Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Willow's Guide to Pottermore Potions: Walkthrough

Willow's Guide to Pottermore Potions

My Pottermore username is WitchWillow140, so I take that to mean I'm a witch named Willow (how very Buffy). And this is my potion brewing guide, complete with a cost and time analysis for potion brewing. It turned out quite a bit longer than I'd originally envisioned. I don't intend anyone to read it in its entirety, but hopefully if you have questions or are experiencing some issue or other, you can find the necessary answer. If you find any mistakes, or things that have been changed, let me know.

This guide is broken into the following sections:
1. The Basics - If you've never brewed a potion, read here what it's all about.
2. The Ingredients - Where to find all the ingredients used in the 6 potions currently available.
3. General Tips - Advice that could be useful on any or all of the potions.
4. Potions Walkthrough - What you need to know to get you through the brewing of each potion.
5. Potions Cost/Benefit Analysis - OK, so which potions should you brew? I do a simple mathematical analysis to determine which potions give you the most bang for your buck--or for your time.
6. Video Tutorials - I've started doing screen captures of my potion brewing, narrating with helpful tips. If you want to see rather than just read, check these out.

Potions Walkthrough
Before brewing a given potion for the first time, I was very nervous not knowing what it would ask me to do. For each of the potions, I've offered a summary of the directions so you can get an idea of what you're getting into, as well as my tips. I won't give word-for-word directions, just what you need to know to make the potion (the in-game thermometer and timer, for example, should guide you when you're heating the cauldron).

Refer to the General Tips for more detail on some of the actions you'll need to perform. The potion book will show you what each of the ingredients looks like, so don't worry if you don't know Lavender from Valerian.

Important note: All brewing times listed here are for the pewter cauldron. If you're using a different cauldron, make sure you note whatever brewing time it tells you!

Cure for Boils
You can practice this one without any risk of losing points or wasting ingredients or cauldrons, so hopefully it's not a big deal.
-Add 6 Snake Fangs to mortar. Each pinch of Snake Fangs has 3 fangs, so you only drag and drop twice.
-Crush ingredients.
-Transfer 4 measures from mortar to cauldron.
-Heat to the target temperature range for 10 seconds. You'll definitely want to use High to get it to the target range. As soon as the thermometer turns green, turn it to Low. This one doesn't take fine control--just let it heat on Low until the 10 seconds are up, then turn it Off.
Note: I hadn't brewed this potion in a long time, but I just tried it again in the practice mode, and it seems that the effect of the heat settings has changed. Now, you have to keep it on High in order to maintain the high temperature needed. If it gets too high, turn it to Low or Off to bring it back down. I haven't confirmed this in the non-practice setting, but I assume it's the same. I swear this used to work--I have 24 Cure for Boils potions to prove it.
-Wave wand.
Brew for 45/39/34 minutes (pewter, brass, copper cauldrons, respectively).
-Add 4 Horned Slugs to the cauldron.
-Add 2 Porcupine Quills to the cauldron. You can position these horizontally over the mouth of the cauldron so they fall in more quickly, though you're unlikely to run out of time on this step.
-Stir 5 times clockwise.
-Wave wand.

Antidote to Common Poisons
This was my favorite until they changed the points system (they used to all be worth 5 points), probably because the short heating time makes it very quick to brew. I think it's possibly easier than Cure for Boils, but the Unicorn Horn does seem like a steep investment.
-1 Bezoar to mortar. Make sure it counts the 1 added before moving on to next step.
-4 measures from mortar to cauldron.
-2 measures Standard Ingredient to cauldron.
-Heat in target range for 5 seconds. So short you don't need to go back and forth. Use High to get it to the range, switch to Low, and once it approaches that top bar, turn it Off. It'll be done before it leaves the temperature range.
-Wave wand.
Brew 40/34/30 minutes (pewter, brass, copper cauldrons, respectively).
-1 pinch Unicorn Horn to cauldron. Take the pinch by grabbing from the narrow tip of the Unicorn Horn on the left. Once I grabbed from the thick base end and it thought I clicked my wand, which was hidden behind the horn. It ruined my potion. Very inconvenient.
-Stir 2 times clockwise.
-2 mistletoe berries to cauldron. These are bottled but easier than liquids, because you can clearly see each one falling out, and they don't fall out too fast. Tip over the cauldron edge and watch them drop.
-Stir 2 times anti-clockwise.
-Wave wand.

