Whozits and Whatzits Galore!

Zyngor | Monday, August 18, 2014
I'm not exactly sure where my desire to "COLLECT ALL THE THINGS!" began. Perhaps it started with Diablo 2, especially when I started to delve into the mods. This normally brought about hundreds of new items, cube recipes, and other random stuff to collect. As game modifications increased storage space, it became much easier to ignore inventory management, and hoard all the shinies.

Since then, if a game I'm playing utilizes some kind of random collectible system, chances were I'd usually be interested in procuring the goods - at least to some limit. There were times that I've had to resort to the wisdom of the Internet to find those last couple collectibles (for example, the packages from some of the Grand Theft Auto games). Others I'd probably be to stubborn to look at a "cheat sheet" (I need to go back to Far Cry 3 and go idol hunting). However you decide to play the collectible game (that is, if you do), it's a system that I think will only grow as developers need to add a little extra mini-game to keep their users playing.

All random collectibles will henceforth be known as...dinglehoppers!
I suppose there are two kinds of collectibles - functional and aesthetic. Functional items work to improve your character or unlock some game feature upon discovery. These are the kind that any player would enjoy collecting, whether they be completionists or gameplay-driven folk. Going back to Grand Theft Auto III, collecting certain tiers of packages will unlock free weapons at your hideout, making it much easier to build up an arsenal. Meanwhile, aesthetic items are there simply to be collected because...they were there. These are directly completionist-driven, and do not go toward character improvement. They may reward an achievement, or perhaps provide background story (think of the audio recordings in the Bioshock series).

Yes, I'd rather collect shiny dots on the ground than animated creatures
As for myself, I will generally prefer the functional collectibles. Rift offers a couple different collection systems. Artifacts (functional) and non-combat companions (aesthetic) are two that come to the top of my head. In general, non-combat pets are not something I'm too keen about having to procure...if it happens, it happens. However, the artifact system in Rift got me really addicted to just running around the landscape in a zone, while scouring the ground for little shiny trinkets on the ground. Some of the lower-level guild quests may have asked me to find 300 artifacts, and I'd happily jump around the zones, finding hot spots with these little suckers.

All in all, you can't go wrong with a good collectible system. I'd say at least including a functional item-collecting system is worth it, as it'll get the players doing a bit of exploring, and be rewarded upon success. Adding an aesthetic system might be considered "fluff" to some players, but the completionists will approve of an additional hunt toward their 100%. Depending on where the items may be hidden, it will also get the players hunting across the entire game map, and serve as another means to extend time spent with a specific title. Give 'em a hook, attach a nice tasty collectible bait, and those fishies will be hoppin'!

How do you feel about in-game collectibles? Are you a completionist? Share below!

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