Friday, 4 May 2012

Full Energy Refills

The previous part talked about the four most basic factors in determining the value of energy: full refills each day, decay over time, teleport costs, and wanting to have a large enough pool to achieve certain conveniences.

Today we move onto items 5 though 7 on my list, the three other ways of getting full energy refills.  As a reminder, they are
  1. No-no crashes
  2. Get out of hell free cards
  3. Refills from buying energy tank upgrades
  4. Making crabs happy
All of these things can restore you to maximum energy, so lets talk about how they do it.  After I'll compare the effects of these energy refills with the base energy values I used as examples in the previous post.

No-no Crashes
Technically it is the no-no rush that fills your energy bar, but it is the crash where it matters.  During the rush it really doesn't matter how much maximum energy you have, your energy is effectively infinite.  After the rush, however, you are left with a full energy bar and mood tank and six minutes until you die.

If you can spend your full energy tank in those six minutes then more maximum energy will mean more energy to spend.  If you cannot spend your entire energy tank in the time before you die then having a larger energy tank won't actually give you more energy.  Obviously nibbling piggies isn't going to do the trick, but crafting can.

Of course you don't actually have to spend your full energy pool to take advantage of the no-no crash.  During those six minutes you are going to lose 3.2% of your energy to regular decay, but also during a crash you lose 3% of your energy every minute.  That means you have six minutes to spend 78.8% of your full energy tank to take complete advantage of the crash.

Each successive crash is shorter, so the second one you have only three minutes to spend 89.4% of your energy tank.  The third you have 90 seconds to spend 96.2% of your energy tank.  The fourth, 45 seconds to spend all of your energy.  After that I think it's implausible that you can spend your energy in such a short time.

So let's look at a few activities that spend a lot of energy.  With the recent changes to the size of stacks you can transmute you can spend energy really fast.  If you are seasoning beans or eggs you can spend about 7.5 energy per second.  If you are grinding cardamom to season those beans you can spend around 9.4 energy per second.  If you are gassifying white gas to season those eggs you can spend 26 energy per second (this is quite alarming, I know).

So from this we can calculate the maximum useful energy for each crash:

To make sure this is clear, the numbers shown tell you the maximum amount of energy that you can utilize during a given crash with a given method.  So if you are seasoning beans when you are crashing then you could use up to 3426 energy - it's actually more because of rounding and because you can finishing off your stack of beans when you are dead, but the number is generated purely using the 7.5 energy per second expenditure.  So, if you craft at least six stacks of beans a day and you use no-no every day, then for every 100 energy you upgrade you could count 78.8 of it as useful energy each day so long as you didn't exceed 3426.

As you can see from the numbers, the first crash usually produces useful energy from energy tank increases unless you have a large tank.  The second crash can be useful for the more energy intensive methods if your tank is smaller (or even with a large tank for white gas).  The third crash can be useful if you are doing something really intense.

Here's another handy chart.  The vertical axis shows your current energy tank, the horizontal axis shows the energy you are spending per second on an activity.  Each line shows where you stop getting a benefit from a particular crash.  For example, if you are making blue bubbles (12.5 energy per second) then you can burn off a tank up to around 5711 in the first crash, and up to 2517 in the second crash.

If you really want to make use of no-no powder you can burn up to 18000 energy in the first crash by making very, very stinky cheese.  Or up to 15000 by making regular cheese from butterfly milk.

Get out of Hell Free Cards
Get out of hell free cards resurrect you with full energy and mood, so more energy means more value from the cards.  The cap on these cards was removed (or changed to a very high number) so they actually restore you to full energy and mood regardless of your tank size.  Since you would normally come back with 5% of your maximum energy the card is only a 95% refill, but that's still a very large maximum energy-based gain.  If you are purchasing these cards from the upgrade deck they are quite cheap costing 10% of your maximum energy in imagination.  Paying imagination equal to 10% of your maximum energy to get 95% of your maximum energy in energy is definitely a good deal, so I strongly recommend purchasing these cards.

Of course purchasing them from the upgrade deck is not going to keep you in them reliably, so how large a role these can play in increasing the value of your energy tank is going to depend on how they end up being priced on the market.  If people don't get enough cards to use for themselves, then why would I suspect there might be enough around for people to buy?  I'll tell you why!

Ecurnomics suggests that these cards consistently sell for around 600 but sometimes spike upwards to 2k.  Depending on how large your tank is that might not sound like a great deal, especially if the price spikes end up lingering, but it can be a very good deal.  Because there are people with small energy tanks, there are people who are producing these cards who can't make good use of them.  If glitch with 400 energy spends 40 imagination on a card then they could use it for 380 energy.  But why use a card for 380 energy when you can sell it for 600 currants, or 2000 currants?  But 600 currants is a fantastic deal for a glitch with an energy tank of 6000.  That's only 1 currant per nine energy being purchased.

