- 1 Summary
- 2 Starting Out
- 3 Trade Empires
The economy is a versatile tool for players to grow their wealth or establish a huge and profitable trade empire. From quests over combat to trading and salvage or down to construction of mines and stations, all ways offer decent profits. It is here that the sandbox truly unfolds.
At the beginning there are few avenues one can truly pursue. After the first ship has been build, the initial options come down to bounty hunting and salvaging, mining or basic deliveries. For the less honorable piracy and smuggling are an avenue as well.
Founding a Mining Company
After the first sectors have been explored and some large asteroid fields are discovered, it can be very profitable to set up one or two additional mining fighters - small ships - to harvest resources for the player with 2 mining lasers each. The goal is to gather enough Titanium and Iron to get off the ground and finance a proper R-Mining operation or the first asteroid mine. While the initial fleet of 2-3 ships are busy gathering money and supplies, the player explores the map for more profitable asteroid fields to harvest with their drones. During this exploration they buy up and research hyperjump modules, trade modules and some mining modules. The mining modules are necessary for the fleet to find core veins in asteroids and the hyperjump module ensures less micromanagement and gate costs between fields of operations.
A sidegoal of a mining company is to quickly acquire a high ranking C43 Object Detector up to Exotic. With the help of this detector hidden stashes can be found to earn some extra modules and money, but foremost the goal is to find potential mines and asteroids. Even though these can be sold for a small sum of money, they are not replinishable! A sale is not encouraged unless the money is really needed. Every mine is a potential future income!
At this point several R-Miners should deliver a steady high efficient income of ore and money and an at least exceptional trading module (permanently installed) will show a system's demands and prices for goods. Armed with this knowledge - and preferably an even higher trading module to use as the galaxy map scanner ability - the first mines can be build to maximize the profit margins.
Passive mines - those within sectors without an active player - save CPU resources and don't need to be upgraded past their initial size as only L and above are more effective and the player or an ally needs to be present for the system to calculate its economy live for all production channels. S mines are more effective if operated in passive mode.
Note that the active/passive calculation might be subject to change in later updates and is far less of a problem in densely populated multiplayer servers where players visit another players systems. Up to date for the release version 1.0.0!
Congratulations, you are now a mining mogul!
Becoming a Trade Mogul
Trade is one of the easiest ways to become rich in the early game without the need to manage an AI fleet. Even though direct trade for minor profits with a decent cargo hold of 5000 or more is an option, this is NOT how a player gets rich and thus there is absolutely no need for automatic tradefleets to expand operations in the beginning.
The true value of trade in the game lies within price-gauging! Unethical, but profitable.
Many regions in the sandbox are randomly generated to have a huge demand for a specific good that the local industry doesn't provide. Those stations go into basic production mode and will attempt to supply their goods for about 10-20% of their production limit at best. They still serve as a supplier for factories but at reduced efficiency! They are guaranteed buyers for a trade empire, but the goal is to manage the deficiency not to ammend it. Most of their basic needs are covered by nearby trading posts which is where the player comes in.
A price-gauging trade mogul can double their investments. At first the new trader will need a starting capital of around 250000. This can be acquired by salvaging sector attacks (war or pirates) or by mining a bit more and selling it. There is also the option to make deliveries to stay in character or trade, but those are best avoided for their low payments and the need for early hyperjump modules to do so efficiently.
Once the starting capital has been acquired the player scouts the green sectors around them to either find rare and high value production factories or trading posts. Trading posts are static. While the initial goods are randomly generated, they remain the same. It is best to note down all goods with a value higher than 7-10k as seen under Goods, early on especially processors and displays. Of highest interest are expensive high-tech goods that are in demand by many factories.
