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Request For Comments: Trading and Economics.

Apr 14, 2009 incarnate link
This is not going to be an all-encompassing massive design post, as some of my previous "RFC" posts have been; but rather a few general directions for the future, hopefully followed by measured, insightful commentary (please?).

Brief History, From Last Fall (2008)

We used to have a rather silly bug / design flaw, that made it possible to sell vast quantities of items at a given price, as item demand was only recalculated every minute or so. We "fixed" this, by making the sale factor in the demand change with the given quantity (you get a lower price for selling 1000 items than for 100, and such). The impact was that it became significantly more involved to make large sums of money from the trading system. Previously, however, it had been so hilariously easy to make money that this change was considered very necessary.

Around the same time, I increased the prices of the ships. Sometimes a vast increase, but across the board a significant price hike for all ships above the more basic "newbie" variants.

The combination of these two cause A) combative life to become more expensive, and B) money to become a little more troublesome to get. At the same time, I left our inflated Escort mission payouts, and certain other things, as I knew people would be able to subsist on other means of income while I fiddled with trading, mining, and item prices. To date, I am still fiddling (albeit held up now and then by nasty bugs or other sudden priorities).

Starting from the Present..

We now have a significantly restructured galaxy. Nation space has become a bit safer. Grayspace has become a bit more dangerous, particularly with the removal of Friendly Fire restrictions.

I have promised all along that it is my plan to drive more trader traffic to grayspace by causing the most lucrative routes to involve passage through that dangerous territory. This, in turn, makes a gameplay case for combat escorts (Player or NPC), more involved Piracy (and Clans thereof) and so on.

At the same time, I want to avoid any sort of "infinite money-tree" scenario. Granted, cash availability is best offset by a variety of sinks and a degree of dynamic chaos that causes uncertainty. Regardless, my focus at this point is trying to find a balanced level for income, assuming a 200cu trading ship and ideal knowledge of the galaxy. Once I have that "happy medium" I can then simplistically scale other knobs to allow for different sized playerbases, and in the longer run, use the same numbers as the desired "targets" in a fully dynamic economy.

This is made somewhat more complex by the fact that I intend to create more methods of income, and more tools to allow income to be generated, which then throw off the numbers for what a given "player" can make in a unit of time. I don't want to get into describing these features in this thread, as it would distract discussion away from my primary points, to follow.

I've made some tentative attempts at pricing items to improve the trading situation in grayspace. There are some items that escalate to relatively large prices, and whose demand can rebound rather quickly (a few days, compared to 30-150 days for most items).

However, this is not really worthwhile without also removing, or at least depressing, many of the lucrative routes that currently exist within "protected" Nation space.

The Ballpark Idea

I'm still collecting a lot of data, and generating new ways to examine the data, and cogitating on the economic system and repercussions that are likely from future gameplay; so I have been relatively conservative with recent changes.

I'm currently kicking around this sort of ballpark:

Intra-Nation Route - Cap at around 500c per cu maximum profit. Basically to teach people how to trade.

InTER-Nation Route - Ie, between UIT and Serco, Serco and Itani, and so on. Requires crossing at least one "dangerous" area (Deneb will essentially become gray). Profit caps around 1000-1500c per cu.

Nation-Deep Grayspace Route - Requires going from protected nation space to somewhere "Deep" in gray, Odia and the like. Cap around 4000-6000c per cu, and routes bounce back much more quickly than the rest of space (greater demand).

Grayspace-to-Grayspace Route - I'm not really sure. The problem here is that some "routes" will be ridiculously short. There have been several Suggestions threads about actually emphasizing these routes, but the problem I see is that a lack of places to ambush these routes (if they're short) will essentially make for a Free Money Generator. That's the reason why I emphasize the Nation->Deep Gray routes.. there are a variety of different ambush positions and possibilities for "dangerous area traversal". I could make some specific items that require significant hop traversal, and perhaps be "contraband" that would dissuade people from attempting to run them through safer UIT space. But I really don't want more idiotic Luxury Goods type situations that are within the same system.

Added Note to everyone who failed to read the earlier paragraph where I said "I'm adding new means of money generation, which throws off how much a given player can 'make' in a given time".. so I am being fairly conservative with my numbers for the moment. The point of an "economic redux" is not to re-establish the same money-generating potential we had before fixing the mass-sale bug. It is rather to find a balance point.