Saying that each card used is increases your daily available energy by 95% of you energy tank is probably a little bit wrong.  If your tank were smaller you wouldn't use the cards at all, so you'd have less energy but you'd have saved currants that you could spend on energy.  In the end it's not very easy to value the impact these cards have on your available energy.

However, if you find that consistently the cards are cheap enough and plentiful enough that you can acquire enough to use one every day, or two every day, then you can say that a 100 energy increase in your energy tank will give 95 available energy per day per card up to a maximum tank size of 9999.  These cards may increase in cost over time as more people get larger energy tanks, but as long as you are using them, whatever you are paying for them, more energy makes them better.

What you can't do is value energy that increases you to the point of being able to efficiently use the cards as being worth that amount.  Let's say cards are selling for 2000 currants and you currently 2400 energy.  Cards aren't really worth buying because you could get more energy out of awesome stews and those don't require you to orchestrate a death to use (of course if you were otherwise going to die, such as from no-no then card is much better than a stew because of the mood refill).

If you bought your energy up to 270 from 2500 then now cards would be a reasonable buy in term of energy return.  How much more available energy per day did you get from buying that 200 more energy and being able to use one card a day?

The energy you get from that card would 2052 currants if you were buying food at auction.  Since you saved 52 currants getting that energy, and you can use those currants to buy 65 energy worth of food at auction, it's like you increased you available energy by 65 a day.  Of course this is all under the assumption that you want that energy to begin with.  If you aren't going to actually die and use the cards then you can't count them.

Buying Energy Upgrades
When you buy an upgrade you refill your tank.  Can we think of this as a reliable source of energy?

This is a tricky thing to consider because assigning it a value becomes a little bit circular.  If we value energy upgrades highly then we are more likely to buy them, being more likely to buy them means buying more each game day, which means they are worth even more.  This can potentially mean there is positive feedback from buying energy upgrades.

Of course the more energy you have the longer it is going to take to spend it.  That could slow down how often you can buy an upgrade and create negative feedback.

But the real question we have to answer is this: If you thought that energy was not currently worth buying considering the benefits and the costs, but one more refill every day would change your perspective and make energy worth buying, does that mean it's a good idea to buy an energy upgrade every day?

I would contend the answer is no.  When we talk about available energy per day, we are talking about an amount gained in perpetuity.  While playstyles can change for any factor that affects energy (maybe in the future you won't use no-no as much and energy will be worse, maybe you won't teleport much and it will be better), this one is particularly problematic.  We have lots of reason to think that there will be more uses for imagination in the future, which may make buying energy a huge drain on our ability to do other things.  If you were justifying buying energy because of positive feedback and you got your tank up to 40k then your decay per minute would be 320 and your teleport cost would be 4000.  Once you ran out your initial tank you'd have virtually no choice but to buy another upgrade because eating food or even get out of hell free cards would be consumed at a very high rate.  Using the positive feedback loop for energy might end up working, but it might also end up trapping you in that playstyle.

Fortunately there is another way to value the energy you get from buying an upgrade, and that is discounting the price of the upgrade based on the free energy you are getting.  I'll talk about this at the very end when I talk about whether energy is worth the cost.

Making Crabs Happy
I included this for completeness sake, but really we can't factor this into a serious discussion of the value of energy.  That you might get a full energy refill quite randomly at some point in the future when you might not even have spent much energy is not really a reason to have a larger maximum.

Refills and Energy Upgrades
The outlook is pretty good for maximum energy when you keep no-no and get out of hell free cards in mind.  If you use no-no to craft something at even 4 energy a second you can benefit from around 1860 energy, getting 79 more energy to spend for each 100 energy you buy.  If you do that every game day you play then that would make maximum energy a positive even if you played 3.5 hours and teleported six times.  If you are using your crashes to craft beans then up to 1510 energy, each 100 maximum energy is worth up to 168 energy per day from two no-no sniffs.

Get out of Hell Free Cards as a way to increase the value of maximum energy may have variable cost, but it is potentially powerful.  If the market ends up being such that you can consistently buy a card every game day you play, then any energy tank upgrades you buy will be worth 95 extra energy per day per 100 energy upgraded.  That's enough to make energy positive even with four hours played and six teleports, or three hours played and nine teleports.  However, if you entering the market pushes the price up then your net benefit is smaller, and if you don't end up being among at the top of the energy pile then the cards might not be worth using at all.

Today's topics were very good for the value of maximum energy, but it is important to bear in mind the principle from day one that energy is only good if you actually use it.  The fact that you could increase the value of maximum energy by sniffing no-no every day and then using a get out of hell free card does not increase the value of energy to you unless you actually do these things.

Some other things to keep in mind are that no-no is only really useful for crafting since the time limit makes walking around very wasteful and that get out of hell free cards can only be evaluated as returning the full energy described above if you are using them to replace food.  If you are using them in addition to what you otherwise do and as a consequence you are playing longer, then you have to remember to offset the value of the energy boost with the increased playtime and teleports.

In the next part we'll talk about mood.

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