The Basic Sprinkler: A fairer look at the unloved little squirt

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by One More Day, Jan 27, 2020.

  1. One More Day

    One More Day Cosmic Narwhal

    Reading, and participating in, a few of the more popular recent threads about optimal or near-optimal approaches to the first Spring, such as the ocean fishing thread, the tulips vs. parsnips thread and the spring powergamer thread by @ShneekeyTheLost made me question one or two fundamental assumptions that seem widespread, and I thought I'd re-examine my own tendencies along with it

    It seems like everyone and their dog is always hating on the basic Sprinkler, with criticisms including that it doesn't water enough crops, and that it is too expensive for what little it does manage to water. These alleged failings seem to go unchallenged and I think it's about time we investigated their validity

    A very popular goal for a new farm, and with very good reason, is to reach, as quickly as possible, the point when you are able to put the watering can in a chest, and then just forget about it forever. And there seems to be a widely held view that the only reasonable way to do this is to be aiming for at least a scarecrow's worth of about 20 Quality Sprinklers by the end of spring, to water summer crops automatically.

    But getting done everything that actually needs to be done to position yourself for extensive watering coverage by Quality Sprinklers by the end of spring is not trivial. Far from impossible, of course, but not exactly easy either, because unless you get epic amounts of rain, it commits you to using thousands of units of energy to water everything, and even that is on a large number of the most expensive crops, that cost a lot of money to purchase. That necessitates the acquisition of thousands more units of energy to be able to do all the other things that enable you to afford all those expenses. And that usually entails industrial quantities of fishing, which comes with the caveat of engaging in a minigame that can best be described as not universally adored. So, although we already know that the Sprinkler is objectively not as good at watering as its big brother, the question is, particularly in the early game, can it offer other things to make up for this reduced coverage?

    Comparing the contenders
    First, let's quickly quantify the difference between the two and see what we're up against. Before we crunch any numbers, it's important to note that the cross-shaped watering pattern of a well-placed array of Sprinklers will tessellate perfectly, so they lose no further ground to their square-shaped competitors, either in duplication of watering, or in unwatered tiles. Laying out the correct placement pattern for this cross shape might take a little getting used to, but once you get it down pat, you can replicate it almost as quickly as for the simpler shape of the Quality Sprinkler; it's not significantly more difficult, and only takes longer because there are simply more items to place.

    OK, the numbers are in, and here they are - the Quality Sprinkler occupies one tile for every eight tiles it waters, so the usable crop space is 8/9, or 88.88%. The more basic Sprinkler occupies one tile for every four it waters, so the usable crop space is 4/5, or 80%. If we now divide one by the other, we find that the Quality Sprinkler gets 11.11% more crops of out the same total area. Honestly, that doesn't really sound like a huge deal to me, certainly not in the early part of the game.

    So, the first thing we find out is that unless you're planning to use almost literally every last plot on the farm for crops, you aren't really going to lose any farming capacity by using the basic option. Even if you are planning on eventually planting a huge crop, you're probably not reaching that extreme amount within the first few weeks, that's probably a goal for at least the second year, making the basic Sprinkler a viable option at the start. So, sure, it takes an extra minute or two to lay out, you need to clear a little more debris to be able to plant the same total crop volume, and you might even need another scarecrow, but those shouldn't be deal breakers.

    How else can we compare the two? Let's start with accessibility. The Quality Sprinkler isn't unlocked until Farming 6, which needs a hefty 3300 XP, but the Sprinkler is available at Farming 2 for just over one tenth of that, a mere 380 XP, which you can conceivably reach on day 5 by harvesting 48 parsnips planted on day 1. Or, if you don't want to splurge all your cash on extra crops on the first day, you could replant about 33 parsnips on day 5 and get there let on day 9, or plant 17 kale or 20 potatoes and get there on day 11. Either way, it's neither a significant watering effort nor a big cash investment to gain access to Sprinklers. But after your first 15 parsnips, it's a whopping 188 kale or 228 potatoes, or a truly colossal 398 parsnips, to hit Farming 6. Unlocking Quality Sprinklers will cost you more than eleven times as much in both effort and investment.

    So, Sprinklers can be crafted very quickly, and if you plan ahead and plant to fit their layout from the very start, you can add a few Sprinklers each day very early in the game, and reap the immediate benefit of slowly getting more crops watered each day, to allow you to quickly increase the amount of available mining time and energy each day, but if you're chasing Quality Sprinklers you'll be chained to the watering can for much longer. Furthermore, you won't be tempted to buy the copper can upgrade when Sprinklers can be unlocked so soon; after your initial parsnips, it's fewer than 100 individual waters with the basic can, and only 2 more refills, potentially saving 2,000g and 5 copper bars along with an enormous amount of time. Compare with the Quality Sprinkler, which needs almost 1,200 uses of the basic can, or a staggering 30 refills, plus a lot more hoeing as well, and the temptation to spend money and copper on a can upgrade is more difficult to avoid.

    Another thing we could use to compare the two is furnace time for the ingredients. Copper bars take 30 minutes, iron bars take 120 minutes, gold bars take 300 minutes and refined quartz takes 90 minutes. So, each Sprinkler uses up 150 minutes of furnace time, or 37.5 minutes per tile, and each Quality Sprinkler consumes 510 minutes, or 63.75 minutes per tile. So, it'll take 70% more time to smelt everything for equivalent watering coverage by Quality Sprinklers, or you'll just need to craft 70% more furnaces, which means acquiring a lot more copper ore.

