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Request For Comments: Trading and Economics.

Apr 18, 2009 PaKettle link
1 Million credits would barely cover a single trip in grey. I cant really support putting ones entire fortune on the line for one trip... 5 to 10 million would be a better figure to start in grey with.
Apr 18, 2009 valuial link
Since everyone seems to have given his few cents, here are mine:

First, I'm one of the supporters of fast over even if it hurts a bit more for a time, you got more time to have fun afterwards.

Not sure if it was discussed or not. There might be some advantages to a closed economy. You need resources to build something? Spawn some missions to get those, get some NPC ships started to get them, raise buying prices. If a station gets cut off from almost all trade by some pirates, it will simply do nothing, which even means you can't get any ships either (Government supplied shuttle nonwithstanding). Yes this might hurt for a while, but we all know that a free market works quite well. Of course every station has a max and min price for buying and selling (and maximum stores so they only buy as much...) so the regulation for prices is still possible. As for the pirates: why not ask the Trader to dump the cargo, to supply your Corvus home stations (cap ships), then you might actually want someone flying a moth on your side, causing more teamwork.


As for your bottle necks to cause more player interaction: as long as theres a single bottle neck were every "pirate" or trigger happy fellow hangs out (B8?) no sane trader will fly there even with escort. It's simply not worth to carry 500kcr cargo in a 150cr ship and loose it to a 30cr fighter...

As for rich players: If they use their cr like Ecka does for player organized events, I think everyone can get something for a little effort. Yes this is a call for even more events. And if someone shows me the how I'm willing to invest some time to help.

EDIT: And if the pirates can actually take over enemy ships and pull them to a base... ;)
Apr 18, 2009 blacknet link
People, it's really very simple here.

What really needs to happen is not profit per cu but a profit factor.

buy_price = base_price + [base_price * item_profit_factor * (hops to nearest friendly station selling item) * station_demand_level]

Profit factor would be unique for each item or item groups.

hops to nearest station would be the distance, the greater the distance the higher the profit and the more demand weight. The hop table already takes into account risk levels, i.e. itani to/from serco, uit to/from grey, itani to/from grey, serco to/from grey. The higher the hop count the more risk involved.

station demand level is how much of a demand the station has for said item.

I.e. items that are ONLY sold in one station would net super high values the father you go from that station, hence grey space. Trading goods that is common would net low prices and the value ranges would be self caping due to the demand levels and profit factor.

higher profit factor means the more profit this item would have, i.e. lux goods, rare books, rare ores; goods that typically bring in premiums and not easily found.

demand level and profit factor would be 0 to 1 values.

From these an item with a base price of 1,000 credits,a profit factor of .3 over 15 hops to a station with a demand level of .1 would yield 450c profit.

the same item to a station that's 3 hops away would yield 90c profit.

The same item to a station that's 3 hops away with a demand of .9 would yield 810c profit.

demand levels would change with escorts and players selling items there.

Another example.
1,000 base price item with a factor of .7

2 hops (verasi to dau)demand of .1 yields 140c profit
2 hops (verasi to dau)demand of .9 yields 1,260c profit

7 hops (azek to odia) demand of .1 yields 490c profit
7 hops (azek to odia) demand of .9 yields 4,410c profit

10 hops (deneb to geira) demand of .1 yields 700c profit
10 hops (deneb to geira) demand of .9 yields 6,300c profit

15 hops (eo to pyro) demand of .1 yields 1,050c profit
15 hops (eo to pyro) demand of .9 yields 9,450c profit

This model is self regulating
Apr 18, 2009 Death Fluffy link
Well said blacknet. I like this model.

Sadly, since it doesn't necessarily impose Grey routes as the most profitable, it likely won't be where we end up.

Regardless, this model expresses what I could not. Thank you.

I'm guessing you got your jumps from the hop table you referenced? This would need to be adjusted, since for example you can make Deneb to Geira in one jump.
Apr 18, 2009 LeberMac link
Well, okay, the economy needs some lovin’. Agreed. Incarnate is looking for ways to improve it.

