Sunday, May 20, 2012

Gaming By The Numbers - Trails in the Sky

Unlike the last Gaming By The Numbers that I did, this post certainly isn't a complaining post, but is, rather, simply a post sharing a little bit of number goodness I've discovered in Legend of Heroes:  Trails in the Sky.  I believe I've mentioned it a few times, but this is what I've been playing lately, and I absolutely adore the game for the most part, but I'll try to leave a lot of that out since I do intent to write -something- about the game when I finish it, be it a review or just a general "My Thoughts On" type of thing.  This post is just another one where I show off how much I enjoy math for some reason when it applies to things that I can quantify through a game, whether it be hours spent or, in today's case, money spent.  (In the game, of course, not real money)  I do hope these types of posts aren't too boring to read, of course.

Now, a feature that I quite enjoy about Trails in the Sky is a crafting system of sorts, geared directly towards cooking up meals, whether they be for a sit-down or to create an actual item (To-Go) out of it.  As you might expect, this is purely a method of giving you options for healing your characters as, if you only bought the potion equivalent all game, you'd be hurting for money (Mira in the game) all the time.  While cooking is meant to be a cheap alternative, it can get pretty expensive when buying ingredients regardless, and some ingredients can't even be bought - these ones you get as random mob drops.  Monster Eggs, Wings, Meat, pretty simple stuff, but, as I said, the only way you can get those ingredients is from battle.  Which isn't too bad if you know where to go for what, but that's a whole other matter entirely and one that I don't intend to really go over right now.

As with some other games with crafting systems, the one in Trails in the Sky offers a little bit of a hole that you can run through with a truck once you're ready to.  And, as with the aforementioned other games, it can pretty much lead to untold amounts of wealth, though not quite as easily, quickly, nor spectacularly.  How the cooking system works, basically is that, to get the recipe for something, you first have to eat it or, in a certain few cases, get the recipe straight from someone else.  Obviously, the recipe tells you what ingredients you need, generally 3-6 things and straight from the recipe if you so desire and have the ingredients, you can make whatever the item is.  If it's a To-Go item, it'll just go into your inventory, or if it's a Sit-Down meal (the advantage to this being that everyone gains HP), you just make it and then HP gets restored and you're good to go.  I kind of hoped there'd be an eating animation with the group (whomever is in it at the time) but oh well.

Now, if you're particularly astute, you might already know the way that you can break it wide open as it's rather simple, but to plainly state it there are some recipes that do not require any ingredients beyond things you can buy.  In these rare instances, there are a few that, when you take the ingredients at value, their sum is less than the total you can sell the item they make with.  You expend no costs to cook things or anything like that, so there's no hidden costs, just the price of the ingredients and you're good to go.  The profitability of these items aren't stellar but at the same time, it's pure profit which, when you consider there's no realistic boundaries set around what you can do, means that you have an infinite source of money provided you have the time and the patience to dip into it.  I have the patience at least, and given the fact that I 'have' time in that I'm playing/focusing on this game, that means I kind of have that as well.

So, getting to the point here, the item in particular I'm using is Apple Ice Cream, though in my, er, 'research' (basically writing down ingredients and costs until I got tired of doing that) I've found two other items with profitability ranges that I'll share as well.  The Apple Ice Cream recipe calls for four ingredients:  Maple Sugar, Fresh Eggs, Fresh Milk and Ripe Apple, just one of each.  Maple Sugar costs 4 Mira, Fresh Eggs cost 10, Fresh Milk, the big cost of the recipe, costs 50 Mira, and Ripe Apples cost 20 Mira a piece.  Adding that all up, you get a cost per Apple Ice Cream of 84 Mira.  What does it sell for, you ask?  125 Mira, making a profitability range of 41 Mira per item.  As I said, it's not spectacular by any stretch of the imagination but that is what bulk work is for.  You see, multiplying everything by 99 (the max amount of an item you can hold) makes the above numbers 396 (Maple Sugar), 990 (Fresh Eggs), 4,950 (Fresh Milk), and 1,980 (Ripe Apple) and in turn brings the cost of 99 Apple Ice Creams to 8,316 Mira.  At 125 Mira a piece, you sell the whole batch for 12,375 Mira, earning you a net profit of 4,059 Mira.  Considering the entire process takes about a minute, maybe two, it adds up fairly quickly.

The beauty of the Apple Ice Cream recipe is that you get it fairly early into the game, so you can make use of it early to ensure your budding career as a Bracer is as a well-equipped one.  (Of course, I didn't figure this out til the last chapter, but oh well)  The other two items that I've found out about (though I'm sure there are more) are quite a bit later into the game, I believe, and they have their own pitfalls beyond that.  Still, I'll share them because I like the numbers of it all.  The Royal Crepe requires one of each of the following:  Milled Flour, Fresh Eggs, Maple Sugar, Fresh Milk, Royal Leaf, and Bear Claw which cost 4, 10, 4, 50, 20, and 10 Mira respectively.  All together, that brings the cost up to 98 Mira, where the Royal Crepe actually sells for 150 Mira, meaning the profitability of it is 52 Mira, a full 11 more Mira than the Ice Cream.  Up that by 99 and the bulk profitability of it is 5,148.  However, the reason I don't use this is because it takes six ingredients rather than four, meaning it takes (just a little) extra time.  It's not wholly unreasonable, even though it's still about a minute or two for every full run of it.

The other item, the Seasonal Tart has only four ingredients like the Apple Ice Cream.  They are Milled Flour, Luscious Orange, Ripe Apple and Azelia Fruit which are, respectively, 4, 20, 20, and 20 Mira a piece.  That brings the cost of one to 64.  Unfortunately, the price of the Seasonal Tart upon creation of it is only 100 Mira, meaning that the profit range is only 36 Mira.  In bulk, that's 3,564 Mira and while still respectable, when you have something that can make a full ~500 more Mira per run, you just run with that and don't worry about it.  Clearly, as I showed with the Royal Crepe, it's not -all- about profitability, but that is a big factor of it when it gets right down to it and since the Seasonal Tart isn't any quicker to make, I don't want to really bother with it.  Because clearly, I don't have the time to write down ingredients and their prices and run the numbers or anything, which means I don't have the time to spend on making less Mira than I could be!

It's kind of a silly thing, I realize, but at the end of the game, I really need some friggin' Mira and monsters don't actually drop any.  They drop ingredients and quartz, both of which I can monetize in ways, but I want something big and spectacular because it's fun.  Granted, 4,059 Mira in two minutes isn't spectacular unless you think about it for a minute, or maybe that's just because I'm too used to Star Ocean's "Sell this item for 420,000 Fol" scale, but it certainly does the job.  And being something that lets me enjoy Trails in the Sky that much more and that much longer, well, that has to be a good thing.  Because it's a really good game, you see.  Wait for the review or whatever I decide to write, but be assured - it's definitely a recommendation from me.

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