The Almighty Stellar
Create a political and get a one-time bonus of 100,000 stellars - a large number, but is it a large amount? I remember Dennis Pennis saying to Joan Collins she looked like a million lira (depending on which country, this was somewhere between Ł1.75 and Ł12.50) so some idea of the in-game value of the stellar is required.
Stellars are the lifeblood of the game. Personnel (ship's crew, troops and employees) all have to be paid every week in stellars. They will not accept anything else. Their wages effectively leave the game (transferred via the EEM - see Tal's Arrival in Issue 1). There are other activities that also cost stellars. These are generally associated with politicals, starbases and outposts. Examples include initiating research, requesting tech manuals and attempting orders that fail.
There are only two means by which stellars enter the game, via starbase merchandising including sales to civilian populations and political positions (which includes accessing income from system claims). This means that stellars flow from starbases and politicals through all other positions in the game. If you do not run either of these positions, then you need to find means of supporting your ships. You can generate all the unique trade goods you want, but you need to convert them into stellars in order to pay your personnel else they will eventually defect.
Playing for Free
As pointed out, the only way to pay your crew is to generate stellars. There are two obvious methods for this. The first is to travel between player controlled markets buying from one and selling at others in order to make a net profit. This is often very difficult for the following reasons:
- There are a lot of ships in the game and transactions are on a first come, first served basis
- Markets may be public but are in restricted regions of space
- Often a market only buys what is not being sold and sells what is not being bought
- Many markets are not public - you have no idea what's on them without talking to the owner
- It is common to find markets buying at around and even below average market sell prices
I will leave the last one up to players to explain the logic.
Do not lose hope though for there is a second option. This is to get your hands on stuff that people want. This can be done through trading with local populations (code release due 213.4 - see Diary of a Merchant Captain in the next issue). You can land your ship on certain worlds (Corewards/Halo) that have civilian populations and determine if they have any imports or exports. If they do, you can then purchase goods from them for stellars. Most importantly these include unique trade goods that are worth considerably more when sold at the other end of space. As the purchase of these items is limited, you can be sure that what you have is desired by other players. You can then sell them for stellars in order to pay your crew. With some savvy trading you can finance your positions and even expand your control without ever paying to play the game. There are however drawbacks - you are in competition with other traders and there are pirates, mercenaries and privateers out there (oh, and rivals from other affiliations).
So, how much can you expect to get from a trade run between civilian worlds?
Typically, buying from civilians will net around 1,500mu of unique consumer goods. The price will be around twice as much as they are worth when sold directly back to the planet. You will pay around 600 stellars for them (base price 0.1 stellars/mu x2 local economy x2 mark-up). The value of this cargo however can be worth as much as 16x its base value at the other end of space. So while you may have paid 600 stellars for it, it is worth 2,400 stellars, maybe closer to 5,000 stellars depending on the local economy. Clearly nobody is going to pay this much for it but getting 1,500 stellars is not unreasonable especially if you are not responsible for transporting the merchandise very far.
Of course there are other means of getting cargo - you could try your hand at privateering and even outright piracy. If you don't want the ship you have captured through boarding you can always render it down for patches or sell it on (though may be an idea to both re-register it and change its name).
What is a Stellar Worth?
A stellar is the equivalent to the weekly wage of standard personnel. A starting ship has a weekly outgoing of around 70 stellars. With other issues such as maintenance this is probably closer to 100 stellars. A typical small player will probably have a couple of dozen ships - so a wage bill of around 3,000 stellars/week is about right. With a weekly income of 10,000 stellars from a political, this is more than taken care of but leaves little room for expansion in the short-term.
Financing your first outpost
A small mining facility will require around 20 complexes, 200 employees, 200 troops and wages paid at 1.5 stellars/personnel for outposts. Your net outgoings have increased by around 600 stellars. On top of this you need to buy the modules to build the complexes. Modules are usually around 100 stellars each and complexes require 25 each = 50,000 stellars for your first outpost. Suddenly that bonus 100,000 stellars for creating a political is very handy.
Certain ores such as collidium are always in high demand. A typical yield is 10 while they can be sold for 30 stellars. A single mine therefore equates to a gross income of 300 stellars or a net of around 250 stellars per mine (after accounting for personnel and ancillary facilities). You can capitalise on this by searching for new sources. The problem however is that keeping what you find is not always straightforward. If you are going it alone and have nobody to back you up, be prepared to lose your outpost. You could invest in caves to try to hide the mining operation, but do not count on being hidden forever. If somebody else starts mining the same vein they may notice that the stockpile is being eroded faster than they are mining it and then start looking around.
