Items can be used for many things. But sometimes you need to get a lot of them for various situations. So what do you do? You go Item Farming.
Item farming is where you go use various methods to gain items
, like killing enemies for their random drops
or go Video Game Stealing
to grind for various items. This can also include going around and exploring various places to collect items.
Since this is done in almost all MMORPGs, no straight MMORPG examples please.(Notable subversions are fine.)
Sister trope of Level Grinding
and Money Grinding
- The Harvest Moon series has this both literally and figuratively in where you must collect and farm various resources to go forward in the games.
- Castlevania: Circle of the Moon, dear gods. All equipment, including spells, was randomly dropped from enemies. To make matters worse, many bosses were practically unbeatable without certain spells or being up-to-date on your equipment. If you wanted to survive, you could expect to be doing a lot of this.
- This could possibly be considered subverted in The World Ends with You. While many pins have abysmally low drop rates, it's very easy to raise the drop rate, by either lowering your own level, or fighting multiple enemies at a time. Once you hit the Absurdly Low Level Cap and pick up the "chain 16" sticker, there are only two drops in the entire game that can't be raised to 100%. The real grinding is Stat Grinding, so that you can actually win the 16-round battles against the most powerful enemies in the game at level 1.
- This is how train upgrades are obtained in The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. By collecting Vendor Trash. Also Phantom Hourglass as well, to a lesser extent.
- Link's equipment in Skyward Sword can be upgraded in the same way with materials. You need some bugs (and a Net to catch them with) for upgrading your potions.
- Shin Megami Tensei IMAGINE removes the need to farm monsters by letting players gather "remains of Tokyo" (basically, refuse) which can be sold to NPCs or recycled to craft weapons.This is surprisingly the fastest way to earn money:completing a level 70-ish dungeon rewards the player with the equivalent of 20-30.000 Macca, while the same amount can be gathered in about 15 minutes while standing in a level 14 zone.
- Starting with Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire one can easily re-teach Pokémon moves of their respective natural learnsets, but the NPC's services come at a price: depending on which game you play they want either Heart Scales or Mushrooms. Getting these requires the Player to hunt for either Luvdisc (for Heart Scales), digging them up in the Underground (Gen IV only) or battling Paras/Parasect (for Mushrooms), hoping the encountered 'mon has the desired item and catching them/ using moves to get enemies' items. Given the usefulness of these items, some ambitious move restructuring would involve scooping these little creatures up by the teamful. It was possible to have Pokémon relearn moves in Gen II as well, but it required a N64, Pokémon Stadium 2, a Transfer Pak to transfer your team over, beating the Elite 4 plus Champion using all six of your Pokémon at least once in battle...all for one single 'mon to be able to remember one move and finally transferring your team back to your GB cartridge if you so desired. It's been simplified since, no doubt.
- Berries come in handy, too, particularly since a Pokémon can use it, rather than forcing you to spend a turn using a Full Heal or other status-healing item. The Lum Berry in particular is useful since it can cure any status problem. Unfortunately, this berry takes several days (in real time!) to grow.
- Happens a lot in things like Farmville and Mafia Wars, you need to repeatedly do jobs to get the loot items needed to do the new jobs. Gets ridiculous towards later goals.
- Sonic Adventure 1 & 2 required you to constantly play through old levels to get rings to use as money to buy equipment and items to improve your Chao. Though the Chao themselves were in no way necessary to advance in the game, they were necessary for 100% Completion, at least in Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut.
- Happens all the time in Ratchet & Clank, especially if you want all the weapons, upgrades, items, and equipment, you need to grind through side games and levels to afford the bolts for everything, lest you want to keep going through New Game+ over and over. This however is not necessary for completion (though the game will be a lot harder if you've not saved up for the stronger weapons). On the other hand, in several games, you can collect Vendor Trash for money. Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando had two areas where you were required to gather a number of crystals to proceed (ten in the first area then twenty-five out of a hundred in the second area) in order to give these crystals to get required gadgets and level progression. The spare crystals you've not gathered can then be later gathered for money, an amount that's increased tenfold in the New Game+.
- Since Going Commando, the series has worked to alleviate this with the Death Course and Arena battles, which can be refought for extra bolts, and a Bolt Multiplier in New Game Plus, which increases as you kill enemies (but resets when you take damage).
- Final Fantasy has numerous examples of this over its long history.
- Final Fantasy II has Imperial Captains occupying the city of Fynn, near the start of the game. Talking to one (which you're explicitly warned not to do) initiates a battle and—if you're underlevelled—a prompt reload. If you can defeat them, either by being overlevelled or exploiting Minwu's spells, they have a good chance of dropping a Disc-One Nuke bow or the Game-Breaker Toad spell.