    Getting the ingredients
    Now let's look at getting the raw ingredients. Shortly I'll imagine the hypothetical cost of buying everything, but realistically you're mining all of it, so let's look at that physical act. If you're using Quality Sprinklers, you can reasonably expect to find sufficient quartz as you spend time in the mines getting the ore, so that's basically a freebie. Coal is a common bottleneck, and it looks like the Sprinkler performs less well here. You need 0.5 coal per tile watered with a Sprinkler. Finally the Quality Sprinkler has got on the scoreboard, costing only 0.375 coal per tile.

    While you're farming iron on floor 41, which will be required either way, you'll likely come across plenty of dust sprites to slaughter for coal. This isn't likely to be enough, however, so you can expect to need to top it up by breaking the shiny gray rocks you'll see on either 21 or 81 while farming copper or gold, as they have a fair chance of dropping extra coal along with their guaranteed stones. If you do have to go further out of your way hunting for coal, that's obviously a win for the Quality Sprinkler as it doesn't require as much.

    Another small advantage for the Quality Sprinkler is that, assuming you choose the Miner profession, and mostly avoid using explosives, each tile watered saves about 14% on energy for swings of the basic pickaxe.

    So it looks like it'll also take longer to mine for Sprinkler coverage, but it's not quite as simple as that. The flip side is that to mine the gold you first need to descend an extra 40 floors, and that's around two whole days lost to the extra descent time. It's also much more dangerous to loiter on floor 81 to get gold than it is on floor 21 to get copper. You can virtually ignore whatever monsters are on floor 21, or kill them with just one or two blows from one of the more powerful weapons you'll quickly find in a crate on floor 41 while getting iron ore. But the void spirits and red slimes on 81 will make mincemeat out of you, if you don't waste time either taking evasive action or facing up to them, and you won't kill them with a single blow. While mining copper, you'll only really need food for Energy, so you won't actually eat much each day. But getting gold, you'll actually be eating to sustain HP while mining, and that tends to get very expensive very quickly, another hidden cost for Quality Sprinklers, and the early gains in reduced energy and less coal are quickly eroded by these indirect costs. The reality is that, in the early part of the game, per tile watered, it's actually easier, safer and faster to get what you need for basic Sprinklers than for Quality Sprinklers

    Cost comparison
    As I mention the word cost, now let's have a look in financial terms at the assumed prohibitive cost of the basic Sprinkler. There are a number of ways this could be measured, and the first way I'll look at it is the saleable value of the ingredients. By this yardstick, without any perks, the Quality Sprinkler costs 250+120+50=420g, and the Sprinkler costs 120+60=180g. If we then work out the cost per tile watered, then without any perks, the Quality Sprinkler is 420/8 = 52.5g per tile, while the Sprinkler is 180/4 = 45g per tile. There's a surprise winner here, and maybe not the one we were expecting; the Quality Sprinkler is actually 16.66% more expensive per tile watered.

    OK, if you're too lazy to mine your own ore, another way to measure cost would be how much to simply buy the ingredients, and I'll use Year 1 prices for this. I know that buying ore is, for the most part, so expensive as to be a mug's game, but let's see anyway. The Sprinkler needs 5 copper ore, 5 iron ore and 2 coal, costing a total of 375+750+300=1425g, or about 356g per tile watered. The Quality Sprinkler needs 5 iron ore, 5 gold ore, a quartz and 3 coal, and here we hit an obstacle, because you can't buy quartz anywhere, you actually have to go out and find it yourself. So, let's assume that you still find it for free somehow, and then it's 750+2000+450=3200g, or 400g per tile watered. Once again, the Sprinkler takes the win, with the Quality Sprinkler working out at over 12% more expensive, and at year 2 prices the gap between the two would only get bigger. And as both items are actually sellable via the shipping bin, it's the same story there too; Sprinklers sell for 100g each, tying up 25g per tile watered, whereas the Quality Sprinklers sell for 450g, which is about 56g per tile watered, a whopping 124% more expensive.

    So, whichever way you look at it, in return for that extra 11% crop space, the financial cost of the Quality Sprinkler is higher per watered plot, by an amount greater than the extra crops it would otherwise water.

    Looking towards the longer term, the Sprinkler only really starts to struggle to compete if you want to fill the whole farm with crops, or grow huge numbers of hops, neither of which are realistic year 1 strategies for any but the most hardcore min-maxers, and I'm not aiming this thread in their direction.

    For anything else you're likely to grow in year 1, once you tally up the pros and cons of each, the Sprinkler has much more going for it than I realised, and it's hard to justify skipping them entirely. Once the Quality Sprinkler is unlocked, and the mines opened up to allow resources for them to flow freely, then of course you should start to add those instead, as you probably now want copper for tappers and kegs anyway. But there seems to me to be no reason not to make 30 or 40 of the basic Sprinkler as soon as you can, and let them take the strain of watering your strawberries and other spring crops, then leave them there for the rest of the first year, before upgrading them in winter.

    Best of all, you can get all of this done, in time to water all your strawberries, without needing to catch a single fish, either for food or money. With only minimal energy needed each day for watering a handful of crops, you can survive on spring onions, other food you find, and your first 15 parsnips, until the salmonberries arrive. Money for the kale comes from Spring Seeds, and money for strawberries will be supplemented by all the additional loot you will get from the mines, such as gems, geodes and weapons.

