Mercantile - Is it worth paying a trainer?

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xolotl
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Mercantile - Is it worth paying a trainer?

Post by xolotl » April 11th, 2014, 5:40 pm

In Books 2 and 3, I've often wondered if it actually makes financial sense, in the game, to pay for Mercantile training. The gains you get are difficult to notice on an item-by-item basis, and I'd always just sort of hoped that it was working out while I shelled over my cash.

The short version:

Yeah, it looks like it's worth it.

The (very) long version:

So! I decided to crunch some numbers. First up, I wanted to know the "break even" point. Assuming I spend my 3600 gold to train from Mercantile zero through eight, how long is it going to take me to make up that 3600 before I start turning a profit on my training? The formula (gleaned from the Eschalon wiki and verified experimentally on Book III) actually varies depending on whether you're buying or selling, but in both cases it's a linear benefit. Each level of Mercantile gives you a 2.5% benefit while selling, and a 3.5% benefit while buying.

Expressed in Python, you can calculate 'em as follows:

Code: Select all

def price_sell(value, skill):
    """
    Returns the price a given item (costing "value") will
    be sold for, given the Mercantile skill "skill"
    """
    return math.floor(value*(.5+(.025*skill)))

def price_buy(value, skill):
    """
    Returns the price a given item (costing "value") will
    be bought for, given the Mercantile skill "skill"
    """
    return math.floor(value*(2.0-(.035*skill)))
A slight bit of algebra later, and here's how you could calculate the break-even point between two Mercantile skill levels, given a certain amount of cost to get you between the two:

Code: Select all

def break_even(cost, skill_low, skill_high):
    """
    Returns a tuple containing the buy and sell values at
    which you'd "break even," given the cost incurred by
    raising your Mercantile skill from the low value to the
    high value.  (We're actually using absolute values here,
    so there's no need to be rigorous with which value is
    "low" and which is "high.")
    """
    buy_point = cost/(.035*math.fabs(skill_low-skill_high))
    sell_point = cost/(.025*math.fabs(skill_low-skill_high))
    return (buy_point, sell_point)
So then a simple loop can give us some numbers:

Code: Select all

lvl 0->1 (100) | buy: 2857 | sell: 4000
lvl 0->2 (300) | buy: 4286 | sell: 6000
lvl 1->2 (200) | buy: 5714 | sell: 8000
lvl 0->3 (600) | buy: 5714 | sell: 8000
lvl 1->3 (500) | buy: 7143 | sell: 10000
lvl 2->3 (300) | buy: 8571 | sell: 12000
lvl 0->4 (1000) | buy: 7143 | sell: 10000
lvl 1->4 (900) | buy: 8571 | sell: 12000
lvl 2->4 (700) | buy: 10000 | sell: 14000
lvl 3->4 (400) | buy: 11429 | sell: 16000
lvl 0->5 (1500) | buy: 8571 | sell: 12000
lvl 1->5 (1400) | buy: 10000 | sell: 14000
lvl 2->5 (1200) | buy: 11429 | sell: 16000
lvl 3->5 (900) | buy: 12857 | sell: 18000
lvl 4->5 (500) | buy: 14286 | sell: 20000
lvl 0->6 (2100) | buy: 10000 | sell: 14000
lvl 1->6 (2000) | buy: 11429 | sell: 16000
lvl 2->6 (1800) | buy: 12857 | sell: 18000
lvl 3->6 (1500) | buy: 14286 | sell: 20000
lvl 4->6 (1100) | buy: 15714 | sell: 22000
lvl 5->6 (600) | buy: 17143 | sell: 24000
lvl 0->7 (2800) | buy: 11429 | sell: 16000
lvl 1->7 (2700) | buy: 12857 | sell: 18000
lvl 2->7 (2500) | buy: 14286 | sell: 20000
lvl 3->7 (2200) | buy: 15714 | sell: 22000
lvl 4->7 (1800) | buy: 17143 | sell: 24000
lvl 5->7 (1300) | buy: 18571 | sell: 26000
lvl 6->7 (700) | buy: 20000 | sell: 28000
lvl 0->8 (3600) | buy: 12857 | sell: 18000
lvl 1->8 (3500) | buy: 14286 | sell: 20000
lvl 2->8 (3300) | buy: 15714 | sell: 22000
lvl 3->8 (3000) | buy: 17143 | sell: 24000
lvl 4->8 (2600) | buy: 18571 | sell: 26000
lvl 5->8 (2100) | buy: 20000 | sell: 28000
lvl 6->8 (1500) | buy: 21429 | sell: 30000
lvl 7->8 (800) | buy: 22857 | sell: 32000
lvl 0->10 (3600) | buy: 10286 | sell: 14400
For instance, in the first line, we're paying 100 gold to raise our Mercantile from 0 to 1. If I'm only buying items, I need to buy items worth 2857 gold before I break even and start making money, and if I'm selling, I need to sell items worth 4000. The numbers can seem a bit counterintuitive sometimes, especially since, for instance, the 0->2 step has a lower break-even point than the sum of 0->1 and 1->2... Just remember that the most useful comparison point is the level of Mercantile you were at before buying any training.

