Thursday, 3 May 2012

Maximum Energy Basics

Are energy tank increases right for you?  It turns out this is not necessarily and easy question to answer, but it's getting easier.  I'm going to write a series of posts here explaining what you need to know to make an informed decision about increasing your energy tank.  There are still a minority of glitchen for whom increasing energy tank is detrimental rather than advantageous, but for the most part energy upgrades are a good thing.  Still, there's lots of math to do to identify how good they are and to identify that limited segment of the population who they are bad for.

There are a lot of things that change when you increase your energy tank:
  1. Full energy refill each game day
  2. Energy decay over time
  3. Teleport Costs
  4. Crafting larger stacks of things
  5. No-no crashes
  6. Get out of hell free cards
  7. Refills from buying energy upgrades
  8. Making Crabs Happy
  9. Increased Mood 
  10. Maximum energy from meditating
  11. Maximum food you can eat in a day
  12. More efficient AL runs
  13. Avoid overfilling from icon reveres
This first part covers issues one through four, what constituted energy tank basics before the imagination changes.  The next part deals with full tank refills - items 5 through87 on the list.  Then there will be an entire section dealing just with Mood.  The fourth piece will cover the rest.  Finally I will try to make a post to summarize the information and help you figure out if you should increase your energy tank.

I am going to state my personal bias - I am averse to increasing my energy tank.  I have upped it somewhat and I am inching towards 3000, but I'm worried about going whole hog and dropping a few million imagination into it because of uncertainty of what will happen in the future.  Depending on what is added to the game and how mechanics change energy could get better or it could get worse.  What doesn't seem likely to change is that once we increase our energy tanks we cannot decrease them again.  Even if energy is a good thing now, that could change in the future, and I won't be able to undo the decision I made.

Let me also be clear that this is bad argument for not increasing your energy tank.  Well, okay, it's not a bad argument, but it's a very risk averse one.  Recent changes made large energy tanks more expensive.  If it turns out they become great in the future then everyone who bought them up early will have benefited from doing so.  Buying up a massive energy tank is banking on energy being good in the future while not buying one up is banking on it being bad, or at least questionable.  Realistically, good is probably the safer bet, so anyone who buys their tank up to the moon is not making a terrible decision.

Of course the value of tank increases have diminishing returns as we shall see, and I doubt that having a tank around 2000-4000 will ever be really crippling one way or the other.

Finally, before we begin, here are two principles that I will use when evaluating energy upgrades.

The first is that we don't want energy, we want what energy gives us.  If you get 100 more energy you want that energy because you want to nibble fifty piggies, milk twenty butterflies or season six and two-thirds beans.  You do not want energy for energy's sake.  If you do want energy for energy's sake then obviously you should be increasing your energy tank and none of this analysis is very important.

Flowing from that principle is the second principle that if you are not spending all of your energy, your energy tank doesn't matter.  I know that sounds obvious, but it has a large bearing on how much energy is useful.

In order to talk about how good energy tanks are we need units to compare them.  If you increase your energy tank by 100, what do you get out of it?  To answer this using the principles above, we need an answer that actually tells us how many more piggies we can nibble.

The unit I'm going to be using is available energy per day (aE/d - I won't actually use this symbolic form).  If you have 40 more available energy per day then you can actually use that energy to nibble piggies.  This is compared to energy that you can't utilize for one reason or another, and there will be some of that coming.

Full Energy Refill Each Game Day
Every game day you get a full energy refill.  Therefore if you buy a 100 energy upgrade, you'll have 100 additional energy to spend each game day.  Of course not all game days are created equal.  If you Play for two hours in the evening between 5:00 and 7:00 EST then you will get one full energy refill.  If you play between 7:30 and 9:30 then you will get two.  Also, if you log in in the morning then you will get a full energy tank but if all you do with it is replant your garden then the size of that energy tank was largely irrelevant.  On the other hand, if you log in to blow your energy on crushing rocks or seasoning beans then you get the full energy tank worth even if you are only logged in for a couple of minutes.

Energy Decay Over Time
Every 90 seconds you lose 0.8% of your maximum energy.  More time played mean less value from maximum energy.  In fact, over 4 hours this adds up to 128% of your maximum energy, so if you play for an entire game day, start to finish, then this more than cancels out your daily energy refill.

Base teleport cost for maximum rank teleportation is 10% of your energy.  More energy means higher teleportation costs.  If you are teleporting frequently then having a lower energy pool will make it cheaper.

