Tooling Around

May 31, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Posted in Guild Wars 2, mmorpg | 26 Comments
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World of Craftcraft

One thing I discovered during the Beta Weekend Event in Guild Wars 2 was that gathering suddenly had a barrier to entry. You must equip gathering tools, a logging axe, mining pick, or harvesting sickle before gathering from a node. They have 100, 100 and 50 uses respectively.

It had always been my impression that Arenanet was shooting for a more open approach to gathering. That certainly seemed the case with how they designed nodes to be available independently to each player. One didn’t have to go competing for nodes with others.

So imagine my surprise when I walked up to a node only to receive a message about needing equipment.

If truth be told I had envisioned a socialist paradise where anyone who wanted to help out their guild would walk up to any node, gather some materials, and later deposit them in the guild bank for all to use. Alas, there is a Stalin to every Lenin.

On an immersion level I suppose it makes sense to carry around tools to hack down trees and so forth instead of chopping away with a long sword. Yet on a broader level of game design I only find it to be cumbersome. A nuisance.

If I’m out in the wilderness gathering and my tools evaporate in my hands, that is an annoyance. Having to spend coin to use fast travel to a merchant to buy the tools with karma or gold, then return using even more coin seems aggravating. Of course that being said I’m not currently able to play the game so I can’t say for sure it is aggravating.

Then there is the annoyance of using cheap tools to harvest low level materials while I keep higher level tools in my inventory to keep on hand for high level materials.

Unfortunately there is a practical and understandable reason for these tools. A gold sink. A free and unlimited labour force unendingly supplying materials for crafting would likely have been the death of a stable economy. It is probably the sole reason for the existence of tools, and admittedly very necessary.

I’m not a fan but I can’t even think of a single alternative that would make crafting better off.



  1. I think there are a lot of gold sinks in GW2. All of them are meant to keep people from collecting bucket loads of gold to trade in for Gems. Like you said, it keep the economy less inflated and Gems harder to obtain. People should have to pay millions of gold to buy Gems from other payers just because gold is like Canadian money 😛 Gold should always be more like the British pound in value.

    • Partially, I’m sure, it’s about the gemstore, but I think it’s mostly about the economy. Guild Wars had a rather lackluster economy in some respects especially when it came to materials.

  2. Personally, I like it.

    Since UO, I’ve enjoyed the idea of having tools for your chosen trade, and I’d prefer to have more things like this that combine something that adds to the immersiveness of the game while acting as a gold sink. Warhammer Online fell into an economic problem by not having enough gold sinks. I would constantly have far more money than I knew what to do with, partly because the crafting in the game was about pointless.

    • I’m just hoping the gold sinks don’t get out of hand. The trait books, auction house fees, learning crafting professions, waypoints especially are all going to be big gold sinks.

  3. Harvesting is a gold source. Even with the sink of the tools, I think it still is (and should be) a net positive.

    So it seems to me they could remove the sink of the tools and reduce the value of what you get from harvesting and thus have the same economic effect. Is there a reason that would be worse?

    • I had a similar thought, like instead of rewarding 3 copper ore per harvest you rewarded one or two, but I think the main problem with that is you’d have a big grind for resources and thats a worse and bigger problem.

      • No need to reduce it that much! The tool costs less than 1/4 of a copper per use, and copper ore is worth 1 copper, so making it give 2 copper ore instead of 3 one quarter of the time would balance it out; that wouldn’t cause a grind.

        Except that’s the value of copper ore if you just sell it to a vendor; the actual value is higher, so the reduction in drop rate (or value) would be even lower than that.

        To reduce the value, I’d suggest either making crafting require very slightly more resources (less than 10% more, I think), or just reduce the amount the crafted items sell for (assuming that’s normally their final fate, which seems likely).

        Another possibility is to just reduce the chance of harvesting rare materials slightly.

        • Whatever the scenario with reducing harvesting rates you are increasing grind. I thought that despite the tools the rate was pretty grind free. Wouldn’t want it to change.

          • But there are so many things you can change, even if you rule out reducing harvesting rates.

            For example, just increase the cost/amount of materials bought from a crafting vendor needed to craft things. Then you’ve just moved the gold expense from gathering to crafting, while reducing the annoyance.

