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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.




 
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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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***** Inter Galactic News *****

The Worm Turns

The FET have reduced relations with the IMP to neutral. Sneezy boss Cu Chulainn took the bold step of putting 1 and 1 together by linking recent mercenary attacks in their systems with the IMP scouts seen loitering for some time and refusing to move. Even bolder, hints that they believe “a certain Imperial citizen” is responsible for Edward Lowe’s entire underhand operation were voiced loudly enough that the handsome but hard of hearing Tiberius Crowe had to take note. He was seen grappling in trademark fashion with his skin tight jacket, pulling it down over his partially concealed middle-aged girth, as he sat to issue a terse public statement. Exactly who this citizen may be was left unnamed and no news channel subject to Imperial laws would dare unmask the villain. Luckily dear readers, we are not subject to phony Imperial laws. It’s Jack Jones everybody. Jack Jones, butcher of Naplians and fancier of silver long johns.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

”Necessity hath no law”

Lord Cromwell of the DOM slapped a fleet of privateers, on charges of "knavery", "bad manners" and "poor sportsmanship." Such offences carry the death sentence in the Dominion, a nebulous territory neither part of the Empire nor apart from it. At least thirteen Armadillo class ships, typically sold by the DOM, were destroyed at a location Cromwell was unwilling to disclose publicly. Bloodthirsty Dewiek as well as "prince of peace" Yahn Wodenzoon were quick to congratulate the DOM for their merciless carnage. It seems the consensus in the galaxy’s ruling class is that not presenting valid identification is a crime worthy of the murder of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of unfortunate crewmen. This is all just another indicator that the political elite are far removed from the lives of ordinary people who are seen as little more than meat inventory. It is telling so-called “man of the people and the downtrodden” Wodenzoon so readily aligns himself with this grisly concord. Meanwhile, the archaic elocutionist Cromwell further establishes the recent trend of mild exertions of power by the cold-blooded DOM.


 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

Return of the Fox

The galaxy is still digesting news of the return of Xavier Fox to the boardroom of the GTT. The ailing corporation's share price began a sharp rally after a six month downward spiral under Ike Krieger, credited with being the worst CEO in the megacorporation's history. The only surviving board member from Fox's initial tenure as CEO, and perhaps across the entire GTT board, is Antt Tilton the Research Director. The reclusive Tilton is the brains behind the ascension of GTT technology, particularly in the field of antimatter weapons and super-heavy dreadnought size ships, Tilton offers a small measure of continuity during this tumultuous time. Mr. Fox has therefore resorted to a broad appeal for new blood to join the ailing firm. So far, the result has been a number of two-dimensional "Yes" persons being promoted to the C-suite. Still, key stakeholders were upbeat with one commenting, "Fox is the man to turn this bloody disaster around. He knows how to put a great team together and where to bury the bodies of the non-performers."


 
******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******

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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,

And so with the news,
 
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As part of the update outlined in the 7th February post, turn fees have been increased as from today.

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******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******

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Welcome to the new version of ESNN (formally CSNN), giving the news and views from the former CSNN's reporter and news anchor, Ainsley Moore, making this the peripheries' most favourite unbiased publication in the known universe,

And so with the news,
 

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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