As promised, I have now completed a week of KEM farming, doing my best to follow Safi’s system…which you can find here.
I begin, by once again stating that I have never really been a donut farmer of any sort, whether it be KEMs or Vehicles (Rat Trap Trucks/Bloodmobiles). I just never thought it was worth the grind, when you consider the value of the time spent. As I have written about in the past, Life Currency (time) is more valuable than almost anything, especially at my advancing age. And even in my current state of semi-semi-semi retirement (I would retire if I could, and didn’t have another wedding to pay for in February…but still find enough time to golf and tap), I find that I need to affix SOME monetary value on time spent grinding…whether it is for Bonuts (bonus donuts) or the “incredible prizes” offered during the latest TSTO events. (spoken with tongue planted firmly in cheek).
I have to admit…I was surprised by the results. I was equally surprised by how the “new normal” has changed my view on what the term “grinding” means.
In the end…there is a recent change in the game, that may make Donut Farming a thing of the past…or at least not as attractive.
And that thing is??
Railyard Farming (RF).
If…and I say if, (because there is no way to know at this point if the change is permanent), the Railyard has turned into a “Perpetual Donut Factory,” and, it may very well rival Donut farming for ROTT (Return On Tapping Time).
STOP!!!!!!! All of you hardcore donut farmers who are going to stop reading right here, to write some prolonged explanation of why “Donut Farming Rocks!!”…please don’t! There are several qualifiers to this “maybe,” and in the end, I am likely going to still be a fan of “Team Safi” who uses DF in a practical, measured way.
I’ll break down the method…and the results…in as clinical (unemotional and unbiased) way as I can.
IMPORTANT….FIRST OF ALL…This article is meant for someone who is new, or relatively new to Donut Farming. If you are already at “Level 939+” and have hundreds, if not thousands in Bonus % Multipliers… good for you. You are a TSTO God. Yay. We get it. You are obsessed…and have been obsessed for months, if not years. Whoop. Tee. Do! Strike up the band! Congrats!
This is about starting the process now…perhaps late in the game…and if it is worth the trouble and time to do so. Starting this process at level in the low 200s of level-dom, I am a good Base-Line Test Case.
****When I started this experiment…
I had 232 donuts in reserve.
My Bonus % was at 246%
I had 14,400,026 in game cash.
Breaking down the “best methods” for DF, you need to start with a reasonable amount of cash. As in a few million at the very least. I say this, because unless you are fine with a very measured, slow, and perpetual grinding reality, you will want to generate more than a couple of donuts every 4 hours (the minimum time it takes to run a full cycle of Kwik-E-Mart farming/planting/harvesting).
In my case…I actually started with a little over 14 million in cash. This was reduced almost immediately to a little more than 10 million, because I had to buy some land, on which to farm, so I could keep the clutter on the periphery of my Springfield. You’ll want to do this for a couple of reasons. First, because DF is butt-ugly…but more important, managing KEMs (placing, harvesting) is best done in a controlled area, away from stuff you actually like.
Safi’s amazing charts lay out the return on investment…and the graduated cost of each KEM. But, for the purposes of time and space here, they start at 220 per KEM, and quickly move up to 14,400 a piece. So yes…placing 50-70 of them will cost you a ton of cash.
Using the XP Collider to Maximize Your Return is a must! However…as you will find out very quickly, it is also an immediate “Donut Deficit” in regards to your final Net Donut Profic (NDP).
In my case, I spent 20 donuts for a week’s worth of boosting. DD-20.
YOUR % MULTIPLIERS COUNT! But there is a cost…
It was clear right from the start, that at just 246% multiplier factor, I wasn’t going to maximize my return. But, the CATCH-22 to increase your multiplier, is that you need to SPEND DONUTS to buy things that earn multipliers. Yes, there are a handful of hidden “freebies” (we’ll cover that in another post), but for the most part, only PREMIUM items give you enough bump, to be worthwhile. However, trying to boost your multiplier, while you are farming, is a fool’s game…(it costs you more donuts than you will earn).
HOWEVER…if you are like me, you may have a ton of Bonus hidden in storage. I went through every item in my storage, and hit the little “Info” tab, where I was surprised to find a good number of items that earned Bonus %, that I had deemed too ugly or repetitive to put into my town. Satan’s Anvil…ugly…huge…but worth 5% bonus! Who knew? (Satan????)
After a half hour of digging and placing, I was able to increase my percentage all the way up to 276.5%. That actually made the difference between earning 4 donuts per cycle and 5 donuts per cycle. And, the bonus is permanent. So…all is good. I’ll get back to “Buying Bonus” in the recap.
