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BDO Gathering & Energy (Black Desert Online 2018)

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BDO Gathering by Mining

Originally written by Eminent (u/CadeGuitar), who generously published a Gathering & Energy Guide in "Eminent’s Life Skill Guide". This well-received, 260 page guide has been added to and edited by me. It's now kept current on GrumpyG, with Eminent's permission. Thanks Eminent! ! I will update this Gathering & Energy Guide with any new BDO patches/changes. (Eminent is currently taking a break from Black Desert Online.)

Eminent's BDO Gathering & Energy Guide


The gathering Life Skill is all about collecting materials that can later be processed, cooked, or alchemized into other more useful things. Gathering is one of the most profitable Life Skills with a very low skill entry. Even for non-lifeskillers, gathering should absolutely be a part of your daily routine. To get started, all you need is a tool (depending on what you want to gather) and some energy.

Many Life Skills (like processing, cooking, alchemy) take one item and turn it into something else (usually more valuable). This can be a good way to turn a profit, but you need an investment of that initial item. Gathering is different in that, besides the tool, you really have no investment at all. You’re simply bringing resources into the game.

This is a huge benefit, because it allows even low level players to bring in a competitive income.

The Limitations of Gathering

Gathering is an extremely profitable activity, and I believe it to be one of the best possible uses for your time in game. That said, there are a couple limiting factors that make it so you can’t infinitely gather. Specifically, I’m talking about 2 things:

Higher Gathering Skill = Less Energy Cost
Every time you gather something, there is a chance to use energy. As your gathering level gets higher, the chance of energy being consumed gets lower. This means if a beginner gatherer gathers once per energy, perhaps a master gatherer can gather 3-4 times per energy. I’m not aware of the rate you consume energy (I don’t believe anyone actually knows), but it’s possibly similar to how fishing level affects rod durability consumption.

If you only have 100 energy, you can probably only gather for 20 minutes or so before you’re completely out. This is a huge issue, because even if you’re pulling 15m/h from gathering, if you can only do it for 20 minutes a day you’re really not profiting very much.

Gathering Tools. Do you feel lucky? Do ya?
Gathering tools are all non-repairable, which means you need a steady supply of them. Furthermore, the only tools worth using are lucky/magic. If you use regular steel or shiny tools you are completely wasting your time.

So where do you get lucky/magic tools?

Tools can be made in a tool workshop (in pretty much any city).

BDO Tool Workshop

Tool Workshops to Create Lucky Tools
Regular tools and sharp tools can be made in a tier 1 workshop, steel tools can be made in a tier 2 workshop, and shining tools can be made in a tier 3 workshop. As long as the materials are in your storage, your workers will use the workshop to produce the tool you want. Regardless of your worker’s luck, there is a 10% chance that a “lucky” tool will be produced.

Lucky Tools take on the same characteristic as their non-lucky counterpart (durability/gathering time reduced), but they also have the added feature of greatly improving your chance at gathering...

Since shards are likely the majority of your profit when gathering, it’s important to maximize your rate of obtaining them as much as possible.

The Elusive Magic Tool
Magic tools on the other hand are more difficult to obtain. Magic tools are primarily obtained by trading in imperial seals. Some of them are very easy (imperial fishing seals) while others are much more annoying (imperial conquest seals).Magic tools are often introduced to the Marketplace in large bursts because they’re handed out in event boxes, black spirit adventure, or attendance rewards. Because of their rarity (and their non-permanence), they are almost always sold out on the Marketplace.

Overcoming the Energy Limitation on Gathering

Luckily, the issue of energy isn’t too big of a problem.

If you have low energy, you can easily get it up to 250+ with some exploring and questing. Each quest provides 2+ energy and max energy is increased for each knowledge subcategory you complete. For help with obtaining the closest knowledge to you, please visit the Knowledge Locator. For info about knowledge and more helpful knowledge links, view our Knowledge Guide.

