Hi again 😀
I don't have enough experience with the guiding lands endgame (I'm only HR 50) to talk about elders and tempereds and such, but I did spend a long while figuring out how the special gathering nodes work, so I thought I'd share what I've found so far.
The fancy editor refuses to play ball with me and I have no clue how to markdown, plus the file is like 200Mb, but I've made a huge map with every node location I've been able to find, with screenshots of each node to help you locate them. I'll either post it as a separate thread here, or link to it somehow.
I threw together a quick video guide using the map
If you'd rather grab the full map itself, you can find it here (link)
Those link to personal social media places, so please let me know if that's too self promote-y (and if so, where I should dump the map). Thanks 😀
There are some special gathering nodes unique to the Guiding Lands (the new endgame area), whose materials you need to augment your gear. These are different to regular gathering nodes – they spawn (somewhat) randomly, are not marked on your map, and level up as you gather more of them. There are two types; mining deposits and bonepiles.
Each biome has its own mining deposits and bonepiles which drop biome specific materials. There are 4 ore drops and 4 bone drops per biome, which we will call the tier 1,2,3 and 4 rewards with 4 being the rarest. In total, this gives 32 different materials to collect. (These are different to the monster specific materials that also drop in the guiding lands)
The nodes themselves have three stages, and these can be seen through progress bars that can be found on the map if you press right or left on the dpad while out in the Guiding Lands. As you mine more and more of the special forest ore deposits (as an example), eventually the second level of them will begin spawning instead of the first. Keep mining these and then level three gathering nodes will begin spawning instead (pictures would be really helpful here, and I even have them prepared ;-;). If you keep gathering until the progress bar maxes out (as you should), it resets back to level 1, and the process repeats (which is quite different to the biome levelling system).
Ores and bones are levelled separately, and each biome's ores and bones are levelled independently from the others, giving 8 different progressions in total. Do not think of these as permanent progressions however – they are on a constant cycle from level 1 to 2 to 3 and back to 1. The level 1 nodes reward the tier 1 version of the relevant material as their common drop, and the tier 2 version of that material as a rare drop ("rare drop" being akin to purecrystals, with the extended gathering animation). The level 2 nodes drop the tier 2 material commonly, and the tier 3 material rarely. The level 3 node drops the tier 3 material commonly, and the tier 4 material rarely.
Lastly, when the progression resets (as you max it out by gathering level 3 nodes), it will spawn in a single level 4 gathering node of its respective type. This can only be gathered once, and has a guaranteed drop of the tier 4 corresponding material. You can leave and return to the guiding lands, and this node will persist until you gather it
Advanced (how to farm stuff)
Each biome has exactly two areas that spawn these gathering nodes. These are areas 6 through to 13. 6 and 7 for the ancient forest biome ores and bones, 8 and 9 for the wildspire waste versions of these nodes, 10 and 11 for the coral highlands and lastly 12 and 13 for the rotten vale. I haven't found any nodes in the other areas, though perhaps they are just super rare – either way, when running a mining loop, you'll want to decide what you wish to farm for, and then loop around the corresponding two areas listed above.
The possible spawn points for the nodes are all fixed. There are around 4 or so per area usually, though not every node will spawn. The ones that spawn in are random, and usually between the two area's I'm looping around, there will be 4 spawns out of the 8 possible.
The way I farm is by putting on a gathering set (geologist lvl 3 and master gatherer being key skills), eating for felyne harvester (which gives quicker gathering node respawns – I haven't tested if this skill works for these special nodes, but anecdotally I'm pretty sure it does), and then looping around each set of two areas gathering all the nodes I see.
While you aren't familiar with the spawn locations, you can just skirt around the edges of the areas and you'll get quite a lot of them. Alternatively you can just reference my map to see every possible spawn location (the video I linked shows them off too, as well as briefly describes most of what I included here) – the map includes a screenshot of every node in its surroundings to help you easily find each one, and the image is huge, so you can zoom in on those screenshots and they're quite clear.
Misc stuff: – bring dungs and ghille mantle for when large monsters spot you – the coal chunks dropped by the higher level mining nodes are worth 500 steamworks fuel each! – stamina skills, flinch free, stealth/intimidator, para res (for vespoids) are all nice skills – don't forget felyne harvester! – the nodes don't seem to despawn until you move at least a certain distance away – occasionally the nodes seems to randomly be replaced by turf war tracks, which is always nice – these nodes look nothing like normal gathering nodes, and the level 1 ones are really tough to spot
TL;DR for anyone who just wants to know how to farm
Pick the biome whose materials you need. Loop around the corresponding two areas (6/7 for forest, 8/9 for wildspire, 10/11 for coral, 12/13 for vale) gathering at all the nodes. To find said nodes, either hug the outskirts of the areas you're looping and keep an eye out, or consult my map of node locations.
Hopefully I covered everything – feel free to ask questions if anything was ambiguous or if you have any other questions, and I hope this helps! Good luck <3
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