Better Living through Inventory Management
Obtaining piles of shiny loot can be awesome, but figuring out what to do with the spoils of war after the fact can be a total drag. In fact, the most common MMOG inventory management systems could easily go by the alias D.R.A.G. – Doesn’t Respect the Average Gamer.
While there are still some aspects of inventory management in Guild Wars 2 that could be improved upon, overall ArenaNet has done a great job of giving players plenty of tools to work with. To that end, we’ve put together a collection of tips to help keep the inventory management mini-game from critting you for too much damage, and keep you out enjoying the rest of the game instead.
Stock Up on Salvage Kits
Perhaps the best purchase you will ever make in your journeys throughout Tyria, Salvage Kits are one of the absolute “must haves” for effective inventory management. GW1 players will already be familiar with the basics of salvage kits, but for those of you just joining the party in Tyria, here is a quick rundown of how they work.
While out adventuring, you’ll see certain loot drops labeled as a “salvage item”. Using a salvage kit on these will return a number of common crafting materials, but you can also salvage other items too. Armor and weapons that you don’t need or intend to sell should all be salvaged. Depending on the quality of salvage kit you use, you’ll have a progressively better chance of gaining rarer crafting materials, or recovering upgrades from the item.
You will obtain Crude Salvage Kits early on through your personal story, but will want to purchase more kits whenever you’re at a vendor who sells them. Most general vendors will sell at least Basic quality kits, including the crafting vendors found in cities. However, as soon as you can afford to, you’ll want to begin stocking up on better quality kits. A vendor that’s universally easy to reach regardless of which race you’re playing is Salty Emil, located at the entrance to Hooligan’s Route in northwest Lion’s Arch.
When you first exit the intro for your chosen race, one of your rewards will be a shiny new 4 slot bag. Not bad to start off with, but you’ll want to upgrade this and any other smaller bags you obtain through personal story or as drops early on. The concept here is pretty simple; the more bag space you have, the less frequently you’ll have to seek out the nearest vendor to clear more space.
Perhaps the easiest way to increase the size of your bags is through crafting. Armorsmiths, Tailors, and Leatherworkers can make new boxes or bags fairly cheaply, and can be a good choice for one of your 2 trades depending on which profession you’re playing since it will allow you to craft armor upgrades as you level.
With little cost and effort you’ll be able to upgrade to 8 slot bags, and will probably even be able to craft the 10 slot bags within the first few days of playing depending on how quickly you choose to advance your crafting skill level.
It’s worth mentioning that bags do require a Rune of Holding (shown above) to craft. This is smart for a few reasons, perhaps the biggest one being that it puts a base value on bags and helps keep the Trading Post pricing of bags somewhat in check. For example, it costs 2 gold for a Greater Rune of holding, so crafted 18 slot bags will most likely always sell to other players for at least that much.
One of the very first waypoints you’ll want to unlock in the major cities will be the ones located next to the bank. This will allow you to quickly travel there to drop off crafting materials, item upgrades for your alts, or other collectables you want to store.
Storage space is exceedingly limited though, but it can still serve as a handy overflow for your bags if you’re a giant pack rat like me and hate to get rid of anything that might be useful at some point over the next 20 years. Thankfully there is a very simple way to increase your available storage – all it takes is a little dedication and time.
Under the Architecture category of the guild management Upgrades tab you’ll find a number of guild storage upgrades that can be researched. Regardless of what size your guild is, this should be the first group of unlocks you spend your Influence on. Larger guilds will like have them unlocked in a solid week of playing, but even smaller guilds should be able to unlock at least the initial Guild Stash fairly quickly.
While some guilds might scoff at the idea of letting their members join multiple guilds, allowing members to occasionally accrue some Influence towards a personal guild isn’t a bad idea as far as inventory management is concerned. Guild leaders who would deny their members such an obvious benefit via the multi-guilding system could really stand to learn a thing or two about keeping their guild members happy in my humble opinion.
Cosmetic Items, Consumables, and Collectables
This is really more a word of advice than an actual tip, but I thought it pertinent to mention regardless. In your Hero window, you’ll notice that you’ve got a separate tab for your Town Clothes. This is a cosmetic set of gear that you can swap out for various items such as the costumes that can be purchased for Gems. Some of the costumes are pretty cool, but don’t forget that a 5 piece set equals 5 inventory or storage spaces you’ll have to account for.
If you’re the type of gamer who likes to collect minipets, don’t forget that your account vault comes equipped with a dedicated section to store them in. You’ll only be able to store one of each type here, so if you ever obtain duplicates your best bet is to place them up for sale on the Trading Post. In fact, you should get into the habit of using the Trading Post as another method of getting items out of your bags and account vault that you don’t have a personal use for, and have a greater value to other players than what NPC vendors will offer.
A Word about Weapons
Before I scamper off into the aether, there is one final thing worth keeping in mind when it comes to inventory management. At present, weapons don’t have any form of dedicated inventory space, so the more weapons your profession can use, the more bag space you’ll need to sacrifice to keep a full set handy. This shouldn’t necessarily influence which profession you choose to play, but it’s something to remain conscious of all the same.
The total number of weapons each profession can currently use is as follows:
- Elementalist - 5 total weapons / 6 total combinations
- Engineer - 4 total weapons / 4 total combinations
- Guardian - 11 total weapons / 14 total combinations
- Mesmer - 9 total weapons / 12 total combinations
- Necromancer - 8 total weapons / 12 total combinations
- Ranger - 10 total weapons / 13 total combinations
- Thief - 6 total weapons / 9 total combinations
- Warrior - 11 total weapons / 21 total combinations
As you can see, there is a pretty major difference in the amount of bag space weapons will take up depending on your profession. I keep hoping ArenaNet will create a dedicated weapon inventory container to account for the massive disparity here, but so far no dice. At present, a warrior is far worse off than an Elementalist in terms of inventory space, and that honestly makes no sense on any level.
So until the above is address in some way, it is worth keeping in mind when first starting out. Think of it this way: your warrior will start with a 20 slot backpack + 4 additional slots from your intro reward. Of those 24 slots, you’ll be left with a scant 13 open slots if you want to have 1 of each weapon available to unlock skills or try out different builds. Thankfully there is a bit of relief at level 7 when your second weapon set unlocks, but it still makes little sense that weapon storage should be a major concern for some professions, and not at all for others.
Have your own thoughts on inventory management in GW2, or tips you'd like to share with our readers? Toss 'em in the comments below!