Update: The imagination upgrades have changed how many seeds we get, how many herbs we get, and how sure we are about both. I've updated the post to fix the numbers.
There was a recent forum post from someone looking for tips on how to maximize their efforts towards the potion badges. 1033 potions is a lot of work, and while you can certainly spend some of your efforts towards this badge doing useful things, ultimately you are probably going to just grind out several hundred potions.
For those with limited time or limited interest in the analysis, the recommendation is this: Grow gandlevery while you are online and yellow crumb flower while you are sleeping, at work or at school. Make Charades Potions and Tree Poison Antidotes, unless you really don't care about money, in which case make Rainbow Juice and Tree Poison Antidotes. Vendor the Charades Potions and sell the antidotes at auction.
First thing's first: If you are growing your own herbs to make potions you should have Herbalism 3. The increases you get from it may not look that big, but in reality they are massive. Everything here is written under the assumption that you have it. It's also written under the assumption that you've bought the relevant upgrades which include growing 20% faster, superharvesting herbs for 3 times the normal yield 30% of the time and shucking for double seeds 100% of the time.
Second, lets talk for a moment about useful things. If you are going for this badge then you are probably interested in badges in general, so you should set yourself up for some of the other badges that require potions to make. Specifically you are going to want 251 doses of tree antidote (51 antidotes) to get Worldclass Tree Surgeon and you are going to want 251 doses of poison to poison trees to apply your antidote to, plus another 1009 doses to make trees to chop down for Paul Bunions (a total of 252 poisons).
Each of those doses counts as one pour towards your 811 potions poured or quaffed badge, so you'll get that badge completely incidentally. Finally, you may want to make some other potions simply because you plan on actually using them. A few extra poisons, some elixirs of avarice, and maybe some fun stuff as well.
But a years supply of elixirs of avarice likely doesn't get you halfway to 1033 potions, so it's time to look at how to grind out potions effectively.
Shucking
To make herbs we need seeds, and to get seeds we need to shuck herbs. This means that when it takes 5 hours to grow one herb, we actually get less than one herb because some of our yield is taken up getting seeds for the next batch.
There are two kinds of herbs as far as shucking is concerned: flowers and nonflowers. Hairball Flower is not a flower, so maybe my categories have bad names, but that's how I think of them anyway. Flowers grow three to a plot and are shucked for a variable amount of seeds between 0 and 2, averaging close to one and a third. Nonflowers grow one to a plot and are shucked for exactly two seeds.
Harvesting a flower plot means you get three herbs but you need to spend 0.375 herbs to get the seed back, so really you get 2.625 herbs. Harvesting a nonflower plot means you get one herb but you need to spend 0.25 herbs to get the seed back, so really you get 0.75 herbs.
There is also around a 30% chance of a super harvest that will triple your yield. Super harvests don't cost extra seeds, so they increase flower yields by 1.8 herbs per plot and nonflowers by 0.6 herbs per plot. My sample size is small on this, so it's possible my estimate of super harvests is inaccurate  I suspect it's a little on the low side.
Plot Hours
Lets talk about Plot Hours. A Plot Hour is exactly what it sounds like: the use of one plot for one hour. Basically the Plot Hour is a useful measure of how much time it actually takes to get an herb. Rookswort is a nonflower that takes 4.2 hours to grow. So one plot makes 1.35 rookswort in 4.2 hours meaning each rookswort takes 3.09 plot hours to produce. Purple flower is a flower herb that takes 0.8 hours to grow, so one plot makes 4.425 purple flower in 1 hour meaning each purple flower takes 0.19 plot hours to produce.
Tinctures
With the exception of rainbow potions, potions are made of tinctures. So another factor is how many of each herb goes into a tincture. We can multiply the number of plot hours for an herb by the number of herbs in a tincture to get the plot hours for that tincture.
Here's a quick look at how many plot hours each herb and each tincture take:
Herb

Type

Grow
Length

Plot
Hours per Herb

Herbs
per Tincture

Plot
Hours per Tincture

Gandlevery

NonFlower

1.3

0.93

3

2.78

Hairball
Flower

NonFlower

3.8

2.78

5

13.89

Purple
Flower

Flower

0.8

0.19

23

4.33

Rookswort

NonFlower

4.2

3.09

5

15.43

Rubeweed

NonFlower

3.3

2.47

5

12.35

Silvertongue

Flower

5.8

1.32

4

5.27

Yellow
Crumb Flower

Flower

7.5

1.69

6

10.17

With that its pretty easy to multiply out the number of plot hours for each kind of potion.
Other Costs
Potions use materials other than herbs and if money or effort is an object in this exercise then it is worth considering how many resources are used. My metric for doing this is to figure our how many plot hours you have to put in to make a potion, then determine the value of the potion less the materials that are used to make the potion. By comparing these we can figure out how much we are getting paid per plot hour to grow herbs when we make each potion.
Of course in each case we need to include any nonherb materials used to make the tinctures as well. For everything but essence of purple that means one hooch per tincture, for essence of purple it also means a tangy sauce.
There are two different ways to consider other costs. I'll call the first way the naive evaluation, which means we use the list value of each item. The second way is a more realistic evaluation where we look up the item on ecurnomics to get an idea of how much it is really worth. For the value I am using a long running average rather than a daytoday value to better approximate what you might expect over time. Even if you are harvesting the item yourself the ecurnomics value gives a better sense of real worth since you could sell the item instead of using it. For transmuted resources I base the value off the basic resource since the prices of transmuted things are too volatile. For example, for a laughing gas I use triple the price of a general vapour rather than looking up laughing gas itself. If the cost of the materials was less than the value of the item then I'd use the item value, but it never is.
For the realistic costing model I use two different values for the potions as well. One is based on the idea that you will donate excess potions, so their value is equal to the list value. The second is based on the idea that you will sell the potions either to a vendor or through the auction house. Again, using ecurnomics will tell how much we'll at auction, so we choose auction or vendor depending on what the best result is.
So here it is, the table of each potion, how many plot hours it takes to make, and how many currants you make per plot hour using each of the three ways of evaluating.
Potion

Plot
Hours

Naïve

Donation

Resell

Amorous
Philtre

9.60

48.7

47.7

33.7

Ancestral
Spirits

50.67

23.8

16.7

9.3

Charades
Potion

10.17

33.9

33.1

23.3

Door
Drink

16.68

34.1

34.4

24.6

Elixir of
Avarice

19.16

23.8

17.4

5.1

Keycutter
Tonic

26.23

20.5

6.2

Loss

Potion of
Animal Youth

17.00

64.1

48.6

42.9

Rainbow
Juice

5.08

6.9

1.0

Loss

Rook Balm

18.21

25.2

22.2

15.5

Tree
Poison

15.43

11.9

12.3

36.0

Tree
Poison Antidote

2.78

35.0

0.0

21.7

A couple of surprises that came out this exercise were the very high cash reward for potions of animal youth compared to other potions and, from my perspective, the fact that Ancestral Spirits was not a loss  it's just so expensive to make. I also think that Elixirs of Avarice should be worth a lot more on the market, but I knew that they were undervalued.
The #s above assume you have the super seedy powers upgrade (which you should), but the text doesn't (it says 2 seeds per nonflower, but it's 4 seeds with that upgrade).
ReplyDeleteMe, realizing yellow crumb flowers are worth more shucked than not.
Thanks for the catch, I do report the wrong number of seeds in the sentence where I mention how many you get.
ReplyDeleteThe numbers used for the calculations, thankfully, are correct. You'll notice on the next line I say you only need to spend 0.25 of a nonflower to get your seed back, so I'm using the correct ratio of one flower to four seeds.