Taking it Further
War is very expensive for the following reasons:
- All transfers of personnel between positions cost 1 stellar per person
- Virtually all naval engagements degrade ship integrity
- Physical damage to ships need to be repaired
Transfer of Personnel
The first one may not be obvious but consider raising an army of 100,000 troops at your capital worlds and getting them to the conflict point on a frontier, then out again afterwards. The distance is invariably too long to move them all in a single action. As such you will most likely need to create a staging point. Even if a successful conflict you will generally want to pull most of the the survirors back. This requires the following logistics:
- Recruit mercenaries at your starbases (100,000 stellars)
- Over twenty weeks, therefore paying wages (500,000 stellars)
- Train each one at a cost of 10 stellars each (1 million stellars)
- Move them to the staging point (200,000 stellars)
- And again to the attacking ground force (200,000 stellars)
- Assuming 25% loss and 25% holding, getting rest back to staging point (100,000 stellars)
- And again back home (100,000 stellars)
Total cost of the campaign for the movement of troops alone = 2,200,000 stellars. For this reason, campaigns of this nature are not overly common. From your point of view as an owner of a starbase this is good - it means that if your starbase has around 15,000 troops, the chances of somebody assaulting it on the ground as a whim are negligible unless your base is so nice that it is a steal even at a cost of over 2,000,000 stellars! This is very important from a game balance point of view. It means that slashing and burning of major bases in the game is very rare. If there is an assault, more often than not there a very serious political agenda and planning has taken months.
If a naval battle lasts a day, each ship involved will take a standard week's worth of integrity loss. For standard capital ships this can equate to around 3 patches. In terms of production costs, minerals and paying for the maintenance complex personnel, this is the equivalent to 150 stellars. Doesn't sound a lot, but if you have twenty ships and they are involved in a few days of combat over a few weeks, this equates to a bill of 10,000 stellars and that is before even accounting for repairs to hulls, armour and items.
A typical capital ship has a base value in excess of 130,000 stellars. Losing a few of those in a conflict will certainly hit the coffers. Even suffering 30% damage to hulls will equate to around 15 patches and a further 25 patches if a quarter of the armour is blown off. This equates to 2,000 stellars to get the ship combat ready again. If your entire fleet was damaged it is really going to cost you. If forced to repair and maintain in somebody else's bases you can expect to pay more than twice this!
Balancing the Books
As can be seen, for an affiliation that is geared solely towards conflict, balancing the books is problematic and serious conflict requires a lot of planning and the combined resources of quite a few players. This is why the militaristic affiliations in Phoenix are generally allied to at least one mercantile affiliation while the less militaristic ones have a significant amount of their resources geared towards trade. As a player you can use this to your advantage - if you are looking to play for free or remain a small player and enjoy the trading side of the game, you can make good deals with the militaristic factions. They need stellars and have access to big civilian markets, you have access to unique goods that they can sell. Even if you don't want to join them, you may well be able to wrangle a place to set up your operation within their region of space - they may even protect you if your sales are worth it.
Star Date: 221.3.3
Meklan scout ships continue to be seen around the Orion Spur periphery. These cyborg creatures in service of hidden ancient masters appear to be terrorising the Wimble Nation in particular. Despite public lamentations against the hardship of defending themselves, the Wimble leadership have not yet responded to our request for comment.
Artist's impression of a Meklanised Wimble
However, Xavier Fox, CEO of Galactic Transport and Trade, did give us the following statement:
â€śWe have engaged several Meklan ships, although currently the source has not been identified. GTT Directors have been running patrols and have engaged and destroyed numerous ships that have attacked outlying outposts belonging to different affiliations. The pattern of ships encountered leads us to believe there is a central source, but until that is found we would suggest any affiliation with assets in the area provide adequate defences.â€ť
Doomsday On Pause
At the site of the Thete anomaly, the Dewiek Nation has sent media sensation Sharon Aleman to the scene. Aleman, whose cybernetic enhancements allow her to directly interface with her shipâ€™s sensor array, led her hardened crew into a dive of the outermost â€śedgeâ€ť of the anomaly. After spending several days collecting and analysing data (mere minutes to the rest of us outside the anomaly), Aleman reported her shocking discoveries.
Star Date: 220.50.5
Veil Lifted on Flagritz Home Space
As the Hellcadium ISR field continues to fluctuate, one of the newly exposed systems is Junista inside the previously hidden and inaccessible home periphery of the Flagritz Republic.
Over the past few weeks Flagritz Republic patrols and platforms have dealt with a number of scout ships from the Human Empire as the IMP wasted no time in exploiting this opportunity to poke around in their old enemyâ€™s backyard. It is understood that at least one of these unarmed scouts was destroyed with no one willing to estimate how many more might be buzzing around.
Coincidentally, suspected IMP lackey, SSL TOAD, has also been overheard showing an obsessive interest in the Flagritz periphery. However, we have received no reports of this being anything other than his usual drug-fueled, barely decipherable mutterings at this stage.
