Are inventory weight limits a useless mechanic?

Mikejames

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ThingWhatSqueaks said:
Mikejames said:
I'm usually frustrated when explorative games prolong things with an item limit, but I was fond of RE4's system.

Something about physically sorting your weapons and color-coding your limited supply of grenades before the jubilations of buying a bigger apache case resonated with me.
Which makes it doubly impressive because as far as I'm aware RE4 is the only RE game without a crap inventory system.
Trying to find space in my inventory for three eggs and a Largemouth Bass isn't nearly as hilarious when I can't see the appropriate amount of space they're taking up.
 

Kolyarut

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Actually, the consumables talk reminds me. Consumables in an awful lot of games have a habit of either being not worth the hassle of digging through the UI to find them, or being too awesome to risk using, since you might then not have them later. Both of those issues lead to consumable apathy, and in games that assign a weight value to those effectively unusable items that just makes them not worth owning at all (aside from a handful of critical health/mana potions, Rad-Away, etc.).
 

Platituder

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I find weight limits to be a great mechanic for adding realism, but I feel that a lot of games have the problem of being stuck between reality and fantasy, where while there is a weight limit, the volume of a product doesn't seem to matter. In Skyrim, for instance, its possible to carry around upwards of 200 cabbages. What the hell? You'd need at least five or six shopping trolleys to wheel that number of produce around. I just feel if you want to add realism, go whole hog, and if its too restrictive for the type of game you want, don't only implement mechanics halfway. Instead, remove them.
 

Not Lord Atkin

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all valid points (with the exception of that one weirdly angry guy who went on a tangent about MMOs and shooters for no good reason), the majority opinion seems to be that it balances out the game's economy, not letting the player grab and sell every single pick-uppable object in the game, and balance out the difficulty by making player consciously aware of the choices they are making.

Here's a counterargument though: aren't there ways of getting around all those potential issues in a more elegant, more convenient fashion? The game can limit the number of healing items the player can carry; it can not let the player sell every single piece of stick they find lying about and make shopkeepers more picky about what they accept as loot; solve clutter with an inventory filter and, as for the choices... it's less of a choice between 'should I drop this expensive armour here and lose it forever so that I can take the new one' and more of a 'crap, I'm halfway through this dungeon now, should I run back to the nearest town, sell the old armour, run back and pick up the new one or should I just leave it here?

I don't think it actually makes the economy more balanced in any way. All it does is slowing the player down and makes looting more inconvenient. There's usually nothing stopping you from coming back to the dungeon later to grab the rest of the loot. The weight limit is not restricting this - it only makes the execution more boring. And I don't think that punishing a player with boredom and frustration is a sign of good design.

To me, in many games the weight limit is just a lazy measure that, while partially dealing with some of the problems mentioned here - does not get to the core of the issue and as an end result, only serves to annoy the player.

Please note that I'm talking about seemingly arbitrary inventory system in RPGs in which he gameplay doesn't focus on survival and resource management and/or does't sufficiently build all the rest of the mechanics with the inventory solution in mind and vice versa.
 

Elfgore

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Yep, it is very pointless. I found quite a few devs claim they do it for "realism", yet when you have Dragons and Goblins in your game, realism becomes mute. And even if the game is set in a real setting, carry weights are usually completely ridiculous. Oh, yeah. One man can carry four hundred pounds of gear, totally makes sense.

The only game I've seen to carrying weight correctly is State of Decay. The weight is really realistic and only doesn't have that adverse effect on gameplay. Your character just becomes tired faster, which limits your amount of stamina.
 

Battenberg

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It's like a lot of mechanics in games- it adds to the realism but at the cost of convenience and flow in the gameplay. The problem is that, at least in my opinion, the direction RPGs should be going in is one of more realism which tends to cone with the disadvantage of requiring a lot more effort and micromanagement on the player's part. I'm not saying I have any urgent preference for games with inventory limits or that Dark Souls or Skyrim would be significantly worsened by a lack of one but where do you draw the line at cutting out mechanics because they're inconvenient? I'd rather play a game that's quite fiddly than one that's been simplified to the point that it has nothing interesting or unique about it.

