New ArcheAge players: Learn to manage your Labor and time to make gold
I like rolling in money in MMOs. It's fun, especially in ArcheAge. But getting gold is way more complicated in ArcheAge than most other MMORPGs, and it's easy to make less than you could from farming.
There's a balance you have to pay attention to when playing ArcheAge. You need to make the most of your land and Labor, without spending all day tending your land. It can be all too easy getting stuck tending a lot of land for far longer than you would like.
First things first:
Always price check what you're producing and their refinements
If you're aiming to make money using the Auction House, price checking is a must. You need to see not only what the base product is selling for, but also what it's most easily crafted into sells for.
Here's a good example of this in action, based off just my playing today:
Cotton has been at fairly high prices for the growth time on Morpheus since launch and was fairly steady until a couple days ago. It's gone from over 2 silver to the low end of just over 1 silver. My primary source of income's been grossly devalued, right?
Well, not quite devalued. Fabric is selling for over 20 silver each and it only takes 10 cotton and 5 Labor to make a single piece of fabric.
A reasonable price for fabric would be more around 12 silver each with the current price of cotton on Morpheus, but it's currently selling for around double the current logical value. I'm making far more off fabric right now than I should be, and I'm not going to complain.
Now this is not a typical scenario -- generally the prices reflect the Labor usage to refine something. Right now they're not for cotton into fabric and I can take advantage of that (and you can too if you're on Morpheus).
This is an extreme example of this in action, but it should give you an idea. Always look at prices for refined products, maybe even actually processed items like equipment if you've got the Labor and other mats. Always pay attention to your Labor usage.
Growth times are a big deal
Growth times don't just affect how fast you get your produce. They also affect how often you're going to have to play the game, how much Labor you're using, and the security of your investments into those plants or animals.
I'm growing cotton on Morpheus because the turnover is quick. The plants themselves are cheap, yield 8 ~ 10 each, and sold for an all right amount before today. Since I know the cotton market is falling fast, I'm switching to fabric until the fabric prices bottom out. I'd give it a day or two.
Since I'm growing this fast crop, I know what I'm getting into in two hours. If I were growing something like beans, which take a day to grow, I wouldn't be able to guarantee I'd get a worthwhile price when selling them tomorrow. This shouldn't stop you from growing produce that takes a long time to mature, but it's something to keep in mind.
Growth times and Labor
Beyond price security, growth times have a heavy effect on your Labor usage. If you're repeatedly growing crops that mature in just a couple hours, you're going to burn far more Labor than you would when going with something that takes longer. That's something you need to bear in mind when planting, especially if you also craft.
Plant in accordance with your schedule
Lastly, a key point to remember is that if you know you're not going to be able to play for most of the day or a few hours, plant your crops and plop down your animals accordingly.
If you know you're not going to be able to log in for about 12 hours, put down some aspen trees, pigs, chili peppers, or any longer maturation crops.
If you're currently playing and know you will be for a while, maybe plant something with shorter times. Plant to coincide with your schedule.
Labor is serious business
Since we're talking about farming, I'll assume you're a Patron. Patrons get 10 Labor every 5 minutes, whether on or offline. No more, no less.
As a Patron, you make 120 Labor an hour. This sounds fine until you get deep into crafting, when Labor is your worst enemy. This isn't as much the case when farming because the Labor usage rates are fairly even. This is not the case when crafting.
If you do both crafting and farming (or if you're on a mining frenzy), your Labor is going to be super tight. This is why I'm not full-on crafting just yet, while Morpheus is still new. I'll refine my cotton and pelts if I have to, but otherwise I'm avoiding crafting because of the Labor usage until I feel sated with my gold stockpile.
You get 2,880 Labor per day, which sounds like much more than it really is. If you know you're going to need a bunch of Labor to craft, it might not be a great idea to plop down a bunch of crops that don't take long to mature. You may find yourself with a bunch of crops you can't harvest and a powerful thirst for a Worker's Compensation Potion.
I ran into the Labor wall a lot around launch last year, and it's something you need to learn to cope with as a new player. Labor is the big progress wall outside of gearing up at endgame, and the amount it costs to craft is why Worker's Compensation Potions are always in demand and sell well.
You'll get used to making efficient usage of your Labor as you get into a farming and crafting routine and know what you want to do. It's hard to decide, and it's really easy to burn a couple thousand Labor in a short length of time.
Hopefully the advice above will help those of you trying to get into the swing of ArcheAge's farming and economy. The game has a lot to offer if you're persistent and pay attention to the nitty gritty bits like Labor. There's nothing else like it. Keep at it, and eventually you'll figure out your own personal way to success.