Also, none of this excludes other, non-trade-related money earning methods, like making money from killing the Hive, or Bounties, and so on. That's all coming as well, this post is intended to focus on Trading in particular.

Mining, and the Money Made from It is another worthwhile and related topic that is much more relevant. Still, this thread mostly focuses on trading.. what I do with Mining prices will probably follow similar lines (better prices in Gray).

Grayspace is Going to Expand. Particularly for player stations. But I foresee another 7-15 gray systems, for starters. Don't let this distract from the main point, but understand that moving forward.. I expect "veteran trader" emphasis to be in gray territory. That is where the profits will be.


So, that's all for now. Let me know what you think of my "ballparks". This is not something I'm doing instantly. I'm still collecting data. I'm also a bit tired as I write all this, so please forgive any lack of clarity.
Apr 14, 2009 Dr. Lecter link
Conceptually sound, flawed in both the reward levels and the persistence of loopholes.

In a no-storm capital sector, I can take an XC and make an uninterrupted 100,000 credits per 30-45 second trip. Usually you can get a good profit for each leg of the two station run. Horribly boring, but at 100,000 credits profit per minute . . . you do the math.

The current loophole is the static weapon prices. I can hump swarms or ADV rails between Sedina L14 and D14 all day long, and make obscene profits per trip. Lesser but still very lucrative approaches exist in nation space.

So: make item prices dynamic, and cut the Intra-Nation Space profit cap to 200 credits per cu. Let people learn how to trade there, not make a living as traders there. Inter-Nation Space should be capped at around 750 credits per cu.

Grey Space . . . I like it where it is. And yes, Nation-Grey, rather than Grey-Grey, is the way to go.
Apr 14, 2009 incarnate link
Lecter: I'm not following you on the Capitol system thing. You should tank the route fairly quickly, to the point where it ceases to be profitable (and then remains that way for some time, sometimes rather long, depending on the item). Most stations do not sit around at their peak demands all the time, and some of them take months to return to peak after being tanked.

We definitely need to treat all traded items the same (weapons, etc). We'll also be adding those to the jettison-menu trade data.
Apr 14, 2009 FistOfRage link
As a recovering trader, I'll just post a few comments.

1) While people made ton's of credits in the old system, it was hardly easy money. Such trades could take a week or more of intense 'grinding' depending on how much time a player had to commit to the trade to make that 300-500 million cr profit or better. Personal opinion is that the cargo caps were sufficient to reduce this type of trading.

2) If your looking to have 200 cube ships flying through Grey space, then you'd better significantly improve the XC's thrust. At present, your going to have the premier trade vehicles being the atlas, taur and maybe the revenent. Anyone flying an XC is just being silly.

3) I still believe the profit drop is too sharp. You shouldn't see a significant impact until 1000 cubes minimum. This butterfly style of trading is a major turn off to me.

4) If you are going to force trade to travel that far, then you are going to need either a return route or sub routes for the return trip to compensate traders for their time. I am not going to fly my 60,000cr moth from Dau to Odia, only to have it stuck there.

5) Currently the biggest deterrent to trade is the work + risk / reward issue. If it takes me an hour to get from Dau to Odia safely with my cargo, then 100,000cr isn't going to cut it. I would likely be unsatisfied with 600,000cr. But I'm really a greedy such and such at heart so take that with a grain of salt. On top of that, I have to be worried that someone else didn't already beat me to the trade, or that some guild hasn't already stockpiled the stations with the best profit makers and have a bot in place to periodically sell the goods.

6) I like the idea of making trade / piracy more group driven, but your going to have to overcome a LOT of inertia. My observation is that most players guilded or not act individually.

7) More money sinks would be great. I wasted around 400,000cr just playing the Slotbot last night. Yes. I know I have a gambling problem. Bet you I win the next time I play though!
EDIT: I just blew a million credits on Slotbot. Curse you Slotbot, Curse you!

8) Personally, I think the premium trade routes in grey should be 1 wh and certainly no more than 2 wh jumps. More than that and it just gets silly and monotonous. Also, we want traders making multiple trips so the profit decline should be altered. Again just my opinion, but as a recovering trader, this is the sort of new trade I would consider. I've tried the routes from Odia to Sol 2 and Itan (or which ever system, its been a while) and gave it up in short order.

