Manager Mail view. Click to enlarge

 

And the Vendor view looks like this:

 

Inventory Manager Vendor view

The Inventory Manager Vendor view. Click to enlarge

 

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!

πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚

  13 Responses to “Inventory Manager. Again.”

Comments (13)
  1. Doesn’t seem like an impossible task. Just not sure how accessible our character data is from outside of the character. Definitely not insurmountable, just a question of development resource being applied to the problem πŸ™‚ One of the after-maths of the last dupapalooza though could be a veto from on high on anything that relates to inventory systems. I’d settle for a filter on my TR cache to begin with πŸ™‚

  2. Yes, this proposed inventory system would greatly improve DDO and allow substantial time savings. Many players have a few dozen alts after years of game play, with multiple mule toons, so an Inventory Manager that could be used account wide would be very attractive to the veteran player base. Do you think Turbine hasn’t done something like this already due to concerns over the server lag the Inventory Manager might cause?

    • I imagine it is more like:

      (1) Inventory is boring. Devs prefer sexier things; new feats and whatever
      (2) The team seems unbelievably constrained in what they are allowed to do
      (3) Oh and dupers mean this would have to be actually tested and not just unit tested

      Put all that together and it becomes easier to pick something else out of the pile. None of these issues are actually hard, but someone has to want to do them and champion the idea and apparently no one does.

      • You know, if I had the programming skills and the keys to the backside of the game to do this for them, I would. I’d do it for my own personal sanity, the sanity of my friends, and the sanity of the community in general.

        I heard that they have only three programmer-types working that end of the game, and I wonder what their workload actually is… I’ll bet that it is somewhere in the list of stuff to do, but where it is, is a mystery.

  3. Don’t forget room for the TR Cache for those TRing kinda folks.

  4. Turbine, please do this. TAKE MY MONEY!

    /-)

  5. Love this! we also need a Cosmetic Closet/Wardrobe/Armory

    • I have discussed a Cosmetics Tab on Inventory a number of times on the forums, which would be similar to the Pet Tab that is shared between characters. The cosmetic item storage tab would be called “The Dressing Room”, like the same feature in The Secret World MMO. Cordovan has mentioned in a live stream that this request is on the devs’ list of “things to do” but there is no ETA.

  6. New features like this would be very nice πŸ™‚

  7. Something like this could even be a favor perk or a vip perk (or purchasable). So F2P and Premium accounts can see/manage 2 or 4 characters while vips get all of them. Would love to see the house K ultimate favor range be that you get to add that character to the login inventory management system (maxing out house K favor…)

    Could even do it in stages – House K max gets bank view for that character, House C max gets inventory view for that character – House Cannith gets bag views for crafting and crafting bank –

    Ohh, and how about having current raid timers be available from that screen as well so you can see which toons are on timer for which quest, etc….

    Dupers are definitely a concern (no matter how much you test it people always find ways to exploit).

    And you are definitely correct in that its not the flashy/sexy choice for an update. At the end of the year its always better to say “Look we made this new class or that new race plus 15 new quests….) than to say hey now you can see your stuff…. πŸ™‚

    Great idea, and very nice work putting it together – looks snazzy. I’d definitely save up TP for purchasing something like this.

    Having an export your inventory to excel format would be nice too…..just sayin

What do you think?

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