Forgetfulness Potion
-2 drops Lethe River Water to cauldron. It comes out smoothly, so it shouldn't be too hard to measure, as long as you hold it from the top and watch the counter. Happens quickly, though.
-Heat for 20 seconds. This is on gentle heat, and a very small range at that, so you'll have to switch between Low and Off every three seconds or so.
-2 Valerian Sprigs to cauldron.
-Stir 3 times, clockwise.
-Wave wand.
Brew 60/51/45 minutes (pewter, brass, copper cauldrons, respectively).
-2 measures Standard Ingredient to mortar.
-4 Mistletoe Berries to the mortar. I find it easiest to rest the bottom of the bottle on the cauldron and tip the top of the bottle over the mortar, then stop once you've seen four berries fall (rather than bringing it all the way down to the mortar). The trick is making sure you don't accidentally drop any into the cauldron while you're carrying the bottle over it.
-2 pinches from mortar to cauldron.
-Stir 5 times, anti-clockwise.
-Wave wand.
Fun fact: The River Lethe (pronounced "Lee-Thee") is from Greek Mythology, one of the five rivers of Hades. Any who drank its waters would experience forgetfulness. "Lethe" means "oblivion", or "forgetfulness".

This may be my least favorite potion, because not only do you have to buy all three ingredients, but the second stage (after you've spent so much time brewing) is tricky; it's the only one where you have to add an ingredient while the cauldron is heated.
-4 Lionfish Spines to mortar. These are in a bottle, but you can count how many are falling out. They come out faster than Mistletoe Berries, though. Be careful to hold the bottle steady as you move it over the cauldron so that you don't spill any into it by accident (frustratingly easy to do).
-2 measures Standard Ingredient to mortar.
-Crush some more.
-3 measures from mortar to cauldron.
-Wave Wand.
Brew 60/51/45 minutes (pewter, brass, copper cauldrons, respectively).
-2 measures Horklump Juice to cauldron. This bottle has a tippy bottom, so put it back on the table carefully.
-Heat for 10 seconds.
-2 blobs Flobberworm Mucus to cauldron "while it's still on the heat". I hate this step the most of all the potions. Flobberworm Mucus is the worst, it comes out in little globs that may or may not count as 1 measure (maybe this was a bug they'll fix?), so you just have to watch the counter. And it's kind of slow. Plus, you have to add it while it's still on the heat??? When the heat timer is finished, get the temperature to the highest within the target range. Turn off the heat, grab the bottle, and tip over the edge of the cauldron. I interpreted the directions to mean that it still needs to be in the target heat range when they're added, but I think that as long as there's ANY heat (the thermometer is still showing), the potion will work.
-Stir 4 times clockwise.
-Wave wand.

