Saturday, October 24, 2009

Nimbwillyn's Guide to Farming

Farming can be one of the most expensive professions to advance. If you're a farmer, you're most likely churning out ingredients for a cook. These quickly become food which you and your kin devour. Simply put, money goes in, no money comes out. Other professions generally have to make large numbers junk items that if made wisely vend at or above production costs. They gather resources in the wilderness, where experience and loot can be gained from the foes that must be defeated to reach said resources. Farmers do their best work in Hobbiton, where cups of tea must be defeated to overcome drowsiness. Other professions can "make all" on a large stack of mats and step away to do other things. A farmer tries to make all on a "stack" of fields and finds he can harvest three before the rest despawn.
But it's not all bad. You and your kin need new weapons and armor every few levels, often more if you like to hold out for shard gear. You and your kin need food every few minutes (often more if you've been holding out too long for that shard armor). And while a cook might be able to gather resources in the field, it's frustrating and time consuming to do so. Cooks need farmers. So, what can you do to make farming a little less painful.
Rotate your crops. Or rather rotate yourself as you plant fields. If you face one direction while planting, each field spawns right atop the previous. When you try to harvest, you're starting from the newest and must wait for the harvested field to despawn before moving on to the next. As I said before, you'll only going to get 3 (maybe 4 with really good tools) before the older ones despawn. By rotating as you plant, you leave a side of the older fields sticking out where it can be clicked on and harvested in the order it was planted and without having to wait for harvested fields to despawn (which seems to take slightly longer than the time to harvest a field). I can easily plant and harvest four fields at a time (with some margin for error if I screw up). I suspect as many as six fields might be possible, but I find four to be easiest. Just make a 90 degree turn after each field completes. I rotate clockwise, by doing this and keeping my inventory closed, I have my mouse in position to click the first field as soon as I've finish planting the fourth. If you enjoy generating positive torque, I'd select the "close while crafting" box or you'll have trouble clicking that first field without moving.
Take time to sell the roses. Or any other flower. Flowers vend nicely, the flowers from one fair crop will generally pay for the field you planted to get it. They also have a chance to proc the crit spice of their tier and/or components for scholar dyes. If you're not actively supplying a cook, flowers are a great way to grind out farming skill.
Buy seed. When you start out farming, collecting the seed from poor crops is great for saving money and generating skill. But the saving erodes quickly, seed costs 4c each regardless of type, poor crops vend for 1c times the tier of the crop, factor in the wear on your tools and seed is cheaper to buy if you don't mind passing up the skill--if I had a do-over I might not buy seed recipes past t3.
Fertilize it. Once you've mastered a tier, don't ever plant a field without making sure your using fertilizer--double check that box is ticked before you start planting. Well-tended fields yield far more fair crops than poor and will be more likely to proc special items like spices and dyes.

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