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What is your preferred RPG inventory system?

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Jesse-McLean, Mar 5, 2015.

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What's your preferred RPG inventory system?

  1. Weight based (think the Elder Scrolls)

    40 vote(s)
    40.0%
  2. Slotted (think Resident Evil)

    29 vote(s)
    29.0%
  3. Page limit (think Minecraft)

    16 vote(s)
    16.0%
  4. Other (comment your alternative)

    15 vote(s)
    15.0%
  1. Jesse-McLean

    Jesse-McLean

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    I was doing a little bit of research on inventory systems in an effort to work out what would be best for my project and was curious what was favoured most. Figured it could be a valuable design tool if there's enough reply.

    I realize that there are other options and that these are very recent and Western approaches, so I encourage you to comment on your favourite alternatives. If you have any recommendations on innovative approaches I'd love to see those!

    Looking forward to seeing if there's a consensus.
     
  2. TonyLi

    TonyLi

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    I hate to give a non-answer, but: it depends on the game.

    In general, I don't enjoy micromanaging inventory. I like Mass Effect's loadout system. Before starting a mission, you choose your weapons. That's pretty much it.

    Trading games like the classic Privateer are completely different. In those games, it's fun to make decisions about what to carry, what would be the most profitable on trade runs.

    The inventory system should support the type of experience you're trying to create for the game as a whole.
     
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  3. CDMcGwire

    CDMcGwire

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    Assuming that we know the game needs a limited-space inventory system (like your poll examples) and that this a question of nitty gritty implementation over higher level design, my personal favorite is a weight-based slot system.

    Yes, a combination of two. Why only make your player consider space or mass, when they can consider space and mass.

    8 foot tall bardiche and an extra suit of armor? "Sure!" Says The Elder Scrolls, "That's only a third of your weight limit! Who couldn't trek those things in a backpack across a continent?"

    Diablo says "Two gems are about the same size as a war hammer, right? Yes, I believe they are."

    Weight lets you modify the player's movement as they burden themselves, and limited space forces them to manage what they're carrying, keeps it immersive, and kills hoarder tendencies. If you do a square grid approach, however, include an auto-sort. It's just frustrating to have to spend time getting things to fit when you know you can.
     
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  4. Jesse-McLean

    Jesse-McLean

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    To be more specific: a game where items are important, but not at the core, and should be limited, forcing a decision be made about what IS important and what the player can go without. The idea isn't to carry everything, but how to manage an inventory that will allow you to be as efficient as possible within the skill set you've chosen. Added context: open world, RPG.

    Given that context, I'm leaning towards a weight based approach... I worry that slotted systems are annoying. Are they? I felt you were alluding to that CDMcGwire;
     
  5. CDMcGwire

    CDMcGwire

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    Yes, I was alluding to that. However, my point was that if there are (optional) systems that deal with the micromanagement (like Titan Quest's auto sort button), you can have the tangibility of a varying size slot system without the most annoying part (to some people), which is the time it can take to move everything to the right spot.
     
  6. Abelabumba

    Abelabumba

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    If you're going for realism, maybe also restrict the amount of stuff the player loots in the first place. It could be taboo to take a dead person's belongings (but inquisitive adventurers might still decide to a peek and even take stuff if it's worth the karma / reputation / whatever consequences).

    I don't like how every bear/wolf gives a hide, a giant scorpion always drops poison and so on, either. If the hero is some kind of trapper / wilderness person who'd routinely skin animals and rummage through their intestines that's one thing, but some cleric or city dweller?

    At the beginning, if the hero is basically destitute I can see them picking up everything they can scrap together in oder to survive, but half way to being the rescuer of the world, knowing they're the chosen one, would they really pick up that dead in the alley beggar's stinky cloak to sell it for spare change?

    Edit: Not to mention going around town and cracking every barrel which clearly belong to someone.
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2015
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  7. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    Halo. 2 guns. Limited ammo supply. 4 grenades. That's it. :)

    Back on track, here is my take on things that are required for a good inventory system
    • Real constraints. Players should have to make actual decisions about which items to keep and toss. (Skyrim is an example of this done wrong. Inventory management is simply a case of ditching low value-to-weight items).
    • Simple to use. I shouldn't have to spend time rearranging items to make them fit (bad Diablo). I should be able to find an item I want quickly (bad Skyrim).
    That's my 2 cents.
     