    Work smarter, not harder. Make Sprinklers!
    • ShneekeyTheLost

      ShneekeyTheLost Master Astronaut

      Hmmm... interesting proposition. I must say, regardless of how this turns out, I appreciate you looking into this. Often times, the best advances come from simply checking one's assumptions.

      You do have a very valid point about the accessibility and material availability. I know for a fact that speedrunners like TheHaboo make use of basic sprinklers to facilitate things, so there's already a basis for use-case.
      • Honeywell

        Honeywell Phantasmal Quasar

        Pinstar did a let's play using the little sprinklers and the crop pattern actually looked pretty neat. So I agree they're viable. If they didn't need iron bars I'd craft them myself but getting to iron is a pretty big feat in and of itself so pushing on to gold for better sprinklers is more economical from my point of view--on my current farm it's Spring 16 and I've reached gold and I'll be crafting quality sprinklers after the 21st when the strawberries come in.

        I'm pushing myself a little to get this done but I don't think what I'm doing is hardcore at all--just experience.
          Last edited: Jan 27, 2020
        • KThomas14

          KThomas14 Subatomic Cosmonaut

          I've got some experience with standard sprinklers. I was a bit underwhelmed by them, but I didn't know exactly what I was doing then. This was back in 1.07, so a lot has since changed. For reference, I try to get to 10 million gold in the fewest calendar days, and I get there by building a massive keg operation and no exploits. I've been using Shoukry's guide as the basic Spring year 1 outline, but that plan obviously needs some adjustment.

          To the matter at hand, there are a few drawbacks to Sprinklers not mentioned. First, their coverage pattern means planting your first two batches of crops inefficiently. Alternatively, you could redo the fields after the first or second planting, but you will waste some energy to do so. Second, their coverage pattern makes it impossible to ride a horse through the fields vertically or horizontally; you get trapped to a diagonal lane. Obviously this can be worked around with about 40 or so sprinklers, but it's still annoying. Third, the pattern is a bit complicated to remember, especially if you have other obstacles around. Fourth, they compete with other resources we need a lot of: copper, iron, and coal.

          One More Day, I appreciate your analysis of the stats (and some strategy ideas); I'm going to theorize a bit more on some strategies. The main goal (as you mentioned) is to reduce our reliance on fishing. Fishing's whole purpose is to gain money (and to give us something useful to do during days 2-4). Even the fishing exp. we gain is simply so we can make more money from fishing. We will also use some fish for energy until Salmonberries arrive. Once the farm is up and running, we will hardly touch fishing again, except for bundle completion. The other activities we can spend time on either help us gain resources (foraging activities, mining), or help us gain money (farming, mining to some extent, and foraging to a minor extent) while unlocking skills and recipes that will directly benefit us for the rest of the game. Thus, I think the sooner we can abandon fishing, the better. Catfish are still quite good, though, so hopefully we can reserve fishing to a rainy day activity, eventually stockpile fish until we can reach Fishing 10, and then finance some summer crop purchases with that money.

          Since we will be making more money from crops and won't need as much energy Spring 9-14 since we will start rolling out sprinklers, we can devote that extra time to other activities; for example mining. Thus, while we will need to spend more copper, iron, and coal to craft the sprinklers, we will also have more time in which to gather those resources, so the net opportunity cost might be neutral. This will also grant us more opportunities to kill Dust Sprites (always useful), and we can even move towards levels 80+ if we don't need copper and iron. The greater focus on farming should also allow us to get Quality Sprinklers earlier, although we won't have as great of a need with a lot of regular Sprinklers.

          I would approach it like this (assuming a CC run): Day 1, plant 13 parsnips (104 exp on Day 5), 1 green bean, 1 cauliflower. Days 2-4: fish as usual. Sell fish with the fisher bonus to buy 20 potatoes (+280 exp on day 12) or 17 Kale (+289 exp on day 12). However, this might not be the best option. Reaching level 40 of the mines should be possible by Spring 7 or 8; this would leave us with 4 potential days where we could have the resources for sprinklers but not the recipe. This doesn't seem desirable. I think we'd have to buy 30 potato seeds on Day 1 and plant them with 15 parsnips, 1 green bean, and 1 cauliflower. Hopefully the green bean and cauliflower don't get eaten, and enough parsnips and potatoes survive to reach the experience numbers on days 5 and 7. This would likely prevent Day 2 fiberglass rod and hamper fishing progression, although probably not much more than before 1.4. There would definitely be other uses for the sprinklers after the first spring for the first year, so the resources will not be completely wasted.
          • ThorfinnS

            ThorfinnS Orbital Explorer

            Wow. That's ambitious. 1600g plus, right? Not counting sap or fiber. Definitely need Gunther's bonus, and at least a couple lucky artifact spots. I've done somewhere around 50 day 1 runs in the last week and I think that might have been doable once -- got some pointless artifact and an Ornamental Fan. Don't remember if I got enough onions that time to do all that watering and hoeing, or even whether it had enough Pierre forageables, since beach foreageables are bin-only day 1. Might have gotten a couple runs where there might have been a lucky geode break; don't know, I sold all the geodes that showed up.

