One of the main problems that all players have faced in basically every MMORPG to date is what items to store and when to get rid of them. Developers continue to restrict the amount of room players have in order to store items, which in turn has caused players to create “bank” characters to transfer their loot. Lets take a closer look.
There are many different levels of storage space and this varies from game to game, but basically there’s three levels.
Level 1 is personal storage that you carry around you at all times. Usually this is very limited and allows you to keep just enough items with maybe some room to store loot.
– This is the most important storage space for may reasons. One, it saves the player the most amount of time by having items they need at all times. There’s no need to run to a bank or chest to get the item/s you need, then run all the way back to where you just were. It also is for most people the primary way of making money. The more open space you have the more loot you can carry that you can in-turn sell to vendors.
Level 2 is personal storage that you do not carry around. This is often a bank or a person chest where you can store more loot that you might not need at all times. Most games allow you to purchase even more space if you need it.
– While important, I dislike using this space. It’s just too much of a hassle to have to go all the way to a bank or chest to get your stuff. If I want to go work on my profession (LOTRO), I first have to go to the bank to pick up my items, then I have to go to a working table and gain XP. Once I’m done, I have to go back to the bank and store my stuff there and pickup my other items. The same back and forth running is basically part of whenever you need an item from this storage area. Having a group of people waiting on you because you have to go all the way to your secondary storage space to pickup some item sucks. It sucks even more when you realize that you left one of your quest item in your bank and have to do the run to and fro just to finish a quest where you’re already there.
Level 3 is guild storage. Many games now allow guilds to purchase houses and other forms of guild space that offer even more storage for its members as well as an easy why to trade items.
– Guild storage can be at the same place as your secondary storage or it came be in a completely different area, but where ever it is it’s the most useless storage space out of the three. Any guild with any member base will completely fill the space within 5 mins. My guild in LOTRO is quite small and we’ve ran out of space on day 1. When I find an item I know someone might need, I’d like to put it in our guild storage, however it’s full, so I need to take something out, most likely something I don’t want or need which then takes up my space.
In order to combat this restricted space players have been creating “bank” characters, characters that are strictly used for the extra storage space. Some people might have only 1 extra character while others might have 5-6 characters to hold all their high end loot. But it’s not just individuals that are creating extra characters for the additional space, guilds have started to create sub-guilds in order to get more room. Large guilds break up into sub-guilds that are based on levels. So for instance a sub guild can be level 1 – 25, 26 – 49 and 50, which would be the actual main guild. A large guild such as the one in this example might have 2 sub-guilds so that they can store items of that level in the sub-guild and not take room up in the main guild that would be reserved for guildies that have reached the max level.
So why do developers insist on limiting our space? Why do they force us to use these retarded methods of storing loot when they can just make everyone happy by increasing storage? The only reason I can think of is to keep the gaming economy in-check as well as to offer some realism since unlimited space is impossible. However how many people do you know that can carry 5 swords, full set of armor, 50 potions, scrolls, food, camp equipment and about 20 different quest items. So the realism argument gets thrown out in my opinion.
Give us more space!
I think developers need to get over the limited storage space, no one likes it. There should be 2 types of storage. Personal storage that I have at all times and guild storage. Personal storage should be large enough where not only can I carry everything that I can ever need, but also have plenty of room for loot. No need to ever waste my time running to a bank. Guild storage should nearly be unlimited, if you have a guild with 500 members, you obviously will need more that 100 slots of storage space.
Common devs, stop wasting our time making us constantly run back and forth for no reason.
I kind of have to disagree. I’ve never had a bank alt in any game, not even in WoW, despite playing two of the most inventory intensive classes — druid and hunter. Players tend to be packrats and stockpile too much crapola that they really don’t need. If you vendor all that junk periodically you won’t have a storage problem. What you are describing is a problem created by a personal choice that doesn’t require a developer solution.
Regardless, games have to limit storage space or players would constantly be increasing the number of items in their storage, essentially without limit. Aside from any potential gameplay issues (searching through 12,347 items to find the one thing you need) it would have severe database issues that would essentially ruin the game’s performance. If you have thousands of characters querying an inventory database, and each character has thousands upon thousands of items, bad things will happen to your game performance :p
Graktar hit the nail on the head. As a game developer who frequents this blog because of its (usually) intelligent articles, I’m surprised this kind of ridiculous rant got published.