  8. Tomnnn

    Tomnnn

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    I'm quite partial to the goldeneye64 inventory. It was basically unlimited everything and you could scroll through your inventory vertically 1 slot at a time. I would implement it differently, but I like the idea of a minimal ui where you could view items individually and have many item slots.

    Maybe you could have it be sortable by item type so it wouldn't take too long to find things.
     
  9. Rodolfo-Rubens

    Rodolfo-Rubens

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    You know what would be nice? A mix of the options 1 and 2, which "fills" first goes, if you are carrying to much weight, it doesnt matter if you still have slots left: if you take more items you will walk slower (you can even take it further and make the player walk gradually slower as the player carry more weight, instead of just a boolean like skyrim), or, it doesnt matter if you still can carry more weight, if you filled all your slots you cant take any more items, the reallistic parts of both systems! Of course, if you want to make something reallistic.
     
  10. CDMcGwire

    CDMcGwire

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    Pro Tip: Don't hit Ctrl+N when writing in the forum.

    TL;Don't want to write again, think about the player's input. Some things work with Mice, some things work with controllers.

    Bonus bad idea: Torchlight/Minecraft style system on a scaling scroll field where number of items is limited by floating point weight AND width AND height.

    Logical? Yes. Easy and fast to use? Nope!
     
  11. Jesse-McLean

    Jesse-McLean

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    Wow, these are some great insights.

    In regards to formatting an inventory system, assuming I pursue a weight based, limited slots approach, what are some instances of this sort of approach (or usable with this approach) that are easy to use, fun and ultimately user friendly?

    Personally, I loved Morrowind's look and feel; however, it suffered by often becoming cluttered. What are some good solutions to this? I think it could become easy to clutter the UI with divided categories and whatnot; not ideal.
     
  12. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    I prefer a standard JRPG inventory system. It's simple, it's to the point, and it's not trying to be overly realistc. I don't play RPGs for realism, I play them because they're ridiculous, but awesome.
     
  13. CDMcGwire

    CDMcGwire

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    Neverwinter Nights had the weighted slots system. I'm not sure how much is nostalgia, but I think it worked pretty well. There are some modifications I would make (instead of 5 pages of inventory, 1 larger main page to represent to majority of the pack, and a number of smaller "side pocket" pages).

    Where it does better than, say, Divinity: Original Sin, is that by making the items take up a different number of slots it's much easier to navigate at a glance. "Where's that battleaxe? Oh right, it's this giant chunk of grid here," as opposed to, "Which one of these grey squares is the battleaxe?"

    Deus Ex: Human Revolution is an example of a very lean slot based system. There's so little space that a weight system was unnecessary. It's basically Halo with some extra management tools.

    For sorting, BioWare games have recently implemented a page where any "sell only" item goes when picked up. Then they can be sold in mass for one button click. I found this weird for a linear RPG, as enemies and crates could just have gold instead. However, this would be great for games like Morrowind.

    Visual sorting, without tabs, could be a way. Here's a few columns with your potions arranged by strength, next food columns. Change to weapon page; Columns of swords based on size/damage. I think the key is that the separation between sort categories needs to be clear and concise. No fancy graphics, and don't get the tabs, if they're there, mixed into the items. Things like that. Items need to pop out, UI needs to be in the background.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
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  14. CaoMengde777

    CaoMengde777

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    best RPG inventory I think...
    Divine Divinity's

    i guess its an expansion on how Ultima had it.
    you can move the items around freely in the inventory screens, in this game they are given weight, you get over-encumbered ... although im not sure weight is all so great, the feeling of moving the items freely and sorting them manually into piles makes the items feel more like "my item" .. the "great sword of dragon slaying" or whatever i found in a cave feels more epic, it feels more like an actual tangible object... much more than a slotted inventory... to me anyway..