Not to mention some games allow you to increase your inventory as you go, in Skyrim it's pretty to get to 5x your initial carry weight limit. And besides all that I tend to find I waste almost as much time in games without these limits just by accumulating so much stuff that finding the weapon I want or the potion I need takes twice as long as it should.
 

norashepard

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I think they work but are always half assed. The point of them is to prevent the player from simply carrying everything with them and becoming overpowered via items instead of playing the game skillfully, and I think that's a good goal. Most weight systems though tend to just use it arbitrarily without much thought, and the weights of items are also arbitrary. If, however, the dev pays attention to it, it can be fun instead of stupid.

Example: The Requiem Mod for Skyrim. Everything has more realistic weight, the player has even less space to carry it all, so you really do have to plan what you want to bring for whatever outing you're going on. Do you bring your enchanted boots of sneaking, sacrificing a few pounds that could have perhaps been used on some extra potions? Do you bring heavy armor and sacrifice a little loot for safety, or do you sport the light stuff, risking your life for more things to sell? In that mod, carry weight is built to specifically interact with the gameplay, instead of just being there to be there, so I think it works.

But yeah most current games with carry weight systems are dumb.
 

RandV80

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lechat said:
usually the first hack i plug into any game i play.
unlimited inventory weight or you can fuck off. ironically resident evil was passable because finding the most efficient way to stack stuff was a game in and of itself but when the whole game mechanic involves you having to take 50 trips back to town to sell the loot you earned in one dungeon it just feels like padding.
This brings me to my question... do we really need that much loot? I'm playing Kingdoms of Amalur right now, which doesn't use a weight limit or creative stacking, but has an item count limit. They have some modern niceties like being able to add loot straight to a junk pile which you can clean at a merchant with one click, but my thoughts playing it has been as my inventory quickly starts filling to max again while I'm out questing/exploring is 'do they really need to keep dumping so much crap on me'? A hoarding mentality comes easily, so if somethings there most people are going to take it.

Using various weight limits and inventory management has its use if you want to build a more realistic experience, but if that's what your going for why dump a wagon full of treasure/loot on the player every time they walk into some cave or abandoned keep or whatever? I know finding loot is part of the appeal to this genre but the problem is every game/developer just simply gives us an all you can eat buffet of it. More games should dabble a little in a 'fine dining' approach. The only WRPG I can think of that really did this was the original Balders Gate, where you'd creme your pants if you found a +2 longsword.
 

AntiChri5

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It's important to remember that, while Dark Souls doesn't limit what you can have in your inventory it does have limits on your inventory. Most notably, bringing it up doesn't pause the game.

Other games have weight limits so that you can't cart around 10 thousand legendary weapons and nine million health items and use them as a crutch. In Dark Souls you are free to do so, but if you want to change items mid battle you damn well better know how to navigate the inventory quick.
 

beastro

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Back in the days of EQ weight limits played a small, but key role in helping balance out the games favour of caster classes, and was something to consider when you were out dungeon crawling, farming money and, unless you had a wizard or druid friend you were grouping with that would teleport you to a town, meant a long run back to sell the junk and bank your money. Money also had weight and four different units of it, copper, silver, gold, platinum, each more valuable than the next, each less heavy. Copper you could dump, but if you got enough silver and gold you had to decided if it could convert into about platinum to hold on to, or else to dump it too and invest that extra weight in vendor trash that could sell for more.

On top of that melee classes were handicapped in many ways and it was also novel thing to be an ogre with enough strength you never over overloaded and found yourself carrying your weak little gnome friends vendor trash around too to help him out.
 

RJ 17

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Roofstone said:
Villainy is no excuse for bad manners. Even, especially, towards assassins.
I honestly laughed for a good 5 minutes straight, that was the 2nd funniest "bug" (in that a bandit which is supposed to be default-hostile towards the player just walks up and kindly hands them back "their" property before walking away) that I had ever personally experienced in the game. The first being the always hilarious Giant Slam Space Launch...though I don't know if that's a bug or if they actually intended Lydia to be sent into orbit every time a giant does an over-head swing with it's club.

Anyhow, I just imagined the bandit seeing a dagger fall out of the darkness and say "Huh, that apparent shadow of nothingness dropped a dagger. I will do him a kindness by returning it to him."

