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The Economy of Tradewars Part 3 - By Traitor












PART 3: Make Money Fast :-)

As you might have gathered from Part 1, there are a lot of strategies for making money.  And as you saw from Part 2, the MCIC numbers really play an important part in determining how much profit you make from a particular port.  In Part 3, I'm going to talk about bringing these things together, and some of the tricks I've picked up over the years that aren't covered anywhere else.  Once again, these tactics are geared for 5k sector, 1k turn, MBBS, Stock ships and planets, 6 person mixed-corp.  Most will apply to other games, but keep this in mind while you are reading.

PPT, A closer look.

Buy low, sell high.  For the most part, the only time your Corp will be doing any PPT'ing is in the beginning of the game.  Specifically on day one, and maybe a bit on day two.  Unless there is a great need for speed, you always, always want to haggle, especially if your experience is below 1000.  You also want to be sure to always, always drop a fig under any port you plan on trading at, preferably before you actually port there.  That said, one of the most important aspects of maximizing your PPT'ing is knowing when to STOP!  

The following table shows a typical PPT between Equipment and Organics using a Stock Merf.  The ports in this example were a BSB and a BBS.  Each had 1,500 units of each product (both buying and selling, roughly average amounts for ports), and MCIC numbers of 50 on the Sell, and -50 on the Buy.  I started with ZERO experience, and I didn't haggle aggressively.  I ran this test 10 times and took the average results.
Trade # EQ Buy Price EQ Sell Price EQ Profit Org Buy Price Org Sell Price Org Profit Amount on port % on port
1 2,889 8,813 5,923 1,571 5,000 3,429 1500 100%
2 2,991 8,765 5,775 1,612 4,878 3,266 1435 96%
3 3,106 8,635 5,528 1,681 4,846 3,165 1370 91%
4 3,224 8,498 5,274 1,748 4,797 3,049 1305 87%
5 3,341 8,351 5,010 1,821 4,669 2,849 1240 83%
6 3,435 8,208 4,773 1,920 4,588 2,668 1175 78%
7 3,582 8,057 4,475 1,964 4,630 2,666 1110 74%
8 3,737 7,967 4,230 2,005 4,501 2,496 1045 70%
9 3,861 7,876 4,015 2,098 4,467 2,369 980 65%
10 3,957 7,774 3,818 2,167 4,346 2,179 915 61%
11 4,048 7,568 3,520 2,223 4,289 2,066 850 57%
  Sub Total: 52,342   Sub Total: 30,201    
12 4,246 7,385 3,139 2,315 4,228 1,913 785 52%
13 4,396 7,401 3,005 2,363 4,154 1,791 720 48%
14 4,474 7,215 2,741 2,450 4,118 1,667 655 44%
15 4,636 7,115 2,480 2,478 4,092 1,614 590 39%
16 4,690 7,007 2,317 2,536 3,960 1,424 525 35%
17 4,824 6,848 2,024 2,652 3,915 1,263 460 31%
18 4,947 6,763 1,817 2,689 3,882 1,193 395 26%
19 5,078 6,696 1,618 2,762 3,792 1,030 330 22%
20 5,237 6,530 1,293 2,830 3,768 938 265 18%
21 5,321 6,382 1,061 2,957 3,641 684 200 13%
22 5,425 6,270 845 2,981 3,593 612 135 9%
23 5,614 6,193 578 2,984 3,500 516 70 5%
  Total: 75,260   Total: 44,846    

As you can see from the above chart, the more you drain a port, the less profit there is.  In fact, The profit from the first 50% of the product is more than twice that of the final 50%.  On average, with default port density, it takes about 20 turns (10 moves in a Merf) to find a EQ/Org port pair, assuming that you have to hunt for them and don't already have a 100% map.  It takes roughly 66 turns to get the ports down to around 50%, and 138 turns to drain them.  Adding in the turns spent needed to find a EQ/Org Port Pair, that equals about 86 turns to make 82,543 credits if you stop at 50%, or 158 turns to make 120,105 credits if you take it all the way down to 1%.  Time for another chart:
Turns Used Profit Profit per turn Profit for 1000 turns
86 82,543 959.80 959,798
158 120,105 760.16 760,158
  Extra Profit 199,640
  % Gain 26%

Granted, you're probably not going to be able to use all 1000 turns PPT'ing and hunting for pairs, but you see the trend.  It's better to drain a port to 50% and move on than it is to drain a port all the way.  Also, as your experience gets closer to 1000, your margin for profit increases.  On the first day of play, that extra 200k per corpie adds up quickly.  

