Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

BDO wealth: Alchemy to make 30M/hour and your head explode

Alchemy is hands down the most profitable profession in BDO. You can reach up to 30M/hour doing it. But unlike everything I've shown here, it's not at all AFK. Actually you spend your time running up and down, juggling with materials and looking up recipes, interrupted only by short crafting sessions.

The reason why alchemy is so crazy profitable is exactly that it needs grinding, brain, pearls and initial investment. Those who are ok with brain and initial investment go cook. Those who are OK with brain and pearls go process. Those who are OK with grinding go Sausans. Very few people are OK with all of it. I did it big time back when I was new to the game, now I only create one item.

Let's see the requirements:
  • Brain: most alchemy recipes have 4-5 materials and many of them are alchemy products of more materials which can be also products of alchemy. It is common that one item has a dozen original materials. You must have tables and charts to keep all your production needs tracked, or you end up with a bunch of materials and no way to craft because the marketplace just run off Sheep's blood and you have no stockpile.
  • Grind: alchemy products aren't selling in millions a day. Crystals sell a couple hundred a day. Sure, their individual price is high (2-300K per piece), but you can't just craft a thousand AFK and list them. You craft a few, list them, craft something else, craft missing intermediates, drop everything and run to the marketplace when a rare material is listed and so on. Keep in mind that crystals don't stack and you can list 30 items at once. So it's constant juggling with what you craft, where you store it and so on.
  • Pearls: due to not stacking, multiple items and high amount of materials, you need lots of storage. That means lots of slot expansions, both for your avatar and your headquarters warehouse. Sure, the latter can be done by renting storehouses from CP (sacrificing AFK income), but character slots are expensive, 1450 pearls for 16 slots. Having a box in your residence is mandatory to save at least the runs to the warehouse. And it's still not enough, you need stables extensions for your various carts holding even more stockpiles.
  • Initial investment: Obviously you need a bunch of materials before you start crafting. But that's the smaller part. The big part is skillpoints. The outcome in BDO depends on skillpoints. In Cooking and Processing, you just suck up the smaller profit until you naturally grow up. I mean if you smelt 10K copper ore with bad skills, you lose like 400K/hour and by the time you're done, your skill is acceptable. In alchemy the prices of materials are much higher so you lose millions if your skill is not up. Also the crafted counts are in hundreds and not ten thousands, so it will take lot more time to grow up naturally. You must hit up the Olvia alchemy dailies to get skillpoints. To do that efficiently, have a cart in Olvia with the following contents:
    Ride to Olvia, get this cart out, put everything to your back in that order. Then pick up the quests and just put the items into the oven according to the numbers, using the quantities of the quests:
With all this, you can start printing silver in unmatched rate. As I've said, I've stopped doing it, because I don't want the grind. I rather make less with much less clicking. However I kept one item: Magic Crystal of Infinity - Power. It sells for 250-300K and sells in hundreds. The materials are pretty simple and cheap:
  • 1x Magic Crystal of Crimson Flame - Power: simple green crystal. Usually available on the marketplace for 6-8K. When not, the NPC Dora Fonti sells it in Heidel for 30K in infinite number.
  • 1x Fruit of Abundance: usually available on the marketplace for 34K. When available, I stack up
  • 7x Melted lead shard: can be gained from heating Lead ore and usually available on the marketplace for 1.4K each
  • 4x Sheep blood: usually available on the marketplace for 1.1K each. When available, I stack up
  • 1x Random gemstone. Practically any gem you find on the market for 6K will do.
The total material cost is 84K, so you can pull about 150K on each after tax. As I only craft this one item, I don't need to juggle with materials, I just use my backpack and have some reserve fruit and blood for rainy days.

If you are up to the challenge and don't bother spending hours running up and down, moving materials between various places and have a bunch of charts all over your desk, alchemy will make you very rich very fast. Otherwise, stay away! Remember, if you make 150K per crystal, you have to craft and sell 200 per hour to have 30M/hour!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Trumpian economic justice

It started as a comment for Tobold. It might end up as explaining (not inventing) the biggest change of economic doctrines in our lifetime. Trumpenomics if you please.

