Crafting itself is kind of pointless if you don't have materials to feed into the recipe. Harvesting is the common process of getting resources and it comes from both combat and non combat oriented interactions.
This is the most effective form of harvesting and requires the player to go into the world and interact with harvesting nodes in order to extract their resources. An example of this is using a Spear Gun on a fish, or a Power Saw on a tree. It should be noted that only objects marked as resources can be harvested in this manner.
Harvestable nodes spawn in harvesting regions, which are located throughout the world. Each region has a supply base of harvesting nodes. Nodes will respawn at a faster pace when an area has been under-harvested and at a slower pace when it has been over-harvested. If the supply becomes depleted, then no new resources will respawn until an area has a chance to replenish.
Manual harvesting is the most effective form of harvesting for two reasons. First is that the harvesting speed is limited by the number of resource nodes available. If one can find a large supply of resource nodes they can amass resources quickly. Most importantly though, manual harvesting of nodes is the only way that you can receive Rare harvests. These resources are rare and are very valuable because of that. Some of these resources are required for advanced Recipes or can be used in Missions or Bounties.
Materials gathered from manual harvesting also have a wide range of quality values based on random chance. Sometimes you might find some C grade results and other times you might get lucky and get A grade results that are going to be sought after by veteran crafters looking to make high quality products.
Structure Based Harvesting Edit
There are numerous types of harvesting structures. These structures will extract resources in an automated fashion and the player will receive these resources each day, so long as the harvester remains operational. Structure based harvesting provides a slow, steady supply of resources to a player with a hands off approach. The main downfall of this method is that you cannot receive Rare harvests. Finally, the quality of the harvests is based on the area where the resources are being pulled from and higher quality harvesting areas will, of course, be in higher demand.
Every time you kill a certain species or extract from its corpse, you gain knowledge of that species, referred to as Species Mastery. You have a separate mastery level of each of the species in the game. This mastery level affects the grade of the components you can extract from their corpses, the type of materials you can extract, as well as giving you a bonus against that species in combat. If you aren't very skilled yet, you will only obtain low quality resources. As your skill increases you will gain higher grade components.