    the inventory has an auto sort, the items have pages .. quest, weapons/armor, papers/sigils, herbs/potions, and treasures(gems/gold)

    divinity original sin... i was totally let down they didnt have this inventory... i HATE the simple 1 slot for everything system... its just boring now.. having 1 slot for each item, makes all the items feel really lame...

    diablo/path of exile/stalker is cool too.. but not as cool

     
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  15. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

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    If you really want to go crazy consider making inventory affect in game physics. Character is carrying three swords? Make them stick out from the belt and catch things. Multiple suits of armour, give them a large pack that can snag things, and perhaps that enemies will grab on to. Make the backpack targetable by projectiles, an potion vial hit by a stray arrow would certainly make a mess of the scrolls you shoved in right next to it. Build a system that penalises you for accessing items stored in the bottom of the pack, perhaps with a longer time to equip in combat.

    You could go a long way trying to simulate a real inventory system. Make this part of your game interesting and engaging, rather then the add on it often comes across as. Make the choice between slot a and slot b matter.

    This is either a brilliant idea or a terrible one. Its too late for me to tell the difference. :)
     
  16. CDMcGwire

    CDMcGwire

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    Hmm... I'm seeing a new hit game here.

    Henchman Simulator 2016
     
  17. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    Have you ever wanted to wear a fedora and speak with a 1930s Manhattan accent?
    Have you ever wanted to be a villain who wears pin-striped suits and robs banks with a tommy gun?
    Have you ever thought you might want to call someone else 'boss' in a videogame?

    Then look no further, see! Henchman Simulator is the game for you!

    Coming to stores near you in a Shine Runner, most likely.
     
  18. CDMcGwire

    CDMcGwire

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    Yep, you're thinking a few half a dozen centuries ahead of me. http://nwn.wikia.com/wiki/Henchman
     
  19. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

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    It's all about what kind of conflicts you are trying to create. Weight is useful for large volumes of small items, and it also works well as a restriction on character movement.

    Slot systems, when done well, are a great way to restrict loadouts and get players to plan ahead for scenarios they may not have even encountered yet. Making room for rockets or EMP weapons in Deus Ex is a good example. The flip side is diablo which uses it's inventory mostly to restrict how much you can sell in a given trip.
     
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  20. Kirahy

    Kirahy

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    Hehe, it was funny to read this. I agree with this.

    If I look at nexus I see many mods that circumvent even Skyrim limits. I think Weight-Slot is the most realistic and should be default, but it might be a good idea to give the player a choice, like lift off weight limit etc. by marking an option in settings.
     
  21. CDMcGwire

    CDMcGwire

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    At first I thought that was an insane proposition, but then I realized it's essentially a difficulty adjustment and we have those in every RPG. You'd have to include an incentive for your average player to turn it on, however, otherwise I'd wager less than 10% of the player base would even use it.

    Maybe by making it apply to all creatures in game? Though NPC inventories are usually static. Maybe increased experience, or better items?
     
  22. Kemonono

    Kemonono

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    My favorite system for immersion, is by far, an encumbrance based system (aka. found in Warhammer fanatasy roleplay 1st edition). And I cannot for the life of me understand why it isn't used more in video games.

    An item is given a value based a combination of weight and size (ease of transportation). (for instance a ladder might be lightweight'ed but still have a high encumbrance due to its structure, while a chainmail would drop drastically in value if it equipped).
    Similarly the player has a value based on physical strength and size.

    For lightweight action games, I still prefer a slot system though.
     
  23. CDMcGwire

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    That's pretty interesting. I think 1st Ed. Advanced Dungeons & Dragons had some form of that as well. Though, mechanically, that seems very similar to a weight system but with more logical values. So instead of the BioWare standard; "Oh sure, I can carry all 5 of those plate mail armors in my backpack across the continent. I can carry 300lbs without encumbrance. Duh."

    Instead you get, "I can have suit on me, and one in my pack. After that, I'm out."
     
