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According to Monster Hunter Wiki's page Gathering and Rewards Skills,

With this skill you increase the chance of getting the maximun number of items out of any and all gathering points, including mining points.

But according to a blog post at Kotowari / My Fair Hunter, which has otherwise been a very helpful resource,

Gathering (Gathering +1/Gathering +2)
Unfortunately, this skill won’t increase your chances of mining a point multiple times.

So what's the deal? Is the blog post wrong, is there a bug, or is the effect of the Gathering skill more subtle than the wiki suggests?

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Most gathering nodes have a finite limit of the number of items you can gain from them. There are some nodes that are unlimited, but those nodes tend to provide very common items, like Frogs or Worms. The rest vary the number of times, and is unique to the node itself. Each node has a minimum and maximum number of times you can gather from it, and is set when it spawns.

What the Gathering skill does is that it skew that random number. Gathering-1 weights it towards the minimum limit, and Gathering+1 and +2 send it upwards, to it's maximum. It doesn't increase the limit, it just weights the randomness in your favor. For nodes that have only a set number of gather attempts, the Gathering skill is entirely useless.

Reading that blog entry, it sounds like the author is unsure of what the skill does, and thinks it increases the maximum number of times you can gather from nodes. If the node in question has a range of gather attempts, Gathering will bump it upwards, but it won't increase it beyond the node's natural gather limits.

I have tested this in the Deserted Islands, Freehunt. My target Area was Area 7, due to there being three fixed nodes: Grass, a stone, and mushrooms. Sometimes, there's even a mining node.

I made a dozen runs, three each at:

  • No gathering skill
  • Gathering + 1
  • Gathering + 2
  • Gathering + 2 & Felyne Gatherer (I used Gourmet Vouchers to guarantee the skill)

The Brady Guide lists the maximums of these nodes as:

  • Grass: 10
  • Stone: 4
  • Mushrooms: 3
  • Mine: 3 (There's two different nodes, but one is fixed at 3, and the other has a maximum of 3, so they're the same, regardless)

Here are my averages:

Node                        Skills
          None        +1           +2        +2 & FG
Grass     7.67        10           10           10
Stone        4         4            4            4
Mushrooms    3         3            3            3
Mine      2.67         2            2            2

The mine average is lower because it's not a fixed spawn; there is a chance to have no node at all, and somehow, each one group of runs with a skill had one single run where it didn't spawn. Runs #5, 9, and 11 each didn't have a mining node.

Based on this data, I can say conclusively, that the Gather skills do not increase the maximum gather limits; they just ensure you have a better chance of gathering everything from that node. If it increased the maximum, at least a single run would have gone beyond the maximum limits.

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I understand what happened, but I'm reluctant to actually accept this answer with this data set because the data as provided shows the exact opposite of the claim. – user2640 May 10 '13 at 15:15
In particular, I'm not sure how much I trust the Brady guide as a reference, generally. There are several obvious errors in it, and whether these specific numbers are right or wrong is not obvious from the data you've given. – user2640 May 10 '13 at 15:17
I agree there are some errors in the guide, but so far, I haven't found anything about the nodes being in error. I'm not sure how using their maximum values shows the exact opposite of the claim that Gathering doesn't increase maximum number of gathers from a node. If it did, +2, or +2 & Felyne Gatherer would have higher values than they do. – Frank May 10 '13 at 15:20
You got less items per node with the skill, which is the opposite of what is expected and what your conclusion claims. Again, you explain why - and that explanation is reasonable - but the data itself should show this, not post-hoc handwaving at the end. – user2640 May 10 '13 at 15:33
Hmm. I didn't time each run, so I suspect the time to gather those materials took under three minutes, and the node spawn was timed somewhere towards the end of the spectrum. I can do a re-run, and ensure I spend three minutes in the area to force a node spawn. Would that help your confidence? – Frank May 10 '13 at 15:45

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