Reflection on Head Start and Launch

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Reflection on Head Start and Launch

October 09, 2014 - 14:05
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It's now day 27 since Head Start and day 23 since full launch and the economey is moving quickly. Our guild is now finding new ways to make more gold on our expansive amount of land we acquired in the beginning of ArcheAge.

ToS "Farmtown" on the Namia server.

The story begins:

Just like the title says, it's been 27 days since head start on the 12th of September, 2014 and I've been sucked into ArcheAge completely. Our plans even though didn't totally work out as we expected, the outcome of our planning was, now that I look back, a huge success. I was bummed when we didn't get the planting spots we origonally wanted however one day we went out to Windscour and found that the people complaining about not being able to place houses were full of it as most of the PVP zones were completely wide open. I took this oppratunity with Chymera to place down some housing side by side so we could condense our realestate together instead of having to bounce here and there. Even though Windscour is Arid, we chose that zone because of the ability to claim large amounts of land right next to each other. Looking back, I'm really happy we did this.

The first week was nuts, logs and lumber going for almost a gold / item, even iron wasn't cheap. Stone being the bank breaker was focused by Bullfrog to gather as much as he could in the Solis mining area. With that, I'm proud to say that the Table of Syndicates were the first built Thatched Farm Houses on the Namia server. We put it in chat several times and never got pushback from claiming this title. Plus, everywhere we went, all the houses were fully under construction, with very few actually being finished at all, and by this I mean the 16x16 cottages.

We also rushed the Scarecrow Farm quest like we planned to do. I stopped leveling around 15 and immediately created an alt character so I could abuse the labor potion system. From there with our 4 side by side placed Scarecrow Gardens in Tigerspine, we were able to not only get all the trade packs done for the on-continent questing but we were able to get the bananas almost 1 day and 10 hours after head start launch. Bananas were one of our first plants on one whole garden and that really worked out. One player next to us got his down about 1 hour before we did, so I'm guessing he was the first on the server to have picked bananas but we weren't far behind and we were then able to lock down a whole tier of Scarecrow Farm only space in Mahavadi's northern zoned farm only area. The tier is big enough for 8 spots but with our 4 farms, we were able to block out the whole tier in preperation for several guild members that weren't a part of head start.

Adapt or die was the name of the game in Head Start and General Launch

 

Again, our planning and ability to prioritize on the fly is what made us successful. Many stuck to their origonal plans from alpha which was a huge mistake. Server lag, crazy que times and disconnecting ran rampant on all servers, so if you didn't adapt your plans to factor this in, you were days behind those of us that realized that land, not levels was more important. Boats not farmhouses were more important as well. However playing in a group gave us the luxury of getting all the above due to one spending their stars on a clipper right away and the rest of us buying 16x16 houses and Thatched Farm Houses right away as well. We also got a few lucky members that rolled pretty well on the Daru Chests we got for Archeum Founders. We placed a house in Villanelle's housing district right on the water, within 33 minutes of the game being launched for head start. We had our 2nd down within 2 hours, we were doing well.

 

What we were able to accomplish:

The pressure to grow trees was immense. One of our main goals was to get our clipper built because we needed our farm quest completed. I immediately started gorilla farming in some of my spots but pressure was on and many devoted their time during this period to just finding and pressuring unprotected tree farms. Notice I didn't call them "illegal", I can't stand that term. As much as the criminals want to justify their actions by saying that we are tax dodging, the only thing that is a criminal act with this kind of farm is the act of pulling up someone's planted items, either uprooting or harvesting after maturity. But that's part of growing trees unprotected. We lost about 3 out of 5 farms to bandits, everytime we arrived at our trees ahead of time, if there was another guild there, we made the decision to pull up the trees ahead of time and not allow another guild to progress through our planting. Especially because many of our plantings were 300+ trees at a time. Many were confused by this and it was simply not to allow another guild to get the much needed lumber to complete thier ships before ours. I know many were first in this before us, however the ones that were first were the orgonized guilds that were busy planting their own, not trying to steal others'. The first few times, were were goign to just let it be a free for all, however a Yata Cartel group came upon one of our first unprotected grows and instead of everyone getting on their own tree, they were going to actually pressure us for the ones we were standing at, trying to race us to the finish on EVERY tree. This was unacceptable to us, so at that point in time, we made a pact not to plant more than we were willing to lose in labor pulling up if a gank squad of dbag guilds came to get our trees. I'm happy to say, other than a few times when we were just plain uprooted, anytime we had a mature tree farm, we got the logs or pulled them up before anyone could get any.