I agree mostly along the lines of Lecter et. al. in how MUCH more lucrative grayspace should be, with the 1:2:10 ratio for the “ballpark” estimates. Trade in grayspace should be much more profitable. You should NEVER get rich making runs in nationspace. I’m thinking that making a cargo run from Deneb to Divinia should take you 20 minutes and maybe net you 50,000 to 100,000 credits.

Blacknet’s ideas are a step in the right direction, but he hasn’t taken them to their logical conclusion.

Trade goods should be manufactured from raw materials, except the exotic things like Sedina Chocolates, which I assume come from a PLANET somewhere in Sedina. Anyway, a while ago I had a whole excel spreadsheet thing worked up for how “stuff got made” in Vendetta. For example, to gain 6 cu’s of plasteel was 10 cu of silicate, 2 cu of ferric, and 1 cu of VanAzek or something, and that required a “6-Dimensional Neutrino Vat” or something to mix it up in, and only certain stations would have these “6-Dimensional Neutrino Vats.” The station would need to get these raw materials BEFORE it could offer plasteel for sale. If players did not obtain the ore for the station, the station’s AI would generate trade missions to all stations in order to gain the ores. STILL if no PC’s took the mission, then the station would generate and send out mining NPC’s, they would need escorts, which is another player mission opportunity. Only when the actual ore was delivered by NPCs or PCs could the station offer plasteel for sale or use in other things. These NPC’s need salaries and compensation for their trouble just like players do, so the cost of plasteel will be commensurate with (cost per cu of miner’s time + cost per cu of escorts time + amortized ship replacement costs + station profit %.) We arrive at a number which could vary wildly, depending on things like pirate activity, hive activity, and other player involvement.

Perhaps plasteel is used in ship manufacturing. If said station received no VanAzek OR plasteel for over a week, then perhaps they would have no ships to sell. Since they could not gain or manufacture the materials required for the products. Perhaps players would become stranded on the station unless some brave soul could make it through the hive menace blockade with that Behemoth-load of VanAzek…

I think these kinds of scenarios need to be discussed as well. I’d be extremely disappointed if the “new” economy is just another variation of “oh look, we’ve waited an hour and 10,000 more plasteel is available at station X, replenished as usual out of thin air by the non-dynamic Lua script!”

The point is, instead of offering static “reward upgrades” depending on where your goods are being delivered to or from, why don’t we get a REAL capitalist economy going, start off with all prices at 100 cr, and see where it takes us? Things will be chaotic for a while, fortunes will be made and lost, but in the end we’ll have a relatively stable structure that is based on REAL free-market principles and not some artificial reward system based on arbitrary “this place is dangerous so you get paid more” stuff.

Who knows? Perhaps we will learn that Helios is the most dangerous place for traders, and not Odia. If we assign REAL manufacturing structure to the universe, we will learn perhaps that pentric is way more valuable than heliocene (say for example that pentric is used in neutron blaster I/II/III production, and heliocene is not), and prices will adjust without any developer input.

Every mining or cargo run needs to be actually RUN by players or NPCs. I assume that there would be required volatiles or whatnot (aquean ore, silicates, ferric, etc.) that a station needs for basic operation. If it doesn’t get what it needs, it loses capabilities (maybe it has to SELL its 6-Dimensional Neutrino Vat to Sedina D-14 in order to make ends meet and get some water?). Distance of the trip should not be a factor in the price. Only the NEED should be factored in, the stations should not care where they get it from (except Itani vs. Serco – there should be NO TRADE between warring nations.) If the need becomes great, and the station has the money to pay a larger amount for an item, then the mission is altered to be more lucrative. If the station is in DIRE need, perhaps aquean ore could fetch 10,000/cu.

In order to make this work well, we’d need some kind of “galactic-wide tradenet” system, where people could easily see what locations wanted what goods, in what quantity, and how much they were willing to pay. The traders & miners who got there first with the most goods would get paid better than the slower bulk shipments (cheaper, but more volume per trip). Both ways would be a viable trade opportunity.