            My best day 1 planting since 1.4 was 18 mixed seeds and 15+46 parsnips. Insane luck with foreageables, which I sold, plus 13 spring onions, and still ran out of energy before getting everything watered. But my day 1 spending was about half what this requires.
              caimar11 likes this.
            • KThomas14

              KThomas14 Subatomic Cosmonaut

              I read the sell price for the potato seeds instead of the buy price. This is obviously much more difficult than I thought without a lucky diamond. The potatoes might need to be delayed by a couple days.
              • UnexpectedParole

                UnexpectedParole Phantasmal Quasar

                15 parsnips harvest day 5 at 8 each for 120xp. [need 100 for scarecrow = 2 spare for crow losses.]
                30 potatoes harvest day 7 at 14 each for 420 xp. [need total 380 xp for sprinklers have 104 from parsnips conservative = 276 xp.reqd. 20.]
                you have way too many potatoes for just a sprinkler on day 7 plan I believe. (Are these for the crows?)
                I think this plan is weak to crows eating parsnips.

                With 47 plants. I think we are looking at 2 crows a day?
                30% per crow. Twice a day. Days 2,3,4,5, and 6.

                sorry, back of the napkin ugly calcs to follow.

                If the only goal is to have day 8 sprinklers after a day 6 scarecrow [and maintain the cauli and bean for a shot at cc].

                Then I see a possible solution as:
                cauli 80g (1 plant 80g spent total)
                bean 60g (2 plants 140g spent total)
                13 parsnips for 104xp on the 5th. Plus up to 8 parsnips for the losses. 6 parsnips bought for 120g. (21 plants total 260g spent) -
                20 potatoes for 380xp on the 7th. 20x50=1,000g (41 plants total 1,260g spent)
                One might want 9 potatoes to cover potential crow losses as well. But we can have 7 plants to stay at 2 crows to start. 7x50=350g more. 1610 total spent.
                "Assuring" enough survive. 1610-500 = 1,110 before 5pm on day 1? I can't fathom this. ---Unless mixed seeds are involved.---------
                30% chance per crow to try to eat. checking 10 tilled tiles each. roughly 50/50 parsnips and potatoes.
                9 losses max due to crows. say 9 potatoes, lost. 21 parsnips x 8 =168xp. 18*14=252 = 404xp. goal achieved?

                I need to think.
                • ThorfinnS

                  ThorfinnS Orbital Explorer

                  You'll get the cauliflower and the spare parsnips from mixed seeds. Bean, obviously not, but I'd hold off on buying that until you get a scarecrow -- then you need only buy 1. That means you just need the potatoes. I wouldn't count on more than two from a dozen mixed seeds, but I've seen almost half of them be potatoes before.

                  But in my experience, crows are not nearly as big a deal. Even planting 48-63, I see 2 half the time or less. Most of the time it's one crow or none at all. And it's most likely a parsnip anyway. Which is a bargain, getting the XP that much earlier, for just 20g. Particularly if you want a basic sprinkler rush.

                  Thinking about it, artifacts don't help, do they? They are bin-only, after the Gunther bonus one. You would need to get lucky with some geodes, which means you have to break quite a few rocks. And leave the farm in time to swing by Clint's before Pierre's.

                  And after all those rocks, unless you had superlative luck with onions, it's really hard to have the energy to plant and water, along with getting at least one chest... Yeah, I don't see it, either. Pick one strat or the other.
                  • KThomas14

                    KThomas14 Subatomic Cosmonaut

                    Losing 10 seeds would be the worst case scenario, but highly unlikely. 3 seeds is the most likely (10 chances (2 crows for 5 days) times 30% for each chance). I think we can reduce the seeds down to 15 parsnips (free), 22 potatoes (1100), 1 cauliflower (80), and 1 green bean (60). Total plants 39, money 1240. I would also plant whatever mixed seeds we find, but no more total plants than 47. If we need to go cheap (and don't need cauliflower and green beans on the 13th), we can just buy 20 potatos for 1000 and hope for a few spare potatoes and parsnips from mixed seeds; cauliflower would be a nice bonus. The absolute worst case in this situation, we'd need to buy a few parsnips on Spring 4 (Thursday) to replace some lost potatoes and harvest them 1 day after the potatoes.

                    If we do manage to lose 10 seeds, there's always another game.

                    I don't see any other realistic ways to mitigate the crow danger. All the rarecrows are out of reach for a few weeks at the minimum, and tilling extra tiles and/or leaving unwatered seeds on the tiles so the crows would have unsuccessful eating chances would be extremely wasteful of energy and money.
                    • ThorfinnS

                      ThorfinnS Orbital Explorer

                      Is one of your unstated goals the spring crops bundle by Egg Festival? If so, like Unexpected Parole says, you should probably plant a second bean. Guaranteed not to get that in the mixed seeds, and Murphy...

                      I'm starting to reconsider the Speed-Gro strawberries anyway. It forces a lot of decisions for just 20 more strawberries. A couple hours out of your day going to the wizard's and back is a lot that early in the game. Investing that time in getting materials for preserves jars would pay better in a single batch, and, unlike the Speed-Gro, the jars will be useful the rest of the game. I'm starting to think Basic Fertilizer is better first year -- you will have a limited number of preserves jars and no kegs, so the 25% bump in value just going to silver compares pretty well to the 33% more strawberries, particularly when you factor in that you will get about 3 batches through preserves jars before you can buy crops on 1 Summer.