BDO Gathering Blood

Once you have 250+ energy you should be able to gather for a much longer period of time. That said, if you have a really low gathering level, you’re still not gonna last long. The higher your gathering level, the longer you can gather for with your energy pool. That said, you simply need to raise your level higher. This is done with consistency -- drain your energy pool every single day.

As you level, your same energy pool will last significantly longer, which means you can get more xp from a session. And so on. However, that’s not the end of the story. I personally like to really focus on one thing, rather than making gathering a side thought that I just train for 20 minutes a day.

Luckily, there is a way that we can infinitely gather, and aren’t limited by energy.

Here I’m talking about buying energy (with silver, not microtransactions).

Purchasing Energy for Gathering
There are 2 main ways to buy energy, and both have their pros and cons.

As you can see, all energy potions convert energy at a 5:1 ratio, with the exception of the Energy Potion (Extra Large) which converts at a 4:1 ratio. This means the Energy Potion (Extra Large) is the best value if you’re converting your own energy. That said, energy is an extremely valuable resource, and making potions is a very poor use of it. I’m not suggesting that you use your energy to make these potions, rather, you buy them from the Marketplace (from other people who don't like gathering).

But, if you do decide to sell your energy, the current Marketplace prices show that the larger the potion is, the better silver/energy it gives. (Marketplace prices fluctuate with supply and demand, so be sure to check before selling your energy.)

Technically, buying small energy potions would be the cheapest way to recover energy, but there is a problem with that. All energy potions have a cooldown of 10 minutes. This means, unless you’re using less than 10 energy per 10 minutes, small energy potions are completely impractical for you. If you want to buy potions that can let you infinitely gather, you’re going to have to pay extra (probably extra large potions, maybe large if you have a really high gathering level).

BDO Gathering Mining at a River

Buying High-Quality Wine for Energy
The alternative to obtaining energy potions, is to buy High-Quality Wine.

High-Quality Wine can be bought from Innkeepers and some Cooks for 100k each. Depending on where you bought it, you either need to turn it in to the NPC next to the Innkeeper, or sometimes (like with the Cook in Calpheon) you can trade it in directly to the NPC you bought it from.

Each High-Quality Wine can be turned in for 3 energy. Current Marketplace pricing puts High-Quality Wine in a position that's less expensive per energy than large energy potions, but more expensive than medium.

So let’s compare our options here

Energy Potions:

High-Quality Wine:

Is Buying Energy Right for Me?
It’s important to mention that for 90% of players, buying energy is a bad idea. If you’re gathering for money (like most people), you’re going to kill your profit. Gathering can range from 10-20m silver per hour, but if you’re spending millions on buying more energy, you eat into that figure (until it’s just a mediocre activity).

That said, the higher your gathering level is, the more value your energy has. This means that players with higher gatherering skill, might want to consider buying energy potions and wines.

I won’t say if buying energy is a good or bad idea for you specifically, you’re going to have to think for yourself on that one. Just be aware that it's available.

Gathering Tools

Now that energy is out of the way we still have to talk about acquiring tools.

Let’s say you decide to buy energy, and gather for 10 hours every single day. How are you going to get enough tools to do that?

Like I said before, only lucky/magic tools are worth using (especially if you’re buying energy), so you can’t use tools that are readily available. This makes it a little more difficult.

I mentioned previously that there are 3 ways to obtain tools: making them yourself, trading in seals, or buying them from the Marketplace. Each of these options has advantages and disadvantages, which will really limit the way you gather.

If you’re making your own tools you’ll need materials. Let’s look at an example.

BDO Meat Gathering Tool

To make a steel butcher knife you need

Maple Timber you can get plenty of from your workers, so that’s not an issue (you could also just buy it from the Marketplace).

Steel you can buy from the Marketplace no problemo.

Black Stone Powder you will probably have to grind some crystals or weapons stones for, but it’s still not that hard to get.

Gathering Tool Bottlenecks
The problem, then, comes from the Hard Hide. Good luck ever buying that from the Marketplace. That means you’ll have to manually gather hide (probably from the triangle head lizards) and then tan it yourself. That’s a really annoying process to go through just to make a tool.

