Hey there, been playing since launch, up to 600 hours at this point. I typically end up spending a fair amount of my time gathering consumables once I hit the elder game.
I love how hands on cooking is, needing everything from furnaces, dryers, fermentation barrels, and preservation boxes to run a successful kitchen. It’s rewarding, but there are a couple of buggaboos that sour the overall experience.
Cooking feels less impactful as alchemy but takes more work
Alchemy is mandatory if you’re min-maxing, but getting the materials together to craft a stack of a buff pot is completely trivial. You don’t even really need to use a sickle, and once you have the requisite lotus, you just need to take a trip to the beach to get the alchemical base and you’re pretty much done.
Most of the cooking recipes just aren’t worth the effort with the way the temperature system works in conjunction with the vitality perks, armor, and legendary shields. If I need to craft a new set of obsidian tools in the volcano, I only need 30 vitality and a bedroll.
I’ve been finding myself focusing on making food that just heals for the largest amount. I’ve settled on making Hearty Stew as it heals for a flat 100, similar to a health pot, and doesn’t require any specialist resources like eggs.
However, compared to alchemy, it just doesn’t feel even.
In order to make a stack of buff pots (assuming you have a T4 alch):
20 (or 40)X lotus
20X Gold Dust
20X Silver Dust
1 furnace trip, 1 grinder trip, 1 firebowl trip
In order to make 20 units of hearty stew:
40X crystal or 200X stone
20X feral flesh
20X exotic flesh
1 furnace trip, 1 grinder trip, 3 stove trips (1 to make purified water, 1 to make soup, another to actually may the stew), an additional trip to the fridge is optional if you’re storing it.
It also takes me significantly longer to burn through a stack of buff pots than it does to burn through 20 units of food. To add to this, this specific dish is only a 20 hp improvement over a basic roasted haunch.
To be honest, I wish the stat buff properties would have been reserved for something that is exclusively achieved through cooking different meals, and alchemy elixirs had been given very short duration buffs, like a dps potion.
Harvesting crystal is giving me cancer
This crosses into both cooking and alchemy. Gathering crystal feels horrendous. You need A LOT of crystal if you’re trying to provide for you and a big clan. Stocking 2 improved fridges takes about 5000 crystal alone if you’re making soup based dishes. I spend most of my time while I’m doing this blindly flailing around trying to use a pick on crystal that is designed to be picked up by hand. It’s not a fun experience, and I wouldn’t mind hand picking crystal if making a glass flask was a 1:1 ratio instead of 6:1.