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  24. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    That's what I like about the Dragon Quest games. While later installments have added "The Bag", a large general-purpose inventory, each character has a (small) personal inventory that can be used during battle. What's more, this personal inventory isn't very large, and equipped items count against it. So, if you're rocking your Infinity +1 Sword, Infinity +1 Armor, +5 Accessory of Noob Slaying, you've only got room for roughly 5-7 more items. Did I mention that items that restore MP or revive dead party members are exceptionally rare in Dragon Quest? Yeah...have fun with that.
     
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  25. Kirahy

    Kirahy

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    That seems to be a great idea to me, the incentive.
     
  26. CDMcGwire

    CDMcGwire

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    Well, once you get Osmosis, ala FF9, who needs items anyways? Spellz for dayz
     
  27. AndrewGrayGames

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    But that's Final Fantasy, or JRPGs For Dummies. Dragon Quest, you don't have an Osmose spell (that I'm aware of.) You actually have to budget resources. Scary concept, I know, but somehow it's survivable. It's almost like the game is designed around that...

    ...Oh, wait...
     
  28. CDMcGwire

    CDMcGwire

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    Woah, hold on. You mean having limited resources can be fun if you... design... around that fact?
    What sort of witchcraft do you incite upon us!?!
     
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  29. tiggus

    tiggus

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    I always liked Ultima Online / Darkfall style, where you just have a bag and put stuff willynilly in there unless you spent time organizing it. I swear I would sit there for hours and move little items one at a time into neat little rows, name lots of little bags and nest them, etc. It was almost it's own little minigame. Grids are much more efficient, but games aren't always about efficiency.
     
  30. TonyLi

    TonyLi

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    There's a little gem in your reply that I had forgotten about. In games with a heavy focus on inventory management, it's really nice to be able to name bags ("Potions", "Quest Items", etc.). It's a simple thing that's very useful and adds a bit of customization that can help a player feel a more personal attachment to the game.
     
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  31. AndrewGrayGames

    AndrewGrayGames

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    All I did was alter the second incantation, and changed all instances of 'cheese' to 'donkey'. It's amazing how interchangeable those two words are. ...What do you mean, you aren't actually talking about magic?

    Seriously, though, I think @TonyLi has a point. Terraria, from a flow perspective, is an absolutely awful game - there's too many breaks in the action if you don't want a horribly-infected world (by the Dark Side as well as the Light Side, actually.) But the thing that makes it really fun, is how it allows you to satisfy your OCD. You can name chests, arrange stuff in chests, build your bases, build you bases exactly to code...

    I think we underestimate the latent potential of humanity's innate OCD in our game designs.
     
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  32. tiggus

    tiggus

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    yep, here's an example screenshot. Might look like a mess but you get used to it lol. Also it is like a birthday present when you find that missing mount hidden under a axe 2 days later.

     
  33. AndrewGrayGames

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  34. xelvod

    xelvod

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  35. khanstruct

    khanstruct

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    Darkfall
     

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  36. infinitypbr

    infinitypbr

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    Didn't read the whole thread, but I love the M&M 6/7 inventory system. The items have a size and need to fit in the "pack" of the player. And when you equip, you see it on the character -- in the pack the items looks as they look, rather than just small icons.

     
  37. CathyR

    CathyR

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    I tend to like the Idea of a weight based/ limited slot Bag system, bit like the wow setup,with different bags for dedicated item or just extra storage
     
  38. khanstruct

    khanstruct

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    I like the weight-based. I once developed a system (similar to what someone described earlier) that used Bulk. This would factor in both the weight and general shape of the object and assign it a Bulk rating. This rating could then be used for all sorts of different things (how much they can carry, strength needed to use certain weapons, difficulty when trying to conceal an item, etc.)
     
  39. Gigiwoo

    Gigiwoo

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    Seen the Diablo 3 system? It handles inventory really well. Everything is either 1 slot, or 2 slots, which makes reordering REALLY easy. Returning to town is trivial, allowing nearly instant selling or disenchanting. Bank slots grow with the character, and the bank/gold are shared across characters. It's simple, intuitive, and powerful - keeping the focus on the gameplay, rather than item management.

