The New Trading System. Amazing Improvement, but Please Balance Profits

I have posted something like this elsewhere in other threads, but since I think it is very important I want to make a thread about it, for visibility.

I was really pleasantly surprised by the attention that has been given to the new info for traders. Gameplay-wise, this dramatically improves the depth of the process, also making the galaxy's economy feel somewhat more "alive" -- not to mention the fact that it makes the use of third-party tools more optional than it was before. If this is an example of what you mean with "improving core gameplay mechanics", well I am very hopeful about piracy, exploration, and mining, to be re-hauled in the future. Having said this, for a gameplay loop to be enticing I think that at least two elements are needed:


1) the "while-you-do-it" gameplay mechanic must be sufficiently complex to be fun and engaging (so in this case the route planning first and the actual flying your ship form A to B later)
2) there needs to be some proximal "endgame" result/reward that makes you feel you've accomplished something after you are done. For trading, this is obviously profit.


In my opinion, the new changes finally nail the first point, but there still exists a glaring issue with the second: the unbalanced payouts offered by other kind of activities. This is going to be unpopular because there is a large section of the community that loves and constantly makes use of various "money fountains" (some because they just like to be rich, some because they needs dozens of rebuys, and so on). But the fact is: passenger missions have killed the financial viability of pretty much every other in-game activity. The existence of high-paying passenger missions like they exist today will shoot the new trading mechanics in the foot before they even are launched, just like it has already all but killed (in terms of "is it worth doing considering the credits per hour"?) trading as-it-is-now, piracy, CG participation, mining...

Let me make an example. Using EDDB (for now) we can say that using a T9 or a T10 (the largest rank-unlocked ships) with a cargo of 500 units, the best profit per round trip one can hope to make is about 2.5 million credits. So this requires a T9 (just over 76 millions) and about 10 minutes between buying, jumping, and selling (assuming a 1-jump trip). [NOTE: this also assumes that one is OK with trading imperial slaves, by far the most profitable commodity!]. So, being generous, this is a 15 million credit / hour activity. Excluding the time it takes to actually use the new tools to find the best route.

On the other hand, using an Orca (just above 48 million + cabins), and loading it up with regular passengers (those happy to be put in Economy class), with missions given by one or more Friendly or Allied factions, it is easy to earn (it's harder to be as scientific here, I am using my own home system as a reference) something between 18 and 24 millions per one-jump one-way trip -- a long one-way trip that requires about 15 minutes of Supercruise. So let's again be generous and say that in total it takes 20 minutes, resulting in a 60 million credit / hour activity. (And we all know that this is a conservative number: there's plenty of tutorials online explaining how you can earn much, much more).


In Sum:

- Trading: requires planning, pays at best 15 million credit / hour.
- Passenger missions: requires almost no planning, pays 60 million credit / hour (or more).​
Note: both cargo and trading ships are not rank locked and they are about the same price, so there is no difference in prerequisites. Also the potential risks are pretty much the same (being interdicted/ganked on the way. If anything one is more likely to be victim of piracy as a trader than as a passenger-transporter). I should also add that passenger missions occasionally give out rare materials as part of the payout, and that the profit from them counts towards Trading Ranking.


I realise that there's a lot of people that trade just for fun (just for the pleasure of engaging in the gameplay loop -- point 1 above), but I am pretty sure that if trading was more profitable, a lot more people would engage in this kind of gameplay. But it's clear that it's impossible to make trading more profitable -- that would require tweaking the galactic price of commodities, or to massively buff the carrying capacity of all ships. Both are not doable. So what is left? Well, and here's the unpopular thing: nerfing passenger missions. Or at least the "simple" A to B passenger missions -- as opposed to the long-range sightseeing/research ones. If there was another magical way to rebalance the payouts, I'd be very happy. But I doubt that there is such a magical remedy.

Frontier, please consider this. I'd really like the community to have a strong(er) incentive to use these great new tools you offered us.
Thanks for your attention.
 
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Agreed worth OP. Trade system looks cool and will make in-game trade planning viable. Also, balancing trade / combat / passenger / mission etc. activity rewards is really needed.
 
But it's clear that it's impossible to make trading more profitable -- that would require tweaking the galactic price of commodities, or to massively buff the carrying capacity of all ships. Both are not doable.
Another option would be to introduce multi-tonne commodities. We know multi-tonne things exist and need transporting, because that's what happens when we ask for a module transfer. So, introduce some multi-tonne items (in powers of 2 for size) for all goods types which have extremely high profit margins - a 64t multibarrel should get 10-100x the trade profit of 64 1t barrels (and they should go up as high as 512t)

That way the earnings of trade can be kept balanced for larger ships - because you need the big cargo bays to be able to carry even one of them - while not making it so that a player in a Sidewinder can pick up a tonne of Coffee, trade it to the next system, and immediately buy a Cobra III.
 
