Cooking was a flat trade skill — it didn’t offer much to the player base other than the ability to regenerate stamina and health. There was really no reason to invest your time into cooking unless you thought it would be revamped in the future. And that is exactly what Citadel plan with update! Cooking now allows players to create food items that can buff a players mana pool, health pool, stamina pool, and weight capacity. As your skill in cooking improves you will be able to create more and more powerful foods to buff these attributes.
Additionally, game developers didn’t want cooking to simply be a skill that you have “templates” that you could craft for each various food and buff combination. So the ingredients you use in cooking actually determine the buffs that will be applied when the final product is consumed. This will allow cooks to cater their food items to specific play styles. Do you value stamina and mana in your build? Or perhaps you’re a crafter/gatherer that wants health/weight capacity? By mixing ingredients cooks will now be able to create food that is suited to YOUR needs.
With the addition of an ingredient centric cooking system there was a need to create a means to cultivate and create rarity around specific ingredients. Gardening allows for players to growing all the non-meat based ingredients that are currently used in cooking! It is important to mention here that gardening is not a skill based system and can be used by any player. There are two types of containers for gardeners; pots and raised beds (planter beds). Pots can be used anywhere, they can stay in your backpack, your bank, a box in your house, your friends house, really anywhere! This allows all players, even those who don’t have land of their own, to enjoy gardening. In contrast, raised beds can only be placed on plots or within houses, but open up more plant varieties and give a boost to harvest yields.
In its first iteration gardening just allows you to plant and gather ingredients for cooking. This is by no means where it is stopping. Citadel have plans to allow for decorative plants and the ability to grow items that will not be cooking specific. Getting this first version of gardening out to you will allow you to play with it and tell us what you like and don’t like about it.