BDO Workers making a gathering tool

Once you have the materials in your storage, you can have workers use the tool workshop to start making them. From there, there is a 10% chance to get a lucky tool, and a 90% chance of getting a regular steel tool.

Only the lucky tools are useful, the steel tools are useless.

To figure out how much each tool is going to cost you, figure out the cost of the materials to make it, and then multiply that cost by 10 (because of the 1 in 10 chance).

While that will give you a rough figure on tool cost, you also have to remember opportunity cost. A tool workshop costs CP (the exact amount depends on where you’re doing it), and that CP could have been used on a node. You also need a worker to make the tools, which means you need lodging (more cp). This CP that could have been spent elsewhere (making you money) is a cost that you need to keep in mind when considering costs.

Remember that your worker also consumes beer, which is going to be an additional cost for your tool production.

Finally, if you are making a tool that requires hard hide (that you have to manually gather and process), your time spent making that is time that you could have spent doing something else.

With all that said, it might seem like making tools isn’t good at all, but that’s not necessarily true. Let’s look at the costs for the different tools. In these figures I’m not accounting for beer/cp useage, missed opportunity, etc. And I’m also using Marketplace prices that might be different from when you’re reading this, so make sure to do your own math before going all-in on something.

Tool Materials Cost Cost For Lucky
Steel Lumbering Axe Maple Timber x1,
Steel x3,
BSP x3
31,500 315,000
Steel Pickaxe Maple Timber x1,
Steel x4,
BSP x3
39,000 390,000
Steel Hoe Maple Timber x1,
Steel x2,
BSP x3
24,000 240,000
Steel Butcher Knife Maple Timber x1,
Steel x1,
Hard Hide x1,
BSP x4
19,500 195,000
Steel Tanning Knife Maple Timber x1,
Steel x1,
Hard Hide x1,
BSP x3
16,500 165,000
Sturdy Fluid Collector Steel x2,
BSP x3
24,000 240,000
Shining Steel Lumbering Axe Maple Timber x1,
Steel x3,
Pure Iron Crystal x1,
BSP, x5
144,259 1,442,590
Shining Steel Pickaxe Maple Timber x1,
Steel x4,
Pure Iron Crystal x1,
BSP x5
151,759 1,517,590
Shining Steel Hoe Maple Timber x1,
Steel x2,
Pure Iron Crystal x1,
BSP x5
136,759 1,367,590
Shining Steel Butcher Knife Maple Timber x1,
Steel x1,
Pure Iron Crystal x1,
Hard Hide x1,
BSP x4
126,259 1,262,590
Shining Steel Tanning Knife Maple Timber x1,
Steel x1,
Pure Iron Crystal x1,
Hard Hide x1,
BSP x5
129,259 1,292,590
Shining Fluid Collector Steel x2,
Pure Iron Crystal x1,
BSP x5
136,759 1,367,590

The math for this counted maple timber as 0 silver (assuming you got it from workers), and counted hard hide as 0 silver. Now, we both know that is deceptive, as hard hide is really the biggest limiting factor in tool production. Make sure you think for yourself here, and don’t just go for the cheapest tool to make.

With the steel tools you end up with, you can either list them on the Marketplace or just trash them.

Shining (non-lucky) tools on the other hand you’ll probably want to sell. With those you’ll most likely make your money back.

Steel tools have 130 durability, while shining steel tools have 250 durability. Shining tools also shave an additional 2 seconds off of your gathering time, which means better profit/h when you’re gathering.

It’s up to you to determine the best cost/durability, as well as the best cost for your time.

If you don’t want to make your own tools, you can also go the route of magic tools.

BDO Gathering Wood

Magic Gathering Tools

Magic tools (for the most part) don’t sit in the Marketplace, which means you’ll have to either snipe them or preorder them.

