Jan 272016
 

Inventory Manager

I tried to sum up all of the time that I’ve spent mucking about with DDO’s archaic and incredibly click-intensive inventory system. This math is pretty vague, but …

Assumption 1:

Every time I play, I need to spend a few minutes in inventory “cleaning up”. So … say two minutes per character per play session?

Assumption 2:

At least some of those sessions, say one in four? I play more than one character. We’ll call it two characters for simplicity.

Assumption 3:

At least once every couple of weeks I have to log in and spend awhile doing nothing but managing inventory and auctions and mail. So … say 30 minutes every other week? Probably longer, and probably more often, but I am being conservative.

I started playing September 2006. I play most days, at least 80% of days, probably more like 90-95% but I am being conservative. That is nine years and five months, or 3437 days. Per Assumption #1, that is 2750 sessions (being very conservative, and ignoring the many, many times that I have played all day long in multiple sessions. According to Assumption #2, that takes us back to 3437 again, with this number representing the (incredibly conservative) number of times I’ve had to clean up characters. Or 6875 minutes. Or 114 and a half hours.

Nine years and five months is 488 weeks. According to Assumption #3, on half of those weeks I’ve logged in just to do inventory management. 244 inventory sessions. At 30 minutes each, that is 7320 minutes. Or another 122 hours.

In other words, I’ve spent 236 hours doing nothing but clicking on DDO inventory. That is nearly ten days. Ten days! Time that I can never get back. And again, I am being incredibly conservative; an accurate number would probably be much, much higher.

Oh. My. God.

The Shared Crafting Bank has been a huge quality of life improvement. Huge. I cannot even estimate the number of clicks it has saved me. Thousands, for sure, maybe dozens of thousands. Maybe hundreds.

Nonetheless, even with that improvement, inventory still sucks. Badly. It is time to change this. Past time, really, before it gets to the point where the thought of painfully click-managing my inventory – again – is enough to make me just play Civilization instead. I will neither confirm nor deny whether this may have happened already. More than once.

I know this is not just me. Last night my guild wanted to run Legendary Tempest Spine, but we had to wait several minutes while characters cleared enough backpack space to carry all the loot. Tempest Spine has a lot of chests, but not that many. And yet, five minutes went by while several people stopped playing so they could furiously click about their inventories.

I once spent about a week soliciting readers for ideas for a mobile app and, combined with my own ideas, laid out a mobile app that included cross-character inventory management. Frankly, I still believe that something like that is the “right” way to resolve this, with the side benefit of letting us sort of play DDO even when in the office or otherwise away from the computer.

But I have no illusions that anything like that is possible in today’s environment. We can’t even get all new content; it seems incredible to imagine that we could get all new development. So instead, now I am proposing a solution that uses only existing components, requires one to be in the game, but is still completely worthwhile.

It would just be new screens. Still new development, and I do not pretend even for a minute that this would be easy. But maybe, easier? And not so over-the-top difficult that it gets dismissed out of hand.

Here. Look. This is Phase 1:

 

Shared Bank with Character Selector

Shared Bank with Character Selector

 

And so is this.

 

Mail with Character Selector

Mail with Character Selector

 

Two new screens. One that shows shared bank and character inventory, and another that shows mail along with your character inventory. The thing that makes them different is that you can select the character on the fly; I can look at Sparksy’s inventory or I can look at Ejecta’s. In one click. Without logging anyone in or out. I can drag something out of Rancyd’s mail, put it in shared bank, swap to Oriental, and move it into her backpack. All without logging anyone in or out.

I don’t care if the screens are super-fast; I understand that there are timing problems inherent in stopping dupers and I would expect that to apply here too.

I don’t care if I can get to these new screens while in normal play; I am totally cool with having these be part of the log in screen or something, meaning you could only use them when no one is logged in.

I don’t care about the details at all. I just want to be able to move things between mail, shared bank, and my various characters without having to log in and out Every. Single. Time.

Boom! Just like that, thousands of clicks and hundreds of minutes saved.

