on Jun 15, 2014
Wow. Blackreach, right? We dump on this game a lot, but places like this really remind me why I keep coming back to Skyrim. Vibrant. Colorful. Fantastical. Surprising. Varied.
The inventory problems are baffling to me. The thing with non-stacking soul gems goes back to Morrowind at least. And here is where all the terrible design choices really find a lot of synergy, so that many minor issues can combine to form this inexhaustible fountain of maddening annoyances.
- They designed an interface that’s incredibly inefficient and eats a ton of screen real estate to show very little.
- And then they designed a game the encourages hoarding large numbers of disparate items.
- They created a loot system where just about every foe in the game drops something of value and also something heavy and worthless, thus creating numerous little caches of loot that need to be sorted. (As opposed to only having loot in chests that appear every five minutes, it appears also in foes which occur several times a minute.)
- They made this intensely binary encumbrance system that necessitates many trips to the inventory screen to prioritize and discard.
- They decided to hide the most important attribute – value per weight-unit – from the player so you’re constantly needing to do math in your head to figure out if this item is above or below the threshold of what you consider “valuable”.
- They made classes of items that are functionally identical but don’t stack, thus causing a massive inflation in the total number of items you have the scroll through.
- They put a limit on the amount of cash shopkeepers have, thus making it more difficult to unload valuable items, a problem that results in more travel through more loading screens and more sorting through massive lists of items.
Some of these flaws are just a natural part of the game. (Like item hoarding.) But others are trivial to fix and others could be mitigated with a bit of work. But instead we have this long list of questionable decisions that creates an inventory system that doubles as a torture device.
Still, Blackreach is amazing.