Let's face it, Aether Gathering sucks early on. You have no wing power. You have no skill at all with gathering. Half of the time when you right click after gathering, you fail instantly and waste precious wing time. But no matter what you think about it, if you want to farm those precious crystals and the like that are needed for all good crafting recipes, you have to do it. Might as well start the suffering off here, with our 1-100 guide. I'll do my best to make it as painless as possible for you, that is, if you're Asmodian. If you're Elyos, you'll just have to experiment to find the best places possible!
Before you begin, I highly recommend that you purchase a good supply of Lesser Wind Serums at the least, and chug them as you lose wind. That means after 12 seconds of flight, you hit one, and then 24 seconds later, you drink another. You will go through them quickly, but they'll enable you to fully clean out nodes without having to stop for a rest. You can take your powder proceeds from this and turn them into lesser wind serum of your own to sell back, or use in your future quest for a higher standing. Wind Serums are a good general way to level Alchemy since the materials are in abundance from skill leveling, but we'll touch on that in a later guide.
The node you want isn't there? Switch channels! This can only be done in the 1-100 tier, but is a great way to ensure constant access to easily accessible nodes.
Don't get greedy! You will eat soul healing for breakfast if you don't mind your remaining time on your wings. Ditch the node and get to safety. If you absolutely have to, cut your wings off early in the case of not being able to make it. Hit them just before impact with the ground, or before you reach terminal velocity after about 8 seconds of free fall and you can then lessen your impact. Please, don't pancake. It's embarrassing.
You can get started right in your backyard in Altgard Fortress. The best two spots for this, since it'll likely be contested, are right above the primary Campaign hut near the west gate, and above the potion supplier north of the east gate. The latter might even have a quest for you if you've never been there, by the way. Rest on the fortress walls between gathering runs.
One major node in particular is atop the abyss gate structure in the fortress on the south side - you'll have a node right off the top of the rock. Loot it completely and change channels while your wings recover and repeat. Repetitive, but painless compared to the others.
If you look to the north side of what you just did, you'll see a node north of the NPC on the jagged limb that requires 50 skill. You can do this much like 25-50, but you probably want a change of scenery. There's a node on the west side of Impetusium, barely off the the ground that requires 50 skill, and is very rarely camped or even touched to boot. Of course, you have to be tough enough to handle the enemies on the way there, so don't plan on tackling this part and above until at least level 15 if you plan on making the trek down there.
Much like the 25-50 node and 50-75 node atop the Altgard Ice Lake, there is a node on the east side of the little outpost. Jump off the edge where the gargoyle is onto the outcropping, and run up it as high as you can. Note where you lose your footing and return to there after mining the node just to the south of the tip of the outcropping. You have the option of doing this in Morheim as well, but it's much better to get this out of the way so once you're done in Altgard, you can start obtaining the much more valuable Aether Crystals ASAP!
Now that you've come this far, what are you going to do with a couple hundred aether powder? You could sell it, but the going rate wouldn't get you more than 50,000 kinah depending on your server. I'd recommend using it to level new trades with. Convert it with Morph Substance to iron ore, conide, or azpha and you can make some definite headway in a new trade in a hurry! What you decide to do is up to you, but one thing is for certain: You aren't stopping here! Once you hit 99, head to your Aether Gathering Master in Pandaemonium and shell out the cash for level 2, which is a little over ten thousand kinah. Trust me, it's pocket change compared to the next upgrades, which we'll touch on soon!