V4 progression is all about Combat Power. It determines how powerful your character is and allows you to grind more quickly and more efficiently. It is CP that gauges the power of your tune compared to other players' characters. You can increase it by simply playing the game - gear, level, enhancements, and skill levels all affect it, but to reach really high Combat Power levels you will need a hefty amount of Red Gems - v4's premium currency.
Earning Red Gems free-2-play is quite tricky and many players have difficulty doing it which, in turn, makes them fall behind the competition when it comes to CP. We dedicate this Guide to these players and anyone else who wants to play v4 without spending real money in its in-game store. It should give you a general idea of how to grind Red Gems f2p and how to spend them as efficiently as possible to increase your character's Combat Power.
How to Get v4 Red Gems F2P?
Red Gems are vital to your v4 character's development. Without them, your progress will be very slow and your character will never be on par with other players' characters. The main way of getting v4 Red Gems is through the in-game store, but that requires a real money investment and is regarded as pay-to-win. Luckily, there are some other ways. Currently, all of them revolve around farming and selling stuff, for Red Gems, via the Trading Post. The prices of most assets are quite inflated right now, however, so if you want to make a good profit, you will have to farm for specific things. Below, we present you with a shortlist of items that are worth farming*.
*Please remember that prices are fluctuating and they tend to decrease as Trading Post gets inflated with new assets. Moreover, methods that are great today might turn out to be outdated tomorrow, it all depends on the game's current economic situation (this includes player count, number of new players who need specific gear, number of Red Gems that are already in the system, number of assets posted on the Trading Post, and so on).
Farming Skill Books
Everyone needs these so prices are quite high and stay stable over long periods of time. Unlike equippable gear's, prices of Skill Books should remain more or less on the same level even after a new content expansion launches (unless it introduces new, more powerful skills which will render current ones obsolete).
Where to farm these? - Purple Bosses have the highest drop chances for Skillbooks, which makes them an optimal choice for this method. If your character is powerful enough, you can defeat these in a matter of seconds without any kind of risk. However, Purple Bosses* all have quite long respawn timers, so you will have some time to spare after you complete a boss run.
While you wait for the Bosses to respawn, you can visit the Abyss and farm Elites there. Elite Monsters have good loot tables and they also have a chance to drop Epic Skill Books (Epic Skill Books start dropping from the 92200 CP Elites** at Phantom Abyss ⇒ Girl's Nightmare, so this is a minimum CP at which you want to attempt these).
*Respawn Timers vary from Monster to Monster and from Boss to Boss, here are some rough respawn time estimations - Lunatra (Normal ~10seconds, Green ~5minutes, Blue ~4.5hours, Purple ~4hours or more), Syllunas (Normal ~10seconds, Blue ~30minutes, Purple ~4hours or more), Phantom Abyss (Normal ~10seconds, Green ~10minutes, Blue ~40minutes, Yellow (Region Boss Monsters) ~24hours), Viten Highlands (Purple ~3-4hours, except Aeldre - 7.5hours; Ledus, Vhalt, Rozei, Verine, and Veah - 5hours).
**Elites with lower CP drop Rare Skill Books, which are worth much less than Purple ones but still sell quite well. If you want to maximize your profits/hour you want to focus on Purples, of course.
Note: While in the Girl's Nightmare Abyss, you might want to consider clearing the area out of all Elites as they have a chance to drop Purifying Water, a material that sells quite well on the Trading Post. Dropping it will increase your Red Gem yield per hour quite significantly. Purifying Water can drop from every Elite monster inside the Girl's Nightmare 1 all the way up to Girl's Nightmare 3 (drop chance increases with the difficulty, so GN 3 is the best choice).
Important - Always check the prices of items you are about to sell on the Trading Post. A simple search will ensure that you will not sell anything for below the actual value (or post something for a price nobody will ever want to pay). If prices are stable, consider undercutting the current lowest offer so that your stuff sells faster. If you spot a big price spike (for example, if 3 items cost ~500 Gems and the rest costs 1000 Gems and up***) undercut the first of the pricier offers so that your stuff sells quite quickly, but also for a fair price.
***You can also buy all the cheaper items and re-sell them at a profit, but doing this is quite risky, especially if you don't know the prices very well - more on Trading Post sniping a nit later.
Trading Post Sniping
There are A LOT of items in v4. In fact, there are so many that remembering all the prices is a titanic task; No wonder that some people just can't be bothered to remember it all or just elect to be ignorant. We also have to remember that sometimes people just want their stuff to sell stuff quickly, or don't know about the Trading Post's "search" feature, or just added too few "0" at the end of the posted item's price. The reason is not important here; the important thing is - people regularly sell stuff for a mere portion of the real value and this means that there's profit to make here.
