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Merchandising – everything you need to know

Merchandising – everything you need to know

Everything in Phoenix can eventually be traced back to stellars. The stellar is the currency underwritten by a group of intergalactic money brokers call the Extragalactic Economic Monopoly (EEM). The EEM exist everywhere and nowhere. They have offices in various urban sectors and even a base or two, generally as a legacy from their origins as part of humanity’s Stellar Empire, though they are now pan-species with investors and shareholders existing within both civilian and affiliation circles. With over a billion shareholders, some with hundreds of thousands of stellars worth of shares, their continued grip on the intergalactic economy is set to continue for the foreseeable future.

The EEM make their money through taxation of conversion of local currency to the Stellar Standard. They achieve this through monitoring global economies of planets where merchandising and planetary sales occur and establishing the planetary exchange rate.


GM Note – We understand that it is unrealistic to have a single faction responsible for all transactions and evaluating all planetary economies, especially considering that some of these worlds lie in secret corners of the universe. It is more realistic to presume that the stellar represents dozens of different localised economies and that there is an ongoing relative value of one economy against another with factions buying and selling each other’s currency. In theory this could be a game in its own right but we have not written share and economics game, we have written a strategy and resource space opera and as such the Stellar is a simplification of a lot of potential headaches. With this in mind, attempts to manipulate the economies of species, mass produce stellars or hack an EEM account to increase wealth will always fail. At best you could hold natives ransom for guilders and then ‘launder’ them for stellars.

Further, as pirates deal with stellars, it can be argued that the EEM are supporting piracy, slavers and a whole flotilla of illegal and immoral activities. In answer, we whistle and change the subject. Some cans are best not opened. In our defence, the vast majority of players really couldn’t be arsed with taking this area of the game to the nth degree and we doubt very much it will add anything to the game.


What is merchandising?
Merchandising is a means by which a starbase (not outposts) can tap into the civilian economy of a world and thereby earn some of the local currency. This is automatically achieved each maintenance day for the starbase. The in-game mechanism by which this occurs is highly complex, relating to the Extragalactic Economic Monopoly (EEM) rating of civilian economy and general levels of infrastructure. This local currency is converted into stellars and credited against the inter-galactic account of the political faction involved.

In this article I will concentrate on looking at the merchandising values of worlds and means by which they can be changed or will change.

Merchandising requires merchandising complexes. These perform a range of tasks including but not limited to evaluating quality of local merchandise, banking and exchange of local currency and the storage and preservation of merchandise. They are also trading houses and to some degree deal with freighting goods. All these services are charged for at rates based on what the planetary infrastructure can stand.

Merchandising is defined by five values:
Global Maximum
Global Drop
Local Maximum
Local Drop
Drop Step
The maximums represent the maximum amount of stellars that can be earned through merchandising per complex per week. A complex will collect the sum of these amounts, i.e. a world with a Global Max of 50 and Local Max of 150 will allow a starbase with a single complex to earn 200 stellars per week.

The Global and Local Drops are the amount by which the revenue generated per complex decreases. This comes into effect on each multiple of the Drop Step.
Example:
Global Maximum Global Drop Local Maximum Local Drop Drop Step
50 3 150 25 10


For 45 complexes:
2,000 stellars = 10 @ 200 stellars (50 + 150)
+1,720 stellars = 10 @ 172 stellars (125+47)
+1,440 stellars = 10 @ 144 stellars (100+44)
+1,160 stellars = 10@ 116 stellars (75+41)
+ 440 stellars = 5@ 88 stellars (50+38)
Total 6,760 stellars




How are the values determined?
For worlds that are being colonised, the stages of merchandising are relatively simple. Initially the Local Maximum quickly increases with population while the global trails behind. This is because the planetary population tends to gravitate towards a starbase. The reason for this is that wages are continuously being paid to personnel and some of this will be spent outside the base in the local community.

As the population grows and infrastructure in the form of modules and tech are rolled out, the local and global max increase up to a point. As the infrastructure improves, the population are less dependent on the starbase. Instead of using starbase merchandising complexes for purposes such as brokering deals and holding goods, they construct their own and start their own internal marketing. This results in a drop in local merchandising though under most circumstances the global market continues to increase on the back of the starbase’s superior transport system and deals with virtual transactions.

The table indicates typical values at key stages of colonisation.
Global Max Local Max Drop Step

Population Global Maximum Local Maximum Drop Step
100,000 40 150 10
1,000,000 120 350 10
5,000,000 150 450 10
25,00,000 170 350 12


For merchandising purposes, the optimum population for maximising stellar return for multiple starbases is 5 Million. At this population Global Max stands at 150 stellars and Local Max 450 (give or take environmental issues). As the population grows beyond this and presuming that infrastructure also expands as necessary, local will start to drop though both Global Max and Drop Step increase. Normally, for each 10 the Global Max increases, the Local Max will drop by 50. The Drop Step however also increases by 1.

