A frequent trope in the Real-Time Strategy genre, the Resource Gathering Mission has the goal of not annihilating your enemies (at least, it's not the primary goal), but to gather a large amount of a certain resource, usually giving you an economic boost at the beginning of the next level.
This creates a conflict for the player, since the more you spend on your army and defenses, the longer it takes to finish the mission. Fortunately, these missions often provide alternate ways of securing income.
Resources Management Gameplay can factor into the success of such mission, if the total resource available for harvesting is limited and you must spend some of the same resource to upgrade your harvesting and build workers and troops to defend them with.
This mission is often part of a Video Game Tutorial, where the player learns resource gathering before they enter full-scale combat. It can be a Justified Tutorial, where the plot describes preparations to confront the enemy.
A variant is for the resource to be unusable by normal units, but is difficult or dangerous to harvest, requiring your army to protect your Worker Units to prevent the enemy from killing them/harvesting it for themselves.
- The Kel-Morian Combine mission in Brood War tasks you to obtain 10,000 minerals and a bonus objective to infest command centers, both of which are given to you in the next mission (and infesting a command center gets you extra resources).
- The first Ashenvale mission of Warcraft III's orc campaign requires Grom Hellscream to collect a ridiculously large 15,000 units of lumber, without a reliable goldmine, with the least effective gatherer of all four armies, and under constant attack by Night Elves. Fortunately, you can acquire mercenary shredders that harvest 200 lumber at a time instead of the usual 10, or go around killing the Night Elves' Trees of Life, which give you 3000 lumber when killed.
- StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty:
- Tosh's first mission is to collect minerals on a lava planet with regular tides. All the minerals are in low-lying ground where the lava instantly kills any unit still on it, though fortunately there are high-yield minerals which give you more minerals per trip, in addition to the pickups dotting the map. This is the mission that introduces the Jet Pack-wearing Reapers, who are ideally suited for grabbing mineral pickups on cliffs or grabbing them quickly before the tide comes in.
- One mission has you and Colonel Orlan competing to be the first to buy off Mira Han's mercenary contract. You can collect minerals in large respawning chunks around the map, in addition to slowing Orlan's rate of gathering by attacking his bases.
- The "Welcome to the Jungle" mission has you steal terrazine gas from a Protoss world, forcing you to protect your fragile SCVs as they process the gas. Unlike the other missions, destroying the Protoss forces gets you an instant win (and an achievement).
- StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm: instead of the standard minerals and vespene, you kill local lifeforms to harvest big chunks of meat via drones to wake up a local ancient Zerg organism. While the opposing primal zerg will attack your base and drones, they will also deny you by attacking the biomass directly.
- Command & Conquer: Generals: One of the first GLA missions has you steal humanitarian aid packages as they are being escorted around the map or airdropped.
- Dawn of War:
- Dark Crusade has a mission where the object is to start up a massive manufacturing complex. The winner is the first to reach 2,000 energy (or to destroy their enemy). Once this province is taken, you start with extra resources on all subsequent missions.
- The Pavonis mission requires you to gather six Servitors at your HQ so you can use the starport by moving a unit close to them. However, this also works for the enemy, and servitors can be seen gliding back and forth as they run into opposing armies.
- The Battle For Wesnoth has an add-on called "Cities of the Frontier" that requires gathering 1000 pieces of gold; given that getting gold requires investing it and protecting from several armies, this becomes quite the task.
- Many of the early missions in Dune II have the simple objective of harvesting a certain quantity of spices while fending off raids by the other houses.
- About half the missions in Rock Raiders require the player to gather a certain number of energy crystals.
- One of the first important missions of Kingdom Hearts involves collecting provisions for Sora, Riku, and Kairi's voyage out to sea so they can explore the outside world.
- The "Expeditions" in KanColle are basically this. They're different from sorties in that the ships involved doesn't do (much) battle, and it takes much longer, but when it's done, your base will get a lot of resources. There are also daily quests that reward resources, as well as sortie maps that yields quite a few resources when completed.
- Empire Earth:
- In the second level of the Asian campaign, the only available resource is food, which is traded to Taiwan in exchange for troops. Troops are exchanged to Russia in exchange for iron, which is traded to Japan in exchange for FTL data. Not only are troops limited (you can't even build defenses) and resource harvesters under constant attack, once the conditions are met the populace revolts until you destroy a large chunk of your military. Just after, the FTL facility needs to be defended from a Zerg Rush, and stops working if it takes any damage. And of course, repairing it takes resources which you have a limited supply of...
- In the fourth level of the same campaign, you are tasked with sending resources to the Mars colony while under constant attack from religious fanatics opposed to mankind leaving Earth. This one is slightly easier, as every resource type is available, and the condition is to send 10,000 resources total.
- The Settlers 5:
- In the mission "Barmecia", you have to deliver 12000 stone-resources to the eponymous city so they can complete their cathedral. You must do so before their rival city Cleycourt attacks so the two of them can make peace. You also have no means to defend any city, since both of them are your allies.
