When playing video games - especially RPGs – you almost unavoidably end up collecting a ton of items into your treasure bag/hoard. Many of these items can be used on a regular basis like cheap buyable potions and equipment bought from shopkeepers or commonly picked up from enemies. However, there are always those items that you collect to the end of the game and do not use for a variety of reasons. Allowing them to eventually collect dust on the shelves of your victorious warrior’s home, and possibly be pawned when he runs out of gold to pay for his children's college. Here are five item types that most commonly fall into this category.
5) Cursed/Negative Items
If you've ever played nethack or any of the older style RPGs, you will remember picking up items that are cursed. These items often may not let you take them off once worn without destroying them in the process, so you must be extremely careful and will most likely (unless there is an decursing subquest) never be utilized. Different games treat them differently though. In many new ‘metroid-vania style’ Castlevania games, they are often really cool looking swords that give you extreme penalties to stats or abilities. What really matters to you: almighty strength or looking stylish? On the other hand, you won’t want to sell these items because they are often one of a kind in playthroughs. Also in this category would fall poisoned food or damaging items that are often more like collectables than useful.
4) One Use Temporary Power-Ups
Let’s face it - most gamers do not complete games like Super Mario Brothers 3 without collecting at least a few power-ups that just end up sitting in their inventory. Some of the most famous of these would be P-Wings and Hammer Brother suits. They are items you can only use once or a few times per game and are not at all common. Technically, you do not have to use them to beat the game. In RPGs, these are often items that give you buffs. In single player games, these buffs can usually be replicated by the party’s spell caster. The one-use buff items can get you over a tough boss, but what happens when you reach the next boss with no buff item in your inventory? The game’s difficulty is usually balanced assuming the player progresses without them. Having trouble finishing leveling your character in an online game? If you are an MMORPG player that sticks with a game for long enough you will usually receive some kind of XP boosting item for anniversaries etc. But right now your quest pool is still full and you are leveling at a normal rate. What if you run out of quests to do? Better save those items. By the time you realize what you are doing, you are at level cap and they are useless to you until the next expansion.
3) One-Time Use Attack Items
These are most common in RPGs: items that you receive throughout the game that allow you to do a one time attack on your opponents. One game that stands out for this would be FFIV where you receive several items for the purpose of launching attacks. The kitchen knife and frying pan do extreme amounts of damage if thrown but... you only get one. At the beginning of the remake version of FFIV for the DS, you are no longer forced to throw your precious RED wing at the monsters that appear on the REDWINGS airship. Another example of this are cell phones in Disgaea games that call allies to help fight for you. You may only find these items rarely (unless you encounter a cell phone store) and when you put off using them they just tend to stack up and eventually become a waste of a turn since they sometimes fail. I remember in my playthrough of games like the Yakuza series, you end up collecting a ton of one use items that are only for gambling use. If you aren’t interested in gambling these items may as well be a pile of rocks in your hideout.
2) Stat/Level Boosting Items
I can not think of a better example of hording of items than stat and level boosting items in RPGs. Whether it is the stat tabs in Chrono Trigger, boss souls in Demon’s Souls, rosetta stones in Dissidia, or the infamous rare candy in Pokémon. One may be tempted to indulge into a pile of leveling items, but what happens if the character you use on them ends up leaving the party through death, trading, or brain-washing? Those items are not made to be wasted. These are the kind of items you use after extensive play to down the ultra-endgame boss or on second playthroughs.
1) Heal-All/Cure-All Items
There is always that paranoid voice in your head while fighting your way through a game that one day you will come to a point where you will be out of hope and a cure-all item in your inventory that you prudently did not use will end up saving your ass and winning the day for your party, character, etc. (Especially since some RPG final bosses can take a half hour or more to kill) Most of the time items like Megalixirs or items that resurrect your entire party end up being horded until the end of the game and never used. Even if you needed them to win in an earlier fight, what if you run into an indomitable foe? I believe a lot of this psychology comes from an earlier generation of RPGs where good item management is the difference between beating the game end ending up dead and at a brick wall that may require hours of leveling or restarting the game altogether. Maybe one day on your character’s deathbed he can use all of these elixirs to cure some terminal illness or resurrect his dead goldfish. This thought process helps me feel slightly better about never making use of these lifesaving convenience items.
Honorable Mention: Items with sentimentality
If you have ever played an MMORPG, you may have run into the person whose inventory is riddled with item leftovers ranging from out leveled gear to trash items with funny text. These items may be the first rare item they received or an item that they particularly liked the appearance of but will never use. A good example of this may be some of the offhand items in popular MMORPGs like World of Warcraft or a class armor set that has been outgrown in games like Everquest 2.
If you have any other items you think I should have mentioned in this feature please leave a comment or story of where you ran into one of these pitfalls. I have encountered these problems countless times over, but would love to hear more of them.