Sleeping Draught
The second stage of this potion brewing is hard because you have to heat for one minute, meaning you're likely to be crunched for time at the end. This was the first "real" potion I attempted (not counting the practice Cure for Boils). I panicked at the end because I was running out of time and apparently didn't stir it correctly. Fail.
***I've encountered a glitch a few times in this one where the Flobberworm Mucus does not move--you can't pick it up, as if it isn't there. To avoid this problem, try making your very first step to simply pick up and then put down the Flobberworm Mucus somewhere else on the table. This seems to help "remind" Pottermore that the Flobberworm Mucus is there, so it won't forget later on. Or something like that. Glitches don't necessarily have logic ;) ***
-4 sprigs of Lavender to mortar. Make sure to position these so that no part of the Lavender is hanging over the edge of the mortar (they're very long). If too much falls outside the mortar when you let go, it won't count. Try dropping it in when it's aligned vertically.
-2 measures Standard Ingredient to mortar.
-2 blobs of Flobberworm Mucus to cauldron. I usually find that 3 or 4 drips need to fall before it counts as 2 blobs.
-2 measures Standard Ingredient to cauldron.
-Heat 30 seconds. Another one with a small heat range, so you'll have to switch back and forth between Low and Off about every two seconds or so. It's annoying, just be patient.
-3 measures from mortar to cauldron.
-Wave wand.
Brew 70/60/53 minutes (pewter, brass, copper cauldrons, respectively).
-2 measures Standard Ingredient to cauldron.
-Heat for 1 minute. Definitely blast this one on High so it can reach the high temperature it needs to cook at as fast as possible, then turn to Low as soon as the thermometer turns green. You don't have to switch back and forth between Low and Off too often, but it is for a whole minute, so you have to pay attention. I recommend trying to time it so that at the end of the 1 minute, the temperature is near the bottom of the target range; the faster the steam dies down the better, since it can make things a little laggier. Also try to time it so that for the last three seconds, you can just let the temperature fall and remain in the target range, so that you can have a Valerian Sprig in your hand ready to drop in when the timer disappears.
-4 Valerian Sprigs to cauldron. Fast. The low sand in the hourglass might be making you nervous at this point, but keep with it.
-Stir 7 times clockwise. You may have in your mind that cauldrons should be stirred slowly, like they always seem to be in the movies (Double, double toil and trouble...). Now's not the time for such sentiments. 1234567 quick! Just make sure the stir counter registers it. If you're about to run out of time, a 10 second counter will pop up. So you're not really in trouble until that happens, but it should be enough time to finish stirring.
-Wave wand. As long as you click on the wand before the time is up, I think it should work.
***If you're still having trouble completing the potion on time, try adding the Valerian Sprigs and even stirring while the cauldron is heating. Make sure it doesn't over/under-heat still, but as long as the thermometer doesn't turn red again, you should be fine.***

Wideye or Awakening Potion
The first stage of brewing this potion has a lot of steps, but at least the second stage is very quick. If you're going to mess up one stage, might as well be the first, before you've wasted all that time brewing.
-6 Snake Fangs to mortar. Each grab from the fang bag is 3 fangs, so only drag and drop twice.
-4 Standard Ingredient to mortar.
-6 Dried Billywig Stings to cauldron. Why does it dribble out of a bottle if its dried? It's a mystery. This can come out fast (the steeper you tip it, the faster). Make sure you're tipping it over the cauldron lip and have control, so you can yank it away as soon as you need to. Hold it steady as it drips so you can watch the counter steadily approach 6, then remove it as soon as it gets there.
-Heat for 30 seconds.
-Crush stuff in mortar.
-4 measures from mortar to cauldron.
-Stir 3 times clockwise.
-Wave wand.
Brew 55/47/42 minutes (pewter, brass, copper cauldrons, respectively).
-2 sprigs Wolfsbane to cauldron. Fastest if you hold them horizontally across the top before letting go of them.
-Stir 3 times anti-clockwise.
-Wave wand.
See video tutorial here.


PTBartman said...

Thank you so much. I was having so much trouble brewing my practice potion. Your tips were so helpful i finally got it. esp how the cauldron works. I friended you, I'm OakCloak 190 and also in RavenClaw (Go Claws! WooWooWoo, you know it). ;) really like your blog, we have so muc in common esp tv, movies nd reading. Thanks again.
PS any tips on spells?

Eleni said...

Hi PTB! I'm so happy to hear that :) Ravenclaw needs more points!

