Gathering: The where-to edition.

Recently I was writing about crafting ascended weapons without spending too much actual money on it. The biggest thing that makes this possible is gathering all of the components yourself.

There are many websites out there already that cover the high end gathering nodes, but when you’re crafting ascended items, you’re going to find that you need mid-tier materials in large amounts. These, previously very cheap on the trading post, are now in high demand and can add up in value quickly.

After a recent gathering run, going primarily for wood.

After a recent (quick) gathering run, going primarily for wood.

You’ll also find that frequently, it’s wood you need more than metal. Wood requires more to refine, and weapons generally require more wood components than metal. The one exception to this is iron ore, which is used for both iron and steel ingots, but it’s so plentiful that it’s rarely something to worry about.

So, pretty much what I am saying here is – go out and gather! Mid-tier mats are both plentiful and easy to gather; there are many more nodes of each type per map than of the high-level stuff, and unlike ancient wood or orichalcum, they respawn after one hour, as opposed to 24 hours. This makes it easy to build up a large stockpile of t2-t5 woods and metals, whether for your use or simply to make some money.

This is not a detailed guide saying “if you go to this area in this zone you will fix X of this type of tree”, but rather a general idea of where to go for specific types of wood and metal, based on the experiences of myself and others in my guild. One of my guild members is in particular very talented at finding great patches for farming mats (and said she’s considering writing her own guide based on that); this is just a basic guide pointing out good places to try.

Soft Wood: Gendarran Fields

800px-Gendarran_Fields_map

In particular, the eastern half of the map, as well as curving through the southwest portion, starting from Lion’s Arch up towards the portal to Queensdale.

You also can collect large amounts of iron ore here.

Runner up: Snowden Drifts

Seasoned Wood: Dredgehaunt Cliffs

458px-Dredgehaunt_Cliffs_map

It’s a large zone, but patches of trees tend to be clustered fairly close together. Enemy density is also low everywhere but the very southern areas, which makes it easy to run from node to node.

This is another zone where iron ore is also plentiful.

Runner up: Blazeridge Steppes

Hard Wood: Sparkfly Fen

445px-Sparkfly_Fen_map

Sparkfly is a zone that has a significant amount of water, and right now it is generally highly populated because of Tequatl. I love this zone for gathering, though; there are several places where I’ve found clusters of trees, and Sparkfly is a great place for also gathering platinum ore. Gathering is a great way to kill time while waiting for Tequatl!

Runner up: Bloodtide Coast, Iron Marches

Elder Wood: Any of the high level zones – Straits of Devastation, Fireheart Rise, Malchor’s Leap, Cursed Shore, Frostgorge Sound

Malchor’s has one spot in particular where there tends to be a cluster of trees around a statue. All of these zones are a good source of mithril ore; Straits and Fireheart will also contain hard wood and platinum, while Malchor’s, Cursed Shore, and Frostgorge are where you’ll find ancient wood and orichalcum ore.

The BEST (in my opinion) gathering zone in the game: Mount Maelstrom

20121021181549!Mount_Maelstrom_map

I love Mount Maelstrom. It’s a large zone with a high density of events, and I’ve also found it to be an amazing place, if not the best, for gathering. Now, you won’t find everything you need here, but what you can find here is in large supply. Hard wood, elder wood, platinum ore, mithril ore…there are multiple areas in the north-eastern part of the map where you will find many trees and ore nodes clustered close together. This zone also contains what we like to call the vanilla patch; four herb nodes just south of Crucible of Eternity that give vanilla beans at a high rate; the herb patches in general in this zone tend to be heavy on the vanilla. We’ve also found at least two rich platinum veins here.

Mount Maelstrom is, hands down, my favorite place for gathering.

If you haven’t been gathering the lower-end mats, or haven’t been too sure where the best places to look are, give these locations a try. Or if you do gather runs of your own and know of other good places to look. share those as well! But thanks to ascended crafting, these items are well worth taking the time to collect.

Happy gathering!

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Assault on the Arbor

Later today, we’ll get the latest of the Living Story updates, Twilight Assault, where a new evil has moved into a known Nightmare hideout…

Okay, so, I am something of a sylvari fangirl, as has been evident from before I even started this blog. They have been my very favorite race since they were first announced, and they remain so. When the Living Story began, I had been just waiting for us to get some sylvari story involved in it, and Scarlet became my favorite new character introduced essentially immediately. I had been hoping that she had been one of the missing Firstborn; sadly she is not, but her backstory is still immensely interesting.

