How Many Herbs Will It Take To Make A WoW Trinket?

I remember when this was important to me a year ago.  I was marveling at the massive investment in time and resources the Scribe (Inscriptionatrix?) trinkets cost to make.  I really, really wanted to demonstrate just how much these "easy" trinkets actually cost in work-hours; easy being the dreaded word used to dismiss all things gaming "Oh, that's easy" except it never is. I've offered the following to the dismissive types, what easy would be in terms of a boss fight;
The boss enters the arena, draws his weapon and advances on you.  He trips mid-stride on a loose cobblestone and impales himself on his own blade.  Fight ends.
That is an easy fight. Nothing about Mists of Pandaria is easy, no matter how many players dismiss it as such.  If you think it's easy, try raiding without Deadly Boss Mods or any other addon, and delete all your macros.  Take a video of it as proof.  Now tell me how easy that is.

But back to the subject at hand.  I kept a detailed record of the number of cards I made attempting to get all four of the decks required to create the coveted trinkets that were amongst the first epic items available in the expansion pack.
I need a formula that yields stacks of herbs average to make the number of cards at the end of experiment.  There are 6 kinds of herbs.  Fool's cap is the only one significantly different. It takes 10 Ink of Dreams to make one Starlight ink, and 10 Starlight to make one card. 8 cards in a set. 
Average stack of Fool's Cap yields 6.2 Ink of dreams & 1.3 Starlight Ink 
Other panda herbs yield 4.8 Ink of dreams & 0.5 Starlight Ink 
First set - Keslingra 68 cards made - Serpents
Second set - Keslingra 77 cards made - Oxen
Third set - Keslingra 88 cards made - tigers
forth set - Keslingra 90 cards made - serpents
fifth set - Keslingra 93 cards made - cranes (end of experiment for Keslingra)

First set - Olaventa 44 cards made - Serpents
Second set - Olaventa 73 cards made - Serpents
Third set - Olaventa 85 cards made - Cranes (sold 12 additional cards 4, 5 & 6 of Tigers)
I abandoned the experiment then, and I never did come up with a formula that could tell me how many herbs per card, or roughly how many herbs it might take to make any one trinket at random.  I'm still interested in knowing the math, even though it no longer has meaning in the game; those trinkets have been long superseded, and I've sold off all the remaining cards.

The new expansion pack Warlords of Draenor will be out in a few months and I've already been invited to the closed beta.  I'm hoping that the professions will be less demanding of mats farming, but that would be an unprecedented move on Blizzards part.  No expansion to date has decreased the amount of work required for production of gear.  Proving (at least for professions) that the game does not get easier.



Taking a stab at the numbers.  Best case, using all Fool's Cap - 16 stacks yields 30ish Starlight ink, so roughly 5.3 stacks per card, 42.4 stacks per 8 cards, or 233 stacks for the 44 cards (best case) that Olaventa made to get her first set.  Fool's Cap would take the most time farming since it's only available in one area.  Farming 233 stacks of Fool's Cap would mean taking two stacks of Green Tea Leaf for every one, since they re-arranged herb spawning. It would be silly not to use the Green Tea Leaf since you would have collected twice as much of it anyway, so...

Being real, generally you would use the other herbs from Pandaria, for the most part the aforementioned Green Tea Leaf. Using the farm, you get 3+ stacks a day, generally, but one of those stacks will be Golden Lotus every other day (6 to 10 per day) or three.  Better to farm in the traditional methods, you will get less of the useless (for milling) Golden Lotus. Farming for any herb available is fastest, probably a stack every 20 mins or so, depending on population of the server and competition. 

So, the common herbs for Panda give you about one Starlight ink for each stack, roughly. That makes the calculation pretty easy.  One card equals ten Starlight ink or 10 stacks of herbs. That's 930 stacks of herbs for Keslingra to complete her experiment, and 970 stacks of herbs to get Olaventa to her endpoint, still short one of the 4 sets of cards. 

Nine hundred and seventy stacks of herbs multiplied by my twenty minute guesstimate per stack puts it at about 300 hours of farming total.  Now, you could AH the herbs if they are available.  And if you are lucky they'll be cheap, or about 20 gold per stack.  However, they're offered with a straight face on the AH even now pushing 100 gold a stack, so I wouldn't have counted on cheap.  Even at 20 gold a stack we're still talking 19.5k investment to get the herbs to (hopefully) make 4 card sets.

...and I kept hearing the word "easy" associated with making the cards. It's enough to make one wonder what kind of frustrations the people using the word easy to describe this grind faced in RL (real life) that would make that kind of time investment look anything like easy.

Well, it's off to beta land now.  I'll try not to complain too much about it when the even more astronomical materials requirements for professions in Warlords of Draenor are revealed.  Stay tuned?


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