Diablo 4 Associate Game Director Joe Piepiora has revealed the reason why we only have four inventory stash tabs. Apparently, the issue is purely with the game performance - all the player's info, including items in the stash, is being constatly loaded by servers and causes a huge memory overhead.
That said, the devs are fully aware of this as an important problem and are currenly working on a permanent long-term solution that will alleviate the significant inventory pressure players have been experiencing since the game's launch.
During a developer livestream last Friday which addressed a lot of community concerns, the game leads announced that in Patch 1.1.1 they will be adding another free stash tab for everyone to use. Even though, obviously, it is a welcome change, many Diablo 4 players were surprised why we're getting only one and not more stash tabs to really alleviate the problem.
Twitter user @Espen_OK asked Piepiora about that and received an unexpected answer:
Great to see you guys took what the community said at heart. But why are we only getting 1 extra stash tab? What is the problem to add a load of them or even unlimited?
When we say they are expensive what we mean is that they create a lot of memory overhead. When you see another player in game you load them and their entire stash filled with all their items. This is what teams are working diligently to improve so that we can have more asap.
Basically this isn’t a storage concern it’s a performance concern.
The Diablo 4 community was overall very surprised by Piepiora's answer regarding stash tabs. Since the game's release, it was assumed that the main reason behind inventory being so restrictive is that Diablo 4 will either sell more stash tabs in the store or award them for certain in-game activities or achievements.
However, since everything turned out to be just a technical issue, many players expressed their disbelief and dissapointment in developers. Reddit user DarkSetis commented:
Whoever came up with this backwards design... Me as a player should not be able to see ANYTHING in reference to other characters besides their class, level, current equipment, name, guild, title, and a few modifiers but under no circumstances should my PC even get the information about their stash, or inventory for that matter.
Other players were trying to brainstorm the ideas why would such an awkward system exist in the first place. Reddit user Bubbles said:
The reason they load these things likely is, ironically, optimization. Normally, we really don't need to get much of the info about the other player. But the moment they switch out gear, this changes. If their inventory wasn't already loaded, your client would now have to request that data from the server, resulting in an awkward moment in which they'd be wearing either nothing or some glitchy placeholder, plus a whole lot more server requests. If the data is already loaded, the items can just be instantly switched without problem.
Even though many players were clearly taken aback by the explanation, there still seems to be a consensus that Joe Piepiora coming forth and explaining situation as it is - is a good thing in terms of communication and building good faith with the community.
Diablo 4 Patch 1.1.1 will add one more stash tab to the inventory and in the future we can expect the developers to solve the underlying issue that pervents bigger expansion.