Plus, traders could keep stockpiles of goods at stations, and move it from their storage area to the station’s storage area (“selling it”). We should be able to do this remotely as well: buy goods in any station from any PC/NPC (or the station itself) and have them transferred to our storage in THAT station, as well as sell goods that we have in any station to either the station itself or another NPC/PC. If goods need to be transferred from one station to another, then players should be able to generate missions for either other players or NPC’s to transfer the goods. Stations should charge for storage, and the total amount of space a station has should be limited, so that storage costs are dynamic as well. The smaller and more popular a station is, the more it will cost per CU in order to store goods there. The larger and more remote a station is, the less it will cost. (I suppose I've essentially described the EVE-Online trading system here; however, it's the only thing about the game that I liked.)

In other words, the economy should be intertwined with the whole faction thing, the AI thing, and the storage limits thing.
But doing something else in the meantime will be better than what we have now, which is essentially static prices, right? I mean, heliocene is 2500/cu max, I’ve never seen it higher. It goes lower at just that station ONLY when you sell a bunch of it, but that’s it. Why? Because there’s no real supply-and-demand built into VO that I can see.

Apr 18, 2009 blacknet link
Yes I arrived the hop count from the hop table which is how autopilot routes are derived. It does give weight to nation space but what's to stop us from making another table for trade routes. give weight to gray space.

The most profitable routes would be to stations with a higher NEED value and LONGER distance.
Apr 19, 2009 Aticephyr link
LeberMac: Read what Inc wrote earlier in the thread; we're going in the direction. Completely (with caps of course) dynamic economy dependent on station stores of goods and the like. That is, at least, if I read/remembered Inc's posts right... which I believe I did.
Apr 19, 2009 Death Fluffy link
Excellent thoughts Leber.

Unfortunately, as Inc has repeatedly pointed out, they are beyond the scope of the current discussion.

I can only assume that general trade will continue to be so distinct as to be separable from the new economy. I sincerely hope that this is not the case. I should not be able to buy an infinite number of porn, despite Serco politicians insatiable need for it. My cost should be higher when the supplies run low, or the Hot Odia Starletts go on strike for fair treatment, or the filming company goes under because the CEO slept with the wrong exhibitionist. I believe this to be part of what is intended, and it should be part of the discussion.

I would be willing to deliver plasteel or other crap items to stations, providing I ultimately gain an advantage. I'm hardly going to deliver crap to D14 for example so that everyone is able to buy their ships and weapons a little bit cheaper. Especially when the guy's buying them are shooting at me! But this is the kind of economy that I would love. Trade and manufacturing should have the ability to intertwine for even greater rewards than either alone. This is a huge complication in itself and will force us to rethink the cost / profit of items beyond the simple discussion of this thread.

Where items are manufactured should be rethought as well. Its absurd that the nearest source of hull panels to Geira is Azek.

That said, to the pirates, blockading should be a thoughtful project. Why? Because items needed for manufacturing are crap, finished goods are where the money is. Traders 'should' go to the lowest cost source and deliver to the best profit destination. If you know where he or she is buying the goods and selling them, then you have a distinct advantage at either extorting a ransom or stealing the cargo and selling it yourself. Which means, that there should be some way to tell what cargo a trader or escort is carrying.

To the devs, right now, blockading stations can only happen in UIT or Grey space. And really, not even there, unless you turn escorts into a ctc circus. I don't envy you making that a real pirate / nationalist opportunity.

No wonder Inc wanted to keep this discussion simple!
Apr 19, 2009 valuial link
Inc suggested to go there in small steps. I don't think that's feasible. The system we have now, and the system that would actually regulate itself are so completely different. I think some kind of a Black Friday, the equivalent of Wall-Street crashing, some companies actually going extinct, or splitting in two, and with that trade changing radically over the maximum of a week would get us there faster, has an in-game explanation why it changes, and is over with, so we can enjoy our new shiny system.

I personally, dread the weeks (months? years?) of slight change where you don't really have the full thing or the half thing.

