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Guild Wars 2 Unlimited Mining Tools - Are They Worth It?

There have been multiple different tools released in the Black Lion Trading Company that allow you to mine an unlimited number of nodes. Each one has to be bought separately, but once you have them they are just like owning Orichalcum tools, without having to keep buying new ones as they run out. Instead, you can use the same tool forever, regardless as to how many nodes you are going after. While this may sound like an awesome deal, the question is as to if it is worth it. After all, just because it looks great does not mean that it is. In this article, we are going to be looking at the reasons why you may want the tools, as well as what their true value is (and perceived value). The goal is to help better understand whether or not they have enough use for you. The item we will be looking at specifically is the Frost Wasp Logging Tool, although there have been other similar ones in the past.

Breaking Down the Price

The first step I want to do is to break down the price of the unlimited tool and that of the temporary ones. When looking at this, what I am going to be going for is the “break even” point, or how many nodes must be mined in order to set the two equal. After that point, every node mined would be some saved money. Prior to that, you would have spent more on the mining tools. So let us run some numbers down.

The current item that is available is the Frost Wasp Logging Tool. This comes at a cost of 1000 gems from the store. If we are going on a gold cost basis, we need to see what it takes to convert gold to the 1000 gems that are needed. Right now, 6 gold will buy about 50 gems. This means 12 would buy 100, so it takes 120 gold to buy all 1000.

The normal tool costs 4 silver and gives 50 or 100 uses (depending on the tool). This means that if we break it down, we have an unlimited tool being worth 120/0.04, or 3000 of each tool.

To take this a step further, we can now see how many uses this would be:

  • For harvesting, it would be 3000 * 50, or 150000 uses
  • For logging and mining, it would be 3000 * 100, or 300000 uses

In other words, the break even point of these unlimited tools, based on today's rates of exchange, would be around 150000 or 300000 nodes, depending on which one is used. That is quite a few!

Let us consider the difference for those who would rather use cash, now, instead of gems. This is important to look at as well, being that the conversion rate between the two are usually very different and going from cash to gold is a lot different than gold to gems anyways. So let us break this one down now.

As of today's conversion, we are looking at a rate of 65 gold for the 1000 gems. For ease of mathematics, let us round this down to 60, or half of the others. This puts us at the following:

  • For harvesting, it would be 1500 * 50, or 75000 uses
  • For logging and mining, it would be 1500 * 100, or 150000 uses

Again, that is quite a few nodes that would be needed, and that is simply to break even. The verdict here is that the cost of them on a purely financial perspective, is way above where it will be profitable for most people. Unless you spend hours a day mining nodes and you are constantly doing it, you are not likely to earn enough to make this worth it. If you are a major farmer that is running through a few tools a day, though, it is possible to make this work itself out, although it will still be a very long term investment.

But What About Convenience?

I think this is really where the selling point of these unlimited use tools comes from for most people. They are convenient. A lot of players, including myself, carry around backups for all of my tools. That way if I hit a node and I am out of uses on my current one, I can just equip a fresh one and continue my path. As soon as I hit a NPC that sells them, I will then replenish any of them that I no longer have backups for. Some players take it a step further and carry more than one backup. In any case, the point behind this is that the normal tools cause two slight (or major, depending on how you feel about it) inconveniences:

  • Any backups are going to take space in your backpack. This means that you have less room for other items. If you do a lot of dungeons and such or carry a lot of items (like different sets of gear), this can be a big problem. If you always have empty room anyways, it will not cause too many issues
  • You have to keep going to NPCs to buy new replacements. This is another inconvenience that may or may not be a problem. Some players really hate having to go shopping for the new items, and others it does not bother as much

There is, of course, a little joy in knowing that your equipped tools no longer need to be replaced. I have had many times where I put off buying fresh replacements of the disposable ones and ended up out and about wishing I had (as my equipped ones run out and I have to go hunt down a NPC, dropping what I was doing, to get another one). Keeping on top of it helps keep this from happening, but unless you are pretty consistent you never know!

A Different Animation

Based on what I can tell (I do not have any of the special mining tools, but I have seen what looks like players using them), each of the special mining tools have their own unique animation. This helps set players apart from one another while they are out mining, but also offers that “achievement” feeling of having something different than what we consider as being normal. In a way, I would relate it to being like earning new finishers for PvP. While they do not actually grant any benefits to players and have no real value, they are different and that makes a lot of players want to earn them all. What some consider as giving it value (the “I need to have everything” aspect), others do not.

Conclusion

The unlimited use tools within Guild Wars 2 cater to different people, but they all really just boil down to convenience. The cost basis of them alone puts them way behind just buying the disposable tools, but when you bring up not having to go replace them or worry about bag space taken up by backups, it starts to gain its value. And, of course, if ArenaNet ever lowers the price on them it will also help out. A price reduction to just 500 gems would already take it down to taking half as long to hit the break even point. Of course, you will also need to consider that the price of gold to gem conversion has been steadily increasing as well, so if the prices remain equal on a gem basis, they will be climbing up on a gold basis (and the financial benefit will continue to drop).

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