Andrew Ferguson asks:
If I want to get as much gold as possible out of Skirmishes, what is the best Skirmish to do this?
I must admit that I don’t worry too much about gold I earn during skirmishes but I presume that there are a few like Andrew who do.
Before we decide on a best skirmish, we need to know whether you are are running a single skirmish or a series of skirmishes over a set amount of time. If you are running a single skirmish (regardless of how long it takes), then you are best off running a skirmish with a high lieutenant count (such as Tuckborough). The more lieutenants you have in the run, the more opportunities you will have to gain bounties.
If you are running a series of skirmishes, though, then you are looking for a shorter skirmish. Why? Because the end rewards are much greater than the lieutenant drop rewards. Therefore, if you can run an extra skirmish or two, you will gain more cash.
At the end of the level-100 skirmish, you receive a nominal amount of cash for completing the skirmish quest (16.14 silver), a master-elite Guardsman bounty (306.15 silver), a pile of silver, and perhaps a relic or two (not worth all that much cash).
The silver pile is the largest source of income in a skirmish. The exact amount is variable but you will generally get about 570 silver in a solo run or 1750 for a duo/small fellowship run (the latter will be split amongst the players in the run). Defensive skirmishes, though, tend to only drop about 350 silver for a solo run, so you will want to run offensive skirmishes.
There are two skirmishes of special note: Storm on Methedras and Rescue at Nûrz Ghâshu.
In Storm on Methedras, in addition to the standard chest at the end, you can also loot the Old Woman’s corpse if you defeat her. She does not give you another monetary award but she will drop a high-end bounty, which makes a nice chuck of change. So if you can save the drummers reliably (a requirement for killing the Old Woman), then Methedras is a good source of income. Many tell me that they consider Methedras to be a quick skirmish, so that too is a plus.
That said, I find Storm on Methedras to be draining. I would not play it exclusively for a bit more cash. If you enjoy that skirmish more than I do, though, then it can be a major source of skirmish income.
What if you either don’t like Methedras or have not purchased it? Then you can try Rescue at Nûrz Ghâshu, Rescue is a very fast skirmish with a lieutenant count that’s a little low. Yes, there is a conversation at the end of the skirmish but even then it can be run in less than 10 minutes. Note that it is a very poor skirmish when considering marks.
A third possibility is to run duo skirmishes to earn more cash. You can either run them solo to claim all the cash from the chest or run it with a partner to complete the skirmish faster. Since I find running solo Storm to be exhausting, it should be no surprise that I have no plans to solo it in duo mode. As for Rescue, you need to complete a fellowship maneuver to complete the group version, so soloing the duo version is out. As such, when I am in the mood the solo a duo skirmish, I tend to run Thievery and Mischief.
Note that the cash award at the end is not affected by the tier of the skirmish, so if you main concern is cash, then Tier 1 skirmishes are preferred.
In the end, it comes down to what offensive skirmishes you can run most quickly. If you can solo the duo versions quickly, then try them. That said, I suggest some variety rather than sticking to a single skirmish.