The Alchemist’s Lot

Way, way back, in the fall of 2004, the group of us that started playing EverQuest II together decided to split up the trade skills that were available.  I picked alchemy.

This turned out to be quite a good choice.  Alchemists, along with provisioners, were the only trade skill classes that did not depend on other trade skill classes for their supplies.  Both could make final products with harvested raw material alone.  The rest of the classes all required supplies processed by other classes.

For example Gaff, the armorer in our circle, needed chemicals from an alchemist, leather harnesses and padding from a tailor, and further items like metal rings from a weaponsmith, in order to make a piece of armor.  When I picked up wood working next, my wood worker needed chemicals from an alchemist and processed metal from an armorer or weaponsmith.

The idea, according to SOE, was to ferment an active economy.  What resulted was chaos, hysteria, price gouging, complaints, alt creation (when 4 character slots were all you got!), and popularity for alchemists.  Somebody always thrives in any situation, and everybody needed the chemicals that alchemists could make.

Not that I got rich at that point.

My friends all needed the chemicals and were happy enough to provide the raws to make them.  So I gained levels and did not have to do a lot of running around gathering.  Temper, resin, wash, oil and ink, I cranked out chemicals by the stack… though stacks were only 20 high back in those days.

Soon enough though SOE wised up and tried to fix the situation.  They added in some new trade skills that anybody could learn that would allow you to be able to make all the refined raws you would need for you trade skill.  Soon any carpenter with a little patience and a stack of raws could learn apothecary (apostatery if you ask me!) and make their own chemicals. 

Still, that was a whole new skill to grind, and if you were already at tier 4 in you skill and needed to get apothecary up to match, you might think that buying chemicals was a good deal.  The market had settled down some.  Chemicals were no longer too over priced.

And ink was still a good deal for alchemists. 

I wrote previously about my ink revenues.  SOE made more advanced chemicals, such as ink, require double fuel for those of the apothecartic bent, thus preserving the market for alchemists.  So ink I made.

And I worked hard to protect that cash flow.  To paraphrase Mark Twain, never start a price war with somebody who makes ink by the barrel.  I would choose a tier without much competition, flood the market at a low price, buy out any small competitor who undercut me, and generally made my money in quantity.  Sages and jewelers loved me.

But since LU24, there is no ink.  There are only final, finished product that spring straight from raws.  In the name of simplification, I applaud this.  As an alchemist looking for steady revenue though, it is a bust.

As an alchemist, all you have left are skills, poisons, and potions.

Poisons and potions are expendable items.  That is an upside.  Things that get used up are a good revenue model.  A lot of provisioners have made money because people have to eat and drink.  But the competition to sell poisons and potions is pretty fierce.  Margins are tiny. 

And potions barely sell at all.  In fact, I would wager that most people do not even know that potions exist.  And those that do know ignore them mostly because the naming scheme is bad.  If EQ2 had WoW-like healing potions, there would be a market.  Instead we have things like Exceptional Arcane Reprieve.  Can you tell me what that does just by the name?

And then there are skill upgrades. 

Alchemists make skills upgrades for the warrior classes; berserkers, guardians, paladins, and shadowknights.  Skill upgrades come in different flavors.  In ascending order of desirability and effectiveness there is:

  • Apprentice I – the base level for any skill you get when you level
  • Apprentice II – an upgrade you can buy from a vendor or an alchemist who really screwed up
  • Apprentice III – an upgrade you can buy from an alchemist who only screwed up a little
  • Apprentice IV – an upgrade you can buy from a competent alchemist
  • Adept I – an upgrade that drops in chests
  • Adept III – an upgrade an alchemist can make you with a rare raw, screw up mostly unpossible
  • Master I – an upgrade that drops in chests from some named mobs
  • Master II – Something you get to choose every tier for one of your skills

An alchemist levels up by making every damn App IV skill at least once.  That gets all the first pristine bonus experience possible.  And then the alchemist, if he is smart, sells all those skills back to the vendor.

