With Herbology, you can use it in green herb spots to gather materials. It’s a good idea to grind this out since it feeds alchemy, and alchemy is useful.
Every town, like Feng Shui, has its own set of herbology books. The herbology books let you get a specific plant from an herb spot. If you get weeds, you rolled a plant you don’t have the chart of. You can savescum this. The charts also increase the drop rate from monsters significantly.
To improve it, you need to hunt mushroom men which spawn near towns. Like the other town spawns, they drop a book. They also drop a lot of herbs, which is handy.
Alchemy is used to make specific pills according to pill recipes you can buy in the workshops of towns and cities, the latter having more charts to learn. Each region has its own set, but all the towns have the same. This is the only reliable way to get red grade pills, which you will probably want down the line. Alchemy is used in multiple ascension quests too. You pretty much need to improve it.
Early on, you can use the workshops to have pills crafted for you, but they will be of lower quality. And since alchemy has a chance to fail, you should save beforehand.
For doing it yourself you need the recipe from the workshop, the herbs and a cauldron.
Herbs require herbology. The cauldron can be bought from sects (by joining or befriending them). Check the passive traits of the cauldron, some can randomly add elements you don’t want, which is really obnoxious.
Now alchemy requires you to have enough herbs for the recipe. You will also see “Required Elements” bars. Here is where things get annoying. The elements are always calculated in a manner that you need all the herbs in the amounts listed, and one more herb you need to do math to figure out. The cauldron always accomodates one more herb than strictly needed for the realm of the pill, don’t worry about that.
For example Qi Condensation Elixirs requires 50 of two herbs, these fill Yin and Yang. But then you also need 200 Lightning element. So you need to calculate the elemental amounts missing, and then check which herb covers that. You want to avoid adding unnecessary elements too. Only one type of herb always fits exactly what you need. These herbs can also cover multiple elements at once, keep that in mind. Across the regions, you get higher tiers of herbs with higher base stats, but you can use the lower tiers too, but it takes more. The max is 100 herbs at once.
If you check you have everything, you can start. Select the pill, the cauldron and then start. Throw in the necessary herbs in the pre-filled amounts and check what elements are left over. Then figure out what the missing herb is and add it. Finish crafting and you get a QTE. You must stop the bar at the marked ideal spot. If you miss it, you incur impurities. Overshooting seems worse than under-.
After you finish, you get a random roll where the cauldron can explode and turn your herbs to ashes (you did save, right?). If not, you get an assortment of pills and a boost to the proficiency of the pill recipe. I assume it improves the odds of getting good pills, but if you exactly correctly fill the cauldron, you will get a bunch of red grade pills anyway.
By the way, your cauldron has a durability rating, it can break if you use it a lot.
Health pills become pretty important later on, attack pills count double in the damage formula, and doing alchemy yourself is the only way to reliably get red pills.
Mad Alchemists town spawns drop the skill book, as well as a lot of random and useful pills.
Mining / Ore
Mostly useless. No really, I mean it. It gives you access to items that drop from Fallen Valley anyway. And since the artifact spirit grind is obscene, you will almost always have more than enough anyway.
The drop charts should increase the drop rate in Fallen Valley.
The crystal golem city spawn gives you books, they’re worth 5 points times the region you’re in.
You can reroll mining spots like Botany, but why even bother.
Forging is pretty complicated. You first need a high enough forging skill and learn the recipe from a workshop, if you want the best artifacts (you do). It’s enough to make the cut, your skill does not influence the outcome. Largely it’s not worth it since the artifact + spirit grind is dumb, and they aren’t even that strong.
Every artifact requires a core material. All but the sword are drops from world bosses that spawn after long periods of time. Since you also need those cores to upgrade them, you better get hunting when they spawn. The sword requires an item that drops from the dragon boss in Fallen Valley, more below.
Supplementary materials are simply monster drops. The total impurity of these materials needs to be below an artifact-specific value. Most are found in the Fallen Valley of the region of the artifact (where you can get the chart).
The Rare Material is where it gets really obnoxious. Each artifact has its own. You need 10 of these to make a red artifact, which has 25% higher base stats than purple. This is a lot more than it sounds, since it’s +25% for all stats. Why is this an issue? Because its obnoxiously grindy.
First identify the material, then figure out which zone boss drops it. For example, the bosses in the special elemental zones of the first area drop the metal for the horn. These drops are random. The spawning of the beasts is random, slow, and you are only notified if you are in the area. You can get 3-5 drops per boss monster, but it’s far more common to get nothing at all. Or ones you don’t need. I very strongly recommend savescumming the daylights out of this whenever a boss spawns.
The last part is a special flame you just buy in a sect. It seems to have no influence on quality.
After all this, you need to play a minigame. Read the description, click to zap the bad stuff away. If you have 10 rare materials, you should have an almost filled purity gauge, 0 impurities, and get a red artifact.
Artifacts need to be equipped into your pill slots. They are limited by your maximum divine sense. They also have a durability. If used in combat, it goes down by 2 if you recall it ahead of time, and by 20 if you let it be broken. And unfortunately later bosses will break them almost instantly.
You can repair them at the workshop with a material from Fallen Valley and monster drops below a certain impurity.
You can also upgrade them. This requires another copy of the core item (the boss drop), a different (and rarer) material from Fallen Valley and something from Souleater Tower. You have to upgrade artifacts to your cultivation tier if you want them to be useful at all.
Forging’s associated spawn is the demon mask, same deal as the others.