  4. Gold definitely seems to be in short supply at least as a starting player. I expected crafting to be a little more accessible from the start, but it’s the supplies more so than the harvesting tools that have been an issue for me (I also only dabbled in tailoring for which you don’t really do a lot of node harvesting.)

    Still I can’t complain as they’ve made it so easy. There isn’t anything we make that’s BOP to my knowledge so not only will I not have to take advantage of the ability to change trades without losing progress (albeit for a fee), I don’t even need to double up on all my alts.

    Then again, the crafting itself seemed a little convoluted but I guess that’s for the sake of people more interested in crafting compared to those of us for whom it’s merely a means to an end. In any case, it did seem faster and less of a grind.

    • I thought the menus, recipes, and whatnot were convoluted but the actual crafting itself was dead simple, didn’t require grind, wasn’t a pain in terms of wasting my time and was overall a good system. I’ll have a post on my general impressions tomorrow I think.

      • My feelings exactly. I think I was just surprised by how many components I had to make to an individual piece (or rather how many components I had to make to make other components to make the piece), but as long as it all gets me points and nothing goes wasted, it’s not a big deal. Just more involved of a menu than I expected.

  5. I think you’re blowing the cost out a bit. To me it was a good thing to have to get the tools, I expected that the limited use surprised me but whatever, I hope it leaves the door open to exceptional tools that give bonuses when you’re farming. It also provides one more way to control your farming costs later in the game. Perhaps special tools for special areas? Anyway I liked the tool thing, especially if I get to make them in other professions, wish they’d add that… That would be awesome collecting some ore and wood then getting a quest to go make my first tools.

    • The tools are ranked in quality where rough tools can be used to harvest mats in the newbie zone and iron tools needed to harvest in the next level range up. There are a variety of special tools that can be bought with karma that increase your chance to discover rare mats while gathering.

      I wouldn’t mind a renown heart for crafting trainers in cities that provided players with their first set of gathering tools or plans to craft them.

      • It would be an interesting idea for them to add events/hearts at some point in cities in an early game update but as of right now my impression is there won’t be any such thing at launch.

    • I did get a set of tools at one point that were green, I could only buy white tools from the merchant, so those tools may have been exceptional, I can’t recall.

  6. I didn’t mind needing to buy the tools after I had accrued some capital in game, but I didn’t like having to scrape the coin togeather for my fist set of tools. One direction I see ANET taking this is gem shop tools that expire after a set amount of time instead of after a number uses.

    • Luckily the sickles aren’t really necessary to anything other than cooking, so I suppose you can save some money that way. Personally I hope the gem shop doesn’t get involved but I would be surprised.

  7. […] Hunter’s Insight — Tooling Around. “One thing I discovered during the Beta Weekend Event in Guild Wars 2 was that gathering suddenly had a barrier to entry. You must equip gathering tools, a logging axe, mining pick, or harvesting sickle before gathering from a node. They have 100, 100 and 50 uses respectively.” […]

  8. I don’t mind the tools too much, other than, like the salvage kits, there are multiple levels so I guess that takes up more space if you want to keep more than one type on hand. I’m a bit disappointed in the organization and layout of the recipe section, but that is pretty minor. Once you hit the craft button there is little waiting, but I actually use the crafting time in Aion (which isn’t fast by any means if you are doing a large batch) to plan my crafts, check the wiki, etc. In GW2 my char will just have to stand there doing nothing while I make my plans. Speaking of being AFK, I still think if you don’t do anything for a certain time while in towns, say 10 minutes, and aren’t sitting, your character should wander off and interact (join a conversation) with the NPCs. It would make the game world seem more alive instead of having hordes of characters just standing around like dummies. Yeah, extra programming and that, still would be something different. Maybe have AFK player characters chat randomly with other AFK chars near them. Might be more interesting than real people chatting, in some cases. 🙂

    • Yeah carrying around 3 to 4 different salvage kits could end up being quite a pain. Not really a big fan of just how much the gold sink is for salvage kits in that respect either.

  9. Yet another step closer to Minecraft,:P

    • Except you can’t craft your gathering tools.

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