Preorder prices for certain tools can be as high as 2m (prices will vary depending on the tool and when you’re reading this). Sniping will require you to have a few Marketplace maids and be doing an activity that allows you to use them. If you’re grinding combat you probably can’t stop and stalk the Marketplace every time a tool is listed, it’s just not practical. If you’re fishing or cooking you can probably get away with it. To snipe it, you’ll want to put the item on notice and try to bid on as many tools as possible. Depending on how desirable the tool is, it might be very difficult to win bids.

A couple magic tools (namely fluid collectors and hoes) are readily available on the Marketplace most of the time, and you can buy as many as you want. This is mostly because they are the easiest to get and the least useful.

Finally, you can get magic tools yourself from imperial seals.

Magic Tool Seal
Magic Lumbering Axe Imperial Training Seal x2
Magic Pickaxe Imperial Conquest Seal x35
Magic Hoe Calpheon Trade Seal x100
Magic Butcher Knife Imperial Conquest Seal x35
Magic Tanning Knife Imperial Training Seal x2
Magic Fluid Collector Imperial Fishing Seal x10

Some of these seals are completely impractical to get, while others are super easy. Some are practical to get, but impractical to spend on tools. Let me elaborate a bit.

Imperial training seals are acquired by doing imperial horse training (see the training section for more info). It’s not too difficult to get these, but the problem here is that you can use these seals to make Black Magic Crystal - Viper. Depending on the cost of the viper gem at the time, training seals can be valued at up to 1.6m per seal. That’s a lot of potential money that you’re spending on a single tool. In that case it would be better to just sell the viper gem and use that money to preorder a magic tool.

Imperial Conquest Seals are impractical all around. You get these seals from killing bandits that roam around the map.

BDO Bandits Map for Conquest Seals

Image credit to Facemelt#5867

Using this map, I created a route and did a quick test for bandit-killing to see what the drop rate was like for these seals.

Bandit Calculations

If this chart doesn’t make sense you can ignore it, it’s not important

In the end, I was averaging about 20 seals per hour (you could probably get a slightly better number with better efficiency).

Conquest seals make Black Magic Crystal - Harphia, so we can use that to determine a value per seal. In this case it came out to be about 80k per seal (could be different depending on when you read this), which comes out to a little under 1.6m per hour.

You may think that that profit per hour figure is unimportant since we are spending our seals on magic tools rather than doing this for money. In fact, that isn’t quite the correct way of thinking.

Making this figure shows that while grinding for this tool we are doing a 1.6m/h activity. This is a very poor silver rate. Again, if we just did something more profitable (let’s say relic scrolls at 12m/h) we could use that money to preorder magic tools at a much better rate.

On a side note, if you are planning on leveling your trade with a wagon, you might consider creating a route that would let you encounter as many bandits as possible. This would allow you to amass conquest seals that you can later turn in for profit or for magic tools.

Calpheon trade seals are impractical, don’t even try it.

Imperial fishing seals are actually extremely practical to get.

If you don’t have master 2 trade, then you should be selling all of your fish to the imperial fishing trader. A full inventory of fish can net you 40+ seals (or 4 magic fluid collectors). This is great because you can slowly amass a supply of these seals simply by afk fishing overnight.

The problem with these seals is that magic fluid collectors aren’t really scarce on the Marketplace (usually).

Magic Fluid at Marketplace

As you can see, there are nearly 2,000 of them listed right now on the Marketplace. On top of that, they’re listed for an extremely generous price. If you can get them for so cheap and easy, why would you need to grind seals for them?

Gathering For a Purpose

Processing, Cooking, and Alchemy are all skills that take materials and turn them into something else (that’s generally more useful). Gathering, on the other hand, brings new materials into the game. You, as a gatherer, get to choose which materials.

BDO Chef Cooking

It would make sense to gather the most useful material possible in preparation for using it in other Life Skills later.

Right away, I want to say that gathering is probably going to be around 10-13m profit per hour simply because you will get hards and sharps (assuming you use a good tool). This is enough incentive for most people to gather already. However, making sure that the main yield you get is also useful (or profitable) will take your gathering to the next level.

In the case of cooking, things such as meat (from sheep probably) are good because they are a bottleneck material. This will allow you to make dishes that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to make.

