I’ve done a lot of analysis on what makes various farming stages good for recruits, monsters, items, and whatever is on special in that province, and also the relative cost/benefit of various training center modes. I’ve never really farmed province 5 for backpacks after my team was high enough level to farm higher provinces. I know that some players (@Dante, didn’t you mention farming backpacks recently?) do things differently than I do, and I’m always curious about that. Possibilities I’m considering:
Farm 5-8 for backpacks. From what I’ve read, an active farming player can get enough backpacks and recruits keep the queue of one TC2 full, putting out 48 1*/2* heroes/day from that TC.
(Presumably the second TC bounces between swords, rugged clothes, and TC11, the third runs TC20, and the final one is either TC11 or TC20)
Without farming 5-8, I find that I cannot keep a TC2 queue full, and alternate batches of backpacks, swords, rugged clothes, and TC11, depending what is available/etc. (Second running TC11, third running TC20, and fourth either TC11 or TC20)
Farm for good levels of recruits, items, and XP. (My current farming strategy) It started out as a mix of 8-7 and 12-9, 'till I decided I had a game-lifetime supply of both minor healing and common herbs, and my stockpile of crude iron was diminishing alarmingly quickly, so I moved to 6-8 instead of 8-7, still doing 12-9 for better XP and also oil, while still having acceptable recruits.
Compared to farming for backpacks, I’d expect to be spending fewer recruits in my TCs but getting somewhere between 12 and 36 fewer 1*/2* heroes per day, depending upon how many backpacks I actually get.
Farm 7-7 for rugged clothes. Run batches when you have the materials, recruits, and food. (I’m not out of clothes yet, but I’m chewing through them pretty quickly.)
If I do this, the backpacks I don’t get are effectively replaced with rugged clothes, so assuming I’ve got enough food and am recruit farming limited, each 10 recruits will produce 5 1* feeders worth 750xp vs two 1*/2* feeders worth an average 530xp compared to backpacks.
Early game, farming for backpacks would have produced more XP worth of feeders at a slightly higher food cost (compared to TC11 or TC4).
Later game, being able to run TC19, farming for rugged clothes appears to be the winner for growing heroes, albeit at even higher food cost. (Right now food is limiting how fast I can burn my stockpile of rugged clothes, but soon enough I’m sure food won’t be the limiting factor, especially as I upgrade my farms past 16)