Tobold summarized the question using the orthodox approach of economic justice: "The party that wins elections is the party of which the "99%" believe that it is the party that represents their interests against the elite. It is quite an achievement for an administration full of billionaires to make people believe that it is the opposition who represent the elite."

He is right. Trump is a billionaire. His friends are billionaires. His cabinet is 1/3 Goldman Sachs, 1/3 Oil&Coal execs, 1/3 Military: he might as well lead a junta of a banana republic. The stock markets see unprecedented jumps. Unless you assume that all the billionaires of the US went altruist overnight, this can mean only that this government will work for making the top 1% more rich than ever.

On the other hand, he proclaims himself to be the champion of the lower classes, "the forgotten men and women". He promised various ides to rise them up. You have to accept that he is trying to deliver on every promise: the wall, the border tax, the Muslim ban, the evicting of immigrants, cooperation with Russia. He keeps on doubling down on everything he said during the campaign. Of course one can claim he is an idiot, but he is surely not a con-man, since he'd now back off from his promises if he didn't mean to keep them. So he must try to keep the core promise that he repeat every time: "the forgotten men and women will never be forgotten again"

The two points above seem to be contradictory. You can't be the man of the big business and the poors + middle class at the same time! After analyzing how his promises would affect various groups, I realized something revolutionary: yes, you can and not by some trickle-down daydream. To see how, you must see how one-dimensional the orthodox economic justice idea is: the more rich someone is, the more should be taken from him, the more poor someone is, the more should be given to him. This is why they measure inequality by comparing the top 1% with the bottom half. One goes down, the other goes up, this is obvious:

But it's not true! The sum of the two graphs is approximately 40% only! Let's see the income quintiles from 2013:
The last column is split into top 1% and "rich-but-not-top" but it's misleading. Since the "rest" has 19x more people, the actual numbers are 198K/year and 1.53M/year income. With these numbers, the income Gini coefficient is 0.44. Let's take 1/3 of the income of the top 1% and give 2/3 of it to the lowest quintile, 1/3 of it to the second lowest quintile like the socialists suggest! The Gini goes down to 0.36.

Now leave the top 1% alone and instead take 1/3 of the income of the "rich-but-not-top" and distribute it the same way! The Gini goes down to 0.26! 0.26 is much lower than 0.36! The reason is that the total income of this larger population is larger than of the 1% and also because of their bigger weight in the Gini calculation. If we'd double the income of the top 1% but make everyone else equal, the Gini would go down to 0.22! The point is that you can get bigger income equality by redistributing the income of the "rich-but-not-top" than by redistributing the income of the top 1%. This can be the definition of Trumpenomics: support the top 1% and the bottom half at the expense of the "rich-but-not-top".

On top of "lower Gini than socialists aim for", Trumpenomics have several advantages:
  • The 1% can run, the "rich-but-not-top" can't. It's well known that taxing attempts on the top 1% fail due to them leaving the country, at least on paper, by moving their income into companies that pay tax in an offshore paradise. A lawyer or engineer has much harder time running away.
  • The lower classes compare themselves not to the billionaires but to the "Joneses". People they know, they see. Redistributing the wealth of his highly trained professional ex-high school classmate has bigger psychological effect on him than taxing some billionaire in Manhattan.
  • The top 1% are the "Atlases". Hit them and the economy suffers. The "rich-but-not-top" are not running large companies, they are either self-employed small business owners and highly trained professionals. Take their money and they just work harder!
  • The wealth of the top 1% can only be redistributed by income/corporate tax which - even when they don't run - punishes work. The "rich-but-not-top" can be taxed for property and sales tax on their consumption which do not punish work.
The two biggest economic promises of Trump are getting rid of the non-citizen workforce (plus welfare leeches) and supporting domestic production by 35% border tax. Both of them directly support the lower income workers - who compete with immigrants and whose jobs are moving to abroad - while directly increase the costs of consumption: the "rich-but-not-top" must hire citizen gardener and housekeeper for much higher and pay the increased cost of domestically produced products. Sure, if food costs 35% more, it costs more for everyone, but for the poor it's overcompensated by much higher salaries, for the top 1% it's irrelevant.

