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The Economy of Tradewars Part 1 - By Traitor
Wars is built around credits. If you can't make credits, you
can't win. This essay is broken into three parts. The first
section will cover the basic ways of making money as a Red. Part 2
covers ports, and how they work and how to find good ones. And the
final part goes into advanced money making tactics and pulling the
information from Part 1 and Part 2 together. I will
go into some depth on how ports work, how furbing
and the various Red
money making tactics work, and some good practices that will help you get
the most out of your red's and blue's
Money The Red Way
You can't make money without ports, at least not real money. The most basic method for money making is PPT'ing. I'm going to assume that you are familiar enough with that strategy that you are reading this to learn a better way "earning" money. With the exception of Planet Trading (which I will go into later), the best way to make money is to be RED. Red's have several methods at their disposal. Some of them require the assistance of fellow corpies, and some of them can be done solo. I've already covered each of the most common methods below in the Glossary page, but I'm going to go into more details here and include some tips I've picked up along the way.
though, I want to talk a little bit about what I think it means to play a red, and
some good habits that all reds need in order to not only survive, but to
really bring in the cash. The number one rule about being red is:
RED CASHING METHODS
and Stealing: When you are red,
and your alignment is -100
or less, you get a new option on the port menu, R, to Rob.
Which product? (1)Fuel Ore,
(2)Organics or (3)Equipment
Busting: While busting isn't a way of making money, it's such an integral part of the red experience that I felt that I should mention it here before going any further. Assuming you aren't exceeding your experience limit while robbing or stealing, your odds of busting are about 1 in 50. (See here for more info). When you get busted stealing, you lose 10% of your experience, and a portion of your holds equal 9% of the number of holds of equipment you tried to steal. If you aren't stealing equipment, then you aren't making good money! Don't bother with anything else. It's better to buy fuel if you need it than risk getting busted over fuel. In a pinch you can steal fuel, but as a general rule, ONLY steal equipment! When you get busted robbing, you lose 10% of your experience, and holds equal to 1% of the number of credits you tried to rob. This can leave your COLT with only one hold if you bust trying to rob more than 250,000 credits. Your holds never goes below one. When robbing massive amounts of credits, it's often a good idea to use a junker ship for that purpose. If you try to rob or steal from the same port twice in a row, you take what is known as a fake bust. If you try to take more than your experience allows, you odds of busting go up exponentially for every hold or 1000 credits you exceed your experience limit. Robbing or stealing less than your experience doesn't improve your odds. You always have at least a 1 in 50 chance of busting. Know your limits, and never push them. I'll talk about recovering from busts further down.
SSM: Sell-Steal-Move. This is the most basic red strategy for making cash. It's only a little more efficient than PPT'ing. The idea is to find an evil pair and do a slight upgrade on one of the ports equipment equal to the number of holds on your ship plus a few extras to deal with the port regen. This puts equipment on the port that you can steal. Then you port and steal the equipment off the port. Then you move to the other port and sell the equipment. Then you steal the equipment, and move to the first port again and sell the equipment. Then steal it back and move to the 2nd port. Repeat until you get busted. This method is only really useful in an unlimited turn game, or when you are just starting out as a red. You want to move to SST as quickly as possible.
Another red money making tactic. Requires 2
COLTS, two XXB ports, and around 100k startup cash. Used early on by
most reds, until they get the resources together to SDT. You find two XXB
ports within 7 of each other, and park a COLT under each. Then you
upgrade the ports about 30 or so (turns into 300 eq available), and
then you port Sell any eq you already have on you, then steal 250
holds of eq. Then you transport to the other colt, and do the
same. You repeat this process until you get busted. Always
selling any EQ in your holds first, then stealing it back. Makes about
10mil for 1k turns. It's alot easier to setup this tactic, so many
reds use it throughout the whole game. However, I recommend that you use
SDT, since there is
more profit in it.
Steal-Dump-Transport. Another red tactic to make money. Requires 2 COLTS, two XXB ports, a
few hundred K of startup cash, and a planet under each port (they don't have
to be mobile). This mid-game tactic is where most reds make their
money. First, you find 2 XXB ports within 7 of each other. You
create a planet under each of them. Then you upgrade the equipment on
the ports to about 2000 available. Then you get into one of the COLTS, and
port and steal 250 equipment. Then you land on the planet, and dump
the eq. Then you transport to the other COLT and steal and dump.
Repeat this process till the port runs out of eq. Then you do a
port negotiate and sell back the eq to the port. Then you start all
over again. If you bust, have a blue sell the eq on the planet back to
the port. This is one of the most profitable ways of making
money. Compared to SST, which takes more turns to run the same number
of cycles. It's roughly 4.375 turns per cycle with SDT compared to 6
with SST. The more you upgrade the port, the longer in between
sell-offs, but the more likely you will bust before your first sell
ports costs money, and you need to balance the cost of the upgrade with the
risk of busting before your first sell-off. It is possible to lose
money with this method if you have a long run of bad luck. We often
start at around 1750 units on the port, and then after each sell cycle, we
upgrade the port an additional 500 units.
RTR: Rob, Transport, Rob. Requires two ships, and two ports with cash. The ships have to be under each port. A red robs one port, transports to the other ship, robs that port, then transports back to the first ship. Repeat till all the cash is gone. It uses a four turn cycle, and the profitability is only limited by the amount of cash on the port, and your experience.
Steal, Dump, Flee.
SDF requires 3 people online at the same time. Requires one COLT, and
one planet and one NON-Corpie under each XXB port. Also requires that
the two ports are surrounded by figs that aren't part of your corp, or
someone else's personal figs, but make sure there are no figs in the sectors
with the ports. The theory is that when you are attacked, your ship
will attempt to flee, which costs zero turns. If you have no place
else to flee too, then you will flee to the other port sector. You will not flee from corpmates so either run 2 corps
(red/blue) or be sure corp alignment is ok to drop/rejoin the corp.
