BDO Alchemy Guide (Black Desert Online 2019)
Originally written by Eminent (u/CadeGuitar), who generously published an Alchemy Guide in "Eminent’s Life Skill Guide". This well-received, 260 page guide has been added to and edited by me. It's now kept current on GrumpyG, with Eminent's permission. Thanks Eminent! ! I will update this Alchemy Guide with any new BDO patches/changes. (Eminent is currently taking a break from Black Desert Online.)
Eminent's BDO Alchemy Guide
Functionally, Alchemy is identical to Cooking. Both are about turning ingredients into a dish (although Alchemy makes potions rather than food), and both give Contribution Points. The main difference lies in the recipes themselves. Alchemy recipes require rare ingredients that you’ll have a hard time buying on the Marketplace. Instead, you’ll have to gather lots of materials. Since Cooking gives the same benefit for less effort, most ignore Alchemy completely. However, that makes it a fairly easy target to aim for when going for a spot on the Leader Boards.
Although there are plenty of people who have reached Artisan/Master Alchemy, the true alchemy grind begins after Master 1.
I personally believe that Alchemy is an endgame Life Skill. You can do Alchemy at any point, but it’s going to be super inefficient. The only way to “efficiently” do Alchemy is by being an endgame player with a ton of requirements met. It’s not a Life Skill for the masses, it’s for the 1%.
What Makes Alchemy So Hard?
If you do a bit of research, you’ll realize that this Life Skill functions in the exact same way that Cooking does. You simply follow these steps:
- Get some ingredients
- Get an Alchemy table
- Make a potion
However, there are some pretty big caveats when it comes to these 3 easy steps. With Alchemy, there isn’t a single recipe that doesn’t require a rare ingredient. Additionally, the rare ingredients are much more difficult to obtain than the ones for Cooking. Also, there are no P2W Clothes for Alchemy to reduce production time.
Between spending hundreds (or thousands) of hours gathering rare materials, and spending billions of silver trying to reduce your alchemy time, you’re put in a very difficult situation, if your goal is to rank on the Leader Boards.
Let’s first talk about decreasing our alchemy time and see what we can do about that, then we’ll approach the issue of rare ingredients afterwards.
The things that can reduce your Alchemy time are:
- Silver Embroidered Alchemist's Clothes
- Sharp Alchemy Stone of Life
- Teff Sandwich
- Advanced Alchemy Tool
That’s about it unless there is an event going on that happens to help in some way (like the Waterpark Event).
So let’s think about how low we can get this.
10 seconds (base time) -5 seconds (alchemy clothes) -1.4 seconds (Sharp Alchemy Stone) -0.5 seconds (Teff Sandwich) -1 second (Advanced Alchemy Tool) = 2.1 seconds
That’s actually a pretty acceptable time, but you have to understand the implications behind that.
First off you need to get +4 Silver Embroidered Alchemist's Clothes (average about 500m to make). Then you need a sharp Alchemy stone, which requires either god tier luck or a ton of money (probably both). Then you have to spend energy gathering ingredients to make Teff Sandwiches. Then you have to spend energy gathering a ludicrous amount of rough stone and logs to make Advanced Alchemy Tools.
Although the last 2 seem much more reasonable since you don’t need to spend a huge sum of money on them, the truth is that your energy is extremely valuable.
As we’ll see in a moment, in order to get the rare ingredients needed to level the skill, you will have to do enough gathering to make you sick. Your stock of Teff Sandwiches will last for a super long time, so that’s not too bad. The Advanced Alchemy Tools on the other hand become a bit of a problem.
You’ll have to do your own testing to see if making the advanced tools are worth it for you, or if you’d rather use the vendor tools and spend that energy gathering materials.
There is another solution, which is to +5 your alchemist’s clothes. I believe that alchemist’s clothes are the only life clothes that are worth it to +5. It would be an absurd amount of money, but it would make Alchemy a much more practical skill.
With +5 clothes you would be down to 1.1 second alchemy time -- or 2.1 seconds and you could avoid the advanced tools.
+5 clothes are a very appealing luxury, but +4 clothes at least are a requirement.
The sheer amount of silver you have to spend to get started with Alchemy is enough to understand why I called it an endgame Life Skill. However, after talking about the rare materials, you’ll realize that silver is only half of it.
Rare materials are a bottleneck that stop us from getting the most xp we could. Without bottlenecks we could simply do Alchemy forever getting endless xp.