I believe Trump just stumbled upon some holy grail of economics and will do something nobody thought possible: he'll move towards "economic justice" (decrease Gini) while cutting taxes which increases the GDP. Please note that he won't actually redistribute, non-working poor gets poorer as prices go up but the working poor gets higher salaries. Ergo, he truly is a "blue collar billionaire" who brings back the 50'-es dream: any hard working person can earn near median salary.

PS: this guy doesn't get it:

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Weekend minipost: the unluckiest guy in BDO

This is why you should shop instead of enchanting yourself:

Friday, February 24, 2017

The big health care question

The town halls of US congressmen are full of angry voters who don't want Obamacare repealed because it will make them uninsured. When it was introduced, it was full of angry voters who didn't want it implemented because it makes them impoverished. There isn't a replacement in sight and for a good reason.

If the health care providers are free to implement new, expensive methods, health care prices skyrocket. That's why I believe health care providing (the doctors and not the insurers) must be government employees. But this is besides the point, the debate of Obamacare is about how to finance the current for-profit providers.

This question can be simplified as: "will you take crippling amount of money from Adam, pushing him into poverty to pay for Bob's health care, or will you let Bob die in a curable illness". The answer is "moral", there is no objectively correct answer. Obama went with option A, designing a health care system where everyone is insured, regardless of the expected costs of his health care. The result is of course very high fees for everyone and insurance companies still going bankrupt.

Obama could make it implemented by flat out lying: "you can keep your doctor", "premiums will not go up". The skyrocketing premiums clearly contributed to the defeat of the Democrats. The problem of the Republicans is that they can't just lie their way back, since its obvious for every Obamacare recipient that they will lose their plan. This is what is told into their face in town halls: "I have pre-existing condition X and without Obamacare I couldn't get insurance and would just die, do you want that congressman?!"

I think they should just flat out tell the truth: "we believe in individual freedom, therefore we will not force several other people to be impoverished just to save your life. If your savings and charities can't pay for your health care, I can only pray for you." I would say it without hesitation (actually, I'd go for government providers, but even there there would be too expensive illnesses), but elected politicians obviously don't want to tell someone "sorry, I let you die" on TV. The problem is that the only alternative of that is some version of Obamacare. If someone needs $1M worth of health care to live, you can't save him without taking $1M from someone, that's clear.

I'll be very curious if Republicans will go anti-social on Obamacare or chicken out. The trick is that Obamacare is unpopular, since more people are forced to pay than saved (You need to take $20K from 50 people to pay for a $1M bill). So if they flat out stand up for their capitalistic beliefs, they get more votes. So the self-interest is there. Still, I wonder how many of them will look into the eye of a young girl in a wheelchair and say "sorry, I won't force 50 people into poverty to save your life".

"May you live in interesting times!"

Thursday, February 23, 2017

BDO Wealth: Processing for profit and speed

Processing is one of the main tradeskills in Black Desert Online and one with the highest AFK-earning capacity, providing absurd silver/activity results. I mean you set it up, leave the computer for the night and return to have several millions more.

Before all, a warning: processing is very pearl-intensive activity. If you don't want to spend on the item shop, just forget it. The reason for that is the weight of the materials. If you exceed 100% weight, processing stops. First you need the maid/buttler costume (pearl/costume/Venecil set). It allows you to process from the warehouse, so you don't have to store raw materials on your back. The female costume makes your avatar look like a porn actress, but you can fix it (somewhat) by painting black parts to a light color, white parts to a dark shade of the same color and the ribbon to your hair color:

Secondly you need every weight extension that money or loyalty points can buy. You also need Hercules gear with extra weight gems:

You can process most raw materials (things your workers get). Typically you can chop timber into planks, planks to plywood. You can smelt ore to shards and shards to ingots. You can smelt raw crystals to crystals. You can grind flax, cotton and fleece into thread. The purpose is simple: to increase the value and the value density of the materials:

If your processing skill is high enough, you'll get about 2.5 secondary materials (plank, shard) per processing, using 5 primary materials. You'll also get about 2.5 tertiary materials (plywood, ingot) per processing, using 10 secondaries. One processing step takes about 12 seconds, due to some tries fail. So, using the picture, if you have 1000 iron ore (390K), you can process it into 500 iron shards (650K) in 2400 seconds, so you make 390K per hour by processing. You can also put your 500 shards into one market batch instead of two as the ore. If you process the 500 shards into ingot, you get 125 (1300K) ingots in 600 seconds, so the second step has 3.9M/hour profit !!!, yes that's comparable to grinding mobs and you can do it while totally AFK. Ingots stack by 200 on the market, so you further compressed your material (0.62 stacks).

