Farming for New Players

OemeriaOemeria Member Posts: 4
Hi, I wanted to throw this here after my own initial experience with farming on a new character.
Enter Oemeria, fairly young player in terms of city involvement, level, etc. Not very oriented to combat/lessers, so looks for other ways to get involved in her city, maybe help out with commodity production: that's a great way to help, plus she is a crafter, she can use the comms herself.
In comes farming, a shiny little system with graphics and all: wow, appealing.
It so coincided that I thought I'd help out in Spinesreach by making an introductory CHELP for new players to become involved with farming.

And then I get to it:
10,000 gold to learn farming.
Some 13,000 gold for initial equipment.

But that's not even bad, just chump change. But let's talk about the initial investment in lessons:

- 360 lessons to learn watering (60 credits, if you're converting bound ones).

I think okay, that's not too terrible, after all, we do have credit milestones nowadays. I go and spend all these lessons, and then get to my field. I figure maybe I can plant trees, or cotton, or hemp.

And then I realize that is a big NO. Why? Because after spending 360 lessons, you can only plant things in the 'grain' variety, read: wheat and barley. These are essentially good for crafting and provisioning, as far as I know (add 100 credits to the cost of putting farming to use, in this latter case).

The next variety of seeds you can plant are in the 'vegetable' variety, still no hemp, no cotton, and no trees. Add 63 lessons to get to that skill, with no possibility of using this for production yet (total: 423; 71 credits total). So I think 'gee, just how many lessons do I need to put into this so I can get involved in comm production?' And I get to the total of 619 lessons (104 credits total), to reach the 'arborist' skill, which will allow me to plant trees for wood; make that 804 (134) if you want to be able to plant cotton and hemp with the 'field' skill for cloth and rope.

With all this in mind, several questions came to me:

- Is farming even intended for new players? I see no point in farming for new players if they can't use it to become involved in the game's economy. What do I do with sacks of barley and wheat, for which I will probably obtain zero profit? It is much easier and probably cheaper to buy these from any craft store.

The only potential I see to growing barley and wheat is provisioning, which we've already established requires an additional investment of 100 cr. If I'm going to spend that, I'm more likely to put those lessons directly into farming.

- Several times I've heard that it is intended for the economy to eventually be entirely or almost entirely in the players' hands. How will we accomplish this if newer players will indubitably want to invest their lessons and credits into other things, essentially deducting themselves and their time from it?

- Should we really have to invest 360 lessons just to be able to water plants?

- Should farming generate small amounts of experience? Maybe this would encourage participation - take the example of fishing: a 100 credit investment, which generates gold and experience. If I'm going to put my credits somewhere, maybe I should put them there.

- Should there be farming credit milestones? Another way to encourage the use and investment into farming.

Finally, I want to say that this is by no means a way to lash out at anyone. I rather love the mechanics of farming and provisioning, but I'd never experienced it with a new character that didn't have lessons to burn. From this perspective it is much different and I think it merits some looking into to perhaps make it more accessible, and a skill and activity that people will want to be more involved in.

Thanks for reading, and please correct me if anything is off/wrong.


  • PhoeneciaPhoenecia The Merchant of Esterport Somewhere in AtticaMember Posts: 747 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Howdy! I've been pretty invested in Farming and Provisioning since the beginning, and am pretty experienced with both systems, so I can probably give you some realistic (and probably rather blunt) answers.

    Farming is a little bit of a deceptive skill in that it only costs 10000 gold to learn, but requires significant lesson and credit investment. Not going to lie: you do sort of need a few farming artifacts to make things not just faster and easier, but also vastly more profitable (the hoe, the scythe, and the fertilizer).

    If you're intending on going for full independence and making money off of farming, you're sort of forced to transcend the skill to be able to do everything without assistance and grow and harvest all of the commodity crops.

    That doesn't mean you're completely SOL if you're a new player wanting to contribute. It just becomes a lot more cooperative. How? Well...