While bottlenecks are a huge pain, they also make high levels more meaningful.
Rare materials for Alchemy are:
- Traces/Powders (trace of savagery, etc)
- Fruits (fruit of abundance, etc)
- Essences (basically the same as fruit)
- Oils (also kind of the the same as fruit)
If you look carefully, you’ll notice that I just listed almost every single ingredient used in Alchemy. That’s because Alchemy barely has anything that isn’t a bottleneck.
Let’s go through these one by one so we can weigh our options a bit.
Here we’re talking about both tier 1 bloods and tier 2 bloods.
Tier 1 bloods are things like wolf blood, troll blood, or sheep blood. They are bloods that you gather directly from an animal/monster.
Tier 2 bloods are things like sinner’s blood, clown’s blood, or wise man’s blood. These are bloods that are the result of another Alchemy recipe. All tier 2 bloods require a tier 1 blood to make them, as well as several other ingredients.
For the most part, tier 1 bloods aren’t really practical to buy from the Marketplace. The exception to that is sheep blood, because some people like to power level gathering that way. The problem is, sheep blood only really makes sinner’s blood, which is one of the less useful t2 bloods.
Tier 2 bloods are generally used in more advanced recipes. The problem is, more advanced recipes require even more bottleneck materials. In fact, the majority of t2 blood recipes aren’t practical to make at all.
For this reason, you’ll often see thousands (or even hundreds of thousands) of t2 bloods listed on the Marketplace. It simply isn’t worth that person’s time to use it, so they try to sell it instead.
You can get sap from gathering from trees with a fluid collector. On the bright side, this could be a great way to level your gathering since magic fluid collectors are very easy to come by.
There might be 100,000 cedar sap listed on the market, but what are you gonna make with that? Elixir of shock?
Even if you can buy all the ingredients, you’re losing 100-200m per day, is that really worth it?
Generally, the saps that are worth using won’t be listed in bulk on the Marketplace, because alchemists are desperate for materials. It’s likely that the majority of your gathering time will be getting saps and bloods.
Traces and Powders come from Excavation Nodes. These nodes give low yields for the material that you want. On top of that, they are used for a myriad of things besides Alchemy. To view the full Excavation Node List, visit GrumpG's Hidden Excavation Node List & How-To and to view each Excavation Node's Trace output per day. (16-30/day)
Because of the low node yields, it is completely impractical to get enough supply from your own worker network.
Because of the high demand, it is completely impractical to get enough supply from the Marketplace.
Pretty much any recipe that requires these should be ruled out as a possibility, because you’ll never get enough to make potions in bulk.
I’m grouping these together because they all pretty much boil down to the availability of fruits.
- Fruit of Abundance
- Fruit of Crimson Flame
- Fruit of Destruction
- Fruit of Enchantment
- Fruit of Magic Power
- Fruit of Nature
- Fruit of Perfection
- Fruit of the Sun
Fruits are used in a myriad of recipes. You can get fruits from farming. Different crops will give different fruits (click on the bddatabase link to see which crops give what). However, the amount you get will be very small.
You can also get fruits by gathering with a hoe (for example, grapes). This will give you every kind of fruit, but, again, in small amounts. After several hours of grape gathering I managed to get about 20 of each kind of fruit.
Due to the extremely limited supply of fruits, I would disregard any recipe that requires them as a possibility. You’ll never get enough to spam out a large amount.
Similarly, essences and oils can be considered tier 2 fruits. Each kind of oil and each kind of essence needs a different kind of fruit to make (in addition to other rare ingredients).
Any recipes that require essences and oils should also just be ignored. We’re really getting limited on what we can’t make, aren’t we?
Weeds are a particularly useful ingredient. Any Alchemy recipe that says it requires wild grass, you can substitute an equal amount of weeds.
Weeds are obtained either by active farming (pruning), or by bare hand gathering (without a hoe).
While bare hand gathering is probably the most reliable way to get weeds, it’s also possibly the worst use of your energy (after the milking minigame). Therefore, the best way to get weeds is via farming. Personally I think that farming is a very worthwhile activity anyways, so getting rare Alchemy materials just makes it even better.
Active farming to Artisan 5 got me around 30,000 weeds. (Pruning myself and not using workers.) Although 30k weeds might seem like a lot, the time it took to get them was huge. It would be easy to blow through them all in a couple days.