I understand that you fear players leaving because of change. I suggest, ask some players active in the community and work out a massive event where players can have fun while the change takes place for a short time, and then have the new system established. That way you can concern yourself with other important things afterwards, and don't have to watch the changing economy on a back burner.

PS: Faction-Redux might fit in this scenario as well, but thats off topic for sure.
Apr 19, 2009 Phaserlight link
I foresee that higher profit based on distance traveled will be an emergent behavior based on the laws of supply and demand, not a straight mathematical multiplier. Although generally I agree that yes, the further you travel the more money you get, this shouldn't always be the case. A real dynamic economy is far more complex and more along the lines of what Leber suggested (except for the no-trade between warring nations, historically that's inaccurate e.g. the crusades precipitating the renaissance).

I agree with valuial and others who have stated that if something needs changing, go ahead and change it at once. There are some "players" who post to this board with strong opinions yet are not even active in game... people will always find the game interesting or not interesting, so to all the devs: just make the game how you want.
Apr 19, 2009 LeberMac link
Phaser - well, no above-board trade between warring nations. The use of trade intermediaries like grayspace corps and the UIT will fill the role nicely.

And I KNOW we're talking about taking a baby-step here as far as the economy. It will at least be the illusion of a somewhat dynamic economy. It will be in all respects better than what we have now.

So my simple answer is: I approve wholeheartedly, with the understanding that it's a first step towards the real thing.

Apr 21, 2009 valuial link
Just for the record: My in-game Name is completely different, am in fact active player.

...back to topic.
Apr 22, 2009 LeberMac link
I think that Phaserlight was, in fact, referring to himself, valuial.

Devs: Let's do this thing.

Apr 25, 2009 incarnate link
Yes. Have some.
May 25, 2009 Yoristar link
LeberMac I don't like the idea of remotely buying and selling stuff. I think the idea should be to get pilots out into space not sitting in a station remotely controlling the entire universe's stocks.

May 29, 2009 Jim Kirk link
to: Yori and Leber about remote item (selling only, buying would def be impossible):

As a source of income, stations collect a percentage of credits from players desiring to sell items in other stations, based on these factors: Distance to station from your current station, a base cost for using this service, and Receiving station's demand for these items.

Example 1: (short distance netting a loss)

Sedina D14 wants something dumb. Their desire/need level (from 1 to 10) is a 1. And the fee for your current station (Azek) station's electronic item reclamation system is 2,000. The item in question is water. You have lets say 30 water bottles in D14's storage. They will give you 300 for the lot (your trade skill could come in handy here and get you a higher amount somehow). You are two jumps away. Per jump a 5% of total you will gross is taken by the station you are docked in. You realize that spending the base of 2,000 alone is just too much, let alone the 10% of the 300 = 30, and would net a loss of 1,730. Their demand level had something to do with the distance, as it was only 2 jumps away and they probably had plenty of water anyway...

Example 2: Long distance netting a gain

Same station, D14, drastically needs consumer robotics. Station desire/need factor = 10. You are at a ridiculously far station, in Itan. Base cost again = 2,000. You have 50 there in D14. They are lets say 800 per consumer robotic. 4,000 - 2,000 = 2,000. However, their need for it means they will pay more than current price, and will reward you for contribution. It's a factor so it's multiplied. 10 * 4000 = 40000. But you're also ridiculously far away, and each jump you are away your cost is increased by 5% of your gross total. So Itan is lets just say 13 jumps away (it probably isn't I'm just guessing) so 5% * 13 = 65%. So the station you're at gets that 65%, and you get the 35% - 2,000, which is 12,000.

In a sense, I want this system to create a desire to still follow through with supplying needy stations, but also a desire to move a couple of stations closer to make the deal, otherwise people will just be sitting around, like yori says.

But more importantly, a source of income for stations you use to communicate with other stations you wish to sell goods at.