See? I knew there was a reason I was doing a pure stealth run of that dungeon. Those were apparently that infamous band of respectful and courteous bandits. No need to go through systematically slitting their throats one-by-one. They just wanna hang out and drink their ale in peace.
 

madwarper

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beastro said:
On top of that melee classes were handicapped in many ways and it was also novel thing to be an ogre with enough strength you never over overloaded and found yourself carrying your weak little gnome friends vendor trash around too to help him out.
No one was more handicapped than Monks, because if they carried more than 14 (iirc) weight units, then you suffered heavy AC penalties.

Also...


OT: There has to be come limit on inventory space. You shouldn't be able to hold all the items, all the time.
Weight limit (Elder Scrolls) is only one of the options.
Some cap your total inventory space (Etrian Odyssey).
Some cap how many of each item you can hold (Tales of).
Some play inventory Tetris (Neverwinter Nights).
etc.
 

Mylinkay Asdara

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Johny_X2 said:
all valid points (with the exception of that one weirdly angry guy who went on a tangent about MMOs and shooters for no good reason), the majority opinion seems to be that it balances out the game's economy, not letting the player grab and sell every single pick-uppable object in the game, and balance out the difficulty by making player consciously aware of the choices they are making.

Here's a counterargument though: aren't there ways of getting around all those potential issues in a more elegant, more convenient fashion? The game can limit the number of healing items the player can carry; it can not let the player sell every single piece of stick they find lying about and make shopkeepers more picky about what they accept as loot; solve clutter with an inventory filter and, as for the choices... it's less of a choice between 'should I drop this expensive armour here and lose it forever so that I can take the new one' and more of a 'crap, I'm halfway through this dungeon now, should I run back to the nearest town, sell the old armour, run back and pick up the new one or should I just leave it here?

I don't think it actually makes the economy more balanced in any way. All it does is slowing the player down and makes looting more inconvenient. There's usually nothing stopping you from coming back to the dungeon later to grab the rest of the loot. The weight limit is not restricting this - it only makes the execution more boring. And I don't think that punishing a player with boredom and frustration is a sign of good design.

To me, in many games the weight limit is just a lazy measure that, while partially dealing with some of the problems mentioned here - does not get to the core of the issue and as an end result, only serves to annoy the player.

Please note that I'm talking about seemingly arbitrary inventory system in RPGs in which he gameplay doesn't focus on survival and resource management and/or does't sufficiently build all the rest of the mechanics with the inventory solution in mind and vice versa.
See, you keep bringing up "I'm halfway through a dungeon and full" - but that is not an inventory limitation issue. It's a Player issue - you didn't clear your inventory for going out to play in dungeons ahead of time, like you should. OR It's bad placement of loot as an issue. Too much loot (or pick-up-ables) in one place, and the devs/designers aren't considering the limitations of inventory when doing the placement.

Yes, obviously those would both go away with unlimited inventory, but limited inventory isn't the direct cause of the "halfway through, gotta clean up" issue - it's just the factor that highlights the shortfall of either the player or the devs in that situation.

And, no, I have to disagree - in some RPGs it is an economic regulator. Not in all of them, for sure, but those with limited loot in the game proper item management at the proper times gives the player an advantage of money vs. a disadvantage for poor management.

The Deep Roads in DA:O is the best example I can think of off the top of my head - you go down there lean you can do one trip, open all the boxes, come back full, sell all your loot and leave. You screw it up and you've got to make a second trip or destroy items and lose that money - which is limited if you skip out on the clumsy crafting.
 

Godlikebuthumble

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I have yet to see a video game that incorporates the old D&D "encumbrance" approach. Each item had an "encumbrance" rating which was a combination of its weight and general unwieldiness. Your penalties for light/medium/heavy load would kick in when either your carried weight or encumbrance reached the limit. So you could be equally encumbered by (just for example) carrying 5 solid gold bars in your pack, or 5 comparatively lightweight spears (which are just awkward to carry around).
This would mean no inventory Tetris, but you'd have to track both your carried weight and encumbrance. So you don't get to carry 500 (light) potions or heads of cabbage. Even carrying a spare suit of light armor gets complicated. It won't weigh much (if you're strong), but it takes up a lot of space.
Hell, you could even have upgrades that raise your encumbrance treshold for stuff (i.e. a quiver is a more efficient way of transporting arrows than your backpack, or a potion bandolier, or any such stuff). Those might even make it easier/quicker to access items if you have a system in place where you have to "search" your inventory (like in ZombieU, for example).
 