Long range passenger missions take time to accomplish. Trade missions take less time but require more of them to make similar profits. Both are just fine as is.
 
I think trading needs a payment 'buff' rather than passengers being nerfed.

Passenger missions as boring so, in a way, they deserve to pay well.

On a side issue, I think there are too many 'sight-seeing' passenger missions. The board is flooded with them. I'd prefer more variety.
 
Something definitely needs doing re the long distance bulk passenger missions. Even without the known premium routes it is very lucrative.

My thoughts were to offer lower cash payouts but higher material payouts.
This gives a player a bonus for spending 20 minutes in supercruise but not of the direct cash amount. It gives an avenue for players requiring materials for engineering.

Now having seen the new mission screens with the option choices it appears frontier are not going down this route, it will therefore be interesting to see how they play it if at all.

I could be a cynic and think that frontier have done some research and calculated that those of the min max grind mindset are more likely to stay in the game and purchase cosmetics if they can get to the big three quickly. Hence it becomes one of meta financials for frontier rather than actual game balance.
 
In Sum:

- Trading: requires planning, pays at best 15 million credit / hour.
- Passenger missions: requires almost no planning, pays 60 million credit / hour (or more).​
Note: both cargo and trading ships are not rank locked and they are about the same price, so there is no difference in prerequisites. Also the potential risks are pretty much the same (being interdicted/ganked on the way. If anything one is more likely to be victim of piracy as a trader than as a passenger-transporter). I should also add that passenger missions occasionally give out rare materials as part of the payout, and that the profit from them counts towards Trading Ranking.
Sorry mate, there are some serious flaws in your logic here. First thing is you are comparing passenger missions with commodity trading, not mission hauling. Second issue is you are using EDDB, the easiest way to trade without thinking, generally not the best profits. Slave trading is not the most profitable form of commodity trading.

Obviously I won't post and destroy peoples high profit routes, bottom line is use system state trading for good profits, use EDDB if you don't want to think, and want to find a quick route with a good profit.

The only oddity I see in trading at the moment is with the profits for repairing stations, although it seems many are happy doing it for peanuts, something to do with humanitarian efforts and a love for Aegis & pirate staions:-/

An accurate comparison would be to compare passenger missions with cargo missions currently balanced fine, the only issue is the mode switch exploit that will eventually be dealt with.

I decided to check out these smeaton pax missions. Did a single run without mode switching, made around 40 million in a Cutter for a 1 hour trip. In my T-10 without mode switching, I'll make on average 15 million per 10 mins hauling cargo, sometimes a lot more, if I was greedy and mode switched I could make up to 28 million per 10/15 minutes, 34 mil+ if I use my Cutter and have an extra 200 tonne capacity .


I don't see anything broken except mode switching. If we where only allowed to stack what was available on the mission board, or had to wait for the next board refresh, you wouldn't have these 200 million per hour claims, both pax & cargo missions would pay well, but not obscene amounts.
 
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The only thing I thought was missing is the ability to find a commodity near a system. Especially when you haven't been there before. A CG for example, you need to deliver commodities where do you find them.

OK if you been to nearby stations which has the commodity you need.

If you haven't, you will need to wait until another Cmdr's trading route appears on map.

Even if they displayed the commodity as being present without the price would be good, and the price only appear once you have visited the system.
 
I think trading needs a payment 'buff' rather than passengers being nerfed.

Passenger missions as boring so, in a way, they deserve to pay well.

On a side issue, I think there are too many 'sight-seeing' passenger missions. The board is flooded with them. I'd prefer more variety.
Lets look at this a little differently,

A guy that has 26ml credits wants to go to... to 'wherever' 20,000 ly's away and scan a data point and come back.
He buys a Clipper, hires a Pilot or full crew and off he goes, even if he dawdles and takes pictures he's back in two days... pay pilot (crew) and sell ship.
Result!
saves himself 20,000,000 (people don't become millionaires by lobbing money down the toilet... unless they're rock stars, but I digress)

A Trader buys 500 tons of Palladium from a station and fires it over to an Industrial market... makes a couple of grand per ton. (1,000.000)
or
he could load up with Grain and make a cool 50 grand.

No, what ED NEEDS to do is get an Economist and PAY her/him (alphabetically) to create a realistic and proper economy... hey, even get the Accounts department to do it... they're already being paid

Include Tax, Insurance and station costs, I understand it's late to do this but it really is better late than never, otherwise it will just get worse and and keep running through the Buff-Nerf cycle.


that said

Great Game though.
 
FDev have already stated they will be trying to improve the balance during beta.

But they have an almost impossible task. No matter what they do, whilst there are still thousands of commanders who have benefited, to the tune of billions each, from extremely high payouts, any "fixing" is just going to divide the community.

So I expect most of their balancing will tend to favour rebalancing towards slightly larger rewards over smaller rewards.

It's just inflation.

Either that, or reset the galaxy & all its players. But that would be even more divisive.
 
An accurate comparison would be to compare passenger missions with cargo missions currently balanced fine, the only issue is the mode switch exploit that will eventually be dealt with.
I disagree. Apart from the fact that I was addressing "free trading" directly (because that's what's being improved, the new tools don't help much for missions that give you the cargo and tell you where to take it. It's not a matter of comparing like for like, it's a matter of realizing that when something pays as much as passenger missions, nothing else is worth doing), it remains true that the cargo hauling missions, even the Elite-ranked ones, do not pay nearly as good as the passenger ones. And I mean, even one single mission, not even stacking them. I can buy a Dolphin, take on 8 to 12 politicians in Businness cabins and be paid 4/5 million credits or more for a 1-jump trip. Or I can buy a T6, accept a mission to haul some 100 tons of something somewhere, and be paid -- if I am lucky -- 500.000 to 1 mil.

Funnily enough, the guy above who commented that missions are "fine as it is" just a few months ago complained precisely about the low-paying cargo missions....[weird]
https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/349644-Cargo-Mission-Profits-too-Low
 
I disagree. Apart from the fact that I was addressing "free trading" directly (because that's what's being improved, the new tools don't help much for missions that give you the cargo and tell you where to take it. It's not a matter of comparing like for like, it's a matter of realizing that when something pays as much as passenger missions, nothing else is worth doing), it remains true that the cargo hauling missions, even the Elite-ranked ones, do not pay nearly as good as the passenger ones. And I mean, even one single mission, not even stacking them. I can buy a Dolphin, take on 8 to 12 politicians in Businness cabins and be paid 4/5 million credits or more for a 1-jump trip. Or I can buy a T6, accept a mission to haul some 100 tons of something somewhere, and be paid -- if I am lucky -- 500.000 to 1 mil.

Funnily enough, the guy above who commented that missions are "fine as it is" just a few months ago complained precisely about the low-paying cargo missions....[weird]
https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showthread.php/349644-Cargo-Mission-Profits-too-Low
Mate once again you are missing the point, it seems that you don't actually do system state trading (Trading to areas in crisis that will pay a premium for commodities WAR/FAMINE/STATIONS UNDER ATTACK)

It also seems that you also don't do much cargo hauling in big ships. For 130 tonnes you can be paid in excess of 5 million (Plenty of places, but you need to know where to look)


You can't compare somebody going onto EDDB, finding an easy average paying route, to somebody finding a youtube video about mode switching pax runs.

System state trading, you'll make up to 4 million credits per 8 minute run - Once again that is if you know what you are doing.. Nothing to do with sitting on EDDB hunting a slave route.

Payouts for commodity trading is fine, payouts for Bulk cargo missions are fine. Mode switching however continues to be an issue.

Here is a typical 120 to 180 tonne mission I do on a regular basis, I can hold 4 of these mission in my 520T capacity T-10, 5 of these missions in my Cutter. I don't use EDDB for trading except community goals.

EDDB is a great guide, that's as far as it goes.

This is just hauling beer on a long SC run... Payouts can be higher for hauling precious metals or other goods in high demand.




A short trip only a few LY's, 8 minutes to complete, can easily fit 4 of these haulage missions in my Cutter, 3 and a single smaller capacity mission in my T-10.




Commodity trading - Medicines have always been one of the highest payouts to systems in need, meds are not the only high earners.




I'll also add, through mode switching you could also make 200 million easily every 8 minutes hauling cargo. fortunately the devs plugged that mode switching loophole in the last patch. Only thing left to fix is passenger missions.


 
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My views are mostly in-line with 777Driver.

However, do think that the focus should be on the fundamental reasons players utilize mode-switching.

Wing missions (with what I hope will give us higher volume missions say move 1,000 ton of cargo or 250 passengers) should mitigate things a bit.

However, along with this, the formula for current passenger missions should be tweak. I suggest a bit more generous base amount and less generous at the extreme end.

More importantly, supply and demand should be state-based. Burning stations will have passengers looking to leave. High Population Tourist Stations sould have steady stream of average paying passenger missions based in a demand/supply function. Over-utilized passenger routes will see pay go down, etc.
 
Mate once again you are missing the point, it seems that you don't actually do system state trading (Trading to areas in crisis that will pay a premium for commodities WAR/FAMINE/STATIONS UNDER ATTACK)

It also seems that you also don't do much cargo hauling in big ships. For 130 tonnes you can be paid in excess of 5 million (Plenty of places, but you need to know where to look)


You can't compare somebody going onto EDDB, finding an easy average paying route, to somebody finding a youtube video about mode switching pax runs.

System state trading, you'll make up to 4 million credits per 8 minute run - Once again that is if you know what you are doing.. Nothing to do with sitting on EDDB hunting a slave route.

Payouts for commodity trading is fine, payouts for Bulk cargo missions are fine. Mode switching however continues to be an issue.

Here is a typical 120 to 180 tonne mission I do on a regular basis, I can hold 4 of these mission in my 520T capacity T-10, 5 of these missions in my Cutter. I don't use EDDB for trading except community goals.

EDDB is a great guide, that's as far as it goes.

This is just hauling beer on a long SC run... Payouts can be higher for hauling precious metals or other goods in high demand.

http://i66.tinypic.com/rhl3ie.jpg


A short trip only a few LY's, 8 minutes to complete, can easily fit 4 of these haulage missions in my Cutter, 3 and a single smaller capacity mission in my T-10.


http://i68.tinypic.com/2e0loxy.jpg

Commodity trading - Medicines have always been one of the highest payouts to systems in need, meds are not the only high earners.

http://i65.tinypic.com/fp3u6x.jpg


I'll also add, through mode switching you could also make 200 million easily every 8 minutes hauling cargo. fortunately the devs plugged that mode switching loophole in the last patch. Only thing left to fix is passenger missions.


http://i64.tinypic.com/20fw30k.jpg
Fair enough, you've quite proven your point regarding cargo missions ( well, except the first picture: not really fair to use Hutton Orbital as an example of "short trip" :p ).

So, tell me this (honest curiosity): in you opinion the only reason why passenger missions have been for the longest time the preferred cash fountain for thousands of people (as opposed to these cargo missions you highlight) is simply the fact that board-hopping works for them? As in, if with 3.0 passenger board hopping is killed, passenger missions will no longer be too profitable?

I don't know, I should look deeper into the kind of cargo transport you show, but even without boardhopping (simply going to a station where I am friendly with a couple of factions and where there's 6+ factions) I can easily fill my Beluga up with economy and businness passengers, do one jump and about 15 minutes of SuperCruise and cash in about 40/45 million credits upon my arrival at the destination. I have a T9 (500 tons) and I've done a fair bit of trading in it, but the most profit I've ever gotten (from a CG wanting palladium or some such) is about 2.7 million credits per roundtrip (so maybe about 8 millions in the same time I'd spend on the Beluga trip above). I thought that the demand of commodities in CGs is as high as it can go, as high as famine or war states.

The one delivery you show above is admittedly more (3.4 mil for 520 tons): but how far was that? How many jumps? How much effective gameplay time?


P.S. - unrelated note: I see that you use a T10 for trading. I guess because of the longer jump range as compared to the T9? Isn't it time FDev buff the T9 a bit? It's become pretty much useless since the T10 came out.... :(
 
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Fair enough, you've quite proven your point regarding cargo missions ( well, except the first picture: not really fair to use Hutton Orbital as an example of "short trip" :p ).

So, tell me this (honest curiosity): in you opinion the only reason why passenger missions have been for the longest time the preferred cash fountain for thousands of people (as opposed to these cargo missions you highlight) is simply the fact that board-hopping works for them? As in, if with 3.0 passenger board hopping is killed, passenger missions will no longer be too profitable?

I don't know, I should look deeper into the kind of cargo transport you show, but even without boardhopping (simply going to a station where I am friendly with a couple of factions and where there's 6+ factions) I can easily fill my Beluga up with economy and businness passengers, do one jump and about 15 minutes of SuperCruise and cash in about 40/45 million credits upon my arrival at the destination. I have a T9 (500 tons) and I've done a fair bit of trading in it, but the most profit I've ever gotten (from a CG wanting palladium or some such) is about 2.7 million credits per roundtrip (so maybe about 8 millions in the same time I'd spend on the Beluga trip above). I thought that the demand of commodities in CGs is as high as it can go, as high as famine or war states.

