[quote=PSGarak]Thank you both! Dima, I had not seen that post, it was very helpful. And alekth, thank you for the from-the-basics explanation. Almost everything else I had found seemed to be building off of previous work that wasn’t directly linked, so it was nice to have something that started from the beginning.[/quote] That post with the math was mine, so if you have any questions I’d be glad to help.
Building on that information (since that was before the actual Noman process), I can give more/better information now. First off, I personally believe Pails to be the way to go, with Tears as a backup. Pails are easier and quicker to obtain, since Tears require drawing the PLO card along with grinding high tier wine.
Pails are much easier, since you just have to grind/upconvert items from the Wild Words category. You could even just straight out buy Primordial Shrieks by the thousand and convert them up to Storm Threnodies. Expensive but simple. Night Whispers are gotten through Fidgeting Writer or now the Court of the Wakeful Eye. That takes some resources and time, but it’s a dependable grind.
Plus, you need Pails to get the first point of ToL (Trading ToL to NF on the Noman card resets your ToL, and Warming the Tears requires ToL 1), so Tears can only be used as long as you have a Pail to start the process. So either an equal number of Tears/Pails, or more Pails is my suggestion. I’d lean toward more Pails since they’re cheaper and easier to obtain, as stated above. Tears are good as well, but not even necessary, due to the "Abundant" Frequency of the Noman’s Progress card. You can do the whole process with Pails if you wanted to.
And since everyone always asks: "How much Noman’s Friend do I need to make it?" It’s tricky because it depends on when you create your Noman and when your TtH is. And we can only estimate based on previous years’ melting rates, i.e., how much NF you lost per week to TtH. Each week, more and more NF is taken. For this past (2017) Noman season, you lost ~360 Noman’s Friend if you made the Noman in the middle of January. Making it in the third week of January (right after TtH) is the best choice, I think. That way you lose ~320 between creation and Lilac’s.
Summary of weekly melt rate / NF loss here: Imgur: The magic of the Internet
I’d say you’d need 350 NF minimum to be safe. That’s 250 NF you have to grind after the 100 you start with. If you were using just Pails along, that’s 28 Pails needed. For every Tear that you add, you can take away 2 Pails, since Tears (on average) give twice as much ToL as Pails. So, for example, 20 Pails and 4 Tears would work just as effectively as 28 Pails. Furthermore, and equal amount of 10 Pails and 10 Tears would also get you there. Any combination works, as long as you get to that 250 mark (minimum).
Keep in mind that FB could always increase the melt rate this year, similar to what happened two years ago. Sustain your Noman at your own risk! But, based on last year’s numbers, this is the current state of Noman Math.
Hope that helps.