Barrel Full of Barrels

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Barrel Full of Barrels

Post  ShadowWolf on Thu Oct 09, 2008 9:30 am

See Announcements forum if confused

I'm still working on my general food and booze treatise when I realized I was spending a lot of time talking about how to utilize the Barrel Full of Barrels, and I felt that it would make a good topic in its own right. The Barrel Full of Barrels (BFoB) is a place that is useful to -all- low-level characters, except perhaps casualcore players and experienced SC ascenders who have stocked their Hagnk's with good booze and have a day 1 plan. It's exceptionally valuable to HC ascenders, but I think there's a lot of stuff here that would help softcore as well.


The BFoB opens when you pass your first guild test. This requires going to your guild, talking to the guildmaster, and spending one adventure to pass the test. Passing the test requires a minimum of 3 in your main stat (myst for PM/Saucerors, muscle for SC/TT, moxie for AT/DB) and around 8-10 in your main stat to have a very good chance of passing. So this can be done very early in your ascension ... I usually try to do it about midway through level 2, after I've done a couple things and have a main stat around 8 or so.

Passing the test also gives you a couple of other bonuses, like spleen items that boost your main stat and one other stat, as well as 1-2 AdCock drinks if you've not ascended before. Drink up, n00b! But more importantly the Barrel Full of Barrels will appear in the Big Mountains.

The Mechanic

The basic KoL wiki description of the BFoB can be found here.

The BFoB is a zone that replenishes every rollover, so you can only visit one barrel once per day after you break it. There are 36 different barrels but it's important to realize (as described in the link above) that there are a couple of important features:

1) Even though the BFoB is a 6x6 grid, it's arranged into nine 2x2 "quads" like a tic-tac-toe board.
2) The best (pre-mixed) booze is always going to be in one of the upper three quads, and the bottles of booze will always be in one of the middle three quads.
3) There are pre-set quad layouts (i.e. they're not 100% random) that lead to the booze (both mixed booze in the top quad, and bottled booze in the middle quad) being in the left-most quad 4 out of 9 times, in the right-most quad 3 out of 9 times, and in the middle quad 2 out of 9 times.

What does this mean?

1) If you're looking for booze, click on one barrel in the left-most quad first. A) If it's not booze, go to step 2. B) If it is booze, click on the other three barrels in this quad and then STOP CLICKING ON BARRELS IN THIS QUAD.

2) If you didn't find booze in the left-most quad, click on one of the barrels in the right-most quad. A) If it's not booze, go to step 3. B) If it is booze, click on the other three barrels in this quad and then STOP CLICKING ON BARRELS IN THIS QUAD.

3) If you didn't find booze in the right-most quad, click on one of the barrels in the middle quad. Click on the other three barrels in this quad and then STOP CLICKING ON BARRELS IN THIS QUAD.

The big glitch in all of this is if you click on the first barrel in the quad and it's an exploding barrel, or a mimic that you can't beat (more on that later). You didn't learn anything about the quad, so you should probably click on another barrel in the quad.

But the Barrels, They Are Hurting Me!

So? A common misconception about the BFoB is that you need to be able to survive there in order to adventure there, so people don't go to the BFoB until they've got 35-45 moxie or are level 5-6 or so and can beat a mimic or survive an exploding barrel. Not true! Let's say you're a very low level, maybe level 2-3 with 10 HP. An exploding barrel will probably knock you to Beaten Up, and you are guaranteed to lose to a mimic which will also drop you to Beaten Up.

Again, I say: So? If you found a mimic or an exploding barrel, and got Beaten Up, don't worry. Go to Doc Galaktik, spend 10 meat for +1 HP and go back to breaking barrels. It doesn't really matter if you've got 1 HP or 20 HP, another mimic or exploding barrel will kill you just the same, and it's probably better to burn off the 3 turns of Beaten Up by spending them breaking barrels than by adventuring somewhere else. And if you still have turns of Beaten Up left after you're done breaking barrels? Well, ideally you're going to be making AdCock drinks so that will spend a turn or three. Or fish in the sewer, or cook some food, or otherwise spend 1-3 turns doing things you need to do anyway to burn off the Beaten Up and -then- heal yourself up to full.