Why?

Because there is no market for App IV skills.  People who know they need skill upgrades will seek out Adept I skills on the broker.  When I left EQ2 at the beginning of 2006, Adept I skills were selling for less than the cost to make App IV skills. 

Since I have come back, Adept I skills have been in the 5-20g range. 

As I needed to make some poison for Blintz, I decided to crank out some warrior skills as well to see if I could get a level for Nomu, my alchemist.  Since LU24 reset all the recipes, he can get that first pristine bonus all over again.

He made level (61 alchemist now) and I shifted his output to Vikund who does all my selling.  He checked the market and found that prices for tier 5 App IV skills ranged from nearly cost to wildly optimistic.  I gritted my teeth, matched the lowest price using my 3 year reward salesmans case, which gave me a price advantage because it cuts the broker fee in half, and put them up for sale.  36 level 47 to 49 skill upgrades at about 1 gold each.

And I have not sold a single one in a week.

I sell every Adept I drop I can get for 5-10g, but not a single App IV.

Such is the alchemist’s lot.  I could make some money if I hung around with the LFW flag up.  People with lots of cash always want Adept III skills.  But I hate to waste my play time waiting for work.  I usually do my trade skill work when I am on conference calls for the office.  It is easy to grind that way, but hard to negotiate and do custom work.

Still, I have most of that ink money hidden away for a rainy day.

11 thoughts on “The Alchemist’s Lot

  1. Kilanna

    Yup – I hear you!!

    I have been playing for one year and have not sold a single adept IV.

    Kilanna is now a T6 jeweler. She has actually made a plat in the last 2 weeks just by selling common harvest jewelery (the rings are imbued with the glowing, sparkling glimmering materials – but these are pretty easy to find so i have a pretty good stash of those)

    My Alchemist alt – is in exactly the same position as you are:(

    But my poor sage alt. All she can make is skills skills and skills. I am keeping her lvl’d up to provide Kilanna (templar) with Adept III’s.

    Like most people, I don’t very often get a long stretch to play so much of my play is solo. I find that Adept I just doesn’t cut it for skills and Masters are just too danged expensive. So another alt was born:)

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  2. wearfannypacks

    AMEN.. I hear you!

    When I did alchemy, I made most my cash on providing inks for repeat customers.. people that would consitenly have gold in my box and have me send stuff when i got around to it.

    With so many useless reicpes (potions, lower skills that people dont’ buy), it’s not even fun anymore

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  3. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    Of course I logged in tonight and somebody bought storming hydra, so now one down. I forgot, Alchemists also make skills for Monks and Bruisers.

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  4. Stargrace

    Hmm. My advice is a little different, I make a whole lot of coin with all of my crafters, I have a 70 provisioner (who I never use to sell) 70 jeweler, 60 sage, 60 woodworker, a 50 alchemist, and a 33 tailor (currently.. I used to have a level 50 tailor too and deleted her.. long story).

    Anyhow. I can’t speak for everyone or for every server – but. Alchemists do make a lot of coin – just not from the things you mention here. Number one, it’s typically always end game for alchemists where I make coin. Potions and poisons sell for a lot, especially to raiders. They most certainly know what those are for. The power regen ones specifically. Also, for every sage / alchemist / jeweler skill adept3 that’s made, there is a bi-product of those nice dusts that are used in alchemist rare potions / poisons. Those little dusts are my bread and butter. Farming rares and making an adept3 (at T7) that sells for 1p + 2 dusts that sell for 20g each, is a nice profit. Granted, this is T7 I’m talking here, and from talking to various guild crafters.

    I’d say about 90% of my business comes through the mail and hanging out on the crafting channel. I never leave my LFW tag up, but I do make it known that I have crafters out there and if someone needs something made, I will make it for them. If they need it right that second, they may have to wait I never ask for a set amount of coin but do say I’ll accept tips. One person even tipped me two plat just for making two skills. It was really nice.

