The items section on Obsidian Portal started out with the best intentions. I thought: “Hey, if we can track characters, why not their items as well?” I took a quick stab at it, then switched to some other features, and I haven’t looked back since. There has always been something more important to work on, and the items section has remained untouched.
Here we are several years later, and the items section just doesn’t do what it should. It doesn’t allow you track loot for your character, or for the party as a whole. It doesn’t allow you to keep track of how much gold (or whatever currency) you’re carrying. It doesn’t even have item types beyond a very limited fantasy-centric set like armor, weapon, cloak, and so forth.
So, after some hard thinking, I have decided to take action and sweep the items section out of view. It will still be there if you want to use it, but for new campaigns after we launch the Reforged website, the items section will be hidden by default and you’ll need to enable it if you want to use it. Perhaps in the future, we may disable it completely for new campaigns. I haven’t fully decided yet.
But couldn’t you X, or change it to Y, or make it Z?
There are a lot of things we could do to make it better, but all of them require a real time investment. That’s time that we’re not spending in other places. Time is our most precious resource, and we have to be very careful about how we spend it. Right now, we would much rather work on things like natural editing, or the uploaded file library. These are features that every campaign could use right away, while the items section is less essential. You can always use a special wiki page to track loot, or just keep a list on your character’s page. The bottom line is: The items section just isn’t as core to Obsidian Portal as the other features, like the wiki or the characters.
But why hide it? Why not leave it alone?
Right now, providing as little functionality as it does, the items section provides an unsatisfactory experience. So, for someone who is brand new to Obsidian Portal, they’ll click around, find a few things they really like, then land on the items section and wonder, “Huh? I don’t really get it, and it kind of sucks.” Its mere presence serves to tarnish the surroundings. It’s like having a beautiful back yard, but there’s an old shed that’s decrepit and crumbling. Sure, you can just leave it there, but it will always be an eyesore unless you take steps to either fix it or get rid of it. For now, we’re going with option 2.
We want everyone to have the best possible experience when using Obsidian Portal, and for now that means hiding the items section. My hope is to one day come full circle and turn it into the first-class loot tracker / item catalogue that it should be, but for now, we’re going to focus our attention on more important features.