Thats it for now. I have to go to my Traders Anonymous meeting.
Apr 14, 2009 Aticephyr link
I'll second a lot of what FistOfRage said here. I'll edit this later for a more detailed post, but for now... while I like the ideas for the new economic system, what I am afraid of is rampant deflation, especially with the increased prices of ships. If it takes 30min to do a 100,000cr run, that 30min of game time can buy you approx 1.7 high-end ships. In other words, 30 minutes has bought you about 10min of PvP (depending on skill level), and possibly less of furball time. Having such high ratios of money-earning to PvP time will make the furball nearly extinct, and seriously change the game dynamic when it comes to losing a ship vs healing (though healing still costs a LOT). I really like the idea of a more dynamic trade system (and the more player interaction it should genereate)... I'm just worried about the effect on PvP.

EDIT: I realize new money-generation methods are going to be introduced (especially given that wep trade/sales will be nerfed), I'm just commenting on where I am afraid the balance will end up, not that there isn't one.
Apr 14, 2009 Lord~spidey link
The price depreciation and how fast the price recovers should and it depend on the size of stations and what that stations role is.
Making money isn't too hard since the weapons sell prices are still static, trading them is just a bit slow because of the weight.
Apr 14, 2009 Lord~spidey link
If vo becomes a crappy eve clone I'll blame TGFT.
Apr 14, 2009 Aticephyr link
EDIT2: this post was for the most part in response to BlackNet's (now deleted) post. The ideas here are still good... but the post is not as off-topic as it would seem.

I am generally against the idea of forcing all ships to be manufacture on an individual basis only. What might instead be more reasonable is to insist that a station have all the correct ores/items necessary to make a ship in order for a player to purchase it. At that point, while not everyone would have to participate in trade to create ships... trade will still be necessary overall to create ships. If this system were in place, however, there would need to be some limit on bulk buying (though the station storage cap might do just that). ------ I might make this global manufacture idea into its own suggestion thread if people seem to like it.

What I don't want to happen is for people to say: I just spent 30+ minutes to get this ship. I'm not going to fight you (say, in b8... where PvP is the norm) because I don't want to lose the time I've spent. Also, I don't see anything wrong with forcing traders to work together (in the form of escorts). Sure, you may not have any interest in combat, but there are plenty interested who will want to protect you.

EDIT1: Another thing I am somewhat worried about: assume that all trade routes can be depressed. Now assume all of TGFT logs on at once, and using their uber-database go and within a week tank the vast majority of all the lucrative routes. It would be nice that the tanking of one route might hasten the creation or untanking of another.
Example: Say there is a lucrative route to bring plasteel into Bractus c5. Now TGFT has taken 5000cu of plasteel there, so the profits are tanked. Maybe given that a large amount of plasteel has been transported to c5, now c5 is selling things that can be made with plasteel very cheaply, opening up a new trade route to replace the old one. That way there are always some high-value routes, and it is predictable where some traders will be given that c5 (in this scenario) seems to be a particular hotspot for trade.
Apr 14, 2009 Surbius link
Found this, I will comment later.
Apr 14, 2009 CrazySpence link
@Aticephyr your idea seems more reasonable however perhaps a better model would be that the station would always have the item/ship but the price would skyrocket if the correct ores weren't in place so trade would have to be driven to the station to keep item and ship costs low

Really that's what is needed, all items including ships need to have dynamic costs not just commodities but weapons/ships would be based on the stations stock of commodities
Apr 14, 2009 Aticephyr link
EDIT2: the first sentence of this post was in response to BlackNet's (now deleted) post. The ideas here are still good... but the post is not as off-topic as it would seem.

I think we are on the same page blacknet, but what I would really object to is if those x/y and z trade goods needed to be in possession of the player and not the station.
If the trade goods were kept by the station, this could also make a case for variable ship pricing: stations with a lot of the materials needed would sell ships cheaper than stations with less of that material. This would encourage trading, as if you bring in bulk the materials needed to build ship X to the station, then you (and all others who come by the station near when you brought in the materials) can buy ship X at a reduced price while supplies last.

This system would also make killing voys have large consequences on the player economy, as if pirates were choking of trade to certain areas, ship prices would be much higher in that area, which would make people want to defend the system so ship-prices would fall back to a normal or low price.