Either way, this sudden, uninvited interest in the Flagritz Periphery has left the FLZ leadership muttering darkly about appropriate measures being taken. Defensive fleets and supporting structures are being deployed in the Junista system and beyond in expectation of further uninvited guests.
When You stare into the Flagritz Periphery...
Thete's Timey-Wimey Tease
Investigation into the Thete anomaly continued in the Dewiek Pocket Periphery. The anomaly was scanned from all angles by a number of the Dewiek Nationâ€™s best sensor ships and officers. The data, collected over several weeks, was sent to one of the DENâ€™s most advanced scientific laboratories for analysis.
What they found will shock you!
Star Date: 220.45.1
Long speculated by theoretical Stellar Cartographers, Perfidion Reach finally opened in the last few weeks. Immediately, the Detinus Republic boldly staked a claim on the first accessible system, Hellcadium. Only time will tell the true value of this strategic move but their much-taunted bureaucracy may have finally proved its worth.
Early reports from scans of the system reveal a wildly fluctuating ISR field. Rumours suggest that at least one ship was destroyed as it was forced into an asteroid belt chasing a stable jump field attempting to exit the system. Casual travellers are warned away from the system at this time for their own safety. Leave it to skilled explorers and navigation officers.
Mathematical model of Hellcadium ISR Field.
We spoke to Captain Zakiyah Ummahi via subspace link. Zakiyah led the first DEN expedition into the Perfidion Reach. "Spirits remain high but this is largely down to the extended R&R we were all forced to take immediately prior to jumping into this hole. Initial scouting reports show at least one planet with plenty of forests and grasslands which might help if we're going to be stuck here for Folkvar knows how long waiting for this damned ISR field to stabilise."
Valhalla Stargate Reopens
Dewiek engineers and scientists have finally managed to re-enable Stargate Valgrind this week and the protective Exclusion Zone is to be lifted. If DEN investigators discovered who caused the gate to malfunction, or why, they were not willing to share it with us. Military sources, however, have announced a project to provide a significant boost to the already formidable defence platform in the stargateâ€™s orbit.
*** Inter Galactic News ***
Empire - DEN action grinds to a halt
After months of tension relations between the Empire and the Dewiek Nation, which rose to several large scale fleet actions ending in the DEN losing over 60 Direwolf warships in Solo, things appear to have moved from antagonistic to unfriendly. With the Solo system being a particular issue an agreement has been reached between the Wolf Mother of the DEN and Xavier Fox of the GTT. Since this things have become very quiet, not just because the shooting has stopped, but also because my reporters have been on their summer holidays.
|News For Discerning Naplians!
---- Special Galactic Edition ----
(The Host sits at his desk as the studio lights dim, and a single spotlight bathes him in light. He looks straight into the camera and begins to speak: )
Good Greetings, and welcome to the show.
This is News for Discerning Naplians, and iâ€™m sure you are all showing much impatience to see this weekâ€™s Panel Discussion. We will be discussing religion with the Lady Ghadir of the Temple of Ya Zoon, renowned neo-naplian spiritualist Chairman TonTon, and a very special guest from our imperial neighbours, Bishop Samantha Porteus of the Brotherhood. But before we get to that...
(Looks demonstratively at his digital wrist watch. )
... it is time for a word from our sponsor.
|******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******
Welcome to the latest version of ESNN, giving the news and views from the ESNN's reporter and news anchor, Ainsley Moore, making this the peripheries' most favourite unbiased publication in the known universe from our new home in the Heartland,
And so with the news from the last few weeks,
*** Inter Galactic News ***
DEN assault FEL base and get wiped out
CIA Trade fleet caught and destroyed by the DEN
Krell denounce worship of the True One
***** Inter Galactic News *****
Huge fleet skirmish at the London/Crossley wormhole
A large fleet of over 700 DEN warships responded to the EMP action in Crossley, where a 4000 hull DEN platform was destroyed. Reports show the DEN ships caught a group of CIA ships napping and inflicted significant losses on the humans. IMP and GTT fleets moved to assist the CIA, matching DEN fleet numbers, but the arrival of over 1200 Hexamon ships seems to have tipped the battle in favour of the DEN-HEX alliance.
The combined DEN-HEX force pushed through the wormhole into the Heartland area of human space and retaliated, attacking several CIA platforms in response. The outnumbered Empire fleets abandoned the area and fled, they are currently waiting for the larger alien force to make their next move from their hiding places.
***** Inter Galactic News *****
Admiral Lord Simms killed after a long and distinguished service to the Empire.
The Imperial Services have intercepted and serious damaged several DEN ships on the way to the Empireâ€™s home systems. Unfortunately during the action Admiral Lord Simms was injured and reports from the Viceroy indicate he has passed away, fighting the enemies of the Empire like any true Imperial Officer.