The benefit of the net gain in adventures at very low levels (see below) which is very significant, in my opinion, FAR outweighs the down side of getting Beaten Up at low levels, which is easily dealt with. I mean, it's great if you have enough HP to eat an exploding barrel or are able to defeat a mimic. But if you can't, it's not the end of the world and the benefits outweigh the disadvantages.

The Math

There is a point at which you should stop visiting the BFoB, and that's usually when you're able to farm places that drop bottles of booze as well as helping you advance yourself. For example, you need the pirate outfit as part of ascending and the Obligatory Pirate's Cove drops a lot of rum (as well as Barrrney's Barrr dropping a lot of booze in general). During the level 8 quest, you can farm drunk goats for bottles of whiskey and after that, taking the goat lucre quest gives more opportunities for whiskey (as well as goat cheese and goat milk, all very necessary ingredients to good food). Once you get the Knob lab key and unlock the bottom half of Cobb's Knob, the Level 3 Menagerie is a good mid-range place to level up and booze giants drop lots of booze. So around level 7-8 you should probably stop visiting the BFoB unless you're starting to get desperately low on booze bottles.

But before then, let's look at the math. You're spending 1 adventure per barrel. You're going to come away with, on average, 3 boozes (sometimes you're lucky and get four, sometimes RNG bites you and you only get two, most of the time it's 3). Six if you're trying for mixed booze -and- bottles of booze, but let's focus on one row at a time.

Each mixed booze gives you 5-6 adventures. You're going to be spending anywhere from four adventures (if you're lucky and the booze is in the first quad) to six adventures (if you're mildly unlucky and had to check one barrel in two of the other quads before finding the booze quad) to eight adventures (if you're really unlucky and got some exploding barrels and/or mimics). So an average of three mixed boozes at 5-6 adventures each is 15-18 adventures gained versus 4-8 adventures lost. A net gain!

The gain is even more pronounced if you have Advanced Cocktailcrafting and get the right garnish summons to match the mixed booze that drops. AdCock drinks give 10-14 adventures, and require 1 adventure to make (unless you have a bartender-in-a-box). So 3x(10-14) = 30-42 adventures gained versus 3 (to make drinks) + 4-8 (to find them) = 7-11 adventures lost. This is so full of win that it's not even funny.

Top Row vs. Middle Row

Getting mixed drinks from the top row is great at low levels. You need to be level 4 to drink AdCock drinks, and you need to be level 5 (and have enough meat) to acquire the skill Advanced Cocktailcrafting if you are a DB and haven't already (and probably don't have it if this is your first HC run). So for the first couple levels, mixed drinks from the top row are your best option.

Once you get the AdCock skill and can drink AdCock drinks, you're going to find that there isn't always a good match between the garnishes you summon and the mixed drinks that are dropping from the barrels. So there is a point at which you are going to want to start hitting the middle row for bottles of booze. This gives you a lot more flexibility over what final AdCock drinks you can make based on the garnishes you summon, but it does also require an additional +1 adventure per drink made (to make the base mixed drink).

At some point you will unlock the Hippy Store and have access to all the fruits you could possibly want. Until then, you're probably going to be very limited in your options. Soda waters from the Demon Market are always available, and lemons drop (ha ha, "lemon drop") from the "Fun" House and a couple types of fruit drop from the fruit golem in Fernswarthy's Tower.

So until you unlock the Hippy Store, it's going to be hard to make use of the middle row and it's probably advisable to use the top row, make and drink the AdCock drinks you can and drink the base mixed drinks when you can't.

The Punch Line

The BFoB is probably the best source of adventure gains at low levels in Hardcore (or Anycore, for that matter). Understand the mechanic that gives you a very narrow idea of where the booze you're looking for will be found instead of randomly clicking on barrels. The point at which you stop going to the BFoB for booze depends on your level, but probably around level 7-8 when you can adventure in the Pirate's Cove / Barrrney's Barrr, Goatlet, or other places that drop booze as well as give you meat and substats and other benefits (like completing quests). Don't sweat the dangers of getting Beaten Up by mimics or exploding barrels, get back up and rub some dirt into it, and get back to the barrels. And enjoy the booze!
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