As most of us have figured out at this point the end goal of the dev's in this last beta seems to be encouraging people (naked with flee boots) to farm in red/black zones to create "pvp".
Some thoughts on Albion laborers, islands, alts, and progression
As most of us have figured out at this point the end goal of the dev's in this last beta seems to be encouraging people (naked with flee boots) to farm in red/black zones to create "pvp". This has been encouraged through a variety of subtleties of which the most obvious is laborers and their ability to compensate for an entire game play experience designed around distancing a vast majority of the player base from T2 materials.
If the laborers were returning more mats you'd have to fill up less books and in return spend less time naked in red/black hitting nodes and generating "pvp". Clearly we are not smart enough to see through such a wise and thoughtful end game strategy.
Solution: Use your primary account to make 2 alts and give them premium status to make 3 islands total. Level these islands to 3/6 giving you room to make 3 houses + primary house on each, upgrade main house to t3 put 2x laborers in it and 1x laborer in each of the 3 standard houses. Per island that is 5 laborers for a total of 15. Find a build that uses 3/4 resources like say for example leather helm/leather chest/soldier boots/2h staff. This requires leather/iron/wood. You can dedicated 1 island to each resource and have 5 laborers generating t2 mats of each type required for your build. For a simple daily t2 laborer return (x5 of each resource/per island) that takes 30 seconds to fill books with you are getting roughly 70 unrefined t2 mats of each type. In black these refine to 100+ per day or 3000+/month for doing 5 minutes of work per day filling books and turning them in. This will make it quite easy to trade for other materials you may need (cloth/stone) or you can simply sell your t2 and buy the other ones you need.
Make sure to continue to buy t2 books for your laborers in black as t3+ materials are going to remain worthless for a while. (Prob until at least t7/t8). If the happiness/furniture/house level/island level becomes an issue just delete your high leveled laborers and rebuild t2 base ones. Not sure if this is going to be a factor or not.
By day 3 you'll never have to caravan mats from safe zone again. Additionally, you can still go out and hit nodes naked in black zones wearing flee boots in order to fill books. This serves a multitude of purposes. First and foremost the dev's can still reference all the pvp happening in black zones. Secondly, you can harvest all the mats required to refine/craft up from T2 base mats from laborers. Thirdly, you can do it all butt ass naked and incur 0 risk!
Disclaimer: ***Please overlook the fact that killing naked harvesters in flee boots isn't pvp.***
Side note: The bottleneck on harvesting is quite bad as implemented and lets people maintain top tier relevance by lp'ing the minimal fame required to wear equipment on their main characters while lp'ing tools on naked alts all the while incurring 0 risk in open world.. Additionally, harvesting is not engaging or interactive and ultimately results in a boring player experience for the majority of players that came here for hardcore pvp.
Long story short something needs to change. The bottleneck needs to be returned to some sort of PvE that mandates people wear equipment into open world. Granted, the zergs can still 50 man t4 dungeons designed for 3 people, but at least they have to wear gear while they do it.
TL;DR: A long grind is going to be beneficial for this game. As implemented, the bottleneck to progression is currently situated in the wrong place on the destiny board. Also, a simple process of combining alts, laborers, and islands, allows any player to completely mitigate the T2 mat absence in black zones within a week of playing, if the entire game and associated economy are going to be designed around this concept it probably needs to be looked at again.