You upgrade ports and run the cycles just like in SDT, but instead of
transporting to the other colt, you have your non-corpie friend ping you
with 1 fig to get you to flee to the other sector. This is
why you need a non-corpie in both sectors. And you want to make sure
your ship and their ships have enough figs on them to run this for a
while. Nothing is worse than getting podded by your own corpie.
I've seen it happen. This method averages out to a 3 turn cycle, once
you take Flee Penalties into
account. So, it's roughly twice as profitable as SST, but it takes
more coordination, more setup time, and takes longer to run. I used to
like this method until the Flee Penalty got added, now I think it's a
royal pain. Still, it's the most profit per turn a red can make till
you get mobile planets. There is a variant of this called SSF (Steal,
Sell, Flee), which is like SST, but with a average 5 turn cycle.
However, you might as well run SDT or SDF instead, rather than go through
all the trouble of running SSF. About the only good thing I can say
about SSF is that it's a nice lead into SDF.
Only available in MBBS mode. Requires a COLT, A mobile planet, and at
least one fully upgraded XSS port and one fully upgraded XXB port. The
ports don't have to be close to each other. If a port has 3.3
million credits to a maximum of 6.6 million, you can rob it all at once, with the same
odds as a normal rob. No matter
what your experience is! The
common strategy for setting up a mega-rob is to park a mobile planet under
an XSS port that is fully upgraded on equipment to and possibly some upgrade
on the Organics). You need approx
3.5 million cash on you when you start. You
then buy dump all of the equipment on to your planet and maybe some of the
organics to top the port off. (remember
to reverse haggle when you do this or you wonít have the 3.3 mill
there when you are done) Once
you have drained the port, you then port and rob, getting all your cash
back. Remember that you can also rob 11% more than the port shows
available. So, if the port
shows there is 3.2 million available, you can actually rob 3.55 million.
(and it's the number + 11% that needs to be more than 3.3 mill. If you
keep track of how much money you spent buying the goods, you can simply rob
that back.) Your odds of busting remain about 1 in 50.
Originally this was a bug in the MBBS version, but it has never been
fixed due to itís popularity. Some
players consider it a bug still, but the amount of setup and prep required
to pull it off makes it balanced in my opinion. When you are getting
ready to begin MR's, you want to carefully choose your ports, so as to
maximize your profit and save turns. This is in effect a 1.01 turn
cycle compared to the other methods mentioned above, when it's run
properly. I'll go into that in more detail in Part 3.
D/RTR: buy-Dump, then Rob, Transport, Rob. This is the poor man's Megga-Rob. On non-MBBS games, or in games where you have only just gotten your mobile planet, and you don't have a lot of cash to upgrade ports, this is the alternative to MR's. Requires at least one mobile planet, a few million startup cash, and two or three ships (usually a COLT, a Havoc, and sometimes a Merf,). First thing you do is find two SXS ports that are within 5 of each other (the maximum transport distance for a Merf). Upgrade them to around 2.5k fuel ore and 5-10k equipment. Park a mobile planet under one of the ports, and then buy dump all the fuel and equipment (remember to haggle for BEST price). Once you have buy dumped all the goods, then move to the other sector and do the same. Once you are finished with the buy-dump, you then park a ship under each port, usually the Havoc and the Merf, and RTR them. Then sell the Equipment at a XXB port. This method will keep your planet in fuel. You can skip the get fuel part if you are using an H. Then move on to the next port pair. There are several advantages to this method. One, your experience tends to go through the roof! The more exp you have, the more you can rob, the safer it gets. Two, you can use the upgraded buy ports that you were using for SDT's to sell off the EQ. Three, if someone starts killing off ports, you're not out a ton of money. The disadvantage of this tactic is that you need ALOT of little ports to support it. However, most people ignore any ports under 10k, so you tend to be able to pull this one off fairly well. Depending on your experience, this averages about 1.2 or less turns per cycle. Better than SDF, but not as good as MR. One thing to keep in mind with this strategy is you should have around 20k experience before you begin using this. Less will work, but ideally, you want to be able to rob all the cash off the port in one or two shots.
THE FURB FACTOR
a Red busts, as mentioned above, they lose holds and experience. The
experience usually isn't that big of a deal, but losing the holds can be a
problem. Furbing is how you cheaply fix that problem. You furb
by having a fellow corpie (usually a blue) buy a merf (or Furb), make it
personal, fill it with 63 holds and tow it to you.
Then you attack the furb with about 10 or so figs to destroy
it. That in turn replenishes your COLT's holds. (Assuming you're
stealing 250 holds.) The formula for furbing is:
included some charts that show both the costs and the turns used for typical
furbing in a stock game.
* = Based on an average base cost of 200 for holds. See the formulas section here for a more detailed explanation on how hold prices work.
Tow Costs: Based on the formula: Move cost = your move + 2x move cost of towed ship.
Turns required to take a COLT to SD or a Class 0 port and get more holds.
As you can see, this isn't very Blue turn efficient. It's much better and cheaper to tow Merfs or Mules to the COLT than it is to move the colt. Even though the Mule costs more to buy than it does to buy the top 50 holds in a COLT, the savings is lost because of the number of turns it takes to move the COLT to a port and back.
Turns required to Furb with a Merf:
Note: Use Merf instead of a Cargo Tran, because even though Cargo Tran is cheaper, it costs more turns to move it.
Turns required to Furb with a Mule:
Note: Use Mule instead of a COLT, because even though COLT is the same price, it costs more turns to move it.
Copyright 2002 - 2005, Chris Kent aka Traitor. All rights reserved. See About.html for more info.