It might also cause some more traffic in the direction of the needy station at least, so that pirates may have an oppurtunity for some pks if they watch which stations need stuff badly.
May 29, 2009 toshiro link
If they pay 800 per crate, and you have 50, it'd yield 40k, not 4k. So the desire factor would kick up the money they'd pay for 50 crates of consumer robotics to 400k, which is ridiculous, even if you detract the 65% (yielding a profit of 138k before ammo and repair), which is even more ridiculous, since you carry all the risk of transporting and they only the risk of not having the goods delivered by you, personally.

Maybe the actual factor should be scaled down and only reach a value of 3 or somesuch. An entire order of magnitude seems excessive. Other than that, your idea seems sound to me, since it would generate predictable traffic, which in turn yields more turnout for the pirates (which is important, too...).
May 30, 2009 Starpwn link
I am absolutely 100% in favor of stations manufacturing their own items. That is, after trading ferric ore to a station (and whatever other materials), you will watch steel (and ship) prices slowly go down. So by trading ore to a refining station, it opens up a new trade route to a manufacturing station, then a barracks station. Once there, you may have sufficiently tanked ship prices you could buy your shiny new moth you've been eying for some time (and pushing prices back up(slightly)). This would encourage nations and other faction to attract traders, as more xi-rite in Geira Rutilus O-4 means they can have more proms and cappies(maybe later). Realisticly, there aren't enough miners in the universe to support this for players, let alone npc ships. Simple: have npc miners. Even simpler: have planet stations receive a periodic load of materials from home. The planet thing may or may not be a turn off for players, as it may seem the devs are simply pumping resources into the system. This also might be worthwhile, if in conjunction with npc miners, as it will create trade routes between planet stations and stations just, in space, requiring sustenance. This probably has more to do with the fully dynamic economy than this proposed system of controlled prices (yes, I am overreacting, but this is the internet, so I can express distaste by calling your MOSTLY dynamic economy a command economy).
May 31, 2009 Gulain link
My 2c .. Leber has it down. Of course it will need fine turning after implementation. I do think the EC-89 / Gov stuff should still be available at all times, even when ships purchase/sell ever goes dynamic.

Suggestions for transition to dynamic. Initially sell prices to station more dynamic after Leber's model. Then after buy prices from station dynamic. For those people who want a more gradual introduction of this system.

Also prices should vary at station depending on amount of goods at station. The station actually keeps track of goods. The station has a max limit of a number of goods it can have in its personal inventory. The pricing model following need. And available station storage exceeding the max amount needed.

Need value 0 - 100% at 100% the station will buy at higher value, but sell or not sell if the need is too great. And 0% need means the station is in surplus and wants to sell so cheap to sell less likely to buy that item. All based off of how much of the item is in stock.

Basically the simple model of Leber system. Add in the manufacturing and the needed items to manufacture items, later. Add in all the other stuff, wanted needed for the final system later.

So the initial run could be based off of station (not player in station) inventory. 1. sets a "limited" number of items. 2. Bases station prices off of its inventory of item.

Added to this is ANY item sold to a station could then be resold by the station.

So the need value initally could be based on the percentage of inventory count of the item the station holds.

Sorry not very well organized. Just sorta stream of conscious.

*edit* woken up a bit more. At first I think we should set station to monitor there inventory. We can reset the inventory at the friday reset. just to test it out. next step would be to set up station manufacture and adjust the need values to reflect needed items to the stations manufacture / real needs and station inventory ... then add in more ability for players to manufacture once the stations know what they themselves manufacture.
Jun 02, 2009 PaKettle link
If the number of ships entering a sector and the number destroyed were tracked (last 24 hours?) you could create a risk factor out of the ratio. While one could average the factors together I think simply using the highest one would better.

ie. profit = distance * risk factor

Then again if the risk factor of each jump was added it might work nicely.

Say dau k10 to sedina l2

location - risk percent
dau k10 - .01
dau - .01
azek - .05
azek - .05
latos - .15
latos - .20
sedina b-8 - .40
sedina l-2 - .10

total .97

assume a 1000 credit item

sell price = 1000 + (1000 * .97 * 10) = 1000 + 9700 = 10700

I added the * 10 to give a decent profit. What is really needed is some sort of demand factor instead.