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Basics of Gathering Tools in Guild Wars 2

Min-Max Gathering Tools in Guild Wars 2

Just like crafting, there’s a ton of hidden depth to gathering in Guild Wars 2 as well. And just like so many other things, this too can be meta-gamed and min-maxed. I imagine most of you didn’t know that. If you’re the kind of player who likes having a mountain of gold, these tips are about to make your life so much better. But first, we need to understand the very basics of Gathering Tools in Guild Wars 2.

Quality Matters

There are different quality ratings for every one of the Gathering Tools in Guild Wars 2 and this is important to know. Each tier of Quality can only gather from nodes that drop materials of that tier or LOWER. So anyone using Steel tools can only gather Tier 1 to Tier 3 ingredients. Not a big deal to new players, but it’s for this reason that most players eventually use nothing but Orichalcum gear for their gathering runs.

  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Steel
  • Darksteel
  • Mithril
  • Orichalcum
  • Unbreakable

Any tool of Orichalcum and below can be bought from vendors, or via the Trading Post as crafted gear. They have limited uses, but are still good for new and F2P players as a source of materials. You can get the Unbreakable tools via Black Lion Statuette drops, or via the Gemstore. These are not only unlimited use, but reveal something else that can be min-maxed.


“Why are animations important,” I hear you asking.  Because everything is linked to animations in this game,  and even the gathering is even affected. Think about it, attacks can be chained and interrupted as part of the normal combat system. So, of course, the same would be true for gathering animations. If you can get a tool that completes its animation faster, you get a faster result. The Volatile Magic tools complete their gather in about 75% of the time of basic Unbreakable tools. You can also Transmute a Gathering Tool to have it use a shorter animation. This is great for the Volatile Magic tools as they gather faster by default, and can then be combined with a faster animation for more speed.

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And also, they look really cool.

If you’re considering any Gathering Tools from the Gemstore, it’s highly advised to /wiki (Type “/wiki [Item Name]” into the chatbox to get a wiki page for that item) that tool and see if the animation time is listed. Consider any tools with a shorter animation to be just plain better. A perfect example of this is the Consortium Harvesting Sickle.

You might also want to check out our guide on the best quality of life items from the Gemstore while you’re at it.

Now let’s talk about another confusing element. Glyphs are a key part of how you can min-max your gathering runs.


Glyphs are items that can be inserted into gear as an upgrade to give it certain effects or bonuses. And it works for much more than just armor and weapons. A great example of this is the Glyph of Volatility that gives the player Volatile Magic with every gather strike. The Volatile Magic tools have this inserted by default.

And because you can trade Glyphs, you can get exactly what you need via the Trading Post. As long as they have never been bound, they can still be traded.

That’s basically all you need to know about the basics of Min-Maxing Gathering Tools in Guild Wars 2.

So to recap, here’s the process:

  • Obtain an Unbreakable Gathering Tool, preferably one with a bonus to gather speed as an anomaly.
  • Transmute the normal animation to one that has a faster duration, speeding up the overall gather each strike.
  • Add a Glyph that gives your desired effect.
  • Gather with the speed and fury of the gods.
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