Weeds are a great thing to have, mostly because they make reagents. Reagents are used in probably ⅓ of all Alchemy recipes, so it’s very good to have a supply of them.
It is totally possible to buy reagents on the Marketplace semi-reliably if you watch the market. However, it is by far the better option to make your own.
From this you can see that gearing up for Alchemy is only half the problem. The sheer number of rare ingredients you need to obtain in order to reliably raise your level is a bit overwhelming.
Not only does it take an endgame player to efficiently do Alchemy, it also requires months of prep work in order to get the ingredients you’ll need.
I have personally kept Alchemy in the back of my mind since I started playing this game. While doing other things, I’ve been slowly building up my supplies needed to train Alchemy in the future. Although Alchemy is currently my lowest skill, the amount of work I’ve put into it will allow me to climb the Leader Boards with ease once I finish getting all of the prerequisites I’ve set for myself.
Can I Power Level Alchemy?
Just like Cooking, you earn Alchemy XP based on the level required to make it:
Beginner recipes: 400xp
Apprentice recipes: 800xp
Skilled recipes: 1200xp
Unlike Cooking, there are no Professional or Artisan Alchemy recipes. You might be thinking, "Why are they doing this to us?" My answer to that is, Oh just you wait.
If you check out the Alchemy section of bddatabase and sort by level, you’ll notice that every single Skilled recipe requires either a fruit, an oil, or an essence (or a whale tendon). Yep, that’s right, there isn’t a single Skilled recipe that is practical to make. That means the only way to level is with Beginner and Apprentice recipes.
Being limited to Beginner and Apprentice recipes means that we’ll have to make several times more “things” than we’d have to if we were making Skilled or Professional recipes. And making several times more means that we have to gather several times more rare ingredients. That’s a lot of time.
Therefore, rather than focusing on making high level recipes, we should focus on making things that are ingredients for other Alchemy recipes.
In order for this to work we need to meet a couple criteria:
- What we make has to have practical ingredients
- The final product has to be an ingredient in a different Alchemy recipe
- That second Alchemy recipe has to have other practical ingredients
- We need a good “exit point”
- This means that the final product we get after several rounds of alchemizing will be used for something. This can be Imperial Alchemy, or it can be something else that’s useful.
- At the very least, it should be something that we’ll get some of our money back for. Even if we have to vendor the final product, we shouldn’t lose too much. For me, a 20m loss per day is within acceptability, but beyond that gets a little bit more difficult to deal with.
Let’s look at an example of how we might accomplish this.
First off we have Clear Liquid Reagent. This is potentially the most practical Alchemy recipe in the game. Even if you just made these and sold them on the market you’d make a fair profit.
This recipe calls for
Other than the weeds, everything else in this recipe is extremely easy to come by. If you’ve done a lot of farming you’re set to make a lot of these.
Next we need to find a recipe that calls for clear liquid reagent as one of its ingredients, and also has other practical ingredients.
One option for that is Sinner's Blood.
You can use a couple other kinds of blood, but sheep is by far the most practical.
If you’ve power leveled your gathering with sheep blood, you’ll finally be able to get rid of that mountain of blood littering your storage. You can also buy it, but that will increase your cost substantially.
All of the other ingredients should be easily buyable as well (prices and availability change, check before you invest all your time into copying this method lol).
Finally, you could make Elixir of Demihuman Hunt.
For this you’ll need
Finally, all of this can be processed into Professional's Elixir of Demihuman Hunt Alchemy Box and then sold to the Imperial delivery npc.
This chain follows all of our prerequisites in using only practical ingredients and having a good exit point. In addition, our ingredients go a long ways since we get to make 3 rounds of concoctions.
So far this seems like a perfect plan, but how is it financially? Let’s take a look.
First off, the clear liquid reagent. I won’t count weeds as a cost because those are something we’ll have to collect ourselves. Therefore we’ll need to buy sunrise herbs and purified water.
Sunrise Herb: 241
Cost/Reagent: 551 (2.5x proc)
Next we have Sinner’s Blood
Bloody Tree Knot: 4,523
Powder of Flame: 2,086
Clear Liquid Reagent: 551
TOTAL Cost/Blood: 2,864
I didn’t list sheep blood as a cost, but that is something you have to be careful of. Remember that time is money, and so your time spent gathering from sheep is valuable.