Nice post Surb. Seems you beat me to the punch :).
And Crazy... you just beat me too it as well. If only I typed just a lil faster...
Apr 14, 2009 FistOfRage link
I mean no disrespect to your well thought out model Moda, but based on the current manufacturing models of the superlight and widowmaker, I have to give manufacturing our ships a hearty Hell No!

I agree in principle, but the current model is obscenely ridiculous.

Also a second more serious concern is that trade will simply become an effort to stockpile or replenish ship items, rather than profit making.

"If you look at the logical progression of production in any economic model you will see: mining -> refining -> manufacturing -> retail."

I agree with the model, 'but' there has to be enough profit at each stage to make specializing worthwhile. Mining and refining could probably be lumped together. Otherwise, why not just take your ores to the refining station for a higher profit and cut out the middleman.

Mining/refining are fairly safe occupations that require limited travel, but consistant profits. Honestly, unless your mining Heliocene, the only point to pirating you is the easy target.

Refining to manufacturing is more dangerous, but offers slightly better profit, but more travel. Here you've got your main procurement items. Big whoop. But you never know what's inside so I'd better open 'er up.

Manufacturing to retail is very dangerous, but offers high profits, and even more travel. Though I would throw in Manufacturing to wholesale, then wholesale to retail. Who Hoo! Corvus Holo disks! Yeah baby! w00t! Please don't pay, Please don't pay! Oh for the love of god, please don't pay!

Actually this could lead to several specializations. stage a to stage b, stage a to stage z, or stage a to stage c. Depending on the player.

I'd also like for ships to broadcast their manifest or be able to equip a cargo scanner.
Apr 14, 2009 m4c4br3 link
I'll reserve this space to discuss it at more detail when I have the time, but for now I'll just give you the intended topic of this post..

A Universal Stock Market System.

- Makh Khasti
Apr 14, 2009 missioncreek2 link
I think the road map is flawed too. The steeply falling demand curve pricing, the Daily trade report, and adding more gray systems tend to spread trades routes across the universe. This is exactly the opposite of what is needed to spur player interaction in these days of low player base.

The dev's current efforts should draw the limited number of players into the same sectors to increase interaction. We need choke points.

I suggest that there be a Critical Shortage of a trade item at a Corvus station announced on channel 203 every hour. The needed item would have flat and very high pricing for the hour it is featured. The item should be available in a neighboring system. The pricing should be around of 5,000 cr/cu. The next hour a different item at a different Corvus station would be announced as a Critical Shortage.

The positive effect of this Critical Shortage would be to concentrate the effort of traders to a single Corvus station. This would attract pirates, who would then make the services of Viper and ITAN useful.
Apr 14, 2009 Phaserlight link
There are a couple themes mentioned so far that I would like to discuss; trade profit versus profit from other lines of work, and the magnitude of trade profit with respect to the quality of the trade (i.e. what item and where it's traded).

Trade profit versus profit from other lines of work:

We would hope to see a balance between different career types, each having its own draw which is considered fun. It's reasonable to argue that trading should be more profitable than any other career, provided trading is balanced with its own dangers and pitfalls. I think the trader's high lies in discovering a trade route that generates significant profit. Big green numbers make a trader happy. Therefore, trading ought to involve the biggest profit margins of any career at higher echelons. Otherwise, why not pursue something different? I'm not too concerned with exact credit amounts as the VO economy is continually in flux, however categorically I think trading should have the highest profit margins.

The risk in choosing a trader's career is two-fold: the possibility of losing credits through trade, and being weaker in combat. Incarnate talks about capping certain categories of trade routes, remember that trade routes are dynamic and this is a maximum value per cu, not an average. What happens if another trader beats you to the punch and tanks your route after you've already purchased 200 cu of product? This is one of the dangers in trading which could make things more exciting (and frustrating) and would benefit traders that chose to work together. If I can use TGFT as an example, they follow a high degree of cooperation, among other things making sure not to "step" on each other's routes when trading.