                      Or consider the opportunity cost -- the time could have been spent mine-diving or catching catfish. More tappers is always helpful in terms of kegs, and with your current fishing level, you can get that much value in catfish and shad in an hour or so. Lake fishing would give you that much cash in just the time it took to visit the wizard. And, of course, you can use the Speed-Gro later when it makes more sense. Spare cash on the 18th? Plant 20 more cauliflower. Almost 50% more profit than an extra 20 strawberries, and a lot better than two crops of kale or potatoes, unless maybe you have sprinklers you aren't using.

                      Much as I don't like idle resources, particularly in Spring 1, if you are planting blueberries 1 Summer, you should use Speed-Gro for the 1 extra harvest. You could do worse than completing the bundle in time for that.

                      I don't care that much about getting horses through -- I'm not going to have a stable that early anyway. And if I'm going to make this work, it's not going to be in the spot just south of the house, anyway. That needs to be used for stuff you need to access frequently. Maybe crops I still water manually. Crops that are sprinkled need only be visited on planting/harvest day.
                      • KThomas14

                        KThomas14 Subatomic Cosmonaut

                        Now that I consider it a bit more, the 20 speed grow for strawberries is not that great. If we're going the sprinkler route, it would be just as easy to hit Farming 3 by Spring 12 and make your own Speed-Gro, although I don't think that would be worth the effort, either.

                        I don't spend resource on Preserves Jars; they cost way too much coal, and I'm going for kegs in a huge way. Summer 1 will be mostly hops, with a few other crops for the bundles and enough hot peppers for a years worth of Pepper Poppers (56 plants will yield 448 peppers, which should allow for 3 Pepper Poppers a day, plus some left over for other things). The peppers can also get planted on day 2.

                        It's been a while since I've played SV, so I had forgotten about Basic Fertilizer. I'm so used to kegging everything that I don't care about nor have time for the fertilizer for 2000+ crops. That's obviously not the case for Spring 1, so the extra cash would be nice. Thanks for bringing that up.
                        • UnexpectedParole

                          UnexpectedParole Phantasmal Quasar

                          sorry folks. long post. I do that. :)

                          Actually, I was just advocating 1 bean, the (2 plants 140g spent) was a running total. I was operating under the assumption that either failing the cc was not a deal breaker, or re-start would be made. The odds of the bean or cauli being eaten are 2 out of 45 each time which is just over 4%. If RNG is that mean, then you get what you get I think. Frankly, the 10 losses was back of the napkin to push the extreme. My calcs show that even 6 losses is reasonably rare enough to plan for. one might be better off using the mixed seeds for parsnip and potato back up. the two cauli, and buying 2 bean. But see my later note for why bother with all that. :)

                          I too have nearly given up on the cc speed gro strawberries as well. The main reason I consider it is preserve jars are too much coal for me and the 360xp is pretty nice. One could almost think the 380xp was free. (I know it isn't) The main concern I have is cc speed gro forces a day 13 planting of those strawberries and it forces watering <at least the cauli> all the way through.
                          I want to upgrade my can so that I can water the strawberries and reach the pet bowl from a distance. Or maybe I want these sprinklers, I dunno, that is what we are trying to figure out. LOL. the worry for me with the sprinklers is that each copper and iron bar in a basic sprinkler is coming from a keg. A keg I don't have the wood or farming skill for yet, but a keg none the less -Or iron from my quality sprinklers and copper from my tappers.. And I now have tree fertilizer to help me get there with the wood.

                          Catfish are not something I can catch yet and I like to forage on Saturdays anyway so I'm usually over there anyway. However, now that I know overnight deposits of fish don't pay the 25% fisher bonus on the night you earned it, I have to re-do my schedule for day 5 and day 6 anyway. Maybe the saturday foraging Cindersnap is not a thing anymore. Also, Cauli are 12 day crops. They need planted on the 16th.

                          I agree. The blueberry boost is nice. I've actually done the rushed stable and wow it was pretty awesome. I didn't make enough money to do much else, but if you are catching catfish I suspect you'd be able to do just fine.

                          I've been struggling with the self made speed gro instead of cc speed gro for a few starts now. It's very dependent on getting clams at the beach, which means going to the beach more than one might want. It's also very rng dependent for getting enough copper and wood for the tappers. You have to chop more trees to build extra tappers and sacrifice diving sometimes for ore depending on how many tappers you need/clams you found. I once had a file with 7 clams. Foraging 3 is tricky by the 7th, it is very dependent on spring onions or eating fish for energy chopping trees, and finding the 7 point items. Farming 3 by the 12th, even with farming 2 by the 8th is a significant investment in time, watering and money. And to top it off the tappers are super buggy at the moment with tappers placed in the morning of the 8th not ready for the 13th, while tappers placed late might be..

                          And all for what? a little extra xp? but we'll see.

                          I'll cut this one short here, and I think I might have an alternative "plan" depending on how quickly one needs the sprinklers. I mean, do we need them sooner than the 13th for strawberries? If we do, do we need farming 3 for the 12th for home-grown speed gro?
                          • ThorfinnS

                            ThorfinnS Orbital Explorer

                            OK. I misunderstood.

                            Sure. I agree crows are not as big a deal as is commonly thought.