Personally, I highly value leveling my gathering, so gathering sheep blood is a worthwhile activity for me. That’s why I don’t count it as a cost. If you don’t care about your gathering level, then that time spent is a huge cost. If you buy your sheep blood instead of gather it, that’s also a huge cost. If that’s the case you’ll definitely have to recalculate this on your own.
Sinner’s Blood: 2,864
Arrow Mushroom: 2,136
Black Stone Powder: 9,000
TOTAL Cost/Elixir: 5,600
Here I didn’t count fir sap for the same reason I didn’t count sheep blood above. If you value fir sap at a certain amount then you’ll have to recalculate for your own use.
I valued bsp at 3k each, but that changes often.
I valued arrow mushrooms at their Marketplace value. It is totally possible that your workers gathered enough arrow mushrooms for your needs, in which case you don’t have to count them as a cost (you could count beer if you wanted). It’s also possible that you wouldn’t be able to buy them from the market and you’d have to gather them yourself.
Total Profit from our Imperial Alchemy Example:
Each Imperial Box requires 25 of these elixirs, which means each box costs us 140,000 silver. The Imperial delivery npc will buy each box tax-free for 315,000 silver. That’s a profit of 175,000 per box. In other words, a 7,000 profit per elixir. This profit will be higher if your workers get the mushrooms for you.
Although this seems like a very good way to level your Alchemy, let me remind you one more time. You will spend hundreds of hours gathering materials for this. You will spend billions of silver making +4/5 Alchemy clothes and a Sharp Alchemy Stone. This is not an easy thing to do.
If you have +2 clothes and a polished Alchemy stone and you want to try doing this, be my guest. It’s going to be a big waste of your time, and the payout is gonna end up being far lower than it really looks on paper.
You need to put some serious thought into how you level Alchemy before you commit to it, or you’ll be in for a lot of wasted time and frustration.
Finally, spend some of your own time thinking about Alchemy recipes before you just copy mine. All it takes is a hand full of people doing this method to completely change the market and make it impossible.
Don’t be a lemming, think for yourself. Alchemy isn’t a skill that you can conquer by following some guide, you need to put hours upon hours of thought into planning, and hundreds (potentially thousands) of hours into executing your plan.
It’s not a skill for beginners, but it’s also not completely impossible. If you put in the work, you’ll start to see possibilities you didn’t know were there.
Here are the things we can make with Imperial Alchemy:
|Item||Trade Price (250%)||Recipe|
|Apprentice’s Alchemy Box||150,000||20x Clear Liquid Reagent, 20x Pure Powder Reagent (1x Salt, 1x Purified Water, 1x Sunrise Herb, 1x Weed) (1x Sugar, 1x Purified Water, 1x Silver Azalea, 1x Weed)|
|Apprentice’s Elixir of Wings Alchemy Box||195,000||10x Elixir of Wings (2x Silver Azalea, 1x Ash Sap, 4x Troll Blood, 5x Purified Water)|
|Skilled Alchemist’s Elixir of Seal Alchemy Box||167,500||10x Seal Elixir (3x Dwarf Mushroom, 1x Birch Sap, 4x Wolf Blood, 5x Purified Water)|
|Skilled Alchemist’s Elixir of Mentality Alchemy Box||205,600||20x Elixir of Mentality (1x Pure Liquid Reagent, 5x Ash Sap, 3x Purified Water, 3x MP Potion (Small))|
|Professional’s Secret Alchemy Box||265,000||10x Elixir of Swiftness, 10x Elixir of Wind (1x Legendary Beast’s Blood, 5x Arrow Mushroom, 5x Birch Sap, 2x Powder of Darkness) (1x Wise Man’s Blood, 5x Fortune Teller’s Mushroom, 5x Pine Sap, 2x Powder of Darkness)|
|Professional’s Sturdy Alchemy Box||252,500||10x Worker’s Elixir, 10x Fisher’s Elixir (1x Sinner’s Blood, 6x Silver Azalea, 4x Ash Sap, 2x Powder of Flame) (1x Wise Man’s Blood, 6x Sunrise Herb, 3x Fir Sap, 2x Powder of Flame)|
