Thats right, the TL;DR is coming at the start of the post. Just to make it easier to find.
There are 3 main options presented to you with your first investment - a company that makes food from raw products. A company that farms raw products, and upgrading your training centre.
Creating a raw food company gives you an income of $1.25 to $3.75 a day (depending on the selling price). It'll take over 900 days to pay back. Creating a food producing company (Quality 1) gives you between $5 to $8 a day, minus what you spent on the raw products. It'll take over 500 days to pay back. Upgrading your training centre means you get the Super Soldier medal nearly double as quickly. It'll take 250 days to pay back - unless you get it at half price (around Christmas there are specials) then it will only take 125 days to pay back.
Coming back into the game, gold is much more common than it used to be. A super soldier medal will earn you 5 gold - a hard worker medal will earn you 5 gold. So, as a new player, what should you do with this gold you worked so hard for? (this is all done presuming it's your first set of gold)
The obvious answer in the current economic climate, is to spend it. The game's economy has been changed so it is almost required to spend gold to make a decent amount of money. But with smart investments, you can get a fair bit of bang for your buck - I've been looking into it now, and there are three places you can spend your gold.
The first is on buying a company. You can buy a company that makes raw materials for food for 10 gold - this makes you between $0.01 and $0.03 per raw material produced. With 125 raw mats produced, you get between $1.25 and $3.75 a day. AUD. Thats pretty tiny, considering a direct conversion of 10 gold to AUD gives you at minimum $3480 AUD. At the rate you earn from the raw food company, it would take you - at best - 928 days to earn your 10 gold back. Waiting nearly 3 years to make it back seems pretty pathetic.
The other option here is to make a company that actually makes real food, not the raw materials for it. The problem with this is, if it's your first company, you then have to buy the raw materials... it can be a lot of effort. However, if you buy the raw materials for $0.01 per unit and make them into food, you can sell for $0.05 to $0.08 a unit. You only make 100 units, not 125, but it still gives you between $5-8 a day, minues what you spend ($1.25 to $3.75 a day). This gives you a maximum profit of $6.75 a day - taking you 515 days to earn your money back - but this relies on you having perfect prices every day.
A slightly larger investment that isn't obvious is investing in your training camps. A investment of 20 gold will put your strength increase from 5 a day to 10. The advantage of this is that you get an extra 5 gold every 25 days, rather than 50 (factoring in the work and training bonuses means it's closer to 44-45, but it still very nearly doubles your rate). This means it'll take you 250 days to get your investment back - over half the Q1 food company. By far the best investment! If you wait and don't invest untill holiday events, often the price of upgrading is halved to 10 gold - the same investment as a company. This gives you payback in 125 days - a much better investment!
The third option is to simply convert it to AUD, but this isn't recomended because you don't get any sort of income in the long run. Might as well spend that gold you have on something long-term! If you want to level up very quickly, you can convert your gold to a large amount of AUD, then use high quality weapons to win fights easily. However, one way to make money is converting your gold into AUD now (where you will get a lot of AUD at the moment) and waiting for the price of gold to fall, then buying more gold - you can increase your gold by very large amounts. However, the problem with this is that the price for gold might not fall.
For the picture lovers
So, in summary, I would say investing in the training grounds is your most efficient investment. It levels you up slower than the companies, which means you stay fighting easier opponents for a longer time - a good thing. It also gets your investment back the fastest out of all of them. The best choice all round!
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