Suffice to say, getting the chance to preview this patch had me very excited. Scarlet has decided to move into Twilight Arbor, making it her new base of operations, and Caithe and the Lionguard both want to track her down and root her out. This patch is going to follow in the footsteps of Tequatl Rising, in that it introduces massive, permanent changes to the game, and in particular the Twilight Arbor dungeon.

Party 1This patch introduces a new dungeon path to Twilight Arbor, but the number of explorable paths remains at three total. The Forward/Up path in TA has always been pretty widely regarded as bugged, if not completely broken (those spiders at the end…shudder), and Scarlet’s new path will be replacing F/U entirely. Scarlet’s path is intended for level 80, whereas the rest of TA’s explorable paths are still at level 55, so this required some change in the dungeon’s initial entrances, as obviously the previous method of picking which path you want to do would not work here. When you enter, you’ll encounter Caithe talking to a Lionguard, and you can talk to her and choose to either go after Scarlet, or take on the other dangers of the Arbor.

It’s worth noting that Caithe states that she has her own reasons for wanting to go after Scarlet. Caithe has always been a dark and secretive one, so that just makes me curious if there is history there between the two that hasn’t yet been revealed.

Deciding to track down Scarlet opens a path for you to follow, and shortly after entering it you are boosted back up to level 80. The initial areas are not so different from the usual Twilight Arbor dangers that we are all used to – volatile blossoms, and Nightmare Hounds, Husks, and Vines to fight. But things do change rather quickly, and it becomes apparent that something twisted is going on here.

Sometimes you see things like this.

Sometimes you see things like this.

As this dungeon path was worked on by the groups that did the Molten Facility and Aetherblade Retreat, there will be similarities between those two dungeons and this path. However, one thing I noticed fairly quickly is that there are more puzzle-like elements involved here that will require a lot more group coordination than either of those dungeons did…or that most dungeons in the game require, really. As someone who runs dungeons regularly, I am pleased by this. I like content that requires a fair amount of coordination (and the entire strategy doesn’t focus on a single broken skill, like Tequatl does). At the same time, it doesn’t look like it’s anything that will be terribly difficult; just things that will require people to communicate with each other and coordinate what they’re doing.

One such example of this was a room that contained a sort of maze of fire; through this maze you had to lead a pair of oozes to the opposite side to open the doors, while keeping them out of the fire and keeping them from getting killed by lava elementals. Both oozes needed to get to the end at about the same time, and they were also hostile enemies; AOE attacks could kill them, and they can do devastating attacks if you get too close to them. You also have to watch out for certain enemy types once you start finding Twisted Nightmares; certain ones will set off an alarm until they die, calling in more enemies. Leaving them alive for too long will quickly turn a fight from “we can do this” to “OH GOD WHAT’S HAPPENING WE’RE ALL DOOMED”.

"This job's easy. When Scarlet says to kill, you kill. When she says 'I'm bored', you hide."

“This job’s easy. When Scarlet says to kill, you kill. When she says ‘I’m bored’, you hide.”

We didn’t get to see much of the dungeon in the preview; it was just a taste of what things were going to be, and it only went to the first boss fight. This first boss fight, by the way, looks to be an immense amount of fun; you get to fight two interesting characters known as Sparki (an asura in a suit similar to the bosses at the end of Molten Facility) and Slick (a norn reminiscent of Mai Trin’s lackey at the end of Aetherblade Retreat). The fight itself is another that requires a fair amount of coordination between players; it reminds me with a less intense version of the Molten Facility end fight combined with the mechanics from the Ghost Eater fight in Ascalonian Catacombs.

WIthin the dungeon, of course, there are other new things. There are, for example, aetherized versions of the usual Twilight Arbor weapons, which have a blue glow and are a rare drop from enemies in this new path. There are also aether key pieces, which you can collect; five of them will combine into a key that can open chests found in Twilight Arbor. And, as ever, there are new sets of achievements to earn, along with new rewards to be gained from them – a backpiece and a mini are up for grabs this time around.

This sylvari-loving dungeon runner? Cannot wait to get her hands on this patch and be able to dive in and play through the new dungeon path. My interest has been piqued, and I’m looking forward to digging up more about Scarlet as well as learning this new path, as this one is here to stay!