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-   -   Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Annoyed About Action-RPG Inventories (http://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4868)

Dhruin July 8th, 2008 16:56

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Annoyed About Action-RPG Inventories
 
Alec Meer's periodic rant piece on Rock, Paper, Shotgun today focuses on action/RPG inventories. It doesn't really draw any conclusions but he does get across his annoyance:
Quote:

Iíd slaughtered my way through a good seven or eight hoursí worth of beastmen and harpies before I had one of those catch-yourself-in-the-mirror moments. What was I doing? Theoretically, I was killing an awful lot of monsters, big olí hero that I was. Actually, I was obsessively picking up shiny things from the ground until a number of small squares on my inventory screen were full up, teleporting back to town to sell said shinies, then repeating the process. This was not, I realised, making me a better person. Iíll stress that Iím fine with a few hours of mindless hacking, slashing and looting (though Iíll tire of it before too long), so my objection is not to the basic nature of these games. Itís an objection to the fact my hacking, slashing and looting is so regularly interrupted by thankless commuting. And lo, I became annoyed enough with both myself and the game(s) to make some sweeping generalisations. Not novel ones Iíll admit, but as weíre in digs-at-gaming-clichés mode today anywayÖ Whee!
More information.

magerette July 8th, 2008 16:56

I feel his pain. .I think every time I replayed TQ I used to get to that point—-and it is very separating from the actual game. Of course, it *is* possible to exercise a little self-restraint. I like loot and shopping as well as the next hacknslash junkie, but at some point, I usually just stop picking things up. One of the things I liked about Titan Quest was the item filter, where you can toggle the level of dropped items that will show when you press the highlight key—I got to the point where if it wasn't high level, it just stayed there on the ground.

Ionstormsucks July 8th, 2008 17:28

I'm annyoed about action rpgs in general so…

Yeesh July 8th, 2008 17:28

I be's playing me some Titan Quest right now, and will be playing once again after a clever little trick I call alt-tab. But let me say this: Of course the author has a point, although I don't mind the filling up. It gives you an excuse to port back to town, do a little shopping for rings and amulets, buy some more potions, hit the rest room etc. What is actually more annoying to me in TQ is the lack of permanent stordage space. All those relics and blues/purples and item sets, and the space I have to store them in so miserly. Yet, just like Diablo, I'm free to make 10 trillion mules to store as much as I want, as long as it's done one stupi little grid per character. WHO THOUGHT THIS UP? Just let us collect all we want, since we can do it anyway via the tedious muling method. IDIOTS!

Sorry, I get angry. Anywho, as to the original topic, in a random loot haul like TQ and Diablo, there's going to be 1500+ pieces of equipment lying around as a matter of course. The trick is to just pick up what few items might be good. The filter in TQ is definitely a nice step, but a customizable filter would be even better. Excepting rings/amulets, if it's not green or better, I don't need to pick it up (unless I'm just about to return to town anyway since I just chugged my last mana pot). How hard would it be to implement a filter like that?

Ironically, in Diablo II it was the hack makers who gave you that kind of power through very customizable auto-pickup mods. I expect the new Diablo (should the world last long enough for it to see release) will be far less hackable, owing to Blizz's wealth of experience with WoW. But maybe it will be far more moddable too. So we'll see.

woges July 8th, 2008 17:45

Lament that you get asked to do more than hit the jump & kill buttons, or even, the kill button.

Alrik Fassbauer July 8th, 2008 19:52

I hated the far-too-small inventory in D2.

In a certain way, it was this which made me give this game up short before the ending (as I assume), because my inventory was - due to optimization towards that - full with uniques, which I didn't want to give up.

In a very harsh way, this game teaches people to "let go" of things.

martink July 8th, 2008 21:31

The article doesn't solve anything, but does underline the problem with a big fat look-me-here marker.

The solution? Simple, me thinks. There should be a game mode, toggled by the player, in which any gear with worse stats is immediately converted to gold upon entry into inventory, or even perhaps immediately upon drop. There is no purpose to carting around gear worse than what you have equipped (unless you're stashing it for alts, and in which case it should be simple enough to extend the vendor-trash-is-cash system).

While some may like carting vendor trash around, and dropping by home base for a quick refund, these kind of trips break up the game flow. It may be fun to sell a bag full of stuff the first, second, and maybe even the third time around, but after that it becomes mindless.

In TQ, specifically, whenever I return to town to sell, I make a point to check whether the vendor has any new items. For those that don't play TQ, vendor inventories are periodically refreshed. This gives the trip back some purpose, but not really enough.

danutz_plusplus July 8th, 2008 23:13

Quote:

Originally Posted by martink (Post 86021)
The solution? Simple, me thinks. There should be a game mode, toggled by the player, in which any gear with worse stats is immediately converted to gold upon entry into inventory, or even perhaps immediately upon drop. There is no purpose to carting around gear worse than what you have equipped (unless you're stashing it for alts, and in which case it should be simple enough to extend the vendor-trash-is-cash system).
.

Dungeon Siege 1 had something like. There was a low-level spell that all characters could use that converts any item to gold. Which would be nice to have in Diablo 3. That way you can decide what you need to keep and not keep on the fly, without returning to town.

martink July 8th, 2008 23:48

A spell like that is helpful, but it still forces the player to jump through hoops.

A while back, there was a very nice article about RPG games and "choices" that players were given. It argued that if an action wasn't a choice, but a series of steps that everyone carried out, then it represented a bad design decision. I recall some examples were complex skill trees that had really one or two canonical builds that everyone used. In principle, such trees might encourage experimentation. In practice, they don't.

A spell that converts items into gold should be automatic. Like an "aura" or something. Make menial tasks automated and replace them with meaningful choices that players can take.