In my first KEM Crop/Harvest, before I realized that I had more % hiding in the attic, I placed 60 KEMs, and got 4 donuts in return, upon harvest. Remember, part of the process is selling back the KEMs after you harvest the XP/Cash. The resale value of KEM is the same as all other items, 25% of the purchase price. So if you spend $100,000 on KEM farming, you’ll get $25,000 when you sell them all back. Even after selling back all 60, I ended up with a Net Cash Loss of around $275,000.
The key figure here, is that for the first 25, you are going to spend
$75, 770 in cash. However, the NEXT 25 will cost you, 360,000. The same for every 25 after than. So…in my case, in order to get at LEAST 5 donuts per cycle (one every 12 KEMs harvested), I needed to spend $579,770 in game cash.
To try and offset that…I started sending ALL of my Springfielders on a 4-hour task (with a handful at 8, because they don’t have 4-hour), and collecting the cash/XP when I cleared them all every 4 hours. I was able to reduce my Net Cash Loss every cycle, to just a little over $234,000. In other words…I was spending at a rate of around $47,000 PER DONUT.
That’s OK if you have a ton of cash… Because, let’s be honest… Other than Land, there is almost NO OTHER USE FOR GAME CASH these days. EA has made it a “cashless society” except that you need cash to buy KEMs, to get donuts.
The NET RESULTS for One week of KEM Farming…
HOLD ON…That Looks GREAT!! That is a LOT of Donuts!!
Except…now subtract the “Free Donuts” I received from EA… (15 daily task bonus, and Halloween award). Now subtract the 9 donuts I earned from “Where’s Maggie?” (3 earned with each 48 hour cycle), and most important…Remove the 35 Donuts I earned from the Rail Yard (and yes, I’ll follow up on that).
That is a Net/Net of 104 Donuts,
at a cost of 105, 799 in game cash per donut.
BUT, YOU CAN DO IT FOR “FREE!!!” as some from Team Safi would argue? (and have). And yes…you can…as long as you figure out your Net Earnings for Sending your Sprinfieldians on 4-hour tasks, and collecting all of your building earnings. But, in my case, and in the case of most average players, that is going to limit how may KEM’s you can buy, without causing a deficit in your cash. Safi uses the example of 36 per cycle…in my case that earns 2.75 donuts per cycle…and would result in taking more than two days, just to recoup the cost of the XP Collider charge…and as a result, taking your Overall Net take down to between 60-72 total NET donuts earned for the week.
The Reality of Grinding…
At the top of the article, I made mention of the fact that the past few events have trained us to become 4-Hour Grinders. During an event, and even in some of the episode tie-ins, we “get it all” by doing simple tasks, every 4 hours, at least 4 times a day. Like dogs to Pavlov’s water dish, we have been trained to become semi-automatons, to set our alarms, tap, and go back to “Real Life.”
Ironically, many of us are complaining that the updates are too easy…that you only have to log in for a few seconds (30 seconds to a minute, tops) to perform the task required to earn the currency. Maybe once a day, you need to cash in your currency, or craft something, or place the prize that you earn. VERY easy…and a VERY small investment of Life Currency. It is in fact, and amazingly good ROTT.
To that end, I have become lazy about clearing my town of all of the earned income. I might do it once a day…tops. I rarely, if ever, send all of my Springfieldians to do 4-hour tasks…because it takes a lot more time to clear them all, and collect the reward.
What I heard time and time again from “Die Hard Donut Farmers” (most of whom have huge stashes of donuts, and Bonus Percentages exceeding 1.000%), is that it only takes them a couple of minutes, TOPS, to complete the harvest/sell/replace cycle…and they earn HUNDREDS of donuts a week…because they took the time to “Buy EVERYTHING” including multiples of every Premium Item that earns a % that they could…just to keep the cycle going.
I can’t even begin to calculate the time invested to get to that level...because it boggles the mind. And, to all of them saying “it doesn’t take much time,” I say…BULLSHIRT!
Using even the most basic calculation of time…a Premium Item that gives you a 1%-2% bonus, costs somewhere between 75-100 donuts. If you are doing it through KEM farming…that is a week of work. A WEEK. So…someone who has 1,000% has either spent a TON of time…or a TON of REAL MONEY, to get there. Period.
