Market trade screen

Trade is a means of exchanging goods between planets and stations, with intermediary participants sometimes (but not always) collecting a profit from the process. Players can participate in trade to earn credits, and making a profit from trade will generate experience as well.

Basics[edit | edit source]

For details of trade between markets, see Economy.

Global market information for Organics

Trade occurs between markets, each of which can be a planet, a station, or a planet and its associated station. Different markets produce different commodities such as food, fuel, ore, metals and machinery, which are then exported to other markets that need them. Each market has a specified population, which determines the magnitude of its supply and demand for commodities, and a stability value that represents the amount of factors such as development and law and order on the planet. More stable markets have higher prices and fewer items on the black market.

The player can easily use markets to purchase needed supplies, fuel, ships and other items, and similarly sell acquired loot there, but buying goods from one market to sell at another is generally unprofitable. This is because every market imposes a 30% tariff on items bought or sold by the player, making buying more expensive and reducing the gains from selling them. The design intent is to prevent players from finding a single profitable trade route and then farming it continuously.[1] To get around this, the player must take advantage of events and missions, or make use of the black market.

The per-unit price of a good will rise as more items are bought in a batch, and fall as more items are sold. This is particularly marked if the number of units sold exceeds the market's local demand. Depending on the commodity in question, demand may be zero; e.g. many minor markets won't buy metals.

The items available on a market are refreshed every 30 days.

Events[edit | edit source]

Events such as trade disruptions will sometimes occur, raising or lowering the price of commodities in a market by a large amount. During this period, it is economical for the player to trade in the affected goods.

If trade fleets are prevented from reaching their destination, or accessibility to a market is disrupted, it may experience a deficit of certain commodities. The player can often turn a profit from shipping commodities to markets.

Missions[edit | edit source]

There are two types of trade missions, Delivery missions and Procurement missions. Delivery missions require the player to deliver goods while the Procurement missions require the player to purchase the goods and deliver it as well. Both mission types must be done within a certain time period for a profit and a reputation gain. Failure to make the delivery in time will result in a small reputation loss.

  1. Procurement missions of certain commodities appear via the intel screen. Obtaining procurement missions occur when your fleet passes by a Comm Relay while in hyperspace or in real-time when you are in a solar system with Comm Relays. However, the Comm Relay only provides missions from its faction owner so passing by multiple solar systems belonging to different faction in Hyperspace will yield more Procurement missions.
    • The most profitiable procurement missions occur when a Planet-wide shortages in a Solar system creates an urgent need for vast quantities of goods within a small delivery window, leaving you very little time to buy the commodites and complete the mission on time.
    • As an opportunist, you may wish to use the Delivery mission's commodities to fulfill a Procurement mission, then buying back the goods from different markets to fulfill the original Delivery mission.
  2. Delivery missions are harder to access and since you must find people in a bar needing the player to deliver a certain commodity to distant markets. In this case the goods are provided and the player receives a fee for their delivery. Absconding with the goods will result in bounty hunters being sent after the player.

If you are aligned to a faction and receive a monthly stipend/salary, your faction may go to war with other factions making Delivery and Procurement missions much harder to fulfill. Your final destination may have an enemy patrol nearby requiring your transponder to be on when entering their solar system or even worse requiring it to be on to enter a planet/station.

Some missions involve pirates that require goods and are hiding in a planet/station that only accepts fleets with the transponder turned on. However, the pirate requires your transponder to be off in order to accept the commodity and hide their identity. In these cases you need to use Go Dark and avoid patrol fleets before entering the planet/station. You cannot enter a planet/station when you are actively being chased by a patrol fleet so you may have to distract them by taking control of a Comm Relay, Nav Buoy, or Sensor Array to get them to leave their guard duty position.

Military market[edit | edit source]

Some markets have a military base, which will trade with the player if their reputation with the faction in question is high enough. Military bases will sell ships and weapons not found on the open market, with a higher reputation unlocking more items. They will also buy goods that are illegal on the open market.

A faction commission is required to purchase any item that also requires a Welcoming or higher reputation level, if the faction issues commissions.

Black market[edit | edit source]

The black market charges no tariffs, making it more profitable than the open market. The black market also carries illegal items and military-grade ships and weapons not normally found on the open market. A lower stability value will make more items available on the black market.

Smuggling (i.e. trading on the black market) will cause the player to lose reputation with the faction operating the market, and can attract attention from nearby patrols who will search for contraband or suspiciously large volumes of supplies, crew or fuel. Having ships with Shielded Cargo Holds reduces the chance of contraband being detected. Trading on the open market at the same time as smuggling will reduce smuggling suspicion, and docking with the transponder off eliminates it. The suspicion level is visible as a tool-tip on the black market button. Free ports do not care about smuggling activity and will not receive a stability penalty from it.

Smuggling raises reputation with the pirates, but not when done on pirate bases. Players can trade with the black market regardless of current reputation with the pirates.

Selling blueprints to the black market will cause the pirates to learn them after several months, and use that equipment in their fleets. This can significantly increase the game's difficulty, but can also be done to obtain a new source of recoverable high-end gear.

Unlike the open and military submarkets, the black market does not require the player to dock with their transponder active.

Black markets are not found on player colonies.

Faction relations[edit | edit source]

Trading with a faction will raise the player's reputation with that faction, but lower it with any enemies of the faction (other than pirates) that are present in the star system.

A higher reputation with a faction will reduce the chances of contraband detection and criminal investigations a player is subjected to, while a lower reputation has the opposite effect.

A faction at "inhospitable" relationship status will refuse to trade with the player or even allow docking for refits/repairs. However, a fleet with its transponder off and undetected by any patrols can sneak in and trade on the black market. Independent and pirate markets will also allow open market trading if the transponder is on/off.

Commodity prices[edit | edit source]

Monitoring commoditiy prices to "buy low and sell high" can be quite profitable and not as time-consuming as finding trade missions from each faction's Comm relays.

Mousing over a commodity in the trade menu and pressing F1 brings up a list of the highest and lowest prices available. The player fleet must be in range of a comm relay to access this information.

Below are some ways to optimize commodity trading:

  • Buying ships with ample cargo space and fuel tankers to trade commodities in high volumes while minimizing refueling and buying supplies
    • Trading fuel and supplies can itself be profitable as well
    • Making it a habit to buy low priced supplies and fuel when you are buying/selling other commodities
  • Trading expensive commodities will be more profitable while requiring less cargo space
  • Trading commodities while completing Delivery and Procurement trade missions
    • A side effect to this method of trading is that if you discover the most profitable procurement trade missions with small and urgent delivery windows, you may have all or a portion of the commodities on hand making these missions easier to complete
  • Being mindful of the Deficit and Excess numbers, when you press F1 while mousing over a commoditiy, since they indicate the optimum amount of goods to buy and sell before the commoditiy returns to a normal price.
  • Using the Transverse Jump ability is incredibly useful for time-sensitive Procurement missions by immediately jumping to hyperspace without traveling to a wormhole to enter hyperspace
  • Holding "shift" speeds up time, you may turn the "shift" key into a toggle so you don't need to hold it down within the settings menu

References[edit | edit source]

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