The second danger is that trade ships are not designed for combat. One objection some have raised is that traders shouldn't be required to rely on combat escort from other players. I think this is where Incarnate's categorization of different types of trade route (intra-nation, inter-nation, nation-deepgrey) are particularly useful. If a trader wants to trade and fight a little, they ought to stick to intra-system or inter-system routes. If a trader wants to maximize profit, then nation-grey would be the route to go. However, a trader should not expect to successfully fight off an attack in grey alone. Hiring an escort (NPC or player) to help defend against pirates could add an additional level of balance to the career, but that is a slightly different topic. If a trader wants to take his career to the highest level and maximize profit, I see this as requiring a high degree of specialization, not as something falling under the role of jack-of-all-trades.

I don't think it's a good idea to "encompass trade and mining together with one fell swoop" as blacknet suggests. I think mining has a different draw from trading and although there is some overlap, I see mining as being more closely tied to prospecting and crafting whereas trade is more about profit. As a player progresses in the game they would grow more specialized in one or the other and develop a higher degree of cooperation with other players.

Magnitude of trade profit with respect to quality of trade:

I see this relationship as common sense but let me state it all the same; as the risks go up, so do the rewards. In this case reward means green numbers, and the risks are the possibility of losing credits on a trade or getting destroyed by some pilot. Again I'll reference Incarnate's categorization of Intra-nation, Inter-nation, and Nation-deep gray routes.

On an Intra-nation route the most common pilot would be the newbie who doesn't have access to all the ships yet... they probably don't care about how many credits they are making (or don't have any idea what they are missing) so long as they are making some profit, therefore most routes would ideally consistently yield some profit at lower margins. In keeping with the game's philosophy of "nowhere-safe" some enemies may be encountered, yet nothing too deadly or inescapable. Danger is more of an illusion than a serious threat. Jack-of-all-trades might also find these routes useful without having to worry about getting into the finer mechanics of trading.

Inter-national routes would be the domain of mid-level UIT and passive Itani/Serco traders (those with neutral standing). Trading between nations should also yield fairly consistent profit at a higher margin with higher risks as well. On these routes one must also contend with nationalist players and nation-centrists who are aggressive toward outsiders regardless of standing. Economically speaking the routes would be fairly profitable as different nations have different demands and resources and would benefit greatly from trade, although there may be odd market fluxuations with higher end goods.

Nation-deep gray routes would be for high level traders with great risks and rewards. Economic fluxuations would be numerous (high recovery rates as well as the possibility for losing a lot of creds if a route gets tanked or one gets pirated), and I see a couple different tactics being used. One might make many runs with a balanced ship such as the Prometheus or Centaur to their trade destination of choice, then make the trade at the station. The benefit of this approach would be less reliance on other players/NPCs for escort and a greater combat ability. The drawback would be that this takes more time and is not as profitable. The other tactic would be to use a hauler like the 200 cu behemoth.

In a nutshell, specialization in trade may seem like a drawback when in fact it encourages cooperation between players and guilds (e.g. the VPR-TGFT alliance)... while Han-Solo type players should also have their niche, they wouldn't be the ones generating the most profit. They would be the smugglers, the jack-of-all trades. Specialization in trade means earning lots of credits at the expense of losing combat ability with greater risk of loss. Powerful traders flying huge cargo ships with many escorts, while having a great level of uncertainty also have the possibility of striking it very rich and getting that ultimate trader's high. We should not force a player to put on all hats (fighting-trading-mining) although this may be possible it would likely be very difficult.
Apr 14, 2009 PaKettle link
In case you forgot or didnt read it....

If Guild wishes to reveal more of their intended engine I would be happy to make more specific suggestions and I dont have a problem with non disclosure...You know where to find me.
Apr 14, 2009 Aticephyr link
Phaserlight: I completely and utterly agree.

missioncreek2: I like the suggestion of trade reports on 203+ channel(s). I would welcome each subfaction having their own channel (or even a bot...) where they broadcast (or were asked) which stations need what items. I disagree about the steeply falling demand curve; the curve only falls quickly in nation space and in safe areas. Having that curve moves traders into more risky areas. It would seem Incarnate is trying to end the realm of the care-bare economy, which is a gigantic plus in my book. I am ambivalent about there being more systems in grey. There will still be the choke-points on inter-nation travel and nation-to-grey travel. Given that nation-to-deep-grey travel will be the most profitable, there will still be plenty of choke points. Having more grey systems would allow people to hide in the depths of grey, while keeping an aura of danger. If more systems are added, I would suggest keeping AAPs only available in UIT terr... would make weapon merchants all the more useful in deep grey.

m4c4br3: Not really sure what a stock market system would accomplish. Maybe eventually it will be useful once the rest of the economy is in place... but people should have to travel to get money.