Phase 2 would be the same exact two screens, but with multi-select. So I could click on several items and drag-and-drop them all at once. You know, like a modern application would allow (modern in this case meaning any other software built after 1980). And it would have a string search that spanned every character on the server, highlighting those that contain the item. I could type in “Flawless Black Dragon Scale” and every character that had a one would highlight in the character selector.

Future phases would integrate vendors, the Auction House, and the Shard Exchange.

This is not a perfect solution. It is almost assuredly not the “best” solution. But it is one that I could totally live with, and would completely transform the way that I play, in that it would let me spend so much more time actually playing! Instead of moving things around in preparation to play.

How about you? Is inventory management as painful for you as it is for me? Do you have your own ideas about how to make it better?

What do you think?

πŸ™‚ πŸ˜€ πŸ™‚

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  14 Responses to “Inventory Manager Would be the Ultimate Quality of Life Enhancement”

Comments (14)
  1. I was off sick last week and bored, so I spent 3 hours clearing out my bank and bank characters.

    3.hours.

    And I’m not the hoarder I know some of my guildies are. So yes, something like this would be great πŸ™‚

  2. Yeah, it’s past due. There’s just too much loot that isn’t trash these days to make us log in and out on different characters just to stow it. I’ve got gargantuan and huge bags, extra bank space and still, it’s a turn-off for group play to have stoppages before questing.

    “Sorry guys, just give me five minutes to clear my inventory.”

    “afk”

    “afk”

    “brb”

    blah.

    Great concepts here, Geoff!

  3. Um, question – do you know of any other MMO where this is possible? {This is not meant to be negative, but a real question – are there any?}

    I’m pretty sure that none of the {quickly counts on fingers} five MMOs I currently play have anything remotely like this feature. All of them – all of them – have inventory issues and quite frankly, DDO/LotRO have the largest shared account banks and fewest issues. Honestly, I think that inventory issues are (partly anyways) purposefully designed into games

    That said, it is an interesting idea. I’m just not certain how viable the possibility of implementing it is, especially with the nearly ten year old game engine. Maybe for DDO2 (if it is ever more than just wishful thinking by the player base)?

    Database set-up and management can be quite the PITA. Just ask anyone who’s attempted to build their own for use outside of the game. Multiply that by the number of players and then by the number of servers (never mind the number of characters/player/server)…
    πŸ˜‰

    • I have an “early out from work” day today, and I have a good opportunity to play. I am not looking forward to the inventory issues that today will incur either… I have lost too much time, and too many items to count in the game also. If the 3 programmers that they staff could do it, that would be excellent, and a step forward in the correct direction!

    • Neverwinter. Much as I hate to say it..

  4. Wouldn’t be great if the shared crafting storage has button or arrow so that you could just jump to the end of the list? That would be nice addition!

  5. Me want. The lag monster might prevent something like this from being implemented, however.

  6. The inventory system isn’t “that” bad, I’d hazard to say it has some nice features that other games don’t…
    Although, removing multiple items from storage bags can time consuming, but I can live with it.

    As for extra management tools, those are always nice πŸ™‚
    The old API through MyDDO and it’s successors was handy, to at least see if another character had stolen (and equipped) an item you were after for you currently logged in character. Now if that extended to packs and banks etc, super handy (with a search feature)!

    Actually, more search features in game would be amazing, the AH/SE search needs updating bad, to include searching descriptions of weapons (you know, for when can’t remember the name of an affix, or it’s not listed in the name, e.g. a named item or a hidden effect, augment slot etc…).

    Yes, Neverwinter has/had some nice “offline” tools though the Gateway thingee, too bad for them that almost nothing would make me go back and play it πŸ˜›

    • I just remembered the biggest feature DDO inventory has, most games seem to separate the equipped and unequipped panels (windows?), and then limit the number of panels open at any one time. In DDO, not only is our inventory panel a nice combined one, we can also have the bank (and it’s associated panels), social panel, journal, compendium, etc all open at the same time =)
      Hell, probably sans bank, but you can have all these open in combat too, and still be OK on a higher resolution system… *cough* some people are crazy *cough*

  7. 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.

What do you think?

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