Just because you are playing in a virtual world, does not mean that those virtual items don’t take up some real world space and resources to manage. Sure its just a couple bits here and there, but if all the players in the game are storing virtually limitless amounts of items, the developers would have to pay out the nose for extensive server upgrades on a regular basis. It would also cause some serious system performance issues each time the server was queried to get the 15000 item inventory that a player is lugging around.
Limited storage is also a tool to manage the economy in virtual worlds. Imagine how fast your economy could be obliterated if all those items were suddenly sold off in a hurry. By forcing regular item destruction through sale/storage, it keeps the economy from ever becoming bloated or controlled by in-game groups.
In short, this was by far the worst thing I’ve ever read on MMOCrunch. It reeks of the kind of whining forum fanboys that destroy gaming communities.
The argument that quering huge amount of items will kill servers is poor. There are simple solutions that would completely make this a non issue. First having 15000 slots of personal space is not what I was saying. Currently most games have about 100-200 slots for personal use, so bump that to 500 or 1000. Make levels. Lev one would list up to 50 items, so put your most used items there. The next level would hold another 100-200 items, lev 3 another 100-200 items. This is exactly the same way banks work, except in my scenario I don’t have to waste my time going to a bank to access them. I can access these extra storage locations right on my char.
As I stated in my post, the economy is basically the only valid arguement to not expand storage space. However I don’t think it would ruin it, the only thing you might see is inflated prices.
I will get to the server issues in a moment, but first, you are still completely ignoring the real-world costs of increasing in-game storage. Virtual items are still bits and bytes of data that require hard drive space to store, which requires electricity to spin and occasional replacements and upgrades. Imagine a game like WoW doubling storage space available to players. The costs would be absolutely astronomical.
As for the server issues, you are ignoring the way your suggestion would change gameplay and how that gameplay would effect server loads. Banks require players to go to a specific location to access the database, which means fewer calls to the database since it requires time and effort to get access. Give players constant access to the bank, and they’ll be making queries on the database far, far more often to shuffle their equipment around and keep the most relevant stuff on top. Even with small-batch queries, you’re looking at a ridiculous increase in database traffic. Sure its doable, but it WILL effect performance, especially in large games and on high-pop servers. Oh, and it’ll cost a ton of money to accomplish as well.
There are also game design/population control issues that banks help with. Requiring trips to the bank pulls people out of gameplay areas for short spans and pushes them back into social zones. That a) opens up the area you were farming for new players b) cycles new players into groups and promotes community growth and c) provides natural breaks that remind players of the real world. Also, if you don’t think inflation could be a major problem, then you’ve never handled a virtual world economy.
In order for MMO games to feel like MMO games they need central hubs of activity.
In most MMO games like WoW, these are the main cities where Banks, Auction Houses and Crafting stations are.
You have to be careful when removing anything from the game that causes players not to need to go to a central hub anymore.
If WoW got rid of banks, allowed the Auction House to be accessed anywhere in the world and made crafting stations portable, the main towns would be GHOST TOWNS. Nobody would ever be in them and that would 100% totally hurt the ‘immersion’ factor of the game.
As far as increasing the number of slots causing a vast amount more database traffic or server load, bull. Doubling the number of slots available does NOT double the amount of queries to the database, not even close.
At the very most all increased slots do is add more storage space requirements and possibly larger amounts of data coming back from the database/going to the player when querying the entire bag. This is not very much at all to deal with in my opinion.
I honestly think your blowing the server load issue why out of proportion. Having a 40 person raid puts a hell of a lot more strain on a server then people being able to query static items from a database. If servers are able to handle multiple 40 person raids at any given time, then they should be easily be able to handle more quires to an item database. Yes they will need more space, but space is extremely cheap. If you have to double the space on each server, what would that cost, $500-1000 max? Whats that to a billion dollar company like blizzard. Even with 1000 servers to upgrade your only looking at around a million dollars, which they make in about 5 mins with WOW. Even if it costs 10 million, thats not much.
I think were going to have to agree to disagree on this subject.