    Anyhow, just my two cents.

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  5. Stargrace

    Oh.. and forgot.. you’re right about the app4’s.. they simply don’t move off of the market. Besides using them in tradeskill writs to level up I don’t even bother with them.

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  6. Vendi

    On my PvP server I think things are a bit different. My potions and poisons sell like hotcakes. The problem I run into is the people that like to come in and undercut everyones prices by half. Now if you check the market and there are three people selling a potion for around 2g each why would you want to undercut and sell for 75s. Makes no sense to me. In order to keep up I have to log in every day to check the market prices and adjust. Most of the time though I just keep it at the price I want to sell it for and wait it out. Usually works. I must say I do miss the days when everyone wanted Ink. I made a fortune back then with my Alchemist and my weaponsmith was just an afterthought. Since LU24 the tables turned. I make the majority of my money with my weaponsmith and just do my alchemist when I get around to it. I am lvl 57 on both.

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  7. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I will admit that the poisons I put up for sale did sell fast enough. But there were 3-4 pages of people selling each poison, so my net take on each vial was around 10s when I priced in the midst of the bottom of the pack. (You have to price below the guy with 500+ vials for sale.)

    I guess that is okay. A modest income. But I do dream of the days of selling ink at a much higher margin.

    My woodworker actually makes better money right now, but I’ll get to him in another post.

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  8. Spyte

    I’ve sold plenty of T4 App IVs. Well, maybe not plenty – Ive been griniding an alchy to keep a scout alt stocked up as he levels and have stuck the Ad IVs on the broker for between 20s and 2gp each. Ive sold maybe 10 out of about 50. Weirdly I think it depends on the spell. Some are in demand for an App IV upgrade, some are so important that the punters get an Ad III and some are so unimportant they dont upgrade at all. Ad Is are poor value incomparison to App IVs – so there should be a market of some description

    Since transmuting came in the price of Ad Is has shot up, and there is a market. It’ll never make you reach, but Im just about breaking even and keeping my alt in App IV spells

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  9. Albi

    I know it’s taking a big risk, but there is huge money to be made by putting adept III’s on the broker. Yes, you have to do some research to figure out what the most desirable skills are (i.e. the ones that people will consider must-haves) but with some initial investment and patience it you can really run up a ton of plat. Plus, then you have the dusts you decide what to do with – sometimes I have found it’s just better benefit per time to sell them rather than make poisons out of them (yes – forget about potions for the most part). I don’t bother with apprentice 4’s or common poisons – not worth the effort – its more fun to go slaughtering orcs, goblins, etc to make money.

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  10. Kesselia

    I hear you guys…I started out with my alchemist necro….I made very good money selling the rare inks for the lower levels…I would make only two or three vials and put them on the market for a plat each. Yes I know that was a bit over the top but hey I needed the money to use for my alts. I too used my ten slots for my station access and made nine toons and nine different tradeskills. Once the market dropped out after LU24 I sort of gave up and went and focused on adventure leveling my necro to 70. Now that my raid days are over (burned out) I’m back to crafting. I agree the apprentice 4 skills are just about worthless until higher tiers…say around Tier 5 and up certain skills are sellable but most meh…sell it to vendor to get cash back to use to buy more fuel. I save up my dusts to use to make potions and poisons to sell on the market. I’ll let you know how that goes. I’m on Kithicor server and since the server mergers I can attest the only crafting stuff that sells is the better mastercrafted gear, jewelery, and especially high end adept three’s that sell for over a plat a piece. Plus the mastercrafted potions and poisons that are a MUST HAVE for certain raid situations. Thankfully since I’ve done enough of the high end content I know which potions and poisons are the most popular so once I get to T7 it won’t be a problem to make cash. However *cough* since we know that another expansion is coming and the adventure cap is being raised there will be new tier added with yet more high end recipes. so we will see what the future brings. Good luck to all my fellow alchemists. =)

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  11. Pingback: What to Make? « Trot Line

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