Having voiced my opinion on how I think the new inventory system takes away too much from what Sea of Thieves was and does not comfortably fit the style and feel of the game, I wanted to give some ideas on how to make things better.
Improving Barrel System:
If the new inventory system is truly necessary to deliver us more in the future, it needs to become less intrusive and feel more like the game we have been playing and function in a way more similar to how we have accessed barrels prior to this update.
Option 1: Keep the barrels having multiple items regardless of how it makes sense or not to store bananas with cannonballs, but replace the new interface of interacting with the barrels. You go up to the same barrel, press the same key as before and a small version of the item radial style menu pops up over the barrel showing all the items in the barrel. The visuals and sounds are not changed. You press the same key as we always have to remove the first item on the radial menu. The items pop into our inventory just like it use to. You rotate through the menu pressing the same key to get additional items as desires. The same key that popped the menu closes it.
When you go back to your ship you go to the barrels just as we did before. We press the same key. No menu pops up. All the items that belong in that particular barrel get deposited just like before. If the barrel stores multiple types of the same item, pressing the same key on the ship's barrel to retrieve as we did before bringing up the radial menu to gather what is needed.
The barrels should show an empty state when so as they did before.
This option keeps the simplistic look and feel of SoT that we have been use to and love.
Option 2: While undesirable, keep the current menu system, but modify it. First, have a much, much smaller box menu that only pops up for the barrel you are collecting from. It pops up smaller to the side of that barrel you are collecting from. The visuals and sounds are not changed. The same button that retrieved items as before opens and closes the barrel. Another button collects the items.
When you return to your ship you and go to deposit the items, no menu pops up. The same button used as before stores all of the same item type into that barrel. When you retrieve items from your ship's barrel using the same button as before, the same much smaller box menu pops up to select the items you want. The same button that opened the menu closes the menu.
Again when barrels are empty they need to display that fact. Now too many empty barrels are being opened to find out there is nothing left in the area to collect. With both options there also seems to be a need to balance the amount of items that can be collected and stored. It appears there are now more empty barrels when adventuring around. Storing more items is also going to impact PvP encounters ways beyond what we have been used to. It definitely changes the flow and pace of a lot of things in the game.
Cursed cannonballs are also an issue. From what we heard they were supposed to be rare and that is not the case. Cursed cannonballs should only be discovered out and about on the islands and in the forts. You pick them up like skulls and drop them on your ship just like skulls. You pick them up and use them as needed one at a time. Too many are being collected, stored, and used.
The same use of the radial menu could also be used to select what cannonballs to load.
Hopefully these ideas will help calm the waters and bring back the feel most of us want when we sail in the Sea of Thieves.