The last line there assumes that you also found a Dealer's Hat somewhere - I wanted to see how that would affect it.

So anyway, that's a lot of money, but it's actually not too bad... The next obvious question, then, is how much wealth is there in Wylderan? This will only take into account the "selling" portion of the question, but I figure it's probably useful enough. To answer the question, I wrote a script to loop through all the "global" mapfiles in Eschalon, pull out all the containers, and conglomerate their contents into a set of new (untrapped, unlocked) chests on a single map. Then I just went through and opened each chest on the map, saved the game, and wrote another script to go tally up the values. (This excludes any mob drops, but in Book III, that would be mostly negligible anyway.)

The data won't be entirely accurate, of course, given that your average character probably isn't going to be finding literally everything, and will be keeping some of the items as gear. Also most users probably weren't using the pearl-selling bug, and this doesn't exclude the three gems in Akadai Underworld. I think torches didn't end up getting excluded, either. I did set up a per-map whitelist for a couple of maps, though. Moonrise Underground in particular only counts user-accessible items, and battleground.map is excluded entirely. Gold bundles were also excluded, since those don't play into Mercantile at all. The total will include both "gear" chests from the Wizardtorium as well, but whatever.

Anyway, I did that chest-opening dance three times, for veracity's sake, and came up with this raw data (in CSV format):

Code: Select all

mapname,Run 1,Run 2,Run 3
4849.map - Moonrise,6248,6929,16003
4850.map - Baasilt Dunes,939,787,1851
4948.map - Western Astral Range,2050,4020,13749
4949.map - Elderoak Forest,2629,3763,2994
4950.map - Southern Boglands,2264,3281,1930
5047.map - Alundar's Domain,4877,9998,2385
5048.map - Warlord's Pass,1025,1309,1316
5049.map - Valley of the Wanderer,5760,5800,3263
5050.map - Rockhammer,1519,1679,1801
5051.map - Deadman's Strand,1011,1022,892
5052.map - Mirkland,3015,3197,2176
5148.map - Eastern Astral Range,2025,2025,2025
5149.map - Macross Point,8818,3931,2344
5150.map - Oceana Lowlands,7809,6437,6386
5151.map - Castle by the Sea,200,603,550
5152.map - East Mirkland Delta,595,280,0
akadai_tunnels.map - Akadai Underworld,3306,3705,3326
castle_dungeon.map - Ruined Castle Dungeon,6701,6320,5248
crypt.map - Disturbed Crypt,4498,2881,4027
moonrise_underground.map - Moonrise Underground,19480,17549,25040
omentor_temple.map - Omentor Temple,4734,7260,7063
rockhammer_mine.map - Rockhammer Mine,1174,1323,941
rockhammer_mine_2.map - Rockhammer Mine Level 2,2747,2580,2447
"seawarden_guild.map - Seawarden's Guild, Lower Level",2099,1080,1627
weeping_mountain.map - Weeping Mountain,689,740,842
witch_lair.map - Lair of the Emayu Witch,6786,6607,7179
"wrecked_ship_1.map - A  Wrecked Ship, Level 1",107,409,187
"wrecked_ship_2.map - A Wrecked Ship, Level 2",1534,1874,1986
Total Goods Value,104639,107389,119578
Gold,10507,11605,11228
I did keep track of the available gold as a separate line at the bottom, as well, just 'cause I was curious how much loose change is floating around Wylderan.

But anyway, it's a nice set of numbers. Averaging the Total Goods at the bottom and we've got a total sellable loot value of 110,535. Not bad! That's well outside the break-even points, even if you'd only bought the single 7->8 Mercantile jump.

How effective the training is will depend on how your character's playing the game and getting around, but I'd say it's a pretty safe bet that so long as you're getting the training in the first half of the game or so, you'll probably be at least breaking even on it.

If anyone wants to play around with any of my (probably terrible) scripts, I've put 'em up here, along with savefile data with the character at the pre-opened-chests state - http://apocalyptech.com/eschalon/misc/mercantile

kallman89
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Joined: February 12th, 2014, 11:10 am

Re: Mercantile - Is it worth paying a trainer?

Post by kallman89 » May 13th, 2014, 6:14 am

I woud also say a few point thats is imporant is when normal arrows start selling for 1 more gold (heavly making them more worth it) and other low cost items that there is tons of (that is if you dont use them). But i will do like i done b4, buy 1-3 and try get a hat, sure it might brake even later on but its not then u need the most money

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