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Marcus Corvus

Correcting the Negative Impact of the Euro Trader Mechanic on Contract Markets.

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THE PROBLEM:

One of the structural problems in the current economy appears to be the constraint the Euro Trader mechanic places on the growth of a nominally healthy contract market.  Changes to the ET have been previously mentioned by @admin in the context of adjusting taxation:

In order of priority the ET mechanic ought to be addressed first.

At the present the ET places an effective boundary to price rises in core commodities used to craft ships and cannons.  As the as the price of a contract to sell approaches 4x production costs the length of time to complete the contract increases.  This is to be expected.  But the result unfortunately appears to be that the maximum that a seller can charge and have the contract complete in a reasonable amount of time appears to range between 2x and 2.5x the production cost.

This does not allow the merchant to factor in labor hours as a cost, and is not competitive vs the money to be made in the transport of dropped trade goods.  It seems possible to consistently maximize hold values of trade goods at approximately 3x purchase price.  This decreases the incentive for new entrants into contract markets where the ET is active.  Why invest in production capacity to sell at contract when better money can be made elsewhere that does not require labor hours?

There have been exceptions.  There was a player who seemed to be consistently placing stone contracts Charleston at 8x production cost.  I've concluded this was intended to exploit the ignorance of new players.  Not all seal-clubbing occurs at sea.  But then again, stone is a market with very little contract activity to begin with, which is what makes that sort of nonsense possible.

The ET also appears to exacerbate price collapses in those resources where a healthy production capacity exists.  As an example, the iron market is currently in overproduction in US ports and seems to consistently price below 2x production cost.  But as the ET limits the price rises elsewhere there is not a lot of money to be made transporting iron out of the US reinforcement zones.  The iron market is saturated and is likely to stay that way for a while as a result.  Inventory appears to be getting dumped into port stocks, further depressing the possible contract price.

A PROPOSAL:

1) The ET should automatically suspend operation in any port where the total sold count over time for all resource contracts reaches a set threshold.  Reaching the threshold signals the existence of healthy contract markets and the ET is no longer necessary.  Price rises in in production resources will then be mitigated by the entrