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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.





 
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******Empire Syndicated News Network (ESNN) ******

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Welcome to the new version of ESNN (formally CSNN), giving the news and views from the former CSNN's reporter and news anchor, Ainsley Moore, making this the peripheries' most favourite unbiased publication in the known universe,

And so with the news,
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

A Detinus expeditionary force is being assembled to liberate slaves in the Twilight Periphery. Stung by the wit of the Wimble Dinash, Admiral Bridge is leading a personal and sizeable force against the newly constituted Flagritz Republic.

The Wimble Bake Off has new competition with the Dominion instituting a Master Chef competition in the Orion Spur. This is all said to be a cover for further land grabs and in preparation for a move against the Hive and Dewiek, tipping the balance further in the Stellar Empire’s favour.

Meanwhile, the Wimbles struck off a number of hapless Wimbles under their new rules. To cement their plan to align themselves with the Stellar Empire, they have offered the services of their new masters to the Emperor.

Several hundred thousand slaves have been released by the Flagritz Republic but the terms of their manumission are unclear. Millions more await their emancipation. Many have refused to accept freedom without transit home, especially those brought in from outside peripheries. Many reportedly were captured by the Stellar Empire from the Detinus Republic and then sold on to the Flagritz.

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

The ship PRV HarCop Omega has been reported both in Orion and Corewards. This was the flagship of the former League Chairman, sacked from the role when the League went into administration and quietly disappearing beyond the edge of known space. It is thought that his return may have been for a clandestine meeting with his former contacts in Harlong and Coptuv. If so then he clearly has an agenda.

Unconfirmed stories that the Pirate King of The Pirate Holes and Million Islands is near completing research on the various larger ships his pirates have successfully captured over the past few years (big thanks to all the affiliations that participated in 'donating' ships). If the rumours are true it is likely a new armada of pirate ships using more advanced technology will be found in Corewards in the near future.

An supernova has been detected originating from just beyond the Transpiral Periphery. The rare event has created ripples in the subspace of the nearby stars. Nobody has reported any tangible ramifications but this is the first supernova in the current age of the Peripheries so esoteric scientists are excited by the prospect of grants to study the relatively nearby phenomena.
 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Wimbles Crisis Solved ***

The Wimble Crisis of 217 has come to an end with the human Baron making way to the wimble Grandfather Paden Mastaak. Celebrations were held in Wimbledon upon the news with crack teams of Wimble security staff guarding all the pies.

It’s unclear how long the Wimbles will enjoy this new era of peace and self-determination.

Vocal Wimble Dinasha, one of Paden’s early backers, has chosen this precarious moment to bait Dewiek, Flagritz and humans who were initially disposed to be friendly to the new administration. Whilst the Wimbles' history with the former-slave-loving Flagritz could be understood, their animosity towards the Dewiek and humans was more mysterious. One insider alluded to a rise in the number of cases of foot-and-mouth across the herd as being a likely cause.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Storm in a Teacup *** Yahn Bares All * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door ***

The stargates are closed! Reports from multiple sources indicate at least three of the stargates, all within Dewiek controlled systems, have been closed.

Two different sources have indicated that the TCA have been spotted recently in a number of systems and may be behind this turn of events. A scan sent to the SSS indicated eight TCA ships were recently spotted first in the Faery system and later near the Kasmer stargate.

Another source, suspiciously put the blame on the ARC, suggesting the ARC and DEN were working together because they “need to trap [the TCA] and try and finish them off after the DEN bodged their operation to protect the ARC while they incinerated the MEK homeworld, which ended up with several ARC ships being destroyed and the job only being half done."

However, with no public statement from the Dewiek themselves, its hard to know whether these rumours are reliable.

Lord Igor of the Dominion and Erasmus Andersen of the Garcia Family both offered public apologies at the delay in meeting their trade commitments because of the recent closures. The not-so-subtle subtext being that someone will pay with blood for this interference in their business. Or at least with a stealthy price rise.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Wimble Civil Strife * Who Sniffs the Sniffers? * Largin’ It * &etc

 
***** Inter Galactic News *****

*** Videtis quantum scelus contra rem publicam vobis nuntiatum sit? ***

The Flagritz Empire is no more! The Flagritz Republic is reborn! Quick on the heel of the collapse of the Empire, the Fessin caste declared a new era of foreign and economic policy with a rapid withdrawal behind the Black Gate.

The new ecologically-friendly Prime Minister Kayxaer, asked for patience as “economic” reforms were undertaken. It remains to be seen whether there will be any price to pay for the dramatic changes being made by the reclusive Flagritzi or whether it will all be sunshine and rainbows going forward.

Inside this issue of the SSS: * Large at Large * &etc

 

Free Ship when you sign-up
Complete missions for in game rewards
Control everything, up to an entire empire
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Discover new worlds to explore, exploit & colonise
Over 20 years of content development
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I’ve played on and off for approximately 10 years, over a 20 year spell. After some interesting debate on the in-game forum, I did wonder what, exactly, has kept drawing me back to the game, when for so many others I’ve generally lost interest after a few months.

Ultimately, I think it is a combination of automation (that allows the game to handle thousands of positions to interact on a daily basis) coupled with Special Actions (that allow the story arc to develop in a way that could not be catered for by a set of predefined list of available orders).
-Zigic