                            Working up a post on that. Don't want to derail this thread. Teaser, though. If they are as worthless as we all think, why were Preserve Jars nerfed even more in 1.4? Why did Clint's prices increase in an early version and why the later doubling of prices for year 2? Was 50g for copper ore really enough of an exploit that it had to be patched? And yet not enough of an exploit so that a mere 50% increase in year 1 was enough to fix it? Hint: a parsnip nets 15g every 4 days, at a cost of 6e or so, depending on rain. Just 4 g per day. Run it through a Preserves Jar and you earn 85g EXTRA every 2.5 days for 0e, 34g per day. Cauliflower is considered a great profit crop which earns you 95g every twelve days for 20e or so. Just under 8g per day. Running just that one cauliflower through the Jar earns you an EXTRA 225g in 2.5 days, again at 0e, for a whopping 90g per day!

                            If I were high enough level to have kegs yet, the cauliflower would have earned me 218 every 4 days, "just" 55g per day.

                            Or consider. Most people seem to have trouble getting the 45 copper ore on the first day diving. Clint charges 3375g for that. I can get that at Mountain Lake, accumulating chubs for energy instead of consuming them, and still get home in time to watch TV all evening. Maybe chop a few trees for another Jar and to feed a Charcoal Kiln, or maybe just chill with a cool one and watch those Jars make money for me. If I had the luck to find a copper ore, or the foresight to buy one on day 1, I'd have the furnace plans and MAYBE drop off something to upgrade on Wednesday. Thursday, latest.

                            Hmmm. Maybe that post wrote itself...

                            Depends on what your goal is. If it's to move away from fishing and mining as fast as possible, and get all your income by the much more profitable farming and artisaning (is that a word?), then being able to forage a third faster (or whatever) is about as important as a gold watering can once you are only using it to fill the dog dish.

                            Unless you happen to have 1600g and 20 Speed-Gro burning a hole in your pocket on the 18th...

                            Agreed. L6 farming comes in no more than a couple weeks, and you will be adding quality and then iridium as fast as you can. Is the 80g opportunity cost worth it? Probably. The copper for 5 of the sprinklers came from not upgrading the watering can, the 2000 gold was spent on something more useful than a can that starting sometime in summer will be just sitting in a chest, and maybe more importantly, that saved you 40e EVERY DAY clear up until you have 100% farm coverage of quality and/or iridium sprinklers. The upgraded watering can saved you time, but almost no energy.
                              Last edited: Jan 29, 2020
                            • One More Day

                              One More Day Cosmic Narwhal

                              As hard as you think it is simply getting to the iron, then pushing on down to gold is far, far harder than simply farming 21 and 41 for copper and iron respectively. By the time you spend another two days simply getting to floor 80, you would have got enough ore for about 30 basic sprinklers. That's watering for 120+ crops. To get the same amount of coverage from 15 Quality Sprinklers, I'd say you're looking at an extra 2 days at least, because on top of the descent time and harder mining, you also have to burn time and energy watering many more crops. You will also have to fight or evade progressively stronger monsters, which is a massive drain on time. Ice bats and ghosts can't be avoided by hiding behind a rock, and then there's the skeletons, which throw bones as a long range attack. Finally, once you do finally get to floor 80, it takes more blows from the pick to break one gold node than it does to break two copper nodes, all while avoiding even more powerful enemies, and risking the Jinxed debuff from the shadow shaman, a crippling -8 Defense debuff which makes you incredibly vulnerable to physical attacks. If you struggle to even reach iron, I think you're far safer staying there a while and levelling up combat against weaker monsters instead of pushing down deeper.

                              Honestly, considering some of these insights into your playing style, this thread probably wasn't really aimed at you. Rushing to 10 million before the first snowfall is all jolly good fun, but you won't do it without either quality sprinklers or plenty of early fishing, and the one of the main points of this was to avoid fishing.

                              It was more aimed at someone who knows the basics, but now wants to progress without going full min-max. It was also aimed at someone who utterly hates the fishing game, and sometimes they might even be the same person. Whatever, for those players, with basic Sprinklers shouldering the burden of watering during spring, it should now be possible to buy well over 100 strawberry seeds without catching a single fish, and allow the non-fisher to hit day 1 of summer with 250-300 plots already hoed and watered, upwards of 40k in cash to splurge on crops and buildings, and a stand of at least 30 oak trees grown and tapped ready for kegs. Probably half of those 250-300 plots will still be under Quality Sprinklers added late in Spring, but the whole point is that after your first 15 parsnips, you only need to use the watering can for about 100 single watering operations, instead of 1200.

                              I'm not sure how you can be "inefficient" about planting such a small number of crops. I mean, we're talking about hoeing 15 spots. This literally makes no sense.

                              OK, I hadn't considered this, because I'm not a big horse rider; on the rare occasions I do get a stable I usually forget about it anyway. But it's only a small amount of the field that gets the basic Sprinkler, about 120 to 150 spots or so, and you could just ride around it in like two seconds. That's a pretty poor argument against the absolutely enormous time save of getting the Sprinklers in the first place

                              No, literally the whole point of getting the basic Sprinklers is that you don't need to put a ton of focus on early farming and watering boatloads of stuff. The aim isn't to get Quality Sprinklers earlier, because that has already been done to death. The aim was to ditch the can with the absolute minimum of effort, so all that energy that was previously wasted on watering can be used somewhere else. The schedule in the OP keeps watering under half a can a day, and preserves energy for other tasks

                              And why do you need to plant these on day 1? They only need to be grown by the end of Spring, and come the middle of the season there will be tons of plots that get watered every day for free, so just plant them on day 16 with the strawberries.

