Unofficial UO Alchemy FAQ
This FAQ is an attempt to give fairly concise answers to the questions that are most often asked concerning potions and alchemy. In many cases a more complete, in depth answer can be found in other areas of the alchemy guide. When that is the case, links to those sections are provided. To suggest additional questions or provide better answers for those here drop by the Alchemy Guide bulletin board.
What's the best way to raise my alchemy skill?
It would be nice if every potion was useful at every strength. Then the best way to raise your alchemy skill would be to make the potions you could use and those you could sell. But --alas-- that is not the case...
As it is, the fastest, most economical advancement seems to come from making those potions that you succeed at about half the time. Why is this? You gain more skill for a harder potion than for an easy one, but you must balance this with the fact that you gain more skill when you succeed than when you fail. There are also the economic imperatives to make some potions --at least for most of us.
See Also: Raising Alchemy
Which potions sell the best?
Greater Healing Potions are by far the best sellers. After that many people find that Greater Explosion and Greater Cure sell well. The stronger Poison Potions and Night Sight are the next best sellers, but there is not much profit in Night Sight Potions.
You will see an increase in the sales of Greater Agility and Greater Strength potions, because of the new, longer duration's. People are starting to see how these potions --used in combinations with Greater Heals and Total Refresh-- have benefits in battle as well as other area's in adventuring.
See Also: Selling Potions
When should I start making each potion?
Generally speaking, you will want to wait until your professional title is about two to three higher than when you are first given the option of making that potion. For example: you can attempt to make Greater Healing Potions when you are an Apprentice, but you would be wise to wait until you are an Expert or Adept. At that skill level you should succeed at the potion about half the time. The Alchemy Reference Chart gives the minimum skill required to make each potion.
See Also: Alchemy Reference Chart
What is the taste ID skill good for?
Since all player made potions are now identified all of the time, and since the other potions that you may come across are all of the lesser variety, there is really no use for the Taste ID skill.
See Also: Taste ID Proposal
How do I use each potion?
In general, you drink the potion by double clicking on it, and thereby receive the effect of the potion. There are two exceptions to this:
If you double click on a poison potion, you will drink it. Although this is not inconsistent with the way other potions work, it is probably not the result that you intended. To USE the poison on a weapon, you must use the poison skill from your skill list.
The explosion potion is also different from the others. When you double click on an explosion potion it is like pulling the pin on a hand grenade. You then have a few seconds to select a target for you potion before it explodes.
See Also: Potion Tactics
Does the skill of the alchemist effect the strength of the potion?
There is much debate over the correct answer to this question, and the general alchemic community is divided on the issue. The Unofficial opinion of the alchemy guide is that the skill of the alchemist has no effect on the quality of the potion produced. (Note, that this seems to be at odds with both the general opinion of most alchemists as to how the skill should work, AND with the original intention of the designers of the game --that is to say, something is not working correctly)
See Also: Alchemic Research
Are potions more effective for the alchemist who makes them?
We have not found any evidence to suggest that this is the case. Furthermore, for this to be true the servers would have to keep track of who made each potion. We have seen no evidence that this information is stored for potions or any other item in UO.
How much should I charge for a particular potion?
To make the greatest profit, you must balance the price that you charge for each potion with the number of each that you sell. Generally, when one goes up the other will go down. With that in mind, at the low end of the price range you find alchemists who sell their potions "at cost." At the high end of the price range are alchemists who sell their potions for about twice what it costs to make them. You can be successful at either extreme, but you are better off starting somewhere in the middle.
In any case, the first thing you should do is find out how much it costs YOU to make your potions. Once you know that you can begin to make good decisions about the price that you charge for them.
See Also: Alchemic Reference Chart and Selling Potions
How much should I pay for a particular potion?
Saying, "As little as possible" is probably not going to help you much. The truth is that there are a lot of things to consider. But they all involve getting what you pay for. Look over this list and decide if you are willing to pay more for them or not:
1) Convenient location (in/out of guard zone, easily accessible...)
2) Highly skilled alchemist
3) Well stocked (with the type and quantity of potions you use)
4) Alchemist who can answer your questions
5) Alchemist who is not a mule
The more of these things that are important to you (generally speaking) the more your potions will cost. The Potion Reference Chart gives a range of prices for each type of potion.
See Also: Potion Reference Chart
Why am I always blowing myself up with explosion potions?
There are a few things that could be happening here:
1) You might be waiting too long to throw them (click on a target)
2) You might be targeting terrain that prohibits explosion potion.
3) Your lag might be bad enough that you don't have time to throw the potion
4) If your Paperdoll is on the screen, it seems to increase the lag for potions
The Potion Tactics section has more information about each of these possibilities and what you can do to minimize the effect of each.
See Also: Potion Tactics: Explosion
How many mortars can I use at once?
As many as you want. There does not seem to be a correlation between the number of mortars used and the strength of the potion, or with your failure rate. Just don't make grinding spam where it interferes with other players.
See Also: Multiple Mortars
How much does it cost to become a Master alchemist?
