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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
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  Star Date: 221.22.5

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RAGNAROK BECKONS

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Assault on End Game

The ancient Architects have declared war on the Dewiek Elder Nation. The first sign of the conflict was subspace transmissions in a remote system in the Pocket Periphery. This followed reports that the ancient Ragnarok shipyards on Beacon were malfunctioning. In response, the Wolf Mother sent urgent orders to several Dewiek scout ships to patrol the End Game system.

The Konungr Smidamadr was the first to encounter the gigantic, “Planet Killer” class ARC ships. Measuring in at thirty-two hundred heavy hulls and armed with a hundred ARC plasma weapons, the ship was more like a mobile armed platform. It is certainly the largest vessel ever recorded. The scout ship was vaporised instantly.

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ARC Planet Killer dwarves largest DEN warships

 
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  Star Date: 221.11.4

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Caste Apart

The Flagritz Republic is (very nearly) no more. In its place, a single Hexamon and Flagritz power has arisen. The new Collective has absorbed much of the Flagritz holdings with only a handful of Clique-caste Flagritz systems choosing instead to align with the other Elder species, the Dewiek.

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Flagritz and Hexamon Hybrids - A hope for the Future?

 
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  Star Date: 221.3.3

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Meklanmania

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.

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Artist's impression of a Meklanised Wimble

However, Xavier Fox, CEO of Galactic Transport and Trade, did give us the following statement:

“We 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.”

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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 ship’s sensor array, led her hardened crew into a dive of the outermost “edge” 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.

 
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  Star Date: 220.50.5

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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 enemy’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.

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When You stare into the Flagritz Periphery...

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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 Nation’s best sensor ships and officers. The data, collected over several weeks, was sent to one of the DEN’s most advanced scientific laboratories for analysis.

What they found will shock you!

 
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  Star Date: 220.45.1

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Perfidion Reached

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.

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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."

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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 stargate’s orbit.

 
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*** 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: )

Host: Naambta!
Good Greetings, and welcome to the show.

This is News for Discerning Naplians, and i’m sure you are all showing much impatience to see this week’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) ******

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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 from our new home in the Heartland,

And so with the news from the last few weeks,
 
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*** 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

  •  
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    ***** 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.
     

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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