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The Absolute Basics of Gathering in Guild Wars 2

Min-Max Gathering Tools in Guild Wars 2

If you’re an absolute noobie at Guild Wars 2, this might feel like an overwhelming beast of a game to you. To you veterans out there, this isn’t really news to you. But one of the more overlooked elements of the game is crafting and gathering. If you love the joy of creating powerful items in MMOs, this may be your dream game. GW2 has an intense crafting system, and gathering your own mats can save you some Gold.

There’s no need to be restricted either. The ludicrously deep crafting system has a ton of ways to make Gold buried within. And because your overall level can be increased by using any in-game activity, this is absolutely a viable way to gain some levels. There are even players who blitz through the 500 levels of crafting disciplines to get those last few levels on the way to level 80.

Gathering in Guild Wars 2 is the process of harvest resources for crafting from logging, mining and general resource nodes. You don’t have to learn any specific skills to do this. You just equip the three tools used by each gathering node, and then harvest nodes out in the world’s various zones. You unlock that first set of tools at level 9, and the game gives you better options as you play.

Your first gathering tools in Guild Wars 2

Your first gathering tools in Guild Wars 2

There are of course so many other things to know. Let’s dive into a full guide on the basics and finer points of Gathering in Guild Wars 2.

Zone Tiers and Rarity

There are six total tiers of gatherable nodes in the game. The general idea is that each tier of tool; and thus the material you get from the nodes it can harvest, are relegated to a level range, that range runs from 1 to 80.

Type of tools matter as well. 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.

Here’s a basic breakdown of the zones you can often expect the tools to be useful in, based on their material.

  • Copper – Meant for level 1 to 25 Zones
  • Iron – Meant for level 20 to 50 Zones
  • Steel – Meant for level 30 to 60 Zones
  • Darksteel – Meant for level 45 to 65 Zones
  • Mithril – Meant for level 60 to 79 Zones
  • Orichalcum – Meant for level 75 to 80 Zones
  • Unbreakable

The thing to remember with this is that the levels are a generalization. Most zones in that list will have multiple tiers of resources within it. For example, the 1 to 25 zones can have up to tier 3 materials, which are better suited to higher-end tools. If you use the wrong tier of tool on a node, you get nothing but ruined junk back. The best way to avoid this is to just run around with the highest tier tool you can get access too, even if it’s outsripped your level.

Ruined ore from failed gathering in Guild Wars 2

Ruined ore from failed gathering in Guild Wars 2

Most gathering tools have charges, where every use will expend a charge from the associated too. There are gathering tools you can buy from the Gemstore, and it’s strongly recommended if you’re trying to min-max gathering output. The unbreakable tools should be the first Gemstore purchase that any aspiring crafter makes.

Also, if you ever get confused on what nodes a tool can gather from safely, be sure to read tooltips as they will give you a clue. You could also bookmark the wiki page and refer to it at a glance when out gathering. It’s also highly advised to /wiki (Type “/wiki [Item Name]” into the chatbox to get a wiki page for that item) that will list its possible nodes.

Untiered and Synthesizer Nodes

Untiered Nodes are some of the rarer nodes in the game. They are often tied to specific Living World maps or missions, and often require extra work to get.

Then there are Synthesizer nodes. These are special nodes that can be found in Guild Halls, your Home instance and more. Crafting materials may be gathered from resource synthesizers in World versus World and Guild Halls. Synthesizers in guild halls must be upgraded to produce higher-tier materials.

Guild Synthesizers initially produce the lowest tiers of materials. However, they may be upgraded multiple times, until they produce up to tier six goods. You can also augment their output up to four times to increase the number of items from each harvest. It’s important to note that Guild and WvW synthesizers cannot be affected by tier modifiers on tools. So a Tier 4 tool will only ever harvest Tier 4 and below goods from one such node.


Glyphs are upgrades added into slots on gear, and they can apply to more than just weapons and armor. You can actually use them to speed up gathering tools with the right combination. Combining a certain Glyph that speeds up the gathering strike with certain tools, those that have faster base animations, gives a huge benefit.

  • 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.
  • Get a faster gathering strike each time.

This is one of the endgame secrets of the wealthiest crafters and gatherers. You can massively speed up Gathering in Guild Wars 2 by using these upgrades. Glyphs can also upgrade tiers of gathered items, as well as giving bonus items.

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