Note: The following article is by guest contributor James “Anhrez” Burke-Frazier, a member of the Crowfall® community.
It’s your favorite Econ PvPer Anhrez tossing out some gathering info about group harvesting.
When John Heywood wrote, “Many hands make light work,” I suspect that jackwagon had never tried to coordinate a bunch of PvPers to harvest motherlodes.
Tackling the group nodes in Crowfall combines many of the mechanics you have all come to love with basic gathering like ranked nodes, per hit tables and final hit tables with some group-required mechanics I will cover below.
Let’s do a deep dive into group harvesting as it sits right now for those who maybe have not yet dabbled in it.
WHAT ARE MOTHERLODES?
Currently, both mining and quarrying have specialty nodes that require a minimum of two players to harvest, and they hold rare materials for the Jewelcrafting and Necromancy professions. In fact, stone and ore motherlodes are the only places players can harvest gems and minerals, making them a must-have for any guild or faction.
If you click on the “Details” page and then “Explore,” you can scroll down to see the stat “Mineral Harvest Chance”. Motherlodes have the exact same loot table (for the base material) as regular nodes. A Rank 9 marble node uses the same table to determine the quality of its drops as a Rank 9 marble motherlode. The only changes are the volume dropped (got to help pay for those helpers!) and the addition of rare materials (in this case the mineral cinnabar).
WHAT MAKES THEM SO DIFFICULT TO HARVEST?
These specialty nodes have been designed to require more than a single player to harvest.
Rhythm: The motherlodes have a "shell" around them that requires two hits within three seconds to remove. With the time it takes for a player’s swing to register and to launch another one when the first has completed you can get the two hits in three seconds in, but all you have done is remove the shell you have not done any damage to the node itself. When there are two players swinging in proper cadence, each of their first strikes takes down the shell and their next strikes each causes damage. If the two hits within in three seconds is being maintained, then damage is inflicted upon the node.
Despawn timer: Have you ever hit a node but then got distracted or attacked? Have you noticed that the node will just disappear if not tended to within a limited amount of time? Both regular nodes and motherlodes have a despawn timer that starts once damage is received by the node. The challenge with motherlodes is that they can take much more time to harvest than a regular node of the same rank because many tool swings do not register damage due to the shell mentioned above.
WHAT TIPS AND TRICKS ARE THERE?
This goes against my basic nature of help anyone whose name is not Anhrez, but for this limited window I will share some of the basic things you will need to know to be a successful motherlode farmer.
Skills define the farmer: Any player can farm a motherlode, but to use a JTodd phrase, “Will the juice be worth the squeeze?” If you are not trained in motherlodes, you will only get the premium resources of that node. You really need a team to get the materials out of it. In my opinion, without a trained lead harvester it’s far better to harvest regular nodes. Your tools will last longer and you will get more mats over the same amount of time soloing.
Motherlodes look for the Plentiful Harvest, Critical Chance and Critical Amount stats just like other nodes. When you have a highly-trained lead harvester, these stats can make the motherlodes explode with loot like a penny slot machine in Vegas. In most cases, those hunting motherlodes want the specialty materials and this is where the effort is worth the effort!
Don’t be a fool with your tools: Only certain tools work on certain nodes. (Taking an axe to an ore node is like taking a great sword to an ochre jelly, lots of effort and no payoff.) They have hit points that have to be cleared, and your choice of tool is your weapon. Make sure you have the right amount of "damage" in your group to clear the motherlode before it despawns.
The right team makes a difference: When a team of players harvest the same node (whether or not it’s a motherlode) the amount of damage done by each player makes a difference. The harvesting nodes in Crowfall have three ‘per hit’ table procs and a final proc.
When the team damages a node from 100% to 75%, the node tracks who has done the most damage during that segment and rolls versus that player’s stats. Most skilled harvesting groups use the terms “lead harvester” and “grunts”. When you are hunting for rare materials, the last thing you want is for some undertrained player’s damage stat to be targeted. So, just like working on the rhythm to keep the motherlodes ‘armor shell’ down, a team must also focused on making sure the best stats tables are being used.
A FEW LAST TRICKS
There are major and minor Discipline stones that are must-haves for any motherlode team. Your grunts should be leveraging the Foreman stone to help your team do damage more quickly and to create more pips to be spent by Energetic Harvesting.
Untrained grunts can equip the Reaper stone so that each of their swings will earn pips that are spent to help the team. Your lead harvester and grunts should be sporting Villein to make their tools last longer.
Node-specific Discipline stones like Quarryman or Miner may be useful to boost stats. These can have a huge impact but are unnecessary if the lead harvester is well-trained.
Although it can be difficult to time the buff that Connoisseur can give you with the "per hit" table procs I mentioned, it could significantly help out when you are on the hunt for rare materials.
All players have a stat called Plentiful Harvest X, (where X equals a resource type; copper, iron, etc...) which increases the chance for better quality and quantity of resources. Make sure your lead harvester has the highest Plentiful Harvest possible. If you want the best outcome, you must be rolling against the best table for the node you are clearing. As you can see in the table above, there is a significant quality change as you move up in Plentifuls. There are a few ways to artificially lift your Plentiful stat, and it’s worth having it at five at all times.
The right potion can change the table you are rolling against or increase the chance of more rare materials, and you can have more than one potion active at a time. The two potions above stack just fine on your lead harvester.
A player can find many ways to impact their gathering stats. You can find an amazing Blacksmith to craft armor that lifts your Critical Amount, Critical Chance, Beneficial Harvest Power and Beneficial Harvest Chance. These are awesome for solo nodes, but when a lead harvester is decked out you are more likely to have a volume of materials to pay off your grunts and more.
The necklace above is a fun addition to any gatherer’s equipment list. The Reaping stat is global against all nodes, the Decay Reduction helps keep that precious, purchased runepick around longer and, hey, who doesn’t need some extra Attack Power?
Motherlodes will be vital to all campaign efforts. Vessels, jewelry and yet-unknown recipes all will rely on the rare materials that are to be found within them. A small team of well-equipped players can easily take down motherlodes if they have the training, knowledge, and patience. I look forward to seeing many more motherlode teams in 5.8.
James “Anhrez” Burke-Frazier