Those factories when undersupplied will request these goods with a huge markup of 100% to the base price and always ask for the SAME amount. This knowledge can be used to preemptively buy the resources and just wait or look around for a factory or dock to request them with no risk to fail the mission. Armed with a "Resource Shortage" mission even the high prices of some trading posts of up to 150% seem profitable! Some of them even sell them below 100%, so the profit is above 100% itself. Initially once a factory or dock is encountered that requests the goods there is a need for either a factory to be known or for at least 3-4 trading posts to supply it, since they also don't have full sortiments of products that are in demand in a region. The price-gauging trader is best equipped with many a hyperjump module and cooldown reduction. In the next minutes this knowledge is used by the player to buy up the goods requested in the "Resource Shortage" mission and then they sell them for twice its value. This allows for even more expensive trades up to Computer Mainframes for 7.5 million for a 3.75 pre-investment or rare missions for up to 15 million.
Note, however, that supply of trading posts only recovers slowly in low supply regions too and a trade route can run dry. Failing a mission for shortage, however, is without repercussion, unlike a delivery with a downpayment. This is the moment a minor AI fleet (or docked fleet) comes in handy. Instead of jumping around with cooldowns minor observation and trade drones can be switched to to check on trading post hubs and see if their supply has recovered and it can be used to preemptively buy up to the standard quest margins (100 for Computation Mainframes and Displays, 25 Force Generators, 40 Antigrav Generators etc.). Once a mission has been accepted these ships can be sought out to gain the goods or if they are suitably equipped called forth to the goal to deliver the goods and finish the mission. Note that an AI dummy fleet has a cost and should be used sparringly unless it is for high profit products around 1 million or more. If they are just meant to buy up goods but not deliver them, the lack of a captain and other higher crew members allows for a more broad deployment.
Waiting inside a system for a few live cycles to happen can force trading posts to generate goods. This can still be done during a mission with a slight risk of failure but allows for only 1 station to be known for a goods production. It can be done to hoard some goods for quests.
Once a decent sum of 50-100 million or more has been accrued, the player is ready to start their trade empire and maybe help fill some of those deficiencies with lasting supply chains for a less active profit cycle. There is always another region in need of rare goods to be gauged later.
Congratulations, you are now an unethical, but damn rich trader!
From Scraps to Riches - Privateering and Legal Salvage
Nothing in the endgame is more profitable than salvage outside of a massive trade empire! Initially, however, avenues are small and attached with severe micromanagement due to the scrapyard mechanic.
The main advantage of salvage is the simultaneous loot one can gain from the wreckages that are consumed. As pirate attacks and Xsotan attacks are frequent throughout the game it already is profitable to have someone clean up behind the player or players even without a dedicated business in salvage. One R-salvage with constantly upgraded turrets is enough. In the endgame entire ghost sectors full of station wreckages and massive battle fleets of Xsotan made of Avorion and high grade materials will force most mining operations to blush in shame and good turrets are dropped as well to be sold for sometimes millions. This is not a starters lot and the scrapyards demand a constant renewal of licenses unless someone wishes for a sudden declaration of war from a former ally! Reputation loss for illegal salvage is apparently the most severe crime in "Avorion". Worse than piracy! This forces the player to set a clock and stop all salvage in those systems before the hour is up.
In all fairness an 8 hour or day ticket would help a lot if added to the game or maybe an automatic stop of your salvagers if the license expired. For now this doesn't exist, tread carefully!
There are three ways to create an artificial scrapyard for a player in the early game. One comes with reputation benefits for the local factions the player plans to sell the scraps to, the other comes with the potential for hidden stashes and the last comes with a chance for instant loot.
1) Free Slaves - with a combat ship!
Even though the mission states it is paying 0 credits, the 15k reputation and the information they offer are worth their weight in gold. Each pirate faction has a fixed headquarter on the map. This is randomly generated and can be found in a yellow sector. However, a "Free Slaves" mission spawns another pirate base shipyard for a random faction of the region in an empty space. This means an entire pirate fleet and station of the regional tech level are there to be destroyed, salvaged and sold to the thankful mission givers. Seize the moment and profit from heroism! Of course this demands a mid-tier combat ship and maybe should be attempted at the earliest with a Naonite shield. It is a midgame salvage goal!