Advanced cooking utensils or alchemy tools also need rough stone and logs, which will speed up your time drastically for those activities.

Gathering cooking materials is good because it lets you make new dishes. However, you literally can’t do alchemy without gathering. Nearly every single alchemy ingredient is bottlenecked through gathering.

This means that gathering doesn’t just unlock new recipes, it unlocks an entire Life Skill.

What's the Best Thing to Gather?
This section isn’t going to be very long, because I’m not going to tell you every single thing in the game that is useful to gather. Brainstorm and think of your own goals, long term and short term, and what you’ll need to achieve them. If you plan on getting into imperial cooking and alchemy, figure out which recipes you want to do and gather the bottlenecked materials for those. If you’re planning on building an Epheria Sailboat/Convoy or a Peridot Wagon, you’re probably going to be doing a lot of gathering too.

The point is, you should really never be gathering just for hards and sharps, you should be consciously be going after resources that you have a plan for in the future.

Gathering For Gathering Skill XP

While I just made it a point to gather for a purpose, if you are a player that focuses mostly on getting laurels, gathering XP is your purpose. In that case, there are a few things that will change the way you gather.

First off (and this is an obvious one), while buying energy is harmful for your profit, it is extremely good for gathering XP. In general, the more time you can spend gathering the more skill XP you are going to get. This makes buying energy potions and High-Quality Wine an extremely important aspect to leveling. That said, you should also watch your silver gain/loss in order to make sure that this is something sustainable.

The next step is doing something where you can supply enough magic/lucky tools to continuously gather forever. This mostly means that you’re going to have to do a mixture of magic/lucky, and possibly a mixture of more than 1 kind of tool.

Next we want to gather in an area that will give us the most resources per hour. This means minimizing the travel time between resources. For many people this means mining in Pilgrim’s Haven, or butchering on Goat Mountain.

BDO Gathering Meat at Goat Mountain

If you don’t want to deal with making your own tools or bidding/preordering tools, you could do gathering that requires a hoe/fluid collector since those are often flooded on the Marketplace. With a hoe you can gather grapes in Olvia for very fast XP. With a fluid collector you could gather sheep blood or sap from trees.

It’s important to understand that just because you can gather grapes or sheep blood infinitely, that doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea. If you don’t have a plan for these items you’re probably going to lose quite a bit of money.

One possible idea is to make a supply of lucky tools, and to use hoes/fluid collectors for subpar gathering when you run out (while you wait for more to be produced).

Another idea is, rather than using subpar magic tools, to be constantly preordering good tools so that you have some when your lucky tool production runs out.

You could also dump enough CP into tool production that you never run out.

Finally, although this would be majorly inefficient in terms of xp/h, you could just stock up on good tools but never use them except for when there is a gathering event going on (golden backpack, increased shards, etc.). This doesn’t mean you have to stop your daily gathering (drain your energy on something useful every day, it’s a good idea!), but don’t buy energy and spam-gather unless there is an event.

Usually, gathering event items will cover the cost of energy potions and tools, which means everything else you get is straight profit.

Remember that tools will be in much higher demand during an event, which means you need to stock up beforehand. It’s not a bad idea to load up on 100-200 magic/lucky tools (store them in wagons or storages that you don’t use) so that you can spam gather for the entire duration of the event.

Final Thoughts on Gathering

Gathering is an extremely profitable Life Skill that opens the doors to many other activities. It should definitely be a daily activity for any player.

Regardless of whether you are gathering for profit, usefulness, or XP, you should make sure you have +5 gathering. This can be easily obtained with a guild (+3) and +2 gathering clothes. Otherwise a balenos meal (or other food) could help.

+5 gather will increase your speed dramatically, which will increase yield, profit, and XP by a significant amount.

A hedgehog is basically a requirement if you want to gather efficiently. The bonus resources you get are just too good to ignore.

Contact Me
Thanks for reading Eminent's BDO gathering and energy guide! If you would like to contact GrumpyG, you can do so via PMs on BDO's forum or Message me on If you have any questions, please ask!

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