A lot will depend on which potions that you decide to make, Some raise your skill faster and some sell better. Most people have to strike some type of balance between those two. Count on spending 30-40k to reach Master, and again as much to become a Grand Master.
NOTE: The above numbers are now over 6 months old. If you've kept track of your expenses, please let us know what the current costs are.
Which potion gives the best economic return?
UOSS gives the rate of return for selling potions to NPCs in their Potions section. Determining the rate of return for player transactions will involve figuring out how much it costs you to make the potion, and then determining how many of each you will be able to sell at a given price. As it is beyond the scope of a FAQ to do that for you, you'll have to figure that out for yourself. Hopefully this gives you a place to start.
See also: UOSS --Potions
Why does Alchemy title show over my Mage title?
It's because titles are decided upon in alphabetical order. Also, it uses the base skill level (not counting stats modifiers) to determine what is higher. So, if Alchemy is at or above the same point as Margery (even if Margery appears higher), Alchemy shows over Margery. In fact, Alchemy title will show over any title with the same skill level.
Where is a good place to sell my potions?
Where there are people is a good place to sell potions. To be more specific, where there are people with money. So, although a bank is a good spot, a bank roof is usually better. Guild meetings are good, if you can get invited to them. One way to get invited is to give some free --shall we say-- samples to the leaders of the guild. Magic shops are also good spots if you have a sales pitch that appeals to mages.
Some people have good luck selling them in dungeons, and at knows spawn points. But there is a certain amount of danger associated with that. Once you find a spot, stick with it and build a client base. Doing so will serve you much better than hoping from place to place, always selling as a stranger.
See also: Selling Potions
Why does nightsight wear off at the same time for everyone?
The nightsight potion is not on a timer. Instead, its effect lasts until the dawn of the next UO day. Because of that, everyone loses their nightsight ability at the same time.
What equipped weapons can potions be used with?
You can use potions with any one handed weapon (UOSS's Weapon's page lists which weapons require two hands to use).
Potions are further restricted in that you cannot use them when you have a shield equipped (though rumor has it that this restriction does not apply to explosion potions).
Why aren't potions stackable?
The only things that ARE stackable in the game are objects that are identical. The long version of that sentence goes like this:
In order for an item to stack, there can be no information that is stored about the item that can change from instance to instance. For this reason you can not stack armor and weapons even if they have the same graphics (because they have different internal information, like the type of magic they possess --if any) And even if you were talking about two weapons that were EXACTLY the same, as far as powers and abilities go, they still could not be made to stack because each COULD (it does not matter if they do or not) have a different amount of damage done to it.
This is the same reason that potions can not stack. Even potions of the same type (Healing --the yellow ones). Even potions of the same strength (Greater Healing). They STILL have some information that can be different between potions. Do we know what this information is? Not that I have heard from a reliable source, but we all have out opinions.
What is a flask and how do I use one?
A Flask is a bottle with a tall neck that is used to mix different regents together to make potions. You can only find flasks only on the test shards at this time. It is reported you must ask a counselor to get on one the abyss shard, though many also state that there are public ones available (locked down) in various locations.
To use a flask you double click on the flask; this brings up a target curser. Target (click on)the reagent that you want to add to the flask. You can double click on the flack as many times as you like (as far as we know) to add additional reagents to your mixture. You must then apply heat to the flask to complete the process. If you are successful, a new potions will be made. Different combinations make different potions or none at all. Remember that these flasks/potions will not be on the regular shards until the alchemy patch is finished.
My alchemy skill is stuck, what can I do?
The official word from OSI is that skills don't become "stuck." Many players find that hard to believe, and offer the following things you can try to "unstick" yourself. Do they work? Some people say it's a bunch of bull, and some swear by them.
Get poisoned and let it wear off naturally.
Get poisoned and get it cured at a shrine.
Die and get ressurected at a shrine.
In reality, you have probably hit the point in your alchemy gain when it simply takes much more time to increase your skill and/or you've encountered a string of "bad luck" with the random number generating deamon. Here are some hints to try to get the most out of the potions you grind:
Make sure you're making the right potions (see Raising Your Skill section).
Keep your hunger between stuffed and starving.
Vary the potions that you grind (say 20 at a time).
Play the game while you grind (ie, don't macro).
Play on "subservers" that are not as crowded.
Play at times when your shard is not as crowded.
Once you get to the mid 90s just make potions as you need them.
Don't be so obsessed with skill gain.
See Also: OSI: Stats & Skills
Is there some way to empty potions out??
Quick answer: No, there is no way to empty potions out.
Flip answer: Why would you want to waste potions?
Useful answer: Right now the only way to get a potion out of a bottle is to use the potion. OSI knows that there are some alchemists who would like to be able to do so, but there are also alchemists who are not in favor of that ability. There are some things you can do to make getting bottles easier:
Offer a discount when you sell potions to people who return bottles.
Give the potions away at the bank for the price of a bottle (or in exchange for).
Have your guildmates/friends collect bottles when they adventure.
Offer newbies 10 gold for each bottle they bring you.
Just make enough potions for use or for sale.