Craft Larger Stacks of Things
This is a quality of life issue, not one that impacts you numerically.  In order to minimize energy decay and teleportation costs one could argue that the ideal amount of energy to have is 184 or 186.  186 would be the maximum energy you could have while still rounding down the energy loss per 90 seconds to one, 184 might be preferable because it also rounds down rather than up your teleportation costs.

However, if you had only 184 energy then you could only season 12 beans at a time, or crush 60 rocks at a time and then you'd have to top up your tank.  This would be both annoying and inefficient.

For this reason I don't think I'd want an energy tank much smaller than around 1300.  Why 1300?  It's because if you are seasoning 40 eggs or beans at a time you could start then next batch of 40 and then eat while they are crafting.  Stopping to eat between crafts would be a delay that could be avoided.  Of course that is only one perspective.  If you want to work on the teleport badges and you don't craft large stacks of things often then maybe even less energy is a good thing until you get those badges.  As I said, this is a quality of life issue, so it's up to you to judge how it affects your quality of life.

Maximum Energy Basics
Combining these basic factors that are affected by maximum energy we can get a pretty simple calculation to see how much available energy per day we get from our energy tanks.  You get 100% per day, minus 32% per hour you play in that day, minus 10% for each time you teleport.

Let's consider this with a glitch with 1000 energy who wants to know what they'd get if they increased their maximum energy to 1100.  Every day they eat food, revere icons and do other things that get energy, but all of those things will not change if they increase their energy pool.  The number of piggies they get to nibble as a result of their eating, meditating and icon usage is the same regardless of whether they have 1000 or 1100 energy.

So we will ignore all of that and focus only on those factors that actually depend on maximum energy.  Here are three different scenarios:

Glitch A logs in most nights and plays for two to three hours.  About half the time this spans more than one game day.  During this time they actively gather and craft and generally use all of their energy from their pool plus doing a lot of eating.  They have two resource routes they run, and they usually teleport from one to the other once and also teleport to the ancestral lands and back once, so three teleports per session.  Sometimes they play in the morning to tend their gardens but don't do any other activities.

This glitch plays an average of about 2 hours per game day and teleports an average of 2 times per game day.  With 1000 energy each game day they will get 1000 energy to start, lose 640 to decay, and lose 200 more from teleporting, leaving them with 160 energy, or 80 piggy nibbles.  With 100 more energy they would end up with an average of 16 more energy to spend per game day, or 8 more piggy nibbles.  More energy is good, but they might have to think about whether it is worth the cost.

Glitch B logs in pretty much every night and also days during the weekends.  At night they typically play for five hours spanning two game days, but they will often play two consecutive full game days on weekends.  They teleport frequently, probably seven to eight times a night (about once every 40 minutes).  They also log in on weekday mornings to tend their gardens and blow all of their energy crushing rocks or making eggs.

This glitch plays an average of about 2.4 hours a game day and teleports about 3.6 times per game day. With 1000 energy each game day they start with 1000, lose 770 to decay and spend 360 on teleporting.  That means they need to eat 130 energy worth of food just to break even and start doing things.  If they increased their energy by 100 they would need to eat another 13 energy worth of food every day.  This is clearly bad.

Glitch C logs in once a week, sometimes twice.  When they log in they play for anywhere between half an hour and two hours.  Usually it will only be on one game day but sometimes their longer sessions cross over two game days.  They often stop playing when they run out of energy rather than eating, saving food for when they have a lot of free time.  They didn't prioritize learning teleportation because they would rather explore the world on foot.

This glitch plays an average of about 1 hour per game day and doesn't teleport.  With 1000 energy each game day they start with 1000, lose 320 to decay and none to teleports.  That means they have 680 energy to spend, increasing their energy tank would give them 68 more energy to spend, or 34 more piggy nibbles (actually more like 12 more piggy nibbles because their skills aren't maxed, but that's okay).  However, with their shorter sessions they sometimes don't even spend all of their energy, so about 30% of the time any increase in energy tank would have no effect.  Still, it looks like maximum energy is a good upgrade for this glitch.

As a final note, I'd like to say that this calculation may seem a little bit weighted towards energy being bad.  After all, I start with the negative aspects to getting more energy.

The full picture is going to be quite complicated.  It is worth thinking about how much you play and how much you teleport because without that you really can't figure out how good energy tank upgrades are for you.  As we go through the rest of the list, identify those things that apply to you and think about how they are going to affect this basic amount.

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