- The mission "The Big Rain" requires you to collect a variety of resources for a scientist, so he can build a weather machine. This combines this trope with Stealth-Based Mission, since the only way to get enough sulfur-resource is to sneak in your rival city and get a key for a sulfur merchant, so he can trade with you.
- The penultimate mission of Star Trek: Armada 2, "The Maw", requires you to gather 20,000 of each type of resource before you can start the final mission.
- The story of Pikmin 3 is that the planet Koppai is suffering from a food shortage due to a booming population, leading to Alph, Brittany, and Charlie being assigned to travel to PNF 404 to retrieve the seeds of the planet's flora and bring them back to Koppai. Any fruits found will also be converted into juice to sustain the crew during their mission, meaning more time to find more food.
- Warframe has Excavation missions, where Tenno are required to guard excavators against increasingly powerful waves of enemies to acquire cryotic for crafting and various prizes such as credits and Void Relics. Unfortunately, the excavators have a tendency to run out of power, forcing Tenno to seek out enemies carrying battery packs to recharge them with.
- City-Building Series:
- Pharaoh: A variation. Many levels are based on the premise of the player character founding a settlement to protect a trade route bringing exotic goods or mine valuable resources, requests for which will regularly pop up. While the main one will usually be mentioned in the mission briefing, others can come out of the blue in ridiculous quantities. Another common demand is for food during a famine, but because they demand a single type of food, it's possible for their request to go unanswered and your reputation to plummet because the city wouldn't accept fish or grain instead of figs.
- Zeus: Master of Olympus:
- Campaigns are centered on building up a single Greek city, interspersed with building colonies that will then provide the main city with annual tribute (usually the material you were sent to gather) and a trading partner. During the main missions, requirements will usually include storing certain goods for the colony (which are then given to you at the beginning of the level), while the colony requirements themselves are usually limited to sending back the requested amount of whatever trade good the city needed. Here the difficulty is not so much running out of resources as it is building up the infrastructure to collect them with any efficiency (along with natural disasters, demands from the parent city, attacks by rivals, monsters, gods...)
- The demands for food by other cities are made much easier by the game now allowing you to send any type of food. If your relationship with them is good enough, it's even possible to ask for food from another city (yes, including the one begging you for famine relief) and send it on its way as soon as you receive it.
- Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom: Like previous games, some missions have you establish an outpost that will become a trade partner in later missions. However, instead of gathering a specific quantity goods, missions now require you set up industry so as to produce a certain quantity of goods in a year.
- Honkai Impact 3rd:
- There are daily missions that change everyday, which (depending on the day) will give you various resources when completed, such as character EXP chips, upgrading materials and ores that level up your weapons and Stigmata.
- In the "base", you can assign some Valkyries into missions that take hours to complete (you can simply wait) and then give you some resources when they finish.
- There's a mission in Wargame: European Escalation's "Able Archer" campaign ("1914 Again") which is a combination of this and Hold the Line; the player has to accumulate 20,000 resources while defending themselves from a wave of invading Soviet forces. Gameplay is a balancing act between gathering the resources and spending them on more units to defend the map.
- The tradeskill tutorial missions in EverQuest II show players how to harvest materials by giving them instructions to gather a few of the various harvesting nodes scattered in the area.
- In Genesis version of Lord Monarch have one: in one of Rubia's challenges you must gather 50,000 golds before defeating all opposing factions.
- The most common type of campaign mission in Outpost 2, where your goal is usually to collect enough resources and vehicles to build a new base ahead of the ever-encroaching, invariably-lethal Blight spreading over the planet. In early missions where your primary enemy is the reawakening planetary geology and the Blight itself, you can sink everything into maintaining your colony's needs and gathering these resources as fast as you can. As the campaign progresses, both rival colonies militarize and are gradually forced into a smaller and smaller area of inhabitable land with limited resources, enemy raids to disrupt your operations will become more and more common and require you to juggle base defense as well, and a final sink is introduced late in the campaign in the form of a new colony ship to evacuate this dying world before you run out of boltholes.
- Heroes of Might and Magic III has several variations on this as possible victory conditions on certain maps, both official and fanmade: accumulating a certain number of creatures or resources, or flagging all creature dwelling or mines on the map. Depending on the map, you may or may not be able to win the map normally (i.e. defeat all enemy heroes and capture all enemy towns). For specific examples, both from the Restoration of Erathia campaign set:
- The final mission of the first Good campaign has you seeking to flag the seven Griffin Towers in the northern part of the map.
- The first two missions of the first Neutral campaign frame this as preparing for some land-grabbing from western Erathia: Krewlod wants you to gather lots of gold, and Tataglia wants you to take control of all of the mines in a region. In both cases, defeating the local Erathian outposts won't secure victory by itself, but as the latter mission briefing notes, by doing so "you could fulfill your contract at your leisure...."