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Horizon Zero Dawn collectables: vantages, ancient vessels, metal flowers and Banuk artifacts

Horizon Zero Dawn collectables: everything you need to know to tack them all down.

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Horizon Zero Dawn has four kinds of collectables, but they're generally pretty easy to round up.

Each type of collectable is divided into multiple groups. Each time you grab all the members of a group, you can take it to a special dealer in Meridian and trade for a stack of goodies. These dealers are marked with a star between the antlers on the usual merchant symbol, and each trades for a different collectable.

The collectables all come with bonus Horizon Zero Dawn lore, by the way; open the collectables section of your in-game notebook to view little stories attached to each one.

As soon as you leave the starting area of Mother's Embrace, visit a merchant and check the Special items section to find collectables maps. Now that you know roundabouts where each collectable is, don't just hare off after them; they almost always sit cheek-by-jowl with other content, so you won't need to make a special trip.

In the sections below we’ll explain each of Horizon Zero Dawn’s collectables and provide tips on how to find them. A very few of the collectables can be a little bit tricky to locate, so we’ve listed the ones that gave us headaches; if there’s one you can’t locate, let us know and we’ll give directions to it.

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Vantages are usually found on high ground or overlooking significant landmarks, and reveal glimpses of the world as it was before disaster struck.

Unlike the other collectables in Horizon Zero dawn, you have to do more than just press a button to pick up the vantage. Instead, stand right by it and activate your Focus. Press triangle to play the short audio commentary as you admire the view, and you should get a notification confirming the collection; if you close your Focus too early it may not register.

Once collected, each vantage unlocks a longer text entry in Horizon Zero Dawn’s collections menu. Each vantage is accompanied by a survival cache with some goodies, too - and it remains on the map for good, so you can always revisit it to see the scene again.

Although they don’t show up on your Focus view, most vantages in Horizon Zero Dawn are easy to find: just go to the indicated zone and look for the highest ground. Only a couple of them are troublesome. These ones worried us:

  • Vantage near Mother’s Crown
    This vantage is one on a rocky pillar jutting up from low ground near the river – not up the wooded slope where we spent ages searching for a good view.
  • Vantage north of Meridian
    This vantage is accessible via the only climbing path on this mesa. Find it on the road side of the rocky structure, closer to the bridge leading back to Meridian.
  • Vantage near Sunstone Rock
    The climbing path to this vantage begins right by where the walls of the gardens of Sunstone Rock meet the cliffs. Take the rope slide at the top.
  • Vantage north of Brightmarket
    Even with the Snapmaws, it’s better to jump up the rocks at the base of this narrow mesa than to run over from Sheaf’s Flight and drop down – there are loads of enemies up there and you’ll take fall damage. The climbing path is hard to see but right by the end of the balance rope.
  • Vantage far north of Free Heap
    You'll pass by this vantage late in the critical path quest so don't go out of your way for it. If you must, though, travel to the campfire directly south of this vantage. Look west to spot a fallen tree. Follow the nearby path to reach a climbing path. Proceed through two little, heavily-guarded valleys to find another climbing path by a waterfall. There’s a Stormbird waiting here, and a third climbing path; look for the rappel point above you, which is right by the start. It ends at the vantage.

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Metal flowers

One of Horizon Zero Dawn’s more mysterious features, metal flowers are some sort of ancient technology that has recently begin sprouting in wild, lonely places, surrounded by a triangle of beautiful flora.

To locate a metal flower, visit the indicated area and activate your Focus. Look for the telltale pillars of purple haze that usually mark corpses and loot boxes; if you aim at these markers, your Focus will tell you what they are, so you can quickly identify the metal flower.

Each metal flower in Horizon Zero Dawn comes with a scrap of poetry you can check in the collectables menu after you find them. You'll learn more about metal flowers and come to understand their origins and purpose as you explore Horizon Zero Dawn's critical mission path. The poetry? Not so much.