                              It's possible on day 5 if it's a good luck day. More realistically, you can get over halfway there on day 5, and finish the descent and start farming the ore on day 6.

                              No big deal, as there's not much point buying an item that we have zero use for ITT.

                              While your calculations do absolutely guarantee enough crops survive, the odds of losing two crops to crows every single day for five days is less than 1 in 100,000. And planting that many crops just to shave a couple of days off unlocking Sprinklers somewhat defeats the whole point of the idea. Nevertheless if I was going for it, I don't think I'd worry about such a small risk, and if those lottery odds did come up, well, just scrap the farm and start over.

                              Not really worth it IMO, I think it's one of the more overrated strategies. All that unnecessary early expense and effort, including insurance against crows, for just 20 extra strawberries, worth at best 3,000g. With Sprinklers watering almost everything for free, you can plant so many crops that, including gems etc, you'd be looking at bare minimum 40k cash for summer spending, and probably in most cases, well over 50k.

                              Absolutely everything after the kale should get Basic Fertilizer. No other fertilizer makes sense at this early stage.


                              The whole point of basic Sprinklers is that there is literally no point upgrading the can for watering crops, because by the time you get it done, you don't need it. Curious why you want to reach the pet bowl from a distance though

                              Getting a day 3 upgrade is ridiculously hard. You need to find 3375g to buy the copper, also hope to find 5x coal from breaking rocks, or that's another 150g per piece, and then you have to catch enough catfish for another 2000g by 3pm to pay for the upgrade, because you need to leave time to run to willy to sell, and then run back to clint in time before he closes at 4pm. And remember, all that fishing has to be done with the bamboo pole, because you certainly can't afford the fiberglass rod if you want to do an upgrade. Even if you're super good at fishing, your chance of a successful upgrade is probably only 10-20% because the RNG is absolutely horrendous. I have tried this many times, to start the mines with a copper pickaxe, and it is not fun. Day 4 is way more realistic for a first upgrade.

                              When you consider the charging time for each use of an upgraded can, the copper can saves almost zero time compared to a basic can, but it does save a bit of energy. Although that "saving" actually comes at a significant cost when you consider you could have just flat out bought nine salads for less money than a copper upgrade.
                              • Elenna101

                                Elenna101 Scruffy Nerf-Herder

                                You should be able to just go to the beach once a week on Saturday, right? Since the beach forage, like all other forage, accumulates during the week and then all disappears during the Saturday-Sunday transition to be replaced by new spawns.
                                The left side of the beach does (like all other areas) have a limit of 6 spawns. But I basically never actually see six there, so realistically you don't have to worry about wasted forage. The right side, over the bridge, has no limit on the number of foragables.

                                Granted, once a week may still be more often than one might want. :p But I personally feel like the effort of getting foraging high enough, fast enough, is a bigger issue with early speed-gro. Plus the result is limited anyways by probably only getting a few clams, and you have to subtract the amount of money spent on getting stuff to eat to power the tree-chopping, and it just doesn't seem great.

                                Assuming you mean that they always take 3 days now, I didn't think that was specifically meant as a nerf on jars? I assumed CA just realized that it was weird for things to process faster while you sleep, so he fixed that.
                                That being said, I don't think jars are worthless per se. As you pointed out, they're very useful if you have vegetables that aren't pumpkins or red cabbage. The main problem I see with them is that all the really good crops for each season (rhubarb, strawberries, hops, starfruit, pumpkin) are best processed in kegs. So once you get everything set up, if you're just going for the best crops money-wise, you don't really need jars for anything. So I basically see three use cases for jars:
                                - Early game (summer and maybe spring year 1) when you've unlocked jars but don't have kegs yet. 2 times a melon's price plus 50 isn't as great as 3 times the price, but it's still better than nothing.
                                - Spring, if you don't have strawberry seeds and don't have the desert open, in which case you're probably planting cauliflower, potato, or kale, all of which are worth more in a jar.
                                - Sometimes early to mid game, you may prefer to put fruit in a jar and have a little less cash but only wait three days, rather than waiting seven days to get more money from a keg.
                                Plus the use case of planting a variety of crops and putting the veggies in jars, instead of mass planting one or two crops a season. Which is usually what I use jars for. :)

                                EDIT: Also, if you don't have enough kegs you want to put your pumpkins in jars and save the kegs for other things. That's a major other use case I forgot about.
                                  Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
                                • KThomas14

                                  KThomas14 Subatomic Cosmonaut

                                  @One More Day
                                  While I have different goals than the target audience of your post, it's definitely got me re-evaluating my strategy to see what benefit sprinklers might have, and I think it could be significant. I agree that most of the downsides appear to be superficial, but I thought they were worth bringing up for the sake of completion. I also don't think most players have used them before, so I thought I'd share a few tips from my experience.

