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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.

Examples of Item Farming include:

  • 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. With the right preparation, many drop rates can be raised to 100%.
  • This is how train upgrades are obtained in The Legend of Zelda Spirit Tracks. By collecting Vendor Trash.
    • Oh, and 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 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 the Hedgehog 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 Hundred-Percent Completion, at least in Sonic Adventure DX: Director's Cut.
  • Happens all the time in Ratchet and 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.
  • Final Fantasy has numerous examples of this over its long history.
    • 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 Hundred-Percent 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 a 2 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.
  • Half of Recettear (the other half being selling what you've farmed).
  • In 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 One Hundred Percent 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.