|Professional’s Elixir of Amity Alchemy Box||255,000||20x Elixir of Amity (1x Legendary Beast’s Blood, 5x Fire Flake’s Flower, 6x Ash Sap, 3x Black Stone’s Powder)|
|Professional’s Elixir of Demihuman Hunt Alchemy Box||315,000||25x Demihuman Hunting Elixir (1x Sinner’s Blood, 4x Arrow Mushroom, 4x Fir Sap, 3x Black Stone Powder)|
|Artisan’s Grim Reaper’s Elixir Alchemy Box||375,000||15x Elixirs of Grim Reaper (1x Oil of Fortitude, 6x Pure Powder Reagent, 4x Sky Mushroom, 3x Monk’s Branch, 3x Trace of Origin)|
|Artisan’s Precious Alchemy Box||375,000||15x Elixir of Thorns, 15x Elixir of Will (1x Tyrant’s Blood, 7x Dry Mane Grass, 5x Birch Sap, 4x Black Stone Powder) (1x Pure Powder Reagent, 4x Sunrise Herb, 6x Wolf Blood, 3x Purified Water)|
|Artisan’s Elixir of Sky Alchemy Box||550,000||15x Elixir of Sky (1x Oil of Tranquility, 6x Pure Powder Reagent, 5x Emperor Mushroom, 3x Bloody Tree Knot, 3x Trace of Ascension)|
|Artisan’s Elixir of Carnage Alchemy Box||525,000||25x Elixir of Carnage (1x Oil of Corruption, 7x Pure Powder Reagent, 6x Tiger Mushroom, 3x Spirit’s Leaf, 3x Trace of the Earth)|
|Master’s Elixir of Detection Alchemy Box||705,000||20x Elixir of Detection (1x Oil of Storms, 6x Pure Powder Reagent, 3x Truffle Mushroom, 2x Old Tree Bark, 3x Trace of Savagery)|
|Master’s Elixir of Death Alchemy Box||775,000||35x Elixirs of Death (1x Oil of Tranquility, 6x Clear Liquid Reagent, 2x Ancient Mushroom, 7x Ash Sap, 2x Trace of Death)|
|Master’s Elixir of Golden Hand Alchemy Box||1,107,500||50x Golden Hand Elixirs (1x Oil of Storms, 4x Clear Liquid Reagent, 4x Fog Mushroom, 3x Trace of Hunting, 6x Fir Sap)|
|Master’s Elixir of Frenzy Alchemy Box||560,000||30x Elixir of Frenzy (1x Oil of Regeneration, 5x Clear Liquid Reagent, 5x Cedar Sap, 3x Trace of Battle, 2x Ghost Mushroom)|
|Master’s Elixir of Penetration Alchemy Box||507,500||25x Elixir of Penetration (1x Oil of Corruption, 6x Clear Liquid Reagent, 3x Bluffer Mushroom, 5x Pine Sap, 3x Trace of Violence)|
|Master’s Elixir of Assassination Alchemy Box||505,000||25x Elixir of Assassination (1x Oil of Regeneration, 5x Pure Powder Reagent, 4x Amanita Mushroom, 2x Red Tree Lump, 2x Trace of Memory)|
Table credits to Dulfy.net, from her Imperial Trading Guide
I’m not going to highlight the bottleneck ingredients like I did for Cooking, because if I did everything would be red.
To figure out what’s going to work for you, you’re gonna have to do that same process I did in the previous section for every recipe until you find a good one. It’s a lot of work, and a pain, but if you’re serious about Alchemy it will pay off.
Final Thoughts on Alchemy
Since very early on in me playing bdo I put Alchemy as a focus. It was never my main goal, but I knew that I’d have to train it someday. With that in mind, I have been slowly doing things to prepare for it ever since.
It has been months since then and I still haven’t got to actually training Alchemy. This isn’t due to laziness, it’s simply because I haven’t prepared enough.
Alchemy requires more thought, preparation, and silver to get started on than any other Life Skill. It is difficult, and the payout is generally far worse than Cooking.
Part of me thinks that Alchemy doesn’t really have a place until after hitting guru 20 Cooking.
Whatever complaints I have about Alchemy, it’s in the game and it’s not going anywhere. From the beginning my goal has been #1 in every Life Skill, so it’s not really something I can ignore.
That being the case, all you can really do is think harder, and try to improve your own game plan in order to make Alchemy as efficient as possible.
Frankly, I can’t tell you the absolute best way to level Alchemy -- I just haven’t figured it out yet. If you look at the Leader Boards, I’d wager that other people haven’t figured it out yet either.
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