    Gigi
     
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  40. DanSuperGP

    DanSuperGP

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    My preferred inventory system is whichever one requires the least attention from me as a player. I'm a particularly big fan of Skyrim's system with the carry weight modded up so I never have to worry about being overloaded. I can understand that some people think that mucking around and managing your pack is fun, but to me that's just down time that could be used for something more interesting. It's not fun to me at all.

    I particularly detested Deus Ex : Human Revolution's extremely limited pack space that required me to spend upgrade points making my bag bigger instead of on cool abilities. Also extremely frustrating in that game was the limited number of energy boost items combined with the fact that no matter how many energy bars I had, it would only fill up one... I ended up never using any abilities that required energy other than takedowns.
     
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  41. Magpul

    Magpul

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    I my opinion the best inventory system was in stalker series, maybe with some crafting abilities it would be better.
     
  42. Atmey

    Atmey

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    Mixture between weight based and unlimited, as soon as you get to your house, town or storage, all non-usable items (crafting materials and such) are automatically stored and there is no limit on how much you can store, they are automatically categorized and sorted, when you need them you can use them directly from storage, you don't need to withdraw them as crafting will be near the storage anyways.
    More convenient and still give you a sense of, I can't carry all my weapons and armor with me.
     
  43. Hoegbo

    Hoegbo

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    I went for slotted list in my upcoming "RPG" . A backpack has a value of 10 and items have a value from 1-10 based on estimated size and weight combo that I set when I make the item.
     
  44. IcedCoffee

    IcedCoffee

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    Weighted systems are terrible. The slotted style gets my vote.
     
  45. khanstruct

    khanstruct

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    Isn't that a weight system?
    I'd be interested in knowing why you think weighted systems are terrible.

    Personally, I prefer the weighted systems for realism. They also provide a lot more hooks for added gameplay elements (as I mentioned above). However, in my current RPG, I'm going old school and having no system at all. It's a list of items, and you can carry 99 of each. </nostalgia>
     
  46. IcedCoffee

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    My main beef with weight systems is that if you want to play an armor heavy character you better spend a whole lot of points into strength or whatever the equivalent is. Playing a primarily strength character can increase carrying capacity to an ungodly amount on the other hand. And for other characters that would like to carry a nice load of equipment? Well, too bad. It's typically not in the cards.

    It seems pretty unbalanced to say the least. Slotted inventory systems create an equal opportunity for any character class to carry whatever they need. No running out of space before the barbarian just because you wanted to play a mage. Nothing worse than having someone picking up all the epic loot because you can't find anything you're willing to drop for a chance of getting more loot.

    Although, with the Diablo 3 loot system, no one can take another players loot. Still would be annoying travelling repeatedly back to town just to sell off items while your party carries on without you.

    I could totally get into a realistic inventory system. Like only being able to carry armor, weapons, a few poitions and extra tools. I mean, how well would anyone fair fighting monsters will 500lbs of junk on their backs anyway?
     
  47. khanstruct

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    Perhaps, but that's the whole point of a class-based system. Each class has their own strengths and weaknesses. Barbarians are stronger, carry more and do more physical damage. Mages are smarter, can attack from a distance and typically have a wider range of effects that they can perform.

    That being said, I'm also opposed to class systems. For realism to work, I would prefer a skill-based system with a weight-based inventory. That way, everyone has the same opportunities available to them.
     
  48. IcedCoffee

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    I think Darkfall went with a style like that. TES series did a good job of it. It can make for some really bad classes half way into the game, but it just adds to the enjoyment for me. Nothing like realizing you've messed up terribly and need to re-roll. As long as the game is good, it just makes me try out every combination I can think might be fun to play.
     
  49. Hoegbo

    Hoegbo

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    I never thought of it a sa weighted system with weight as a referral to actual weight, as I include "physical" size into the final equation making it more slotted. slotted weight maybe

    semantics aside, its fun and simple, for me at least.
     
  50. Ness

    Ness

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    I don't like weighted system because these are usually not in fond of mage-a-like classes. I think the best inventory system is the one that does not come in a way of gameplay, like Diablo 3.