So the way I'm playing the game, I have a set of potions for battles but only the first one (greatly increased health regeneration) actually has Albedo, because the rest of them I'm going to consume directly afterward anyways.
Agreed, though like I said it's best if you just make a bunch of potions and sell off the more expensive ingredients that you have extras of in that substance type. So I'll always have a stack of like... Red+Albedo or Purple+Rubedo and Purple+Albedo, but not multiple ingredients of those types because I just sell them off.On normal you really don't need potions very often, but on hard I found myself with a full pharmacy, which killed inventory space. I hope they address the serious lack of inventory in the new game.
And everyone should definitely play the game on Hard. It's a better challenge but not overly so (in fact, still a bit too easy for me).
Download and use this:
Put the files in the Data\Override\ folder. This will make it MUCH easier to see the colors of the ingredients so you can decide if you want to sell some off.
Never buy ingredients, you will find them eventually by picking them yourself or getting them off of monsters. For most monster ingredients (I swear to fucking god if I pick up another drowner brain...) you need to have the monster journal entry. You can sometimes get these entries for free by having certain conversations with NPCs, sometimes as a reward when finishing a quest, or finally by buying a book (the most expensive way but also the most direct).
You can also find the books as well, so unfortunately the game does reward you for breaking into every house and searching every drawer (I say unfortunately because I fucking hate this cliche RPG "gameplay" mechanic).
What you probably will have to end up buying are alcohols to use for the potion bases. The strength of the alcohol determines how many slots it has for ingredients. Some potions require 4 or 5 slots, which require the best alcohol. Fortunately, there is a recipe to make a 5-slot potion very cheaply with just average strength alcohol that you get very early in the game (White Gull).
You can rest for 1 or 2 hours to decrease toxicity of potions and you'll still have the potion's effect assuming it hasn't run out yet.
Toxicity matters. You may find yourself going extra toxic just to be curious, and the effect is somewhat interesting, but you'll also become a useless sack of shit at actually fighting things (you'll start seeing MISS MISS MISS when trying to start a combo).
Blizzard potion is fucking awesome. It's bullet time, but with swords, and the weird way that time slows and speeds up during it makes landing combos challenging, but ultimately rewarding since you're just tearing shit up. Probably the most fun gameplay mechanic I've seen in a game like this.
Oils are also in the game and they are useful. They last very long and you can use one on each sword, though they do NOT stack with sharpening stones or diamond dust (basically you can't rub multiple buffs on a single weapon).
Bombs feel useless, but there are only 3 recipes and by the time you get them (and unlock the ability to use them via talent points) you're already doing a lot of AoE damage with your Group Style combat abilities and your spells.
And finally, take potions when you're going to a dangerous area after you've loaded up on quests, and kill as many things as you can in the timeline. Just pop your Swallow/Albedo with a Tawny Owl/Rubedo and Wolf/Nigredo and start slaughtering things.
Keep a Wive's Tears on hand at all times. Sometimes you unlock conversations, quests, and items (or journal entries) by taking a drinking challenge with someone. If you win that challenge and don't pass out, you're a stumbling useless slow ass drunk until you can find somewhere to sleep, and it's just annoying trying to walk around like that (though hilarious once in a while).