Elemental Secret and what to do with it

I recently acquired a nifty little thing- Elemental Secret, but I don’t know what to do with it. Should I just sell it, or keep it for some special occasion?

Keep it, it currently has no use outside of SMEN, but it’s very rare and there might be a use for it in the future. In general it’s a good policy to never sell anything unless it’s giving you unwanted cards or you need the money for something specific.
edited by IgnatuStone on 1/20/2018

Alrighty then, thanks for the tip.

Some items are pretty hard to get so it’s best to measure the amount of AP you’ll need to invest to get that item vs the amount of AP required to get the item’s value. For example, whirring contraptions which can be sold for 6 E, but you need up to 44 AP to get one. It has few uses, but better be safe and stack such grindable items.

Another way to look at it: most things can be ground out with enough effort (some, like Dreadful Surmises or Elemental Secrets are rare enough that it’s a different story - but let’s assume we’re talking about normally accessible items); however, only a handful of grinds are generally considered “profitable”. As such, every other grind is unprofitable in the sense that you could have gotten more money doing one of the profitable grinds instead. (The reason there are multiple profitable grinds is that they vary in things like luck required, prerequisites, necessity to leave London, etc.)

What this means for selling items is that anything which isn’t a direct product of a profitable grind is a poor deal to sell. For instance, Rostygold can be gotten very easily at 1.2EPA (average) at Unfinished Business. This means that if you sell your rostygold and later find that you need to grind some back up, you’ll effectively be spending actions on a 1.2EPA grind, and it would have been better to instead use a standard grind at 1.64+ EPA (these days, there’s a few good 1.7-1.8EPA grinds even) until you got the required amount of money while still having the rostygold. On the other hand, selling products of those grinds is never a problem because if you suddenly find yourself in need of grinding more, you won’t be spending actions suboptimally while grinding. These “profitable” items are rather limited (mourning candles and puzzling maps immediately come to mind) but there’s no real need to keep a stock of them.

All this, however, assumes very long-term thinking. At the end-game, the only significant drain of rostygold is the Young Stags’ card (where 500 will buy you three favours), so if you don’t intend to join the stags you may never need extensive rostygold stocks again. Or perhaps whatever you’re buying is worth liquidating assets for, even if you may need to get them back suboptimally later (often the case when finishing major money grinds, like goats or cider: at that point, getting your goal now is more important than having a solid stock of assorted stuff you may or may not need in the future).

This of course assumes that your primary interest in items and actions is the amount of cash you can net for them.

Regarding rostygold, archaeology can also be a significant drain on your stores, if you’re using Docks favours as your primary means of gaining supplies. Between excavations and zailing, I use quite a bit of rostygold without getting anywhere near the Young Stags.

Indeed, I myself like to keep at least 100k or so of each tier 1 item and at least a few dozen 12.50 items around. I couldn’t care less about grinding echoes efficiently.

Regardless though you should never sell any POSI items like bazaar permit, whirring contraptions, personal recommendations, favors, or legal documents, as these are much harder to get than their echo cost would suggest. Similarly many of the most expensive items are not worth it to sell as it will take absolutely ages to grind them.
edited by Frenjamin Banklin on 1/21/2018