Sounds like you have good taste :)

I haven't had a chance to duel yet, since it's been closed, and I only FINALLY figured out how to cast spells a couple days ago (and open that door to Fluffy). The directions Pottermore gives are terrible.

The colored letters at the bottom of the screen correspond to the letters in circles floating in the air. Start by pressing the key corresponding to the first letter. When the circle around that letter is at its biggest, press that letter again. Now the "magic beam" will shoot to the next highlighted letter. Once it gets there, press that letter. When the circle around it is at its biggest, press the same letter again. Keep doing that until all the letters have been pressed twice.

Beyond that, that's all I really know about spells. Maybe if I ever get good at dueling, I could do a guide for that. Good luck!

Meggie said...

Thank you so much for this!
It has really helped me a lot with my potions :D Now I love brewing the Awakening potion :D
I'll add you on Pottermore okay~ my name is ShieldPixie166 :D
I'm a Ravenclaw too! Thank you very much~

Eleni said...

Hi Meggie! Glad it helped. I'm always happy to get another Ravenclaw brewing :) I'll look for you on Pottermore.

bjwill said...

Great guide, Eleni. So helpful, especially the tip on how to pour from a bottle. I owe all my (limited) potions success to you!

Go Ravenclaw!


Orologiaio said...

I really like your guide, it's very useful!
I added you, I'm WizardGalleon121 on PM ;)

Greetings from Italy! :D

Tinkerbell360 said...

Thank you for the guide. I was interested in the cost analysis portion. Just one other thing. I was having a problem where I'd complete the first part and when I returned my potions would start all over. I've noticed that as long as I "check" on my potion, it has not been happening. I hope this help may help others experiencing the same problem.

Eleni said...

Tinkerbell360 - Do you mean that you click to the potion brewing page (where it tells you the brewing is ##% complete, come back later) before it's done, just to make sure it's still counting? That sounds like a good idea. I hate it when it says it's done brewing, and you click and it takes you to the first stage of the potion again.

I'm experimenting this this technique to see if it works for me :)

Aditi said...

Thanks! Add me on Pottermore: CastleBlood4

the butterfly in the bell jar said...

ScarletMagic12- it tells me it won't work because the steps were not completed in order :[ any tips?

Eleni said...

I found that usually when I got the "wrong order" error, even though I was very careful to follow directions, it was because I was doing it too quickly--I would move onto the next step before an ingredient had finished falling into the appropriate container. For instance, with the Antidote, I would begin crushing the bezoar before giving it time to fall completely into the mortar. To make sure this particular problem doesn't happen, you can quickly click open the instructions book. If the step has been properly counted, it will be crossed out. Click it closed, and you shouldn't have lost much time. Happy brewing!

minimeme said...

thanks you soo much i have been having so much trouble with the potions part of the game. i friended you. im LumosSword8233

LunaKyria said...

I bought all three cauldrons just out of curiosity and it DOES make a big difference in brewing time! I have a Wideeye Potion going in my Copper Cauldron at the moment (thanks so much for the tips by the way, very helpful) and it says it will only take 42 minutes - a vast improvement on 80, I think :D
I notice you wrote this guide back in September last year though so presumably the cauldron difference is relatively new.
Oh! And I plan on adding you - I'm MoonFelicis14614. Ravenclaw pride!

Eleni said...

Oh, thanks for letting me know. I'll update the guide :)

Do you know if there are certain cauldrons that are always faster? Or are some cauldrons faster for some potions, but slower for others? I'll have to investigate!

Dedra said...

Just wanted to let you know that you can no longer avoid the Flobberworm Mucus glitch by adding it to the cauldron first. HOWEVER, I believe it's possible to avoid the glitch simply by moving the bottle somewhere else first, and then following the instructions in order.

Eleni said...

Thanks for the tip! Shame they haven't just solved the glitch entirely :-/

Anonymous said...

Hi! How do you transfer stuff from the mortar to the cauldron?

Eleni said...

