Created By: Recon5 on June 2, 2010 Last Edited By: Recon5 on June 2, 2010
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Set Bonus

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A subtrope of Gotta Catch Them All referring to certain items bestowing benefits only when the player has a full or partial matching set of them. These sets are usually predetermined and have an official or unofficial collective name or a common theme to indicate that they should be used together.

The resulting bonuses are often better or more difficult to obtain than those on regular items without extensive upgrades. While individual pieces of a set may be cheap (the most common ones can border on Vendor Trash at times), getting them all at once jacks up the price to a good deal more than the total cost of the pieces.

Players can usually cobble together a combination of regular and/or unique items with overall stats as good as or better than a matched set of their level, but this requires more effort and resources (not to mention luck) over a longer period of time. In short, the Set Bonus mechanic offers a wholly in-game shortcut to power for people who can afford the larger down-payment. Also worth noting is that it (usually) looks better than Rainbow Pimp Gear.

Most of the time there is no In-Universe explanation offered for why these items have to be together to produce the extra effects. It could be said that the enchantments need to 'overlap' or that the pieces when connected form the circuit of a system that then produces the effects. Most games with this mechanic will also have each item's description "kindly" inform the player of the potential benefits, without any proper explanation of just how the character could know about them. Maybe they were written somewhere on the items themselves.

This trope is absurdly prevalent (thought by no means universal) in MMORPGs but it turns up in other genres as well. It is often used to encourage trading among players but it has the side effect of making the more obsessed sink extra time and money into a game.
Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • May 9, 2010
    DorianMode
    Diablo 2 had these; Magic The Gathering had Urza's Mine, Tower, and Power Plant, which would provide more mana if all three were in play.
  • May 9, 2010
    KZN02
    Rings sets in zOMG!.
  • May 9, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Armor in Dragon Age gives additional bonuses if it forms a matching set.
  • May 9, 2010
    gman003
    Certain armor in Torchlight does this. It actually tells you a) that it's in a set, b) the name of the set, and c) what bonuses you'll get for getting more pieces.
  • May 9, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Anime example. Lina has four magical amplifiers (that she bought off of Xellous) that work better in tandem then separately.
  • May 10, 2010
    henke37
    The boat/train parts in recent zelda games.
  • May 10, 2010
    BarryOgg
    Expansion packs to Heroes Of Might And Magic III introduced these, as certain sets of items when equipped result in absurdly powerful bonuses. In fact, two of the campaigns in Shadow of Death revolve around gathering those... for the Big Bad.
  • May 10, 2010
    TheBigSock
    World of Warcraft, of course.
  • May 10, 2010
    Arivne
    Deleted Dungeons And Dragons examples because the items give bonuses individually.
  • May 10, 2010
    Stratadrake
    Board Games
    • In Monopoly, the player is only allowed to build houses and hotels on properties where they own the entire color block.
    • Risk provides additional troop bonuses when you occupy an entire continent.

    Video Games
    • Most of the Gatito brand pins in The World Ends With You only work in sets, and many are clearly labelled that "by itself, this pin exhibits no power".
  • May 10, 2010
    Cidolfas
    If I recall correctly, the imp equipment in Final Fantasy VI works like this.

    Many, many sets of equipment in Dissidia Final Fantasy come with bonuses when they are all equipped.
  • May 10, 2010
    TheChainMan
    ^The Imp equipment isn't an example, since you don't need all pieces for it to work (Or even having more than just one), just for the character to be an Imp.
  • Having three matching viviosaurs of a set on your team in Fossil Fighters is necessary for using their team attacks. What makes a set varies, but it can be things like similar styles, diets, or elements.
  • May 11, 2010
    Cidolfas
    I guess I didn't recall correctly. 8-)
  • May 11, 2010
    Stratadrake
    The four pieces of Imp equipment in FF 6 can be used individually, so they don't count.

    For titles, make it Complete Set Bonus.
  • May 11, 2010
    Recon5
    Many MM Os give bonuses for partial sets as well.

  • May 11, 2010
    Stratadrake
    Oh yes, in The Legend Of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, your ship gets bonuses to its maximum HP if you equip multiple parts from matching sets.
  • May 14, 2010
    Recon5
    Bump.
  • May 14, 2010
    STUART
  • May 14, 2010
    zealotglob
    Tactics Ogre Also used the set equipment variant, usually giving the character a lesser weight penalty.
  • May 21, 2010
    Recon5
    Last call. Do we have this already?
  • May 21, 2010
    Kayube
    In Animal Crossing, you get bonus points for your HRA score by collecting pieces of furniture sets, themes, and series.
  • June 2, 2010
    Recon5
    Launching now. Thanks guys.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

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