So while a single starbase on a 5 million population world with 150/450/10 will have a cap of 81,000 stellars, on a world with 25 million and 160/400/11, the cap has increased to 85,217 stellars, though the quantity of complexes required to collect this has also increased (building the extra complexes may still be worth it due to trade demand if the world is a garden world with both large life and trade demands).

What this equates to is that as the infrastructure of the world increases the population can as easily be served by a single merchandising starport as they can by a local starport. This means that while the overall stellars potentially available to a single starbase increases, multiple starbases are in increasing competition with each other.

Global Revenue
Unlike the local element of merchandising, global is shared between all the starbases on the world. The amount each gets is proportional to the quantity of complexes belonging to the starbase compared with the total. It is worked out by adding up all the active merchandising complexes on the world and determining the total amount of stellars this generates from global merchandising. If for example one starbase has 50 merchandising and another has 100, then the total number of complexes is 150. This can result in excess complexes for the potential amount of stellars. For example, a world with Global of 30, a drop of 3 and a drop step of 10 has a potential global stellar revenue of 1650 stellars (=30/3 x 10 x (30+3/2)). Even though both starbases have more than the required 30 complexes, as one has twice as many complexes as the other, it collects 1100 stellars while the other collects 550 stellars.

The following tool is very handy for determining what you should get and working out optimum quantity of complexes.

Merchandising Utility

Local Drop
While global drop tends to remain at 3 as this is related to the technology level which if a starbase is involved, is considered contemporary level, local drop is largely dependent on the local infrastructure of the hinterland surrounding the starbase and the settlements of the civilians. On an uncolonised world this invariably starts around 50, though will quickly decrease to 35. 35 is considered the typical starting threshold for a population of 100,000 where basic colonisation support tech has been rolled out.

Decreasing this further is largely achieved through the establishment of a cultivated and or urban sector. If a world is particularly unsuitable for colonisation or there is already a large established population, then it may be the case that more effort is required to bring the local drop step down.

Where all requirements are being met, the local drop step will generally decrease down to 25.



Atypical Worlds
The above details represent worlds that have been found to be suitable for colonisation with no significant terraforming requirements and no existing civilisation. Where terraforming has been conducted or is currently being undertaken and where a population (even natives) exists or the population has existed for a long time, the merchandising values can become skewed. Wars, slavery, uprisings, disasters both natural and induced can affect the population and thereby modify merchandising. An impoverished though huge population will have their merchandising maximums reduced though have a lower drop, while a planet of slaves may have inflated maximums but very high drops representing rich elite.

Restrictions
Where there is antipathy between the population and a starbase the starbase may have its merchandising complexes closed (by the GM). There will also be a block on either the opening or building of merchandising complexes. This represents an embargo on the starbase. It is quite rare that the entire population is at odds with the starbase. More often there will be a partial block, i.e. the starbase may be limited to 50 open merchandising complexes. The 50 complexes are likely to represent loyalists or black marketers depending on circumstances.




 
News
Is open for business...
 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Return of the LiQuans

A close associate of the Baron LiQuan has been haunting the Corewards periphery and like the old Baron it is said he has a meklan connection. It's unclear whether he obtained his meklan nanites via the CIA but there are rumours that the DEN may be helping the Liquan relative in a bid to sow discontent in the Stellar Empire. Exactly why they would start in Corewards is unclear although with DEN allies, the DOM, having strong positions both in the Sol system and the old Harcorp systems of Harlong and Coptuv they may be the linking factor.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Meklan Unleashed on Mobile Bay

Mad Dewiek scientist Dr Kala released a number of Meklan on the busy world of Mobile Bay in the Yank system. Thousands of civilians have been killed in what is treated by DEN warlords as an amusing practical joke. Rather than take any responsibility for their affiliation’s reckless behaviour, a DEN lord rumoured to be half-meklan himself quipped he would nuke the planet whilst another merely saw it as an opportunity to test some of his greener troops in combat. Surprisingly, the KAS planetary defence force was up to the job of repelling the insidious incursion. Questions remain whether further meklan are stored elsewhere on the planet and whether anybody will challenge the Dewiek’s lack of care for the lives of innocents. Probably not, given how even the mighty IMP are now cowering from a fight with the DEN (see inside this edition).


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Who is behind the AFA?

Following the large scale holiday attack by the AFA against the FET the question of who is behind the attacks has been raised once again. What is clear is that the AFA is using ships that were transferred from the GTT to the IMP. The organisation and expertise of the operation also reduces the pool of potential candidates. Few can go from commanding a handful of broadswords to half a thousand warships and significant army logistics without a long stint in one of the more combative affiliations. With the DEN’s allies the HEX in close relations with the FET and no recent history of animosity between the aliens and FET, at least since the departure of former one-eye big-bun Norozov, it would be a bizarre turn of events if they were behind these attacks. Frankly, there’s no point dancing around it. The IMP are clearly behind the AFA. The question is what can anybody do about this move of significant Imperial resources to a black-flag agency?