Of course you must always mind the market, don't process into something that is overfilled and never sell. It's better to sell Ash timber for 300/unit than process 8 units into a 8500 worth of plywood, just so you can watch it lingering on the market forever. Also, you are often better of buying secondaries (shards) to process them to tertiaries (ingots) while selling your primaries (ore), because processing the ores to shards would waste your time from ingot-making. Remember, losing 400K/hour on the ore-shard transaction is acceptable if you spend the time on 4M/hour ingot making. Of course if there are no shard for sale, you must make them yourself.

I made a chart for the various materials, but it's a snapshot. Prices can change a bit (within the set minimum and maximum) but more importantly market overfilling (red boxes) can happen any time. A few people doing mass-processing can overfill markets, this case you must quit that processing and move to creating less profitable, but sellable products:

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

BDO wealth: Secret shop

Since cooking, processing and alchemy needs no energy, the energy bar just fills up. You can use it to replace workers but sooner or later all your workers will be yellow at least. You can use the energy to replace them for orange, you get one for about 1000 energy, but that also involves 200 clicking. Hating to see it go wasted, I looked for a way to use it and found the night vendors. These are special shop NPCs that appear only at night at certain locations.

For 50 energy they offer you an item. It's usually a single black stone for a discount. But sometimes you get something nice:
While you make about 50K profit for a single stone, a pack of stones is 250K profit. You sometimes get a pack of shards and sell them for 1M profit. A special weapon that you can sell for 2M profit. Or, you get something ridiculously overpriced. Always mouseover the item to see its market price, buying this would have been a 20M mistake:
The night vendor won't make you rich. But it adds a few million a day for a few clicks. Better than just letting all that energy go waste.

There is another way of spending energy: gathering river water. You just have to stand into the river with a bunch of empty bottles and click on them. Gathering starts and repeats until you run out of energy. Every 20 seconds you get a 2.3K worth of bottle of river water (410K/hour). Later you can thin it with processing into about 2.3 purified water that costs 1.5K each (another 410K/hour). However processing ore into sellable ingots provide 1M/hour, so doing this isn't a too good idea. Always mind the opportunity cost and bring your energy to the secret shop.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Representatives: why politics gets polarized

Have you noticed that in normal everyday life conflicts are settled, but in politics they are not? I mean, most lawsuits end in settlement, most divorces end in an agreement, most employment termination doesn't end up on court, most broken up couples don't harass each other and so on. On the other hand political disagreements tend to live on for decades. How come that emotion filled couples can find a compromise over what's best for their child in a divorce but professional politicians can't find a compromise on abortion?

The answer is simple: personal self-interest. In the normal life, people are personally interested in an acceptable outcome. While they wish to win, their will to not lose is stronger. They are also deterred by the cost of the competition. For example, if one chooses to go for full custody of the kid, he will surely pay high legal fees and risks ending up with no kid at all as the court finds him a liar who uses the kid for his power plays with nor regard of the kid's interest. If he agrees to a reasonable custody, the fees will be low and he will have fair access to the kid.

On the other hand representatives (politicians, activists, journalists...) are not personally involved in the issue. None of the pro-life or pro-choice activists are fetuses or have friends who are fetuses. Nor they are uneducated poor women who don't know about or can't pay for contraceptives. So even if the other side would score a total victory, they wouldn't suffer personally. Actually, they would probably be better off, as a total defeat would surely fire up their side which can lead to mass donations. Being the defeated sucks, but fighting for the defeated is "noble".

Because of this, we cannot expect politics to be more compromise seeking and decent, we can expect the direct opposite, more partisan, more extreme. To change that, one must decrease the level of representation, delegating decisions to as low level as possible. Cities, counties, states should have as much self-governance as possible to allow the people affected make the decisions, as such people are motivated to seek compromise.