ok i understand that thousand fishes is kinda an overkill in VR but let me try to change your mind
I dont think that just having a pickaxe in your hand pointing to the floor and running around should give you any mat. - can be changed for example with a need to swing your hand at least with 45 degrees
Being able to gather any material anytime is not an ideal way of how to gather material. - could be enhanced with level requirements
i.e. Highsteppe materials from lvl 1 - 9. / Flooded RF 10-19 / 20-29 / 30
But my favorite is still a Skill System - from level 5 you will earn an ability to gather strange materials
e.i. Materials will be separated into multiple segments - Mining, Botanic, Fisherman and multiple levels
Highsteppe materials will be available to gather with skill 1+ (tier 1 Novice)
Flooded RF materials will be available to gather with skill 25+ (tier 2 Adept)
With every other map part there can be an additional 25 skill requirement (futureproof) and you will have to punch the material (again for example with 45 degree swing) once for level 1-24 materials and twice for 25-49, three times for 50-74, etc…
Plus for gathering material in for example caves will always have a X% chance to spawn a golem monster near you per SWING and there can be a fail to gather chance when you are for example gathering lvl 1 material with Mining level 1 -> 50% chance to success and on level 24 ->100%
This will make gathering resources much more viable and you can even add an additional special drop to those cave golems that would be spawned jsut for an events and gathering… (of course in wastelands there could be scorpions, etc)
There will be a cap for getting exp from gathering tier 1 material when you will already have skill to gather tier 2 material (no no no camping in the easiest locations to gather crap for leveling)
Getting from skill level 5 to 6 will require to gather exactly 10x tier 1 material so leveling a profession from level 1 to level 10 will require you to gather 100 pieces of tier 1 material…
There can be various gathering equipment for example now we have more types of fishing poles and we can have more! I want a special fishing pole for training fishing to max level (golden fishing pole with some fun and totally special look, etc)
Sorry for my English and my writing style but I really wanted to share these ideas with you guys.
Thanks if you had a time to read this and please feel free to add any suggestions or gathering related ideas.