Note: As of the October 27th update, the research here is no longer applicable, since the definition of "profit" that the game uses has changed, and the profit calculated here is no longer used. This page here is saved only for historical value.
The profit is calculated simply as the difference between the cost of the raw materials and the price being offered for the item. In particular, it takes no account of the time required to produce the item nor of the difficulty in obtaining rare materials, so it is generally not a very useful measure. (It's even more useless if you bought the item from another customer rather than producing it yourself.)
The profit is also displayed when a customer is offering to sell you an item, but there it is even less meaningful.
Note that this simple formula does not always work completely accurately. For instance, the oaken staff uses two wood, with a cost of 10, but (as can be seen in the screenshot) the profit as calculated in the game uses a base value of 15. This page collects some research into this discrepancy.
Here are the results of a few customers, the price the offered, and the profit displayed. The difference between those two quantities (which I'm going to call the "base price") should be equal to the cost of the raw materials (displayed here as the number of Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 resources required to craft the item), but in nearly all of the cases, it's different:
|Item||Offered price||Displayed profit||Difference||T1||T2||T3||Raw material cost (5*T1+25*T2+500*T3)|
|Lord of darkness||40759||35229||5530||6||12||10||5330|
Patterns: The raw material cost is always less than or equal to the "base price", which suggests that there's another factor going into the base price that I'm missing. I considered various possibilities such as the # of total crafting points required, # of different workers or skills required, etc. But the problem with any such explanation is that it can't explain the two items -- club and plain clothes -- for which the base price is equal to the raw material cost. And the problem with any theory which adds something based on the complexity of the recipe is that two seemingly equally simple recipes, the wooden buckler and the oaken staff, are off. Really, I can't even come up with a theory that successfully explains these four alone, much less the rest of the data.
- The wiki is wrong about the raw materials (very unlikely, since that wouldn't explain why the number is always low; plus, I spot-checked a few and they were all fine).
- The number of raw materials changed and they didn't bother to update the "base price" (doesn't really make sense; why would the base price be hard-coded and not just a function of raw materials? Plus, again, that doesn't explain why the number is always low).
- The raw materials are valued at something other than 5, 25, 500 (I tried running a multiple regression to see if there were better coefficients; you can get a better fit, but nothing that works for all the recipes).
- Or there's some other factor I'm not accounting for. Suggestions welcome!