2) Explore Yellow Sectors!
Get a C43 Detector with decent range and a decent combat ship then either jump into Distress Signal missions to fight a full pirate armada of the current tech level or look for smaller pirate groups and station wreckages in Yellow Sectors with the one or two hidden stashes for loot. Either way this is best done around midgame when Naonite shields have been acquired or with a massive hull tank with Integrity Field Generators made of Titanium early on. The salvage crew will take it from there.
3) Report on Wars!
Equally as profitable as fighting pirate armadas but with a lot less risk to oneself is the war reporter. Factions that are "Very Aggressive" will declare war on nearby factions and visiting a 25 sector distance system from their shared border may trigger a wartime fleet to invade. Most of the time the attacker loses, but either way a lot of legal salvage will drop and modules as well. On higher difficulties with NO danger to neutral player, these modules can be up to exotic and sell for a lot of money. The rest a job for the scrapyard crew. All the reporter has to do is jump through the border regions of two warring nations!
Once sufficient scrap and modules have been acquired to equip an even better warship or expand into an actual trade empire with military outposts for more combat missions or personal resource depots to refine the scrap, it is time to break through the barrier and gain access to the scrapyards and ghost systems of the destroyed galactic alliance in the center. The player won't ever fear for ores or money again!
Congratulations, you are now a privateering hero with a way to turn your renown into solid cash!
A Pirates Life for Thee!
Living a life as a pirate or warlord in the galaxy of "Avorion" is a thankless task. For guaranteed major loot and income the initial jump to Trinium has to be completed to build a boarding ship with crew shuttles. Yet, capturing stations is absolutely pointless either way. The option to sell them to neighboring nations which are greedy and ammoral does NOT exist and you can't ransom them. There is further no market where one does it for a mine due to war and stations need to be refurbished once conquered and only serve as a free station building slot far away from home. The cost is still there! The only reason to engage a station is to destroy and scrap it for money. Don't board them!
A pirate's life is in loot and plunder... and only in loot and plunder! They might branch out and have a smuggler's den or two and befriend some pirate clans (or rather ceasefire) in and near their favorite nations they work with while they attack their neighbors. The fastest way to get a ceasefire is a deal! Declare to free slaves due to a mission and actually pay the good people. Afterall "enforced holidays" are a profession and feeds several people. It is fair and right to demand a downpayment for transport and lodge. Pay them and a ceasefire is reached.
(To be Written - Pirate Interactions)
Civilian ships jump out if a player threatens them to hand over cargo, doing so without a jamming device is pointless. Jamming ships appear as one of three ships in a headhunter squadron hired by nations one is at war with inside their territory. Sometimes they even spawn in empty gate sectors in the sphere of influence of those factions. Here they are easily exploited. Once a boarding ship has been build, they can be boarded and taken over! However, if that was a starting pirate's lot, one might just board the traders. Far less of a hassle.
The initial options for a pirate are onefold: Seek an empty gate sector and wait for single traders or a seven ship trade convoy. An advantage to these sectors is the lack of law enforcement and the lack of a shutdown which prevents new civilians to arrive after an initial bloodbath. A shutdown will always happen if more than two friendly ships die in a faction's core territory in short order, otherwise.
Note: It is crucial that the aspiring border guard remembers to enable the collection of stolen, illegal and dangerous cargo or risk leaving the well-gotten gains behind!
The first loot will be gathered by destroying the cargo ships in short order. Unlike boarding this can be done with full firepower and little hesitation. What's dead can be looted with some loss to wares and modules and a wise pirate already has some salvage ships ready to clean up their buffet. Afterwards the wares and salvage can be sold for loot. Once boarding is available, the entire cargo and modules may be recovered if neither cargo bay nor important structure is destroyed during the initial engagement down to 30% health. As a little bonus the ship may be sold as well or be recruited in reshapen form into the pirate armada.