The Viceroy has stated that the officers and crew of the DEN ships have been captured and are now awaiting trial at a secret IMP base.
DEN continue to strike at the Empire
Reports are coming in of multiple engagements between the Empire and the Dewiek Elder Nation over the last week. With several battles taking out Empire ships in the Heartland of the CIA.
AFT turn to piracy
The Association of Free Traders have, after a long history of neutrality, turned to piracy this week. AFT Drake boarded an IND ship in the Halo periphery, killing several of the crew in the process.
Independent trader Jarlebanke Langhofdi immediately took to the public communication channel demanding an answer to why supposedly peaceful traders had killed his crew and taken his ship.
The AFT remain silent over the attack.
***** Inter Galactic News *****
Combat Special Edition
Since the DEN started shooting at those lovable FEL fluffballs things have certainly been heating up. So we through it would be prudent to bring you, gentle beings of the peripheries, a special edition in order to keep you updated with all the latest action in regards to who the DEN are shooting and who is shooting them.
Felini strike back at Dewiek
Reports have come in of the FEL striking back at the DEN in the Kallisan system. A huge FEL force supported by the IMP and CIA assaulted DEN positions taking both the platform and base called Lucien. There was much rejoicing in the FEL camp as the Felini proved they were not such lovable fluffballs after all!
GTT get sucked into the war
A passing fleet of GTT warships got caught in the fighting and this saw the GTT enter the war. When asked about this CEO Fox pointed out they are not warships at all, they are trade defence ships. So how they came to be in the DEN system of Kallisan is a mystery to us. But the GTT CEO was clear that they only engaged using support and defend orders to protect allies. Needless to say, the CEO commented â€śWe found ourselves on the Dewiek Nationâ€™s enemy lists pretty soon after.â€ť
Dewiek Nation attacks GTT positions in Orion Spur, breaking DOM system rules
A fleet of DEN warships has engaged and destroyed a significant number of GTT cargo ships and escorts in the DOM system Monument. The GTT immediately took to the public channels to ask why the DOM were not doing something. In reply the DOM issued a statement to stop, which the DEN ignored.
The DEN newssheet "The HOWL" published a completely unbiased review of the attack shortly after.
DOM make a choice
After the above incident and then further raiding by the DEN, taking out a few GTT cargo ships in the DOM system of Coptuv, the DOM seemed to have been faced with a choice of stopping drinking their tea and doing something or just hoping it would go away. Instead they seem to have decided to abandon the whole idea of being an active affiliation and we have since folded. The lengths some people will go to not to have their elevenses disturbed is truly staggering. We asked the DOM for a statement on their new system rules to share with our readers but have received no replies.
DOM positions share out
Just as we were going to press news has come in of various DOM assets being given to other affiliations or sold. Hopefully we will have more on this story in the next issue of your favorite factual newsheet. Yes, that's us at the SSS.
*** Affiliations ***
AFT Association of Free Traders (54) - Marion Tweedy
CIA Combined Intelligence Agency (64) - Laton CIA
DNA Displaced Natives Asylum (66) - DNA people
DTR Detinus Republic (58) - Morley Decker
DEN Dewiek Elder Nation (67) - Urd
DOM Dominion (57) â€“ we believe the DOM are now inactive
FCN Falconian Republic (70) - Bacran
FEL Felini Tyranny (49) - Juris
FLZ Flagritz Republic (47) - Kayxaer
FET Frontier Exploration & Trade (56) - Cu Chulainn
GRC Gracians (13) - HG1
GTT Galactic Trade & Transport (52) - Xavier Fox
GCE Garcia Enterprises (4) - Neil
HEX Hexamon (23) - Ando
IMP Imperial Services (51) - Jack Jones
KRL Krell (30) - Namica
KRT Krell of the Reverence Temple (37) - Kal Torak
KST Kastor Kastorians (12) - Kastor
MZC Mizuchi Combine (86) - Mizuchi
MOH Mohache (73) - Listens
MIC Mohache Independent Commune (76) - Sleeps with Dragons
NLF Naplian Liberation Front (38) - NLFHQ
RIP Regularly Involved in Piracy - Githyanki
RRH Roy Robert Holdings (39) - Roy Roberts
SMS Stellar Mining and Smelting (53) - MikhailM
USN Ulian Stellar Nation (34) - Oeipus Prime
WMB Wimble Nations (25) - zz
* Leader MAY be inactive, affiliation may be active
** Affiliation has no leader but this is the only known contact
NPC / FoC: ARC, CIV, CGT, FRE, HBO, HEF, IND, ISP, JCN, MEK, MRC, PIR, PRV, TCA, TRN, KAS
Inactive: ANT, BHD, COD, HVE, IDC, RIP, RCF, SKW, TAG
*** Submission ***
By private message to The Editor or via Mica if you prefer to remain anonymous.