13/08/2018

Inventory Management

One of the shared writing prompts inspired by Blaugust that I've seen going around in the past few days has been on the subject of inventory management (appropriately inspired by Bhagpuss of Inventory Full). I think this is quite a fun subject to talk about, not least because a lot of it applies across different games but also because I actually kind of enjoy fiddling with my inventory (to a certain extent).

Here are the people I found who have already written about the subject at the time of posting this. Feel free to let me know if I left anyone out:
So one thing I found interesting was that in many of these posts, people talk about the annoyances of inventory management and dealing with a lack of storage space, but there was very little about how they do actually manage their inventory on a day-to-day basis, so I thought I'd write about that.

At its core, my system is very straightforward: Put stuff you want to keep and always have with you (such as toys or stacks of consumables) in the top left corner. Stuff I want to keep for a while but expect to use up soon (such as armour pieces which I'm planning to wear but for which I'm not high enough level yet) goes into the bottom right corner. Everything else goes in between. In games where things go into multiple bags instead of a single unified inventory, I might spread things out across different bags, but the core system is still the same.


The key thing about this is that I always know where new stuff goes: in the bit I marked in green on the screenshot. I'm always a little horrified when people show me screenshots of their own inventories and they are not just very full but have random gaps everywhere. No wonder you're having trouble keeping things organised if you never know where your newest bit of loot might end up. Random gaps are the enemy. I hate it when one of them appears in my "keep this" rows (because the item I stored there was unexpectedly used up or disappeared), then some random junk item ends up filling the hole and keeps occupying that slot for ages because I never notice it or think to look for something to vendor there.

I always make sure to visit vendors religiously. Always keep as much free space for the next adventure as possible. My biggest problem are usually items that I don't want to vendor because they could be useful later (to me or even someone else). Actually, now that I think about it that may well be why ESO never clicked for me. That game allows you to gather everything and learn every crafting profession, so my bags filled up with crafting-related items repeatedly before I'd even hit level five. I didn't want to throw them away because I knew they had a purpose... usually what I'd do in such a scenario would be to visit the auction house and at least sell things to other people so they can use them, but of course ESO doesn't have an auction house. Faced with a never-ending avalanche of potentially useful stuff that I didn't know what to do with I preferred to log off instead, heh. (Not to mention that ESO doesn't allow you to arrange your inventory the way you want to either.)

Anyway, I digress. Lest you think that I'm some sort of inventory management guru, let me assure you that I'm not. Like many people I struggle with wanting to hold on to too many things that really aren't that valuable or important when you think about it. The above screenshot actually showed the inventory of one of my alts, so let me show you my main's for comparison:


Yes, it's still orderly, but way too full of random stuff. I don't really have that many things I need or want to carry around with me at all times, I'm just too lazy to sort them out. I highlighted some of them in red. For example I always have not one but two holo trainers with me - why? Since I first hit the level cap back in 2012, I probably haven't spent more than a few hours levelling on my main (every time the cap got raised basically). Or those four goodies from... I think it was the pre-order bonus? I never use those, ever. But I guess I feel I should have them around just in case I suddenly need to prove my veteran cred or something. Then there's that social token that has no purpose other than to make you do a little cheer emote and which I only own because there used to be a quest that told you to buy one. (I think that mission has been removed since then.) Also, two different stacks of anniversary fireworks? Really?

The bottom right corner doesn't fare much better. How likely am I to use those bound pink and purple dyes that I got from a cantina crate any time soon? And oh my god, the armour shells! Yes, it makes sense to keep some of them to upgrade later but how many different sets of armour do I realistically expect to be buying in the future? Maybe writing about this will help me with finally overcoming the inertia that has kept those items in their places for so long and encourage me to engage in some spring/autumn cleaning.

9 comments :

  1. In my case I just keep the items I use regularly in the lowest row(s). Keeps them out of the way and it also means that I know that anything 'earlier' in the Inventory is new which is really useful for Dailies etc.

    Also with regards to ESO, they have a way to counter that but unfortunately it's behind a subscription paywall. Utilising ESO+ grants you a Crafting bag which acts nigh-identically to that of Neverwinter's. It's useful to be sure, but due to that paywall it's also quite aggravating.

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    1. I actually tried that during one of their free premium weekends or whatever they're called, but my inventory didn't actually feel much better for it. :-/

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  2. ESO does have a 'sort by new-ness' as one of the options, it was a revelation when I discovered that one just to avoid endless scroll-scanning. There seems to be an inventory grid-view add-on that might meet your needs more, Shintar.

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    1. Figures that there's an add-on for everything! I'm not a great fan of those though, and I certainly wouldn't bother with installing any for a game where the base game hasn't even managed to hold my attention up to level 10 yet. :P

      And I'm very wary of auto-sort functions actually because somehow they never quite line up with how I would prefer to sort things manually. :D

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  3. oh and I use a similar 'positional' system for several MMOs - but I keep the top space as the empty space and have rows or bags from the bottom-up for quest/current items and stuff I can't use yet but will eventually.

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  4. I'm always organizing my bags to have certain things in certain places but over time it always degrades to a jumble and I have to purge and start again. I always use sparate bags - never one big inventory. (Assuming the game allows it). Individual bags are so much easier to sort. In EQ2 I keep all my "permanent" stuff in Bag 1 and work forward from there, with the most ephemeral stuff in bag 5. Bag 6 is all crafting mats. In practice I lug around 2-3 bags of stuff that I have no reason to be carrying but bags in EQ2 are so huge (and there's no weight) that I rarely run into space issues providing I visit vendors regularly and remember to put stuff on the broker.

    In most MMOs it's a constant battle against the eternal build-up of clutter but I wouldn't have it any other way. The few MMOs I've played that kept drops so light there was never a space problem turned out to be games I didn't play for very long and that's not a co-incidence.

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    1. I prefer individual bags too but I can live with the way SWTOR handles it.

      I do love me some loot drops too, generally speaking, ESO just managed to be too overwhelming too early for my tastes. I do find it sad that the general trend seems to be going towards having fewer loot drops and automating the process of gaining them (no need to pick things up from the ground in many newer MMOs) because apparently many perceive it as a nuisance. I love checking what I just "won" though and collecting all of it.

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  5. Top space is empty space useable on bottom. But i still have 5 rows of useable space its nuts. Different blasters sabers etc. Never enough space.

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  6. I tend to keep my potions/stims in the upper left, items that I use to boost affection in a horizontal line (that tends to wrap around quite a bit) in the middle, and then in the lower left armor I want to keep (for various reasons). Bottom right is armor/weapons/whatever that's non-trash that I want to sell, and then trash fills up the rest.

    It's not pretty, but it works.

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