Piracy is a little game of who to target and who to please and allows even less variety; Break/Board, Steal, Salvage, Rebrand/Sell, Repeat. A player only has to ensure that a smuggler's den has been located through a research mission or yellow sector exploration beforehand.
The profession of a pirate may best be reserved for multiplayer servers where this type of interference has actual meaning. Until then a player may become a decently rich pirate, BUT one could just opt for a privateer with a good renown instead. The only difference is who they fight, not if. Piracy in 1.0.0 is an option... at best.
Once a player builds stations and mines in an empty system, they flip to their own faction or alliance. The same happens to pre-inhabited systems if equal or more stations belong to the player faction or alliance. While a system may flip, it still counts to the security zone of the former owner until their stations have been destroyed. Either way standing is lost if the borders of a faction gets endangered per each station build, so players should tread carefully with factions that dislike them to avoid a war.
Breaking the Cycle
The game wants to avoid to waste a PCs resources. To that end there is a live calculation of economic activity in a system and a passive calcuation outside of it. Both use the same basis for their calculations, but are vastly superior depending on their time of application.
The out of system cycle or passive cycle applies the basic production of ONE channel and ONE alone to the system. Instead of the common timers of 15-30-45 seconds, it does apply the resources every 5 seconds. This means a Copper Mine S with its 2 channels could produce 10 copper in 15 seconds live... or 10 in 10 seconds passive. Only once the Copper Mine has been upgraded to a M station would it be equal during a players presence inside its system and only after it reaches L is the live update more productive than the passive update. The passive update is unaffected by a station's level!
Both automated traders as well as cargo fighters work during a passive tick. For fighters each fetch and delivery command is executed by at most one fighter. However, if less fighters are used than fetch and delivery targets, then it will rotate between them and slow it down. Dependin on the traderoute a fighter should have a LOT of cargo since only one gets used, especially for goods up to and above a weight of 2. The correct ammount of fighters is the ammount of tasks set for them, so 1-6. Their tick cycle is also 5 seconds. Automated traders follow a 1.5 minute cycle or 18 standard 5 second cycles for their passive trade. This allows to program a trader to deliver and exchange goods with more ease to loop it and make it a permanent traderoute.
Fighters should be used in system and traders only between sectors, unless a huge amount of goods has to be transferred in short amounts of time.
The best exploit of the passive cycle phenomenon and live cycle variation is to only build S mines unless they are part of a highly complex supply chain in a system set up with many interacting stations - preferably with cargo drones or transporter logistics by hand - to ensure a high profit per cycle. L mines up to XXL mines are more profitable with a player present in the system and so are factories. As such ONLY when all are clustered, the best investment of your time is to park and oversee a crowded system with many of their own stations. Of course a patrol ship should be employed to make the best of the active income of a production hub with as little involvement as possible by the player. They can focus on managing the production chain and to optimize it.
Several stations - most infamous the distillery - had extreme long production cycles but could start a new cycle every 15 seconds. Due to the long cycle a distillery could sport up to (1+Level)x13 production channels leading to ridiculous UI bloat. Further stations known with this phenomenon were Carbon/Rubber/Wheat (x3), Oil/Ore/Silicon (x2). This was taken out towards the midst of April in a stealth patch and "fixed".
This behavior resulted in a circumvention of the assembly block rule as the total average production time drops to near or less than 15 seconds. It is unclear if it was feature incomplete or just a change of system as for example a plastic factory did not consume its energy cells upon production either.
Supply and Demand
The galaxy of "Avorion" does neither consider the cycle for its supply and demand NOR the size of a station. The size isn't even part of the passive cycle and thus supply would only consider one channel anyway. All station sizes are equal! However, while a Copper Mine S should produce 5 passively, the supply still considers every mine with a 12.5 to the local supply and every consumer of copper with a 12.5 to local demand. It also does not consider supply an equal 1:1 ratio to the actual goods needed for production. Instead it slowly fades away over 25 sectors from the epicenter or 17-18 sectors diagonal, a scale the legendary trade module with 25 sectors perfectly covers for its galaxy map overlay. Endconsumers or other stations only add a distance of 12 linear and 8 diagonal to their demand range and thus serve as anchors for industrial hubs. Production needs to be nearby!
