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Civilian Trading Upgrade

Civilian Trading Upgrade

About a year ago with the roll out of Corewards, the new open to all region of space came Civilian Trading. This was simply the ability to buy and sell from Game Controlled civilian populations. The primary reason for its introduction was to fill a void, namely that players often wanted items but either they were not being sold or the selling positions were in places they could not visit.

The items on the market reflected the infrastructure of the world, both in terms of what they were likely to produce and what they would want from visiting traders. Part of the ambition was to give a means by which new players could get items that would be in demand by established players, thereby giving established players a reason to interact with them rather than simply ‘doing everything themselves’ as is often the case in a game where players have macros and multi-position control.

In principle the ideology was sound. Players that wanted to do their own thing on the wild frontiers could buy modules in order to build their own bases in out of the way places while established players would buy from them unique trade goods, providing them with necessary stellars for the cycle to continue until new player became established player.



In practice however it failed on a couple of points. It was overly restrictive in an attempt to prevent abuse, despite this it was still open to abuse… ho hum.

Essentially we had two issues, first the highly desired unique trade goods were listed and dealt with alongside less desirable common items and all covered by the same constraints. Second, there was no way of knowing how many civilian worlds had been visited by ships belonging to a single player within a given week and as such establishing constraints was problematic resulting in a system that forced ships to move in order to carry on trading even if it made little sense overall.

This resulted in three groups of players; by far the largest consisting of those that ignored the whole thing, a smaller group that dabbled with a couple of ships and a tiny minority that worked out that they could cycle a fleet of ships around the entire Periphery hovering up from all worlds each and every week seemingly without being bothered by pirates or privateers. This was not how hit was envisioned. Clearly the system needs fixing.

Things are about to change due to the latest upgrade which included Account Custom Data. Custom data is essentially a free-form blob of information which up till now could be attached to various positions and worlds in the game. The latest upgrade has extended this to player accounts. This blob of data can be used to store any information, allowing it to be read, manipulated and written as required without the need for pre-establishing fields and setting their constraints as is normally the case when writing code. Access to centralised data meant that it was then relatively straightforward to design a mechanism where each player could be treated individually and therefore take into consideration all their assets at once rather than having to store data piecemeal throughout the game on positions and planets with markets.

The upcoming changes therefore allows the separation of the highly desirable unique trade items available on worlds from the generic merchandise that is often on offer at inflated prices and easily undercut by a local player market (they way it should be).

Generic merchandise will therefore be present on a market that refreshes each week and is sold and first come first served basis, just as standard player markets. Unique trade goods however will now have their own mechanism called Private Sales which is discovered through the standard Contact Civilian Traders.

The theory is that the ships and captains representing the political speak with civilians and through their networks of contacts discover if there are any sales of unique trade goods on offer within the Periphery of known star systems. Any Private deals will be listed along with the trade deals for the world. If the Private Deals are for a different world, they will be listed in the Off-world.

Buying these unique goods is dealt with using the Buy from Civilian Traders just as before though the primary difference here is that the sales are treated in exactly the same manner as buying from starbases. Players can send multiple ships to buy the goods if there is too much for a single ship to handle, they can immediately off-load them to another position and return to buy the rest. There are no restrictions on how many buy attempts are made in a week providing there are still unique trade goods on offer.

Limits
While there are no limits to buying available goods we have designed limits within the availability of unique goods mechanism. First of all it is about scouring your contacts within the Periphery the Contact Civilian Traders order conducted to get the best available deal. This equates to diminishing returns based on time since last deal. Essentially the greater the time between asking for deals the better the available deals up to a point. There is a trade off such that doing deals as fast as possible will give the best returns (else why bother) though better individual deals will occur if no deals have been requested/completed recently. Currently the upper limit is five deals per week.

The second limit on the mechanism is a deadline for the deal. This is around two weeks which means that it can sometimes be a race to get to the market and possibly team up with another player if the cargo space requirement too large for the ship making the deal.

Beyond Corewards
Civilian Trading was only possible within the Corewards Periphery as this region of space was built using models that defined populations and their corresponding infrastructure (on which the future update proposed at the 2013 pubmeet was based). As part of this upgrade we have systematically gone through each system in the game assigning them a population class and in many places also ascribing them underlying infrastructure. This means that following the update ‘Contact Civilian Traders’ for the purpose discovering Private Deals will be possible in every Periphery, though of course some Peripheries such as those with plenty of populated worlds with reasonable populations will be more fruitful than others.




Price and Amounts
The basic premise is that larger populations have more unique trade items available through private deals but at a higher mark-up because there are more people on the world demanding the goods internally and therefore more local competition (and taxation). Further, the mark-up is also modified by the world trade demand multiplier reflecting the underlying economy. The main knock-on effect here is that unusually inflated markets with huge populations such as those in the Inner Empire are very expensive for the purpose of buying Unique Trade Goods. The amount may be sufficient to off-set the net profit/mu.

Tax
We are still employing the tax by starbases as per the original mechanics though now if the starbase owner is the same as the ship owner, no taxation will be forthcoming. The other difference is that starbases will also be able to purchase directly from the civilian markets (though outposts can’t). Again, no taxation benefits will be awarded. This does mean that in theory a starbase can clear out all civilian markets on a world every week should they so wish, though of course they cannot interfere with any Private Deals.





 
News
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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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***** 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 Empire’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.
 
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***** 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 “We found ourselves on the Dewiek Nation’s enemy lists pretty soon after.”

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) – 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

Deceased: CAL

*** Submission ***

By private message to The Editor or via Mica if you prefer to remain anonymous.
 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****

New pirate threat rocks Corward Arm.

Several large pirate ships have been spotted in outer rings of Corward systems. Reports forwarded to us at the SSS allow us to exclusively tell readers that traders should keep their wits about them when moving through these areas.

No existing pirate menace has yet claimed ownership.

In a possibly unrelated event one of the FET cartel members claimed nothing was happening in the outer ring of Coptov shortly afterwards. But it could be that they are still trying to catch Empire backed pirates and have nothing to do with the new sightings.
 
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***** Inter Galactic News *****


DEN continue to shoot innocents

The Dewiek have made themselves busy shooting at the peaceful and innocent traders of the SSL. Leader of Solar Spices and Liquors Mr TOAD has been vocal pointing out that the Beast-DEN are being totally unfair. News of a go-fund-me appeal are yet to surface though.

This office is sure that it must have provided the DEN light relief after picking on the equally defenceless Felini. Word is that the DEN faced such an uphill struggle in these recent actions they had to take up Felini inter-breeding to provide some entertainment as the battle reports were rather boring.
 
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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.


 

Free Ship when you sign-up
Complete missions for in game rewards
Control everything, up to an entire empire
Dedicated human moderators
Player and Moderator driven plotlines
Discover new worlds to explore, exploit & colonise
Over 20 years of content development
Persistent Browser-Based Game (PBBG)

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