In practice, you probably will be able to make much more than in these examples if you pay attention to the MCIC numbers and haggle very aggressively.  Using this method, I've been able to rake in close to 2 mill per day with 1000 turns in a Merf, by picking my ports carefully, and taking advantage of a full map.  (An ISS is even more profitable, because you can Transwarp Trade.  Find a SBS and a SSB pair with good MCIC numbers that aren't too far apart, buy enough fuel at each port to T-warp you to the other port, and you can clear 2.5+ million with 1000 turns.)  Hopefully, you will never have to PPT after the first day.

For more information on how to aggressively haggle, see the following link: by Cheorkee.  I was originally going to put that information in this essay, but CK did a better job of explaining it than I did, so use his link.  It's got REALLY good info!  5 stars, check it out!!

The 5xp Trade: Myth or Fiction? :-) 

It's possible to get 5xp trades, but it's almost impossible to get them consistently.  Each time you trade at a port, it's looking for a specific number that it considers the absolute maximum offer.  If you hit that number exactly, you get a 5xp bonus.  Unfortunately, that number is often not a round number, so it's rare that you can make the exact offer, since you can only work with whole credits (no pennies!)  And each time you trade, the exact number is different, since the port offer changes randomly each time you trade there (planet trades are always the same offer, but you don't get exp for planet trades, so it's moot.  This only applies to ship trades).  I recommend that you don't bother trying to get the 5xp trade everytime, and be happy when you do manage to get it.  I had a chart at one point that let me get it about 20% of the time, but that was on ports where I knew the MCIC number, and there are a ton of variables involved.  For the most part, you're better served taking the 2xp and do tripple trading.  

The Tripple Trade

Tripple trading is a quick way to make money and get your experience up.  You  find a port pair where you can trade fuel, organics and eq.  Usually an BBS and SSB or SBS and BSB pair.  You trade a few units of fuel in addition to the eq and organics.  This allows you to gain 6xp each time you port.  Usually, you only need to trade about 8 units of fuel ore.   The sooner you get your experience up, the more profit you are able to make from your trades (see Economy of TradeWars 2).  When you are trying to go red on the first day, this tactic helps you gain experience quickly without sacrificing too much cash from your PPT'ing.  Ideally, you want to get to 999 exp as quickly as possible, then have enough cash that you can bust planets to get you up to around 2000+ exp.  If you have corpies, then you are probably better served NOT PPT'ing, and letting them make the cash and use their cash to bust planets up to around 2500xp or more.  The turns you save not PPT'ing net you more cash in the long run.  Just remember that once you hit 1000xp, you are no longer fedsafe.

Stupid Planet Tricks!

I think I've said this before, but planets make the best ships in the game.  Once you have access to a mobile planet, your income potential doubles.  Whether you play a blue or a red, you can make more money per turn with a mobile than you can any other way.  I've already mentioned some of the methods that reds use to make money, but how about blues?

The most obvious way for blues to make money is planet farming.  That's where a blue dumps a ton of colonists on to an Oceanic, and then sells the organics to an upgraded buy port.  With good ports, you can make over 4.5 million per Oceanic, plus the 3,333 figs it makes each day.  It's roughly equivalent of 5 mill per day per Oceanic, assuming you have enough upgraded ports to support the daily planet trades.  The nice part is that it takes almost no turns to make that profit.  

Another less obvious way to turn a decent profit is to sell fuel ore from your Volcanics.  I only recommend doing this if there are a lot of collies available, since it takes 2 volcanics to make the equivalent profit of 1 Oceanic, and stripping your Volcanics of fuel isn't always tactically sound.  But if you have a bunch of H's that are at full fuel, then it's something to consider so their ore production isn't wasted.  (Although once I get an H to full fuel, I usually pull the collies off it and move them somewhere else, like my O's)

So, what to do with your remaining turns?  If you want to make money, then you Planet Port Pair Trade (3PT).  This is where you walk down a line of ports, buy dumping all the product on to the planet and then selling any product on the planet to the port, then moving on to the next port in the line.  It's not as profitable as if a red were doing the same thing and robbing the ports, but it's the next best thing a blue can do.  It's more turn efficient than PPT'ing, since you can use a COLT to drain the ports.  Just be aware that your enemy's reds can rob these ports that you do hit, and you have to be careful when you haggle that your experience doesn't go over 1000 if you want to remain fedsafe.

More as I have time. -Traitor 5/26/03

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