    If you're mutual allies wit someone with a higher skillrank in Farming, they can perform certain things you aren't able to. Like building structures, summoning a watersprite, or even planting crops you wouldn't be able to plant yourself. Even if you only learn up to Harvesting, if you buddy up with a higher ranked Farmer, they can help share the burden a little. This DOES get taken to the extreme in some cities where people are encouraged to get farm plots, but then the farm plots get managed by a handful of people who are transcendent in Farming.

    Provisioning is...super broken and while you do earn gold from filling market orders, good luck getting any in the first place. Provisioning is heavily bottlenecked and extremely difficult to progress in, and if you do manage it, it takes forever.

    I don't feel that Farming is difficult or inaccessible. It's more tedious and takes a lot of time investment a lot of people simply aren't willing to make. And that's not even going into the Production side of things which has a lot of other considerations and costs.
  • TekiasTekias WisconsinMember Posts: 428 ✭✭✭
    While I have nothing for intent, or ideas to patch/fix this, I do have some advice that can mitigate this:

    Most cities will offer a small grant of gold/credits to learn/buy into Farming.

    Mutual allies can tend each other's fields. So while you are learning how to plant your own crops, you can get a friend who knows how to plant them to do so, while you take care of them, and then harvest them with your minimal lesson investment.
    Formerly: Spiegel. Eidycue.


  • CzciborCzcibor Member Posts: 94 ✭✭✭
    edited June 8
    So I've had some players ask me for similar advice and I always feel bad because I don't really know how to break it to them that farming just kind of sucks and is absolutely not worth it until you invest a decent amount of credits/gold/lessons into it, but unfortunately that's the truth. So my response these days is always this: I can't tell you if farming is "worth" it because it depends on what you are trying to get out of farming.

    If you enjoy farming games and just enjoy the process of growing and harvesting things then it may be for you. It has nowhere near the level of depth that the abundance of farming games you can get on Steam for cheap will have, but if you really enjoy the fact that you can do at least some of it in a MUD then this kind of fills that niche.

    If you just want to help out with your city's comm generation then again, it may be worth it to you. How much you contribute is actually entirely up to you. The entry level is as little as 10,000 gold (which I think orgs will gladly pay) to get you your first farm plot which you can offer up to other people to take care of as Phoenecia and Tekias suggested. If you wanted to invest more (or your org offers a loan/subsidy) you could either get more farms or learn more of the skill to help take care of the farms. That said, even with all of this it's still a long and arduous process and honestly it's still a trickle in terms of how much your city can benefit from it.

    However, the moment you start talking about numbers or gold or costs then I think you should reconsider. At its current state it's never going to be as profitable as most other avenues of generating gold in the game. In a game where there are so many other ways to use your credits/gold/lessons I don't think any new players should even look at Farming as a way to earn gold.

    Provisioning is a waste of 100 credits. I'm not just saying this because the more people who get it the less likely I personally am to achieve anything with it, but I really can't stress how bad it is. Let's just focus on the numbers and look at the current market order list. Of the ones that are actually available, we have at one extreme watermelons where you can get 630 gold for 35 watermelons (let's forget about the fact that someone actually filled 31 of that quota within the first day because they had grown some in advance). That 18 gold per watermelon. Without all of the artifacts it costs 3.33 gold per seed, so discounting all of the other things like maintenance that's profit of less than 15 gold per watermelon, with a cap of 35, for the whole season (every 12.5 days), with 1 out of every 4 seasons not being available.

    But that's the profitable extreme. How about the other end? We have 70 radishes for 140 gold. That's 2 gold per radish. Less than the cost of the seeds. You're actually making a loss to fulfil that order. I understand some of these have regrowth cycles so the costs may be less, but this would be assuming you're actually growing them for more than one cycle, which is probably not the case.

    Keep in mind this is all without taking into account the fact that because these are general orders, which is all you have access to unless you spend many RL weeks and months to level it up and hope for good market order rolls. General orders can be fulfilled by anyone, so you could invest the gold into planting those seeds, dedicate RL days of your farm to growing those crops, just to find that someone had fulfilled that order before you could, leaving you with fruits and vegetables that you probably have no use for and no easy way to liquidate.
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