The FASTEST that I could place and collect 60+ KEMS, sell them…and then replace them, was about 3 minutes. However, that didn’t take into account having to clear all of my Springfieldians from the 4-hour task, as well as clear all of the earnings from the buildings. Even using the “finder” on the top left, it took at least another 3-5 minutes to clear the characters, and do a full search of my town to collect every dollar earned… and I was STILL in a deficit cash spending mode.
Instead, during a regular cycle, without KEM farming, I log on for a minute, every 2 hours…(which is far less than I check my phone for news updates these days), do my Rail Yard tasks, and move on. Every other time, I do the additional minute of doing the update/event tasks. And, I am done. No crazy math. No insane levels of land/KEM/XP management…just a lazy, fun way to play the game.
The Final Analysis…
95% of what is being offered by EA in these updates, just isn’t worth any more than a minimal investment of time. If I REALLY see something that I want…that is 100-150 donuts… I will gladly spend the $4.99 to round out what I need to have it, to offset the 40-50 donuts I earn in other ways easily. That represents about 1/10th of a billable production hour in my REAL life. I’ll just take a pass on the drink after work…or not.
Be honest. What was the last game prize or item that you wanted SO BADLY…you were willing to give up hours of your life to earn?
So…while it may have “only” taken me an additional 20-30 minutes a day to do this…(which is a very lenient estimate), that’s almost 6 hours of time in a week. Six hours you won’t get back. What’s your time worth? I certainly hope it is worth more than a $1 an hour. Because that is what you are “saving/earning” in real currency for the cost of buying donuts.
Time. I can’t stress this enough…is simply worth more than grinding for a week…or even a couple of days. A week’s worth of additional grinding and management for $4,99? Nope. Sorry. I’m just not that TSTO obsessed…or bored.
Rat Trap/Blood Mobile Farming as Time Saver?? – Kinda!
The overarching beauty of Farming Rat Trap Trucks or Blood Mobiles (there is no difference as I’ll show you), is that it is WAY faster. Mostly…kinda.
The math is way more simple…requires a ton less time…mostly…and the results are just about the same, if you are starting with the same amount of game cash.
I’ll do the same exact math, with the same exact cash and multipliers that I used for the KEM farming. The difference is, I can do this in less than an hour…as opposed to 7 days. LESS THAN AN HOUR…
Let’s start with the same 14,400,00o in game cash.
You don’t need a ton of land, because you can buy and sell the vehicles immediately…with no waiting. So, pick a parcel that will hold 10-15 vehicles and start buying and placing them…selling them back…then doing it over and over again, until you run out of game cash, or hit a level of donuts you want.
In the case of Rat Trap Delivery Trucks…
My game cash would buy me,
|Rat Trap Delivery Trucks||128 @ $112,500
($150k less buy back of $37,500)
|Donuts Earned||76 (@ 500K XP per donut)|
And Bloodmobiles have different math…but the same outcome in rewards.
($132,000 less $33,000 Buy Back)
|Donuts Earned||76 (@ 500K XP per donut)|
In both cases…subtract 5 donuts for the one-day XP Collider Charge…so 71 donuts Net, Net, Net…in an hour, max!
So Vehicle Farming is Waaaaaayyyyyy faster. Right?
Not so fast…
How long did it take to accumulate that game cash?? For me…unless I got into a pattern of sending/collecting/sending/collecting every 4 hours. It could take me weeks to earn another $14 Million.
So…if you don’t have a ton of game cash (less than $5 million) and want to take a longer, but less expensive route, perhaps even growing game cash while earning donuts, FIND YOUR DAILY EARNING LEVEL (Collecting your Rewards from buildings and characters) and don’t spend any more than that each day. You will slowly, but surely grow your donuts…but, you will need to keep up the grind every 4 hours…for days, weeks, and months. Oh. Wait. Kinda like the rest of the game!
In the end, either method will pretty much force you to log on every 4 hours…forever. But, that seems to be the way the game is going anyway, so maybe you’ll just bite the donut, and spend the extra time to earn and burn!
Or…you can just do the Rail Yard…gather your daily challenge rewards (which are more donut-centric in non-event times) and stop sweating the occasional $4.99 for something you think you want.
OK. Bring it on. Convince me I’m wrong. But, for me…I just value my time more than KEM farming…or grinding for game cash, so I can Vehicle Farm. ESPECIALLY if the Rail Yard Donut Factory is a permanent feature. After all…I’m all about the Monorail. Monorail…monorail…monorail! And more donuts…with more rails…keeps me coming back!
Let us know what you think. We don’t all have to agree…to each his own. Right?