As of day 3 of 4 in head start, we had 2 placed and built 16 x 16 houses, 4 Scarecrow Gardens, 4 Scarecrow Farms, 1 placed and built Thatched Farm House, a built and sailable Harpoon Clipper and we were well on our way to making good money in the game.

Taking Advantage of a Young Economy:

Right from the start, we were growing more than we needed as we had the 4 gardens right next to each other in Tigerspine. I devoted every minute of my 6 day marathon to growing, planting, tending to and researching the next steps for trade packs needed to complete the Farm quest and also looking ahead to what resources would be first in demand that we could capitalize on with the auction house. One of the best things they did was combine 3 servers' auction hosues together. It not only gave more liquidity to the market and varitey of available items early on, but it also gave us more chance to get the gold people were making on other servers into our pockets by providing the items needed for the farm quest (after we had ours placed of course). As our realestate grew, so did our ability to grow bigger and more items. Trees still being a scarce resource at that time, we continued to harvest as much wood to sell as we could. We put on pause building my 16 x 16, focusing on the Farms, Thatched Farm House and Clipper. This was one of our better decisions as well. Houses as long as you pay the taxes, will stay in the non-built state as long as you need. Who cares about a 16 x 16 when you can focus on things to bring more items back under protected growth and guarnteed harvest?

Selling the items needed to complete the Scarecrow Farm quest line was insainely profitable, so were trees, stone and the basic mats for general crafting / alchemy

We always tried to stay in front of the demand curve, and I think we hit this out of the park. Providing tons of raw mats for crafters trying to level their crafting, providing mats for questing, building, consumables and the list goes on. In the end, we were able to break the 1000 gold mark in 5 days of play time on farming alone, this does not take into consideration the questing guys, trade pack payments and sales of rides across the ocean for others to turn in their Farm quest.

Advancing Past the General Store:

Our next task was to start leveling the characters that weren't 50 yet. Sadly, I was one of the last to 50 due to my constant tending to the farms and gardens. We were starting to get out paced in the higher level areas and it was difficult to travel on the ocean with Sea Bugs killing me and a few others whenever their annoying attacks happened. However I never did quest past level 15, I just started on Husbandry. I knew from Alpha that farming was good for leveling, gathering was a bit better but Husbandry was not only awesome for XP, but was VERY profitable. So in come the Turkeys for the hides, Yatas for the fur and greed drops and cows for the milk. By now, we had several plots placed and built in Windscour, totaling our available protected farm land by double what I had in alpha. I was in full tilt farm mode. Trying now to find efficencies in plant / harvest cycles so I wasn't bouncing back and fourth between locations, putting long grow items with long grow items, trying my best to get things that were Arid (most of our available large land plots are Arid climate) to grow and trying to level my Husbandry up quickly so I could make pens, coupes and cages of animals versus trying to constantly deal with individual animals. Other than Yatas and Bears, you really want the rest of your animals in cages, it takes the climate out of the equation and makes it so it's one big harvest versus a bunch of small harvests. Yata pens and cow pens are the best as you can't nearly get enough of either on the same amount of realestate as a pen, and the labor to harvest is huge, meaning your vocation badges earned are also huge and the proficency rating jump is also huge.

Thunderstruck trees, one heck of a way to pad your bank account!

Then came the Thunderstruck week. We had stacked so many raw resources from all of our planting that we felt it was a good time to try for a thunderstruck. I was going out of town for the weekend, not to play ArcheAge from Thursday night to Monday morning. So I planted pines and junipers on every available space we had. I've NEVER seen a thunderstruck in the wild, only been able to buy them from the AH in Alpha. Chomping at the bit to get back home, I logged in Sunday night to check and it didn't look good. out of 80 junipers on 4 farms in Mahavadi none were TS. Out of 2 farm houses none were TS, off to the last planted property, figuring nothing, I got 2/3 of the way through harvesting the pines and there it was in all it's glory, a Thunderstruck tree. It was harvested in Windscour. It was a pine tree that was planted and it was TS as one of the very last minutes of it's final growth cycle as I had checked this farm first (where i logged out) and they weren't done growing yet (12 minutes left) so I went to the other farms to harvest just to come back and find this. So we decided to make a few Farm Wagons and sell the left over logs. Going rate for a TS log ( you get 4 for chopping up a TS tree ) was 250 gold on Namia. As much as we thought about just selling all the logs, I knew from Alpha, trade packs ment money and donkeys, even at level 20 with gear and a carrot are no match for the mighty 3 packs / trip Wagon. Auroria isn't open yet so the cart / hauler aren't in the game yet, but that's fine, if I had access to make a hauler in the first few weeks of this game, I'd be sitting on 10k gold right now, basically done with all things land, ship and gear until more content opens up.

