Official Blizzard Quote:http://goo.gl/mBVSD" class="blizzsource">
Shared stashes are in and working.
Item sharing in the Diablo series has not been very convenient in the past. The first way to transfer items between your characters came with the Diablo: Hellfire expansion for the original Diablo" class="wiki-link">Diablo"/> Diablo. It was called the Cornerstone of the World and is a simple tile in the game that persists across all your characters. Place an item on the tile and any other character can go to the tile and grab it.
The next update came in Diablo II. There was technically no item sharing support, so players had to find another way to transfer items. You had two options.
- You join a game and drop the items you wish to transfer somewhere in the game world. You leave and hope that the game doesn't get closed or some other event prevents you from rejoining the game. You switch character, join the game, and pick up your stuff.
- You trade your items with a friend, swhich character, and take the items back. This method is considerably less risky, but it does require that a friend is online and available.
None of these alternatives were very attractive or convenient, and it also caused the creation of mules. The problem was that you ran out of space in your own Inventory, so you had to find another place to store your items. The solution was to create a lot of level 1 characters, often across multiple accounts, and use them to store your items. A character used purely for storage is commonly called a mule.
The only way to transfer items in single player was through replicating this transfer method in a LAN game.
It is obvious that Blizzard has never supported item sharing, up until now. The concept of a shared stash has arisen multiple times across various interviews, Q&A, and forum posts. They have always been positive towards the system, but they have never quite made the decision. Now they finally have. This addition may very well change the way we manage items, or it could turn out to be nothing but a simpler way to mule. Jay Wilson touched the subject at Gamescom back in August, with this on his mind:
Official Blizzard Quote:
Including a shared stash in Diablo III is, I think, everyone’s first choice. A shared stash is very easy to deal with for the player, and having it in the game creates a nice common area where characters can gather in a game. It does create a few problems, though. For one thing, it really encourages players to mule items on multiple characters. Which may just be something we have to deal with. Players who like to mule really like doing it. We kind of feel, well, we wish you didn’t have to mule. We wish there was a better way to store away spare items.
Blizzard does not want us to store items on multiple characters, so it is likely that their version of the shared stash did solve this issue in one way or another. The most obvious solution is to make the stash so big that you never need a mule. Each character's personal stash + the shared stash would have to be large enough to support everything all of our characters will collect, otherwise the extra stash space needed to store items will be taken from mule characters.
Update: Luckily Bashiok recently confirmed that both the shared stash and personal stash will be huge. The people that really like to amass large amounts of junk will still require mules (Source), but let's remember that Diablo III will have an economy based on gold with actual value, so storing junk because it is valuable will no longer be necessary.
Space is not the only important advantage of a shared stash. It would also be a convenient place to put all your items that you want to trade.
Lastly there is the possibility of upgrades and rewards. Progression is the key component of an RPG, and D3 is packed with examples of this: Skill Runes, Gems, Equipment" class="wiki-link">Equipment"/> Equipment, Achievements, Artisans, ear collections, etc. The amount is simply staggering. They might implement some progression features to the shared stash as well. You could use gold to unlock slots, thereby giving Blizzard another way to drain gold from the economy, or you might recieve them by completing achievements.
Feel free to add your speculations and opinions to mine. What exactly will be possible with the shared stash, and will there be other systems (such as achievements) interacting with it?