                                  My comment on the inefficiencies of the layout are mainly from a time perspective. Assuming the player would want to hoe the field to conform to the ideal sprinkler pattern from day 1, this would require clearing a larger area of land and taking additional time while plowing the correct pattern, opposed to simply plowing a block of squares next to each other. It would also take slightly longer to water the crops by hand since they would be more spread out. If the player uses a simpler pattern on day 1, then s/he would not be able to use those spaces with the sprinklers without untilling some plots. I've used the regular sprinklers before, and it is very easy to mess up the pattern unless you specifically have the soil tilled correctly before planting seeds. Once you've planted a seed in the wrong spot, you can't get it out of the ground without destroying or harvesting it. So the choices are either rework that area (i.e. spend time and energy), or plow a new area specifically for the sprinklers. You also have to think about the pattern as you go, so it will take more time than the simpler patterns, which you can implement without much thought.

                                  My interest in the green beans and cauliflower was trying to think through how the utility of the sprinklers could benefit other strategies; obviously the day 12 speed gro in this case. I will try to see if it's possible to hit Farming 10 by the end of spring, so the 20 speed gro will represent an extra 360 exp from plants that are already being watered. It will obviously take a lot of plants to reach this number, so merely adding more crops might not be an option, as I'll already be skirting the limits of feasibility. It's going to take me a while to devise this plan, though, but that would be a topic for another thread.
                                  • Honeywell

                                    Honeywell Phantasmal Quasar

                                    I appreciate what you're saying but I reached gold on the 16th and I didn't reach farming level 2 until the 18th. Farming level 6 is reached 3 days later on the 21st. I think just devoting the first 2 weeks of spring to other things and not going ham on the farming until you're prepared is equally viable.
                                      Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
                                    • ThorfinnS

                                      ThorfinnS Orbital Explorer

                                      It is, and you don't need any Speed-Gro. Made it the night of the 27th, and I'm pretty sure I know how I can beat that. Haven't accomplished it without prodigious watering, though. Like most of the morning before I start rolling out the quality sprinklers. I'm intrigued to see if between basic sprinklers and throwing a little more money Clint's way it might make life easier. I certainly HAVE more money, what with all the practice learning how to get a noon fiberglass.

                                      But that's all beside the point. Your strat is specifically to avoid the fishing game as much as possible.

                                      I'm certainly not super-great at fishing, but luck does play a massive role. The one I thought might have been a possibility I'd have had to leave the Tuesday lake fish closer to the beach, put them in a chest there, and pass out there rather than hauling them home. But those were both star luck days. Tuesday afternoon had 3 diamonds, I think, Wednesday had 4 by 1pm. I have no idea what fish I had at that point, or if I could have gotten both sets of fish to WIllie in time, even if I were putting it closer Tuesday night. If it hasn't changed in 1.4, I think I can sell the diamonds to Clint, buy enough copper, set up the furnace in Clint's and do the upgrade after he's gone to the bar, so long as I'm in the building before 4. The coal would also have been a bit of a problem. While I had enough from day 1 leveling up Mining, I didn't have them along. Had some from treasure chests, but I don't know how many.

                                      But more I think about your strategy, I'm not sure the early upgrade is a great idea anyway. I don't NEED the upgrade, and it's going to lose me the 25% bonus on all that fish. Just the bonus would buy more than enough salads to make up for the extra pick swings. I'm pretty poor at the mining game. I can't see how getting the copper pick is going to make much of a difference in terms of mis-clicks. :V
                                        Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
                                      • One More Day

                                        One More Day Cosmic Narwhal

                                        Yes, it requires a slightly larger area to be cleared, but not hugely so. You probably only need to clear about an extra 15 squares, but as the majority of it will only be weeds and grass, it's mostly a few extra swipes with the scythe, zero energy used. The pick swings aren't wasted at all because we'll be clearing rocks today anyway, so it's just maybe two or three extra axe swings for fallen twigs, that's it. As for the pattern, yes it takes a little practice, but it's still a regular repeating pattern and it really doesn't take long to master, so once you know the pattern, it requires no more thinking than a solid block, and only a little extra movement. From starting at 6am on the first day, I can have space cleared, and 15 plots hoed, watered and planted with parsnips by about 7am.

                                        Can't remember where the post was, or even who did it, but this has been done before, and so it is possible, but it's certainly not a beginner or even intermediate strategy. Although the huge buffs that fishing got in 1.4, like quality boosts, iridium fish and the training rod, means it's probably easier than it used to be. The 20 speed gro and 360xp isn't really going to make much difference tbh, it's the equivalent of just 10 extra seeds. When you consider it takes about 325 strawberry seeds to get from Farming 6 to 10, another 10 isn't going to be a deal breaker. But the early expense and effort of getting the speed gro, plus the need to start watering those 20 plants three days earlier, when there is so much else to get done and only a very tight schedule to do it, might put the whole thing in jeopardy

                                        15 parsnips on day 1, followed up by 16 kale on day 5, gets farming 2 on day 11, guaranteed, and with only a minimal amount of watering each morning too, hardly overdoing it on the farming. There's no reason for it to take 18 days

                                        Yeah, I don't think you can plan your entire strategy around luckboxing an unreal amount of diamonds by Wednesday lunchtime
                                        • ThorfinnS

                                          ThorfinnS Orbital Explorer

                                          Truth. I was just trying to decide if it's worth it to do an upgrade even if you do get the once in a blue moon start. Might be able to do it with just 3 diamonds, which isn't absurdly uncommon, so long as you had decent catches to sell from Tuesday afternoon AND they were somewhere accessible.

                                          This guy manages L10 by end of Spring, and has a Youtube channel documenting it.

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