The one delivery you show above is admittedly more (3.4 mil for 520 tons): but how far was that? How many jumps? How much effective gameplay time?


P.S. - unrelated note: I see that you use a T10 for trading. I guess because of the longer jump range as compared to the T9? Isn't it time FDev buff the T9 a bit? It's become pretty much useless since the T10 came out.... :(
Meds delivery was longhaul to a burning station, similar profits can be made doing system state trading to a war zone or system in famine, plenety of 1 hop routes, you have to filter the galaxy map to find the routes. Obviously routes change as system states change.

Mode switching passengers missions are just the latest thing. We have seen high paying rare runs, cmdrs mode switching at Robigo (It got shut down because mode switchers sold goods back to the black market) We have seen long haul biowaste missions making cmdrs billions, long haul smuggling runs from military stations, 200+ plus hauling meta alloys for Aegis.

The common issue with all these missions is mode switchers. As mentioned, I took a look at pax runs, made 60 million on the first run, 40 mill on the second run, I don't see that as excessive for an hours work, pretty much in line with bulk missions haulage, slightly higher.

Now if I mode switch, the balance is messed up, I reckon realistically I could earn around 100 million on those pax runs, 200 mill if I'm lucky with the mission board.

The devs have (albeit slowly) stamped out excessive earning in this game, it is beyond me why any cmdr would think that passenger ships should be chock full off high paying pax on every trip.. Doesn't work like that in reality, shouldn't work like that in ED, I'd think the devs would also agree. Pax missions should keep the existing payout, but sort out these ridiculous mode switch exploits.

Regular haulage and commodity trading seems fine at the moment, except for the recent meta alloy issue, payments are well balanced if the cmdr puts in the effort to find the routes.

T9 could do with an extra Class 8 slot, wouldn't even care if the FSD remained the same, most transport missions are 1 jump routes, I still use my old T9's for mining. Armoured shieldless T-10 for bulk trading.
 
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Now if I mode switch, the balance is messed up, I reckon realistically I could earn around 100 million on those pax runs, 200 mill if I'm lucky with the mission board.
Is 100-200Mcr/hour (with mode switching) rather than 50-80MCr/hour (without) that big a deal?

Yes, the mode switching allows higher profits in certain circumstances - though I suspect there may be pairs of systems out on the edge of the bubble where there's a long-range passenger destination which is the only likely destination, and you can reliably fill up your ship without needing to mode switch anyway - but it's not that much higher than normal. Doubling(ish) earnings isn't really enough to change who has which ships and so on ... and I expect a lot of the people saying that the current passenger earnings are too high would also think 50-80 was far too high.
 
Is 100-200Mcr/hour (with mode switching) rather than 50-80MCr/hour (without) that big a deal?
.
Personally don't have an issue if someone wants to make 200 million an hour staring at a SC counter. The thing is the devs do look at these figures, even if they are slow to react, they eventually shut down high profit areas where cmdrs mode switch. In the end those mode switchers screw it up for everyone else.

50 million credits an hour without having to hammer the servers mode switching, seems reasonable to me, pretty much in line with high capacity mission haulage, although, system state commodity haulage is lower down around the 30mill an hour mark for people who fly A-B-A like machines.

I'd like to see places like Robigo/Sothis return, and these pax hubs to stay. Those high profit pax runs will go the same way as all the other money makers, all because youtubers are posting newbie videos saying get an Anaconda in 5 hours and hammer the servers.

The system is clearly broken, and not being used as the devs intended. There is high profit, and there is taking the mick and milking the boards.
 
Mate once again you are missing the point, it seems that you don't actually do system state trading (Trading to areas in crisis that will pay a premium for commodities WAR/FAMINE/STATIONS UNDER ATTACK)

It also seems that you also don't do much cargo hauling in big ships. For 130 tonnes you can be paid in excess of 5 million (Plenty of places, but you need to know where to look)
@777Driver Any chance you could point us to a guide on how to find these kinds of missions? Not asking for “Go to system X” where you do the work for us, but if there are principles and techniques you would be willing to share that could help us that would be very much appreciated.

Outside of this awesome CG this week I haven’t had much success finding high profit routes yet in my Cutter and I do want to primarily support myself with haulage and bulk cargo trading and am not terribly interested in doing the pax missions.

Sounds like WAR / FAMINE / ATTACKED STATIONS is a good place to start.
 
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