Shraggler

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Johny_X2 said:
So here's a thought. After finally finishing Dark Souls (yes, I know, I know, I'm sorry), I concluded that it was the single best RPG I've played and therefore every other game should take examples from it (again, sorry). And it wasn't until I decided to give Demon's Souls another shot and started playing Elder Scrolls again before I started comparing. And analysing. And judging.
I'm right there with ya. Actually, I tell a lie... I still haven't beaten it yet. I just defeated the Capra demon after 10 to 12 months of creating new characters, getting up to that point, and stopping after getting destroyed by that mean jackass.

I'm somewhere around Slvl 27 or 28, and I'm just going around collecting gear, defeating mini-bosses, and generally running around all over the place. Since I finally figured out parry and backstab, I'm hunting for Black Knights and trying to get their stuff.

Ohhh... the fun and...... the..... feels...

Johny_X2 said:
Thoughts? Do you also find weight limits infuriatingly useless and annoying in most RPGs? Can you actually think of examples within the genre where they actually have a place and serve to make the game better?
I can't think of a weight-limiting inventory system that wasn't a chore and didn't almost immediately rip me out of the immersion, especially in your mentioned "dungeon management" scenario. This is one of the things that kept me from playing past Whiterun in Skyrim. I didn't beat that game until relatively recently (this past November or something) because, among other things, the weight-limit system became too annoying.

"But you can store your stuff in a house," some random advocate would say. Yeah, and too bad there was no design mechanic that'd let you remember which house had what and where. Terrible design, especially in regards to the touted "open world" idea - that you could go anywhere, try any weapon/spell/armor, and build a character to your liking. Nope - one at a time. Shit, to use an already overused, pseudo-meme: ain't nobody got time for that.

I know I sound like a copy of a broken record, but Dark Souls was one of the best games I'd ever played.

After hearing about Dark Souls from acquaintences who play far more games than I do, and are very much into games I was never particularly interested in (i.e. Final Fantasy & the like), and their near-endless appraisal of the game, I decided to pick it up one day when I saw it on sale for $7 or $12 on Steam. It sat downloaded on my hard drive for months before I finally gave it a shot.

I got rocked. All over the place. My poor, soft, innocent butt was at the mercy of monsters and mayhem. I played for 6 hours straight. Haven't done that since I was 13.

I went into the game thinking I probably wouldn't like it.

I came out with cream in my pants.

My cream.

Ok....ok, ok, ok.... sorry about the tangent.

Back OT: I really like the inventory system in Dark Souls. In a game where exploration in an imperative and the way forth (read: next save point) is unknown, being able to (un)realistically carry everything you pick up is a similar, and I'd say dependent, necessity.

However, one can only equip (wear/use) so much at once, and depending on one's leveling choices & some special gear, it can be a little bit or a little bit more than a little bit. The burden percentage system on equipped gear was very well designed to me. A character can tank with some movement and stamina penalties, but with some advantages to survival and even stability (i.e. able to withstand a solid hit without being knocked over or one's defense broken), or one can equip lightly and be able to move, dodge, and attack quickly with a quicker stamina regen, but at significant risk (i.e. being 1-hit killed, inability to withstand certain attacks, leaving one open to being finished off, etc.).

But, in their "not currently equipped/used" inventory, a character can still carry gigantofuck shields & weapons, heavy sets of armor, and the inevitable duplicates, triplicates & quadruplicates of crappy drops as you cautiously move from one area to another.

It definitely encouraged exploration, discouraged direct/linear backtracking, and kept me engaged with the game's world and my presence in it.

TTTTFL;DR: Inventory-burden system was excellently done in Dark Souls, and I haven't found a similar liking to any other game's inventory system. They've all felt limiting for "realism's sake" and seemed to undermine the very design of the game they were in (ex. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Deus Ex: Human Revolution).
 

WeepingAngels

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el grandos tabetos said:
I don't see what Dark Souls has to do with it, it's a 3d Metroidvania not an RPG.
Dark Souls has to be in every thread, it's an unwritten rule. Mario Kart 8 will likely be compared to Dark Souls, because Dark Souls is actually a kart racer at heart.