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Fox Effects Fantastic Turnaround

With his feet barely under the table, Xavier Fox has managed to dramatically turn things around at the GTT. With year-on-year sales figures up by 23%, manufacturing up 42% and ship production increased by 36%, the megacorporation is running at full steam with noticeable impact on local economies across the Stellar Empire. Political analysts also note that after a period of retrenchment following the disastrous leadership of Ike Krieger, investment in defence is at a five-year high. After such bullish growth, the trick will be for Mr. Fox to recruit C-level executives fast enough to match his ambitions. It is notable in temperament, the current crop of GTT politicals do not exhibit the monomaniacal xenophobia of their predecessors and have resisted repeated provocations by the DEN to enter a pointless spar before they have re-established superiority against the foolhardy aliens.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Felini flounder in Winter against superior Dewiek forces

The FEL have managed to get their asses kicked by the DEN yet again after provoking the definitely “not cute or cuddly” Dewiek in the Crossley system. The furry punching bags had bought a civilian flagged outpost in the system, without permission or under certain conditions depending on who you ask, and then had the gall to reinforce this error by positioning warships in orbit. The famously patient warlord Halvor did not buy the story these heavy hull armed ships were merely transports and sent a pack to clear the orbit. The mouthy yet green Felini fleet commander Pr'prz fancied his chances against what looked like a light complement of DEN warships and ordered his own warships to engage in the neighbouring Winter system. The result was predictably a wipe out of the FEL forces consisting of forty-seven capital warships at no loss to the DEN. Once again, a series of calamitous decision making resulted in Felini lives being wasted by a leadership barely fit to clean a litter tray. The otherwise untested Halvor can now claim some victory ale although with his penchant for picking on creatures as weak as Gracians, it’s not exactly clear how much glory this new breed of Dewiek warrior can claim against the legends of old.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Dastardly Dewiek Disregard Yank Neutrality

The governor of a MRC outpost in the Yank system reports that a 400-hull DEN warship called Grey Hunter Axiom entered orbit of Spritzer and opened fire with weapons of mass destruction (WoMD) against a platform, outpost, ground party and ship. Reports indicate significant casualties to Kastorian personnel both in space and on the ground. The KAS Junta is gruffly warning, with a slightly indifferent air, that everybody better stay out of the sector of the outpost for their own health. It is unclear what measures the KAS have or will take against the DEN on this matter. Such a breach of Yank neutrality has in the past caused the Dewiek to froth at the bit against the Empire for their disregard of ‘civilised’ norms. Their current silence on this matter speaks volumes.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Yenni-bodies Pirates?

A PIR outpost was miraculously discovered by an IMP freighter, of all things, in the Yanni system with several Javelin class warships in orbit. After noticing the IMP freighter and seeing the public post by Jack Jones on subspace, the PIR decided to flee and leave a combined force of IMP and FET forces to capture the outpost. A brain damaged three-year old commentator who still believed in the goodness of people and Santa Claus was quick to commend the IMP on their good work, dismissing those who thought it no more than a convenient clearing up operation signifying* completion of operations in the nearby FET claimed systems of Graydown, Canth and Onissian by IMP puppet Edward Lowe. Meanwhile, the Wolf Lord Lyceum summed up the view of many when he screamed, “What is this amateur b*llshit?” into an uncaring universe.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Crowe Coups Self

The IMP Viceroy Tiberius Crowe has finally achieved something in his unremarkable tenure by relinquishing even the semblance of wearing big boy pants and instead, appointed Jack Jones as Patrol Commissioner, salty spokesperson and policy maker for the Empire. Crowe will now join CIA Director Laton in riding the special bus to work where the two of them will enjoy long pleasant afternoons sipping cups of tea. Actually, just tepid fruit-scented water as neither of them can be fully trusted with a hot kettle. Occasionally, they might be visited by equally dynamic war “veteran” Admiral Bridge to enjoy mimes presenting the latest comics from the Howl. Meanwhile, Jones is putting pressure on the FET and will soon no doubt find a pretext to deploy his vast mercenary forces against anyone else who is seen working too closely with his most hated of enemies, the HEX.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Highlord Aadolf Loses Control As Dewiek Break Peace Treaty

Around one hundred DEN warships have launched an attack on a small GTT destroyer squadron of forty ships in the Daggern system. Two GTT ships were destroyed and another fifteen suffered noticeable damage. CEO Xavier Fox issued a restrained but angry statement demanding the DEN explain themselves. Highlord Aadolf’s buffoon-like response amounted to “Dewiek be Dewiek, let’s drink and forget about it.” Cold comfort for the dead crew onboard the GTT ships and their families. Especially, as seems likely at this time, the Empire will settle for some bloody money instead of retribution.


 

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I’ve played on and off for approximately 10 years, over a 20 year spell. After some interesting debate on the in-game forum, I did wonder what, exactly, has kept drawing me back to the game, when for so many others I’ve generally lost interest after a few months.

Ultimately, I think it is a combination of automation (that allows the game to handle thousands of positions to interact on a daily basis) coupled with Special Actions (that allow the story arc to develop in a way that could not be catered for by a set of predefined list of available orders).
-Zigic