Before I get on this soapbox, please remember a few things: 1) This game is actively being developed. 2)It is EARLY ACCESS – AKA not finished yet. 3)Crafting has not received a significant amount of dev time. 4) Optimizations will come later and all comments/concerns are about the CURRENT STATE 5) Did I mention, the game is currently being worked, hence EARLY ACCESS displayed on the top left corner of the game? Are you sure? Am I sure? Nope. Time for soapbox!
As many know, my in-game livelihood is derived from the manufacture and sale of teleport and recall scrolls. I have access to several vendors throughout Novia where I peddle my wares. What many don’t know is how long it takes to craft each scroll. Each scroll requires 10 black pearl, 10 mandrake/nightshade, and 5 wood pulp. That looks like crafting a scroll shouldn’t take any time right? Oh, how wrong it is!
First the reagents that are required. Yes, they can be bought from the magic shop! The base price of black pearl is 6gp each and mandrake/nightshade are 4gp each. That means, the base reagent cost of each scroll is 100gp! 10*6=60 + 10*4=40. That is 100gp if the reagents are bought from the shop – convenience costs.
I can’t think of a scene that has more than 10 mandrake/nightshade in it. In many scenes, there will be 4-5 mandrake/nightshade/or black pearl. And for nightshade, you really should wait until night to harvest it for a larger yield. There is not a scene that has a significant amount of each and it is even rare to find all three reagents in the same scene.
But, we have agriculture! Yes, mandrake and nightshade can be farmed. A large greenhouse will yield about 2300 mandrake/nightshade a day – there is a maximum of 88 spots available for crops in a large greenhouse (3 large planters, a couple of medium, and pots). That means, you can craft about 230 scrolls from the yield of 1 days worth of agriculture. In order to get that crop maximized, it requires 4 buckets of water – you can buy the water from a crafting vendor for 4 gp each, or you can find a well and pull out those buckets of water for free , if you have the time. Water harvesting will net you about 300 buckets of water per hour. Since you need 352 buckets of water for those 88 thirsty plants, you are spending over an hour just gathering water. Planting the crops still requires you to plant a seed, with a bucket of water, water it immediately after, wait about eight hours, water it again, wait another eight-ish hours, and water it again! If you miss one of those waterings, your crop is going to only yield about 8 mandrake/nightshade per plant. When it comes to cost, farming the mandrake/nightshade yourself can get the cost down to about 2gp per mandrake/nightshade. I remember it taking about 15-20 minutes to plant 2 large greenhouse and the subsequent waterings took about 10 minutes. I’d give the amount of time to actually manage those crops, but I don’t have it .I quit farming awhile ago, until the agriculture skill tree is implemented. And I’ve been supporting the dedicated farmers in game! Thanks Thexdor Markhamm! Eventually crop yields will increase with the inclusion of fertilizer. Fertilizer is not yet in-game, so I don’t know how that will be collected (via an outhouse?) Remember, it takes a full day with a greenhouse, outdoors doubles that time, to reduce that cost of mandrake/nightshade to 2gp per. Many player vendors will sell their grown crops for 3gp each. So a full day between crops and the grow your own reagent cost = 20 gp per scroll. In that 24 hour greenhouse growing time, about 2 hours is dedicated to crop management.
Black pearl is a different story. It still has to be found in the world (there is no scene with a significant quantity of black pearl to make harvesting it conducive to game play – a scene with a “significant” supply of black pearl generally has 4-5 nodes – compare that to the MINES!), or it has to be bought from the shop! Remember – 6gp each! Which means, you are buying your BP from a shop. You can’t ever find enough BP in the world to make harvesting it worth your time. Essentially, it will always be 60 gp per scroll, maybe more if you don’t pay attention to the vendors and you spend an arm and a leg on your BP.
Those are the base reagents taken care, know let’s discuss wood pulp! Each scroll requires 5 wood pulp. I know a little bit about wood pulp. I have one character that currently has 97 milling and another with 95 milling. If you come by Owl’s Head, you will probably find me milling scrap into pulp. In the world, you get scrap by salvaging items made from wood : bows, staves, and wands. Axes may have wood handles, but when you salvage them, you receive metal scraps (maybe they will make it both types of scrap later). You can only salvage 15 items at a time and salvaging items doesn’t take long.
With the wood scrap in hand, it is time to convert it to pulp. Remember, it takes five wood pulp per scroll! Since I spend most of my day doing this, it is easy to report that it takes 2 minutes 30 seconds to convert 20 wood scrap into wood pulp. That’s right 2 and a half minutes for enough wood pulp for 4 scrolls. That means it takes over an hour and three minutes to just convert enough scrap to pulp to make 100 scrolls.
The time it takes to actually makes the scrolls is the same as the scrap to pulp, 2 minutes 30 seconds per batch of 20. If you are making 100 scrolls, that is an additional thirteen minutes. So pretend, that you bought your reagents and your wood pulp. That means, you only spent thirteen minutes making those scrolls!
Well, if you visit a public vendor near you, you might discover that people seem to think that charging 7-8 gold per wood scrap is about right. That means you are spending 135-42 per scroll and to make a reasonable profit, you would have to sell them at 180 gp or more. Time is money, right?
Many times, I end up buying the reagents myself and I have buy orders for wood scrap out on my public vendor for 3 gp per. That means that most of the time my cost per scroll is 115. Selling those for 150 is not a profit making machine in the near term, considering I turn around and put most of that money back into mats for the next round of crafting.
But the TIME SINK IS REAL comes into play when you realize, that to minimize those costs to manufacture a scroll, it takes a player at least 1 full day of farming and hunting for wood scrap in order to spend the next day churning out scrolls. I am lucky enough to have procured enough wood scrap on my buy vendor to spend most of my time just turning wood pulp into wood scrap and my vicious circle of yelling at my friends to finish growing their crop while I am converting scrap to pulp on two accounts continues, until I am prepared to spend some quality time at the alchemy table.
Eventually, agriculture will have an overhaul and so will crafting and until that time comes, if you plan on crafting most things, you had better be prepared for the time sink.
If you want to support my in-game habits, you can make a scrap donation into my box in Owls Head on the NBNN lots (look for the chest that the vendor is standing on top of), you can sell me wood scrap, or you can buy my teleport/recall scrolls. I keep 7 locations stocked to serve you: Owl’s Head on the NBNN lots, New Britannian Market, Heorth, Bramble, Vertas, Estguard, and Soltown. If you want to make me cry and do a bulk order, I can do that too.