- One of the earlier examples is the best equipment in Final Fantasy IV—not just the infamous Pink Tails and Adamant Armor combo, but also gear like Crystal Rings, Ribbons, Wyvern Lances, and Dragon Whiskers, all found from rare drops from enemies ranging from semi-rare to ludicrously rare. Also added to this are the Golden and Silver Apples and Soma Drops, consumable items that permanently boost HP and MP. the DS version added even more ludicrously rare tail/armor combos, as well as Rainbow Pudding, necessary for That One Sidequest. Basically, if you are interested in 100% Completion in Final Fantasy IV, you're going to spend a looooooong time parked in dungeons with Sirens.
- In Final Fantasy V, enemies in the Pyramid of Moore can be farmed for Elixirs, and enemies in the Phoenix Tower can be farmed for the best Dancer equipment and Ribbons.
- Final Fantasy VI gives us the Ragnarok Esper's special ability, Metamorphosis, which transforms an enemy into an item and is a good source for more rare equipment, like Safety Bits and Ribbons. The downside is that in order to take advantage of this, the player is going to spend a very long time farming on the Veldt.
- Much like Final Fantasy VI, Final Fantasy VII has enemies that can, if killed using the weak Morph command, be turned into items. Most notable in this regard are the Sunken Gelnika enemies, the majority of which turn into valuable Rare Candies that permanently boost stats.
- Enemies in Final Fantasy VIII can be turned into Cards, which can subsequently be refined into spells that can be junctioned to your characters' stats to boost them and add effects to their attacks and attributes while handily avoiding the Level Scaling penalties—it's a Min Maxer's dream come true!
- The items you can use to upgrade and modify your weapons and armor and upgrade your Aeons' stats and abilities in Final Fantasy X you can generally only get by stealing from or bribing particular monsters, in addition to the standards drops and whatnot—particularly, Level 3 Keyspheres. If the player didn't take the opportunity to steal a bunch of them from a boss, they're going to spend quite some time in Zanarkand Ruins looking for the monsters that rarely drop them.
- Most obvious is Final Fantasy XII, in which the only way to get usable amounts of money is to sell loot from monsters. There's also this Bazaar thing, which allows the player to unlock certain maybe rare, maybe valuable items. The best items might require multiples of items only available via the Bazaar, making the full recipe be something like 21 Bear Behinds, 39 Ursus Buttocks, 9 Rare Vicious Monster Ultra Rare Drop Fangs and so on.
- Final Fantasy Tactics A2 uses the Bazaar system for all equipment, but gives no no control over what items you're getting, so it only kind of counts.
- Final Fantasy XIII is similar to XII in that all money comes from Vendor Trash, and you need certain specific items for Item Crafting—most notably, the catalysts that transform weapons into their ultimate forms. Either you pay millions of gil for a single one of them, or you farm the terrifying turtle monsters, whose rare drop is the catalyst.
- In Theatrhythm Final Fantasy, a Rhythm Game spin-off, playable characters are unlocked by collecting specifically coloured Crystal Shards, which are randomly dropped by bosses in randomly-generated Dark Notes. So if you want, say, Kain on your team, you'll have to be doubly or triply lucky.
- This is thankfully made easier in the sequel, where the shards are much easier to get (you're guaranteed to get at least 3 from beating most Chaos Maps, you can get an infinite amount of them from Rhytmia rewards and you always get ones you don't currently have all of with the possible exception of Black Shards and if you're not having luck with your own maps, you can always ask for someone to help you by having them attach a map you need which you can then get by playing online with them), you only need half as many to unlock a character in general and you can get several at the same time. Finally, when you collect enough shards to unlock a character, you generally can choose one out of several characters that're unlocked with shards of that color, although in exchange, all the characters outside of the 4 you choose initially need to be unlocked seperately, as opposed to the representative characters of each game being available at the start.
- Half of Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale (the other half being selling what you've farmed).
- In the Atelier series you need to do this to find ingredients for your items.
- This isn't necessary in Cave Story, but it can be helpful. In particular, many (non-speed running) players like to exploit the respawning mechanic at the beginning of the third room of Sacred Grounds to collect enough hearts to refill their health.
- Might and Magic games saw a fair bit of this - some items and all spells could be bought, but most of the cool stuff could only be collected from dead high-level monsters. A twist: monster drops were determined randomly when you looted the corpse, so by saving just before looting, you could reload and try again if you were dissatisfied with the take. If you were determined enough, you could use the fact that some creatures occasionally dropped more than one item (the corpse didn't vanish after the first drop) to outfit your whole party with super items from one dead dragon... if you had the patience.