Note: Remember that Trading Post becomes available from level 60 (you can purchase and sell items via the post only after you reach the said level).
How to do this? - Firstly, there will be some research and brain work needed as you will have to, more or less, learn the prices of expensive Gear, Skillbooks, Materials, and other stuff. After the boring part is done, all you need to do is scan the Trading Post for all worthwhile offers (so, the ones that can be very easily flipped* for profit). To do this, simply use the search bar and the filtering options available on the left side of the Trading Post Window.
*We don't call this method "flipping" as the principle is a bit different - with this method, you focus on a very limited number of goods. The goods you focus on, however, all have extremely good profit margins which practically removes the risk of losing your Red Gems. If you really wanted, you could flip the Trading Post, but taxes, number of items, and constantly fluctuating prices make it difficult and very risky (also, remember that you use premium currency, not mundane gold, for this).
Important - Knowledge is the most important factor here. The fact that you've seen something posted up for 10k Red Gems once does not mean that it is worth that much. Moreover, things that are worth 10 Gems today might be worth 50 Gems tomorrow - you will have to learn how to spot these fluctuations and take them into account when looking for worthwhile offers**.
**If there are multiple assets of one type available on the Trading Post and all of them, except one, have similar prices, it is quite safe to assume that it is that one item that has its price set wrong. If it is much cheaper - buy it; simple as that. If the prices are all over the place, however, you might want to wait a bit and see how the market situation develops (from what you know, someone might have just bought out all cheap offers and left only the pricy ones).
Note: The Trade History Tab will help you keep track of your transactions and allow you to to stay up to date with the recent price changes (thanks to this feature, you will instantly see that, for example, you've bought this one item for 500 Red Gems a month ago and now it sells for 1000 - this is valuable information which tells you that people might undercut the said item's price by a lot, so you might want to scan Trading Post for it more often).
How to Get the Most Value Out of Your Red Gems?
Red Gems are the main source of your character's power in v4. The way in which you invest them will directly reflect in the strength of your tune. Spending them optimally is extremely important, especially if you are a f2p player and don't want to throw your wallet at the game to gain more power. Below, we present you some of the more worthwhile Red Gem investments you can make to strengthen your character or expand your vanity items assortment if you are a collector.
Completing Gear Sets
Completing item sets and obtaining Combat Power bonuses that they provide is, by far, the best way of improving your character's overall strength in v4. Each set you complete gives you quite a minor CP boost, but these bonuses accumulate VERY quickly. To make the most out of your limited supply of Red Gems, you want to focus on sets that are easy to assemble, but also give you relevant stats (+attack, +accuracy, +defense - basically, all "universal" stats that boost your power against all types of opponents). Doing this will allow you to assemble more gear sets with the same Red Gems investment - Glory Sets are especially worth it, as they tend to be much cheaper than other types.
Note: To make this more efficient, you can focus on farming sets by grinding mobs in relevant locations and buying only the pieces you miss (for example, you buy the third piece of the set after you've already collected two).
These can be used, as the name suggests, to improve bonuses provided by your gear - you can find them, in bundles, inside the in-game store. Before you invest all your gems into these, keep in mind that the enhancement success rate falls down drastically after an item reaches +4 (we recommend you to upgrade all your gear pieces to +4 before you even try to boost them higher).
Pet, Companion, and Mount Bundles
The in-game shop offers multiple item bundles. Most of them, however, are not worth your investment because they are RNG-based. Chances of getting something good are pretty slim, so you are likely to lose value when purchasing these bundles. Pet, Companion, and Mount bundles all fall into this category. If you are feeling lucky or you are a collector, you can take your chances with these, however, we don't really recommend it.
Imprint Stones and Other "Limited" Shop Offers
Not all shop bundles are a waste of time. Some of them, especially the "limited*" ones actually give great value for money. These include Imprint Stone Chests, Rare Soulstone Chests, and Event-specific stuff. If you want to maximize the value you get out of your v4 Red Gems, these offers are definitely worth looking at.
*Some goods, available in the in-game store have purchase limits imposed on them (daily or even all-time per account).
Earning enough Red Gems, free to play, to make your character competitive is a real challenge, but it can be done - this guide should make it a bit easier. Investing your hard-earned Red Gems intelligently is also paramount if you want to make make your character strong free to play - this guide should make this part a bit easier as well.
We hope that you have found this guide useful and informative. We will be happy to receive constructive criticism that will help us improve our future work so leave your suggestions in the comments section below.
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