JemyM July 9th, 2008 00:07

I believe that Neverwinter Nights II have the best inventory system I have seen up to date. You never run out of room, nuh-uh. Not like you did in Baldur's Gate. You do, however, get encumbered based on your strength. First you move slower, then you cannot move at all. That's how inventories should be.

The Inventory system in Mass Effect was horrible. I do not remember an interface that annoying. Since I tried to keep max 3 of every kind of item I found it took me up to 20 minutes to sell stuff, keeping a separate list in notepad planning the inventory. Not to mention the 9.999.999 cap, the lack of interesting things to buy and the fact that all inventory was just generated junk.

Dhruin July 9th, 2008 00:17

I think this is fundamental to the hack'n'slash experience and removing it hurts the game. That doesn't mean that individual games don't make mistakes - too small inventory, too hard to get back to town, nothing worth buying from merchants - but take it away altogether and players will complain about the lack of depth. There's a reason this system generally got unfavourable remarks in reviews of The Bard's Tale and there's a reason every other game still includes this gameplay system.

martink July 9th, 2008 00:25

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dhruin (Post 86038)
I think this is fundamental to the hack'n'slash experience and removing it hurts the game. That doesn't mean that individual games don't make mistakes - too small inventory, too hard to get back to town, nothing worth buying from merchants - but take it away altogether and players will complain about the lack of depth. There's a reason this system generally got unfavourable remarks in reviews of The Bard's Tale and there's a reason every other game still includes this gameplay system.

You don't have to remove the inventory system, or keeping the status quo. There are certain adjustments that can be made to favour a more engaging gameplay.

For example, TQ did a lot of things right in terms of inventory and vendors.

The auto-arrange button was very useful and most of the time it worked quite nicely.

Vendors actually sold useful items - sufficiently buffed to be of use - and most of my gear playing at normal level was with items from vendors.

What TQ did that was strange, was split the gold drops into numerous small drops. Instead of dropping 500gp, a mob would drop 150gp, 300gp and 50gp. That's silly.

Yeesh July 9th, 2008 00:43

Quote:

Originally Posted by martink (Post 86042)
What TQ did that was strange, was split the gold drops into numerous small drops. Instead of dropping 500gp, a mob would drop 150gp, 300gp and 50gp. That's silly.

You know, I think Diablo was the same way. It's like a mob can drop X number of things, and each one has a chance to be gold, item, potion, nothing, etc. But still, how hard is it to build in a last step that combines all the gold?

More importantly, though, WHY DO I NEED TO CLICK ON GOLD AT ALL?

Is there any reason I'd ever NOT want to pick up gold? It takes no time to pick up, I can carry unlimited, and it's free money. Is there any reason not to just suck it up into my character when I get close enough? Any reason at all?

Look, I just removed 20% of the clicks in the game. Less injured wrists, no detriment to gameplay. What is wrong with developers? Does someone actually consider 'Pickup your gold or not?' some kind of gameplay choice?

Again, a case where I got spoiled by the Diablo autopickup mods. But I think there've been other games where this was built in.

txa1265 July 9th, 2008 02:13

I have to admit liking the skill in the Untold Legends PSP games that allowed you to turn items to gold at a crappy exchange rate … it helps with the need to sell off those 6gp swords that I seemed to sell by the hundred in Gothic ..

magerette July 9th, 2008 04:13

Yeesh wrote:
Quote:

More importantly, though, WHY DO I NEED TO CLICK ON GOLD AT ALL?
It's that little cha-ching sound—it's like ringing the bell for Pavlov's dogs.

VPeric July 9th, 2008 12:17

Quote:

Originally Posted by martink (Post 86021)
There should be a game mode, toggled by the player, in which any gear with worse stats is immediately converted to gold upon entry into inventory, or even perhaps immediately upon drop.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Yeesh (Post 86046)
More importantly, though, WHY DO I NEED TO CLICK ON GOLD AT ALL?

I believe the game you're looking for is called Space Siege, it has both of those. Yet it was criticized (over here) for oversimplifying the genre — go figure.

woges July 9th, 2008 13:01

Space Siege is out already?

Yeesh July 9th, 2008 14:57

I don't mind the sorting through tons of items for the few that are valuable enuogh to pick up and sell, and the tiny fraction that are actually worth equipping. That's a gameplay choice. In Diablo II, for example, two different builds (though of the same character class) could be looking for completely different stats for a given equipment slot; so deciding which has better stats is rightly left to the player as a gameplay call. There's always that chance that even the lowest level of magic item will happen to have just the stats you need. Unless of course you're in the end game and looking for something very specific, but then you have your other characters to think of too, right? Right???

But gold, on the other hand, is a no-brainer. It's not a gameplay call. It is my decision whether I want to walk my guy over there to get it, sure, but once I'm there, why make me waste the click? The only conceivable reason I might not want to pick up the gold: Tired of clicking. Eliminate that stupid click and just suck it up.

Of course keep the cha ching sound too :)

My point: This is not dumbing down the game in any way. Picking up gold is not a tactical decision nor a stategic one. This is just streamlining the interface.

It's like potion stacking. Games could make you pick up potions, and then click to your inventory and stack them. Or the stacking could happen automatically, since there's no gameplay decision about stacking versus not stacking. It's just a convenience with no downside. Well, gold (when you have unlimited capacity (and when's the last time you didn't in a game?)) is the same thing. No gameplay decision, no click necessary. Eliminate the click.

woges July 9th, 2008 15:00

Well in Diablo anybody can steal the gold or objects that's the reason it doesn't auto pickup. I suspect gold is just tied to objects in the db and all these objects act the same way in the game.

VPeric July 9th, 2008 18:39

Quote:

Originally Posted by woges (Post 86103)
Space Siege is out already?

It's not out, no.


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