Click and hold down on the powdered stuff in the mortar to get a fistful. Keep holding and move your cursor up above the top of the cauldron, and let go so it falls in :)

Mondeskind said...

Thank you so much, Willow! This was so helpful! I'm bookmarking your blog.

Grateful Hufflepuff ~AshSpell20163~

SenjutiM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
princess zhu zhu pet said...

I'm absolutely infuriated at how hard some of these ingredients are to add. I completed the practice with little trouble, then decided to brew the antidote for poisons potion. I do okay until adding the darn mistletoe. I can't for the life of me control the bottle! I pick it up and it flails all over the place, spilling them everywhere, no matter if I pick it up from the top, middle, or bottom. I always end up adding too many because of the wild control and must start over, or I take so long fumbling that I run out of time. I've gotten to the second stage of some potions about 5 times, and each time after waiting for the unnecessarily long, ridged brewing time, I'd mess up and get smacked back to the very beginning. The obsessive in me just wants to brew one successful potion, and I will never feel the need to make another one, ever. Again. Forever.

Eleni said...

With the bottles, such as the mistletoe berries or dried billywig stings, you have to make sure you're holding it at the top, and move very slowly and steadily until you can catch the bottom of the bottle on the outside lip of the cauldron, then slowly tip it over the edge until the ingredients fall into the cauldron. It's easier with a mouse than, say, a laptop touch pad. Have you watched any video demonstrations to see how it looks in those? If you're still sure you're doing everything right, and the bottles are still going crazy spinning around and spilling, then try the Cure for Boils potion. It doesn't have any bottled ingredients. It also has the second shortest brewing time.

During the beta, the shortest brewing time for any potion was 80 min, so I see the 30-40 min brewing times they have now as really short! But it's true that it's slow compared to the immediate results of the dueling.

Good luck with your brewing!

I am the Book said...

Thanks very much for the post! I've been looking for some tips about finding the ingridients in the chapters & I found your post!
But I have one question, the answer to which I didn't seem to find:
can I have several cauldrons? And if I can, it it possible to use both of them for brewing at the same time or I must use only one of them?

Eleni said...

You can have three cauldrons--one cauldron of each type (pewter, brass, copper). The type of cauldron will affect the brewing times, but you can only use one cauldron at a time, so you can't have multiple potions going. I guess even though you have multiple cauldrons, you only have one brewing table and heat source.

I am the Book said...

Sad, but fair enough though.

Yeseul Lim said...

Hi!!! Thanx for the tip!!! I was having trouble with some of the potions- I've friended you!! I'm HazelPurple15857 from Hufflepuff!!

sjane said...

Your youtube video was outstanding. I hope you do one for each of the remaining potions.

Asteria said...

I failed brewing the Cure for boils potion for two consecutive times - it keeps telling me I put the horned slug in the cauldron but I didn't! It's just really stupid - I mean, I can always take that slug out again and put it in the right container in real life...(sigh)

Your post is really helpful, thanks so much for putting down all these tips!

I'm also a Ravenclaw - my username is HazelNimbus15709.

Goodluck on your spellwork.
I can't do spells properly too. (sigh) Maybe you can figure that out and teach us all with another post. ;D

Asteria said...

I failed brewing the Cure for boils potion for two consecutive times - it keeps telling me I put the horned slug in the cauldron but I didn't! It's just really stupid - I mean, I can always take that slug out again and put it in the right container in real life...(sigh)

Your post is really helpful, thanks so much for putting down all these tips!

I'm also a Ravenclaw - my username is HazelNimbus15709.

Goodluck on your spellwork.
I can't do spells properly too. (sigh) Maybe you can figure that out and teach us all with another post. ;D

Ary Yogeswary said...

Hey, just wanted you to know that your blog post helped me a lot :). It has been over three years since you first wrote the post, and I am happy to tell you that your post is still as relevant when you first posted it. Good job, and thank you very much! -RainIce2692