Basic Supply 12.5 (Mines and Factories)
Linear Sector Distance 1 + 0.46 x X = Regional Supply
Diagonal Sector Distance 1 + 0.65 x X = Regional Supply
The diagonal coefficient follows the pythagorean law of a^2+b^2=c^2 with c being square root and a and b is 0.46.
Note 12.5 equals one production or supply. As long as there is any type of supply a player's factories will get those resources delivered. The trade ships offering the goods will simply demand a higher price in return and lower sale prices. Distance is money!
Other Stations / End-Consumer 3.0 (e.g. Shipyards, Biotopes etc.)
Linear Sector Distance 0.1 + 0.24 x X = Regional Supply
Diagonal Sector Distance 0.1 + 0.34 x X = Regional Supply
Note: Garbage or side products do not constitute supply, but instead follow their own garbage category which is roughly <50% of supply (4-5). (Exact numbers to be tested)
Once any type of demand is there a minimum price bonus of +5% is guaranteed. The same goes for any type of production which reduces the price by at least -5% once. This effect does not stack per consumer! Two copper consumers won't guarantee 10% without supply, the second one only adds its actual demand modifier to the first and the 5%.
The availability of a good does not equate the actual supply. This can lead to mistakes and disruptions in a supply chain and allows to artificially hamper or increase the player's profit with big consumers or small producers. The passive production of nearby mines and factories for 1 channel should be taken into account before a further step in the chain is set up to avoid mishaps. High buy and low sale prices can further mitigate AI stations from stealing resources needed for a player's trade empire. Preferably the player ensures the needed supply for the region, even though it might ruin the prices if those mines and factories are not near the actual production facilities and their spheres of influence overlap from far away.
Note a high demand and price does not mean a good is actually in demand. It simply means it has a lot of consumers. Many stations need 1 energy cell per cycle and add 12.5 to demand but 1 solar power plant produces 25 energy cells per cycle and 12.5 supply. The actual supply and demand ratio is 25:1!. The price for low consumption goods is often unnaturally inflated. Before building an entire trade network of dozens of power plants and mines it can help to wait and see if the local demand really needs those expensive energy cells of yours.
Trade stations of either type do not show up as supply or demand, but they are the only source of diamonds and gems for jewelry manufacturing. Therefore it is important to check nearby trade stations for diamonds or ensure a planetary trading post is nearby to supply the player with gems before such an industry is set up. This might be patched in a later version!
Overproduction and Disruption
Even though a trade empire will be able to rely on the color spread on the galaxy map through the use of their high ranking trade modules to ensure their sales and prices, a live cycle cannot rely on it. The live cycle might reach a ceiling with too little demand for their multiplied live production. A solution is cheaper prices but even those only ensure the players resources are bought first in the region, not that the stagnating production is boosted or restored.
Another risk to the income is a disruption of supply lines. If the precious Copper Mine does not sell well, the region might lack steel or other important materials as Copper is always a second-tier or higher resource in many chains of production. If this problem isn't fixed, too many Copper Mines might hamper their own income even if the demand is officially not fulfilled.
Expanding the Market
There are two ways to expand the market; either the player colonizes empty space and provides end product consumers to the region OR the player checks every biotope and habitat on their way for the rare "Protect Settlers" mission which prompts the faction to send out a fleet that has to be protected. Only Opportunistic, Greedy and Brave factions colonize new space and each sector will only attempt to colonize two times. So if both fail or succeed that one system will not ask ever again. Each ship that survives the pirate onslaught in the new system will found a new station upon revisit AFTER the mission has been done (jump out and back in). The potential stations are habitats, biotopes and casinos to expand the factions reach. Currently the AI is not interested in building any other stations, sadly. A later version or mods might update that.
The available missions to expand a faction are not related to the station construction capacity but a hidden local counter with a maximum of 2!