- Often necessary for crafting/upgrading certain items and equipment in Tales of Vesperia.
- The skill system in Rogue Galaxy requires you to find certain items and use them to learn/power up your skills. Most can be found in chests or bought in shops, the rest require you to rely on monster drops. Probably the most egregious example are the Lucky Clover; every character requires several of them (some characters up to a half dozen) and you only find about half of the amount you need during the course of the game. To find the rest you need to kill a specific somewhat rare monster that has a drop rate of less than 5%.
- It gets even better if you wait until later in the game and go back later. The list of enemies that can be encountered is expanded, meaning that the enemy you want to encounter has an even lower chance of even appearing. (much less dropping anything)
- If you want to make good equipment in Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey, you're going to spend a lot of time wandering around looking for forma.
- Dragon Quest IX has a LOT of this, particularly if you want to get (closer) to 100% Completion. There are locations on the map where items can be collected, reappearing after a while, Random Drops from enemies (including very difficult bonus bosses), items found in blue chests (some of which have a 1% chance of appearing in Rank 10 chests, the rarest), items obtained from completing quests (some of which require connecting with other players) AND items that can only be found through DLC. And some of these items must then be transformed through alchemy.
- Invoked in Eternal Darkness when a note from Edward Roivas says that you'll have to find 88 keys around the mansion to unlock the next chapter - and you unlock the chapter by closely examining a piano.
- In Minecraft, players construct colossal Mob Towers, which are focused mob-spawn areas, and Mob Grinders, to kill off the resulting mobs. These can produce (in extreme cases) hundreds of items per minute and allow the player to just stand there and gain items. The most helpful drops include gunpowder, arrows, and Ender Pearls. Notably, XP is not given, and players either have to modify their designs to only mostly-kill mobs (so the players can land the final blow), or just do without.
- In Borderlands 2 players can farm for very powerful or useful 'Legendary' weapons and equipment from enemies that usually have ludicrously low drop rates for those items. So it's a bit less boring, there are various involved ways to make the odds of a good item better, for instance feeding kills to a berserk Goliath to make it level higher.
- Played straight in Dungeon Maker II: The Hidden War, big time. Food is one of the biggest, since the players raise their stats by eating and most food items have to be gathered from dungeon creatures. It's also required to grind for items to boost the stats of some items, such as shields and the stat-boosting root sprites. There's also a lot of farming required to gain normal items too, thanks to a system where the drop rate of an item is much lower until after the first time you collect that item.
- The loot system at the end of a heist in PAYDAY 2 gives either money, weapon mods, masks, or mask mods from picking cards with random results. Players have farmed short and easy heists to get the cards quickly every time.
- Final Fantasy XIV plays the trope straight with the rare and exotic items and gear, but the majority of the gear you obtain from quest rewards or dungeon loot are easily obtainable so that you don't have to grind for equipment just to be able to take on the main content.
- Once you get to Chapter 3-1 of Resident Evil 5, the game's difficulty tips its hat and bids you farewell. The chapter starts you out in a vast lake on a boat with tons of goodies and a free rocket launcher to collect and, once you figure out the enemy spawn points, it's entirely possible to go through without encountering a single enemy. All in all you can make close to $25,000 dollars without firing a single bullet and, since the game doesn't take items away when you quit a chapter, feel free to replay it as many times as you want for unlimited money and rocket launchers.
- Monster Hunter, in addition to the carves and rewards from hunted Monsters (and severed parts thereof), also had ores, plant materials, fish and insects which needed to be mined, picked, or caught during the course of the hunt. The second game in the series added options of the player to hire people to work for you to gather these materials while you hunted, making gaining even rare stuff much easier.
- Overcoming the Hopeless Boss Fights early on in Lufia: The Legend Returns requires you farming for items in the game's Randomly Generated Levels. The first fight requires at least eight (or nine without Head Crush) Hi-Bombs to defeat him. The second fight, since you have three characters, can also be done by stocking up on Revives and Cherry Tapping Gades.
- Item Crafting and the Hunter's Guild requests in Lufia: The Ruins of Lore requires going into the randomized Ancient Cave and finding a Random Drop inside. Figuring out which floors can have items appear is a Guide Dang It!.
- Prevalent in Path of Exile. Each Bonus Boss has a few proprietary unique items that only they can drop. There are also the Divination Cards, which will drop only in specific area and can be traded in sets for a specific reward.
- Master of the Monster Lair: Owen and Kate raise their stats by eating food. Almost all decent food requires at least one ingredient you can't purchase in town. Half the time, fighting an enemy gets you equipment or Vendor Trash rather than the food you're looking for. Do the math.