FistOfRage: Also a second more serious concern is that trade will simply become an effort to stockpile or replenish ship items, rather than profit making. I disagree completely given the model that I outlined (and blacknet seemed to agree with... not 100% sure). If stations were holding the cargo (instead of people), then replenishing items needed for ships would be part of the economy, and therefore part of profit making. I would love for there to be cause/effect when it comes to raw materials->manufactured goods etc.

Incarnate: Regarding profit for inter-grey trade, I suggest that grey trade take a lot of cu to cap profit (less than the nation-to-grey routes, but not by too much... say, 3000-4000cu instead of 5000-6000cu), while the profit it slightly less than the profit for nation-to grey.
I feel like the routes that suffer from obvious choke-points (entry points into grey from nation-space) should of course have the highest rewards. Routes that do not have obvious choke points (grey-to-grey) would still profitable... but not enough for a trader to really live on.
Apr 14, 2009 incarnate link
Quick commentary, I have an appointment shortly and have skimmed/read my way through responses, please keep them coming.

1) What Phaserlight Said. I am attempting to drive new gameplay with trading in grayspace, specifically making the usage of escorts and player cooperation more worthwhile. There is little point in my making hire-able PC/NPC escorts and things if there is no use to them. There is little use to pirate clans and NPC pirates if no one really cares about trading in gray. Expansion of grayspace is not coming immediately, so for the moment the "danger" areas would be relatively focused; and even once expanded, choke points will still be available. At the same time, the relative safety of nation and inter-nation trading should provide a suitable place for those who don't wish to take on the risk (say, people only interested in mining/trading, who don't do combat, and therefore have less expenses anyway).

2) I do want to tie the manufacturing abilities of a given station to its supply of ores, but that's a bit further out than the rest of this discussion; that gets into the fully-dynamic economy. In no way do I want to force individual pilots to have to manufacture every single ship they want, a-la the superlight.

3) I will not lose our "furballs", as someone put it. I can and will bias things with sufficient other means of generating income as to allow people to maintain ships and weapons for a certain degree of the "instant action" that we all know and love (or, at least, most of us love). Of course, there will be expensive ships (and perhaps even very expensive ships) which people may be more reluctant to lose; but as we've been aiming all along, I think a balance can be found where Good Enough ships and addons are still affordable to the Frequently Dying.

4) I think some people aren't aware of it, but some of the existing, new gray routes already have drastically reduced falloff rates, compared to the rest of the galaxy. I would potentially be altering this even more, to allow routes to stay inflated for a reasonable number of loads. Additionally, mission-driven routes are also an option, a mission being posted for X units of a given item at a fixed price of Y. We've discussed it elsewhere, and it circumvents the risk of "will the route still be there when I get there". However, as others point out, this risk is not entirely a bad thing, so I would not be looking to replace normal routes with mission-driven fixed-price routes. For those who are concerned about spending half an hour delivering items.. the mission-driven routes could offer even higher profits and mostly be posted on the longest-ranged routes, to offset the time and increased risks.

5) I will absolutely have routes going both ways. It would be utterly idiotic to have people go from Initros to Odia, and then have nothing to bring back with them to Serco space. I've already created a bunch of double-ended high-profit routes (Corvus Holos are well regarded in Serco capitols, if I recall, plus a bunch of other stuff). So, I'll build on that. The point is that is the traversal, going to and from "Deep Gray" that will be the most profitable.

6) A reminder that with the persistent-fog "reef" system (essentially persistent, known storms), there will only be *more* choke points, and more useful ones, when traversing gray.
Apr 14, 2009 incarnate link
I absolutely support the concept of being able to blockade stations for profit (or fun & profit, har). That's part of the goal of tying ores and minerals to station-wide manufacturing. We are trying to get there, but it's a bit beyond the topic at hand.

There are also some other trading-related features that I plan to add, which would figure prominently in such a discussion, but which I specifically left out of this post as they would drastically complicate things, and I was aiming to keep a more focused commentary related to these trade routes and the general goals thereof.
Apr 14, 2009 Aticephyr link
Okay, given the clarifications (and therefore my furthered understanding) I'm all for the outline and projections.
[Exceedingly large Stamp of Approval]