  • Metal flower near the Ruins dungeon
    To get to this metal flower in Horizon Zero Dawn’s starting zone, return to the Ruins dungeon as adult Aloy and rappel into the entrance (if there’s no rappel option, you’re at the exit; look for another hole nearby). Hug the left wall as you advance into the dungeon and you’ll spot the metal flower through a barrier of stalactites and stalagmites. Smash through with your spear to collect it. Don’t miss the power cell down here while you’re at it.
  • Metal flower near the Bunker ruins
    This metal flower is in the Bunker itself. Drop down and look for it on the left on a sandy beach as you swim towards the Ancient Armour quest room.
  • Metal flower near Lone Light
    This metal flower is under the bridge on the far side of the river from the village; it’s hard to spot with your Focus due to the elevation change.
  • Metal flower near Sun’s Climb (unmarked location)
    You need to climb the big mesa here, then cross a balance rope to reach this metal flower. You visit this location, Sun’s Climb, during the side quest Honor the Fallen.
  • Metal flower south of The Estate
    This metal flower is on top of the mesa. There’s a climbing route to the top on south east side, right by the bonfire.
  • Metal flower south west of Dimmed Bones
    The easiest way up on to the mesa and this metal flower is from the campfire west and just slightly south of the Dimmed Bones icon. There’s a road here leading up to the ruins; just run south along the mesa top to find the flower. You can rappel back down nearby.

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Ancient vessels

The “ancient vessels” in Horizon Zero Dawn are coffee mugs; some will be recognisable to fans of Guerrilla Games, while others reference Horizon Zero Dawn lore.

Ancient vessels are always buried in loot caches called “ancient debris”. Like metal flowers, these debris piles will show up as pillars of purple haze when you use your Focus, so just head to the indicated area and scan around.

The special merchant who will trade you reward boxes for ancient vessels is a funny guy. Makes you wonder what our archaeologists might have wrong about ancient cultures, doesn't it?

  • Ancient vessel near Devil’s Thirst
    This ancient vessel took us far too long. It’s on the other side of the river from the ancient vessel map icon, slightly higher than you might expect.
  • Ancient vessels near Maker’s End
    The first ancient vessel in this area is inside the ruined building; look carefully so spot an entrance so you can get inside and dig it up. There’s another ancient vessel really close by, but you can’t get to it until you start the critical path mission also called Maker’s End. It will be super obvious once you do, don’t worry; you’ll pick it up even before the first combat zone.

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Banuk artifacts

The Banuk artifacts are perhaps the most annoying of Horizon Zero Dawn’s collectables, because each of them is on very high ground at the end of a climbing path. The climbing isn’t so hard, but locating the start of it can be.

The best way to find a Banuk artifact is to stay low – it’s counter-intuitive, but it’s true. Head to the indicate area but stay off any mountains or mesas, instead circling them at a medium distance and looking up. You’re searching for colourful murals – these line the climbing path. Once you spot one, you can trace it back to the start of the path.

Sometimes the initial ledges are really well camouflaged or the path doesn’t start till halfway up the mountain. In these cases, take advantage of Horizon Zero Dawn's generous traversal mechanics and just hack it a bit; jump your way up the mountain and shortcut the whole thing.

Banuk artifacts tell the tale of a single member of the tribe who was exiled from his homeland. It's a sad story you can read in the notebook. Learn more about the Banuk by visiting their local encampment at the far north of the Sacred Lands, before crossing into the Carja Territories.

Most of the Banuk artifacts are really easy to find, if annoying to reach, but one gave us some serious trouble so we’ve described it below. Let us know if any of the others bother you and we’ll add them to out Horizon: Zero Dawn Banuk artifacts guide.

  • Banuk artifact south of Sunfall
    This was the only tricky Banuk artifact in our playthrough. The painting you’ll most likely spot as you approach the area marks the end of the climbing path, not the start – look closely and you’ll see the rappel point above. Turn back towards Sunfall and scan the left wall until you see a totem pole and more paintings. Turn in towards the mesa and put the totem pole on your right and you’ll be pointing right at the start of the climbing path, under some more paintings. The first ledge is very small and hard to see.

Let us know if any of the collectables in Horizon Zero Dawn are giving you trouble and we'll add them to this guide page.

If you're looking for collectables in The Frozen Wilds expansion, we've got Animal Figurine locations, Pigment locations and even Bluegleam locations

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