If there’s one thing that can be said about gamers everywhere, it’s that we love to hoard stuff. By having an inventory full of legendary enchanted equipment that’s just gathering dust, I admit that I, or my characters in games, have a serious case of hoarding. As a result, I decided to peel back the layers of games like Skyrim and uncover the real reason to just why I have a house full of cheese wheels and fur boots. I wish I was making this up.
Picture this scenario. You succeed at some impossible task in Skyrim and have been excellently rewarded by the quest giver. “Oh dear Dragonborn. How brave of you to clear out those pesky draugr. I have nothing to offer you but my family heirloom; a potion that will grant you invincibility for 180 seconds!” Perfect! This is just what you need to take out that final boss. It’ll definitely give you the edge. Fast forward to the final boss and it turns out you never even used that potion. Oh well. Time to just throw it in the back of the wardrobe of Chez Dragonborn, never to be used again. Sound familiar?
This is standard affair for Bethesda RPGs where you are given thousands upon thousands of trinkets and doodads that are made to aid you on your quest. Is it overkill? Sometimes. But if you are playing at an extremely high difficulty that begs for you to use your potions and skill book, you’re going to need as much as that equipment as possible. However, that’s usually not the case—at least without mods.
Usually for an RPG, you’re given bog standard equipment that gives you a basic intro to the game. Then, you boost your gear through tough questlines and bartering with shop owners. But this never stops. It’s an ongoing struggle and a personal quest that will never end in the game, unless you personally break the habit of continuously hoping for something better.
You’re always aiming to get the best armor, the best sword; you want to the be the very best, like no one ever was; and once you’ve got a hold of that equipment that’s better than your previous set up, letting go of your old gear is something that is unfathomable. It’s happens to the best of us, but why?
I think part of the problem stems from the basic premise of how a game works. You know that you’re going to need to have to face a big boss battle at some stage so you keep them with the mentality of “I might need this at some stage.” Even though you have a better weapon, you probably still keep that amazing ice sword that you never use, “just in case”.
Yet, is that not what one of Skyrim’s biggest themes? To collect stuff? Sure, you have story quests, side quests and exploring, but isn’t all of this in pursuit of “stuff” that’s not in your possession? Do you not complete a boring quest in this game with the idea that you will receive money or goods, not just because you want to actually do the quest? You do have some standout quests like the Hangover style one and the whole Dark Brotherhood which is always a guilty pleasure, but isn’t a big part of Skyrim just to collect as much junk as you possibly can and then fill up your house with it? Hoarder Simulator 2011, eat your heart out.
At the end of the day, I’m not going to stop hoarding in Skyrim. The developers themselves provide me with a pair of hands and plentiful resources to stash them away — a house, a large inventory, a Lydia — to help make sure I can do so easily. In the meantime, I doubt Bethesda are ever going to change up the formula of spurring on your addictive nature of hoarding thousands of swords and spoons for future games. And, to be honest, I probably wouldn’t want it any other way.
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