Trade Packs, Growing, Making, Delivering and Planning:

So now the quest was on to maximize our trade pack production. We were starting down the path of wanting a larger boat, bigger houses and more items that only Gilda Stars can provide you. Merchant Ships went for a measly 600 gold in Alpha, but in launch, this early in the game when EVERYONE and their mom wants Gallions, Cutters, Farmhouses, Mansions and Merchant Ships / Fishing Boats, the price of Gilda Stars above anything 50 stars, is 3 to 1 to 5 to 1 gold / gilda. Merchant ships are actually SELLING for 3,000 gold, and I mean SELLING. Fishing boats are selling for 2,000 to 2,500 gold ALL DAY. It was our turn to get in on that. So the production started. At first, I made what we had excess mats of, however the demand for general materials had completely fallen off. Lumber was now going for 14 gold / 100 lumber ( It was as much as 50 gold / 100 lumber), raw materials are no longer netting you enough to make between planting, harvesting and burning your labor, so it was again time to adapt. I made a list of all the available trade packs, their mats, how long it took to grow said mats, how long it took to run said trade run and what if any danger was involved along with of course, payout. I narrowed it down to 5 on-continent trade runs for gold, a very easy and cheap pack to make for Gilda runs to Freedrich and efficent and not too costly packs for Stabilizers, Rock Salt and Crystals. Most of the trade packs have one thing in common, fruit. Either the raw fruit or Orchard Puree was the name of the game. So I planted several of each fruit bearing sapling and started experimenting with how much each item sucked up of available grow space, how long it took to harvest, how many packs I could make in a day and how much I would have left over to either sell (fruit still sells rather well on the AH) or make into Orchard Puree. Narrowing it down to figs, apples, bananas and grapes, we now had over 70% of the pack list in full tilt growth. Things like medicinal powder, ground spices and dried flowers were now going for 1 silver each item, and really only need 50 at most per pack and yes, I do grow some of this stuff in my off peak, available spots left over by large plants / trees, it's not enough of a hit to the bottom line to focus on this stuff anymore. It's a shame too as the free market wins here, and with people constantly undercutting each other to move their auction to the front of the line instead of putting up a 24 hour auction and letting things work themselves out, they wrecked the flower, spice, powder market in less than 13 days to the point that it's actually cheaper to purchase the final product out of the AH than it is to buy the item, grow it, spend labor on it and process it with blue salt knives. Sure the amatures can keep growing this stuff to net a VERY small profit, but the serious growers all know, sucking up any real amount of space on your available grow areas with things like flowers, mushrooms or spices other than the long grow stuff is a complete waste of time, labor and money. With on-continent runs netting between 7 and 10 gold after the 5% extra you get from the 22 hour wait, buying a few of the inconsiquential mats is well worth your gold. Especally when you can farm other items like yatas, beehives and fruit trees. Which comes to my next section...

Advancing in Trade Pack Production:

After running packs for a week it was time to venture out into something I didn't get into in Alpha, which was the Aging Larders, Beehives and Fellowship Packs. This is basically where I'm at now. I got my first beehive down and let it go for the 2 days it took after adding the queen bee to the hive. I have 2 hives down, I harvested one after the first stage of growth, just to know what the difference was between harvesting right away and waiting. The verdict is still out as the 2nd stage is still in production right now however on the bee hive I harvested after the 2 day cycle, I got 6 honey and low and behold, a Royal Jelly (the green drop from the beehive that is worth a decent amount of gold, 30+ to be exact)! I also have some lemons and milk on an aging larder to make the cheese trade pack, we'll see what the outcome is in payment as this is much easier to do than cycling crops 3 to 5 times / day.

In Conclusion:

I'm very proud of our group. We are small but we are intelligent, efficent and we've been able to secure a lot of resources that have helped our other members get items and crafting levels that otherwise would not be possiable with other guilds / solo members. We now have a total of 9 24 x 24 sized houses, 6 of which are all next to each other, 5 16 x 16 houses, 4 farms, 5 gardens, everyone has a clipper, we are 200 gilda into a 250 gilda fishing boat that we should be able to get by the middle of next week and on full production, we are capiable of making about 600 gold per day. 50k husbandry, 45k logging, 22k carpentry, 12k alchemy, 30k leather working, 18k gathering, 12k farming and the list goes on. Grats ToS, we are way ahead of the game.