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One of the oldest design issues that have plagued RPG-based design has been the “hoarder syndrome,” where players will refuse to use life saving items and instead hoard them for some time in the future. At its worst, hoarder syndrome can make a game worse to play due to the player not using every option open to them.

However, the simple solution of giving the player more may be counter-intuitive to the design or cumbersome depending on the implementation. There is a solution to this problem, but it requires some advanced thinking.

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Today’s Critical Thought looks at problem of item hoarding in video games. Item hoarding can occur if the designer either makes items too good or rare, or fills the world with useless crap that may or may not ever have a purpose.

This is also based on the concept of knowing when something is too good, which we’ll come back to in another critical thought.

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