What's this Gathering Collectables all about?
So, this side of the Collectables system is actually a bit more complicated than the crafting side. It is actually its' own system that has rules for itself. Exactly what those are actually depend if you're fishing or not, generally speaking. We'll cover both how Fishing Collectables work, and how Miner/Botanist works.
Fishing for Collectables
This one's actually the easier of the two. Turn on Collector's Glove. Cast line. Hook a fish. Repeat. Some things to point out regarding collectable fishing. Let us have a look at the Rowena's page for it.
Huh, something really unusual is going on with the collectability of fish, don't ya think? Well, it is because it is determined by the size of the fish! Given just the huge number of fish that exist in the game, this page will change quite a bit from day to day, so remember to look at how much time you have left before a change over. It is always displayed at the bottom right of the Rowena's collectables exchange! Timer doesn't matter anymore, removed with 5.3 changes to collectables. Will update visuals when transferred to new platform and style. But the short of it is, fish for HQ > get highly collectable fish! Just remember to turn Collectors' Glove on!
Mining/Logging for Collectables
Now for where the system gets interesting. The "appraisal" process is what will determine the rating of collectable items when you retrieve them. It is a simple tool but can be challenging to master. For one, you would want to ensure you understand what each of the following skills will do for you:
I'll assume level 80 for ease of discussion, easy to adjust based on level/gearing.
Each of these skills has it's time and place. Note that Impulsive Appraisal 1 has a fixed 30% to proc Discerning Eye while Impulsive 2's proc chance is determined by your perception versus the item. Impulsive 2 100% replaces its predecessor, so you get to save the hotbar space on that one. Reading and understanding the tooltips on how each of these skills work is important in order to understand how the various rotations that have been published over the years work.
How gathering collectables work on a system level
To better understand how the rotations work below, let us have a look at an example collectable gathering cycle.
We'll use the ephemeral node for various Heavensward Aethersand/Crystal/Clusters in CWH:
We'll go with Lover's Laurel, doesn't matter in the end.
This is the UI we get while doing collectable crafting. We'll start with Impulsive Appraisal 2:
Discerning Eye boosts next appraisal by 50%. We'll repeat it:
So far, two gathering attempts burned, Eye is still up. We'll finish using our wear with Methodical:
From here, we'll use Collect in the UI:
We'll say YES to this, and we're done! It will be set as its own unstackable item in your inventory, just like any other collectable item. The tooltip for the collectable item will display the rating of it.
TIP: If you still have "Gathering System Messages" enabled for any of your chat tabs, you can note exactly what you had done.
Rotations and You
Depending on what exactly it is you're doing, there are various rotations one can use. The majority of them written since 3.x have been written for 600 GP. There are even new ones for 5.x that use up to 800 GP, depending on a number of conditions. I will list a handful of them out here.
600 GP Scrip Farm Rotation, written in 3.x (credit to Garland Bell at GarlandTools.org for archiving this)
This sort of rotation really is a bread and butter type of rotation. Honestly works to do almost anything you throw at it. There are rotations better for more direct tasking than this, but it does the job. Ideally, this is for scrips. Basic premise that you start with Discerning > Imp2, then as long as you keep Discerning up, you Single Mind to keep as many swings as you can on a node.
600 GP Leveling/Scrip Rotation, written in 3.x (credit to Garland Bell at GarlandTools.org for archiving this)
Very simple, very straight forward straight to ~450 collectability rotation that just works (TM) while leveling.
600 GP 7/8 Reduction, written in 4.x (credit to Garland Bell at GarlandTools.org for archiving this)
Here is your bread and butter rotation for aethersand farming, regardless of which expansion you're doing it for. If you don't have 800 GP for the big boy rotation, this will more than adequately get the job done for your farming needs. Is is also very simple to work with.
Up to 800 GP High Rating Reduction, written in 5.x (credit to xNixilis, I think on reddit. Please correct if wrong)
This is the big boy rotation. I do append it with saying that it is up to 800 GP, but you can realistically use just 400 total GP on this and it can still work fine. You will see that this has a lot of if/then statements as a flow chart because of all the possible conditions you can land in as this rotation abuses the snot out of Instinctual Appraisal to go for big numbers. If RNG blesses you, you can have a quick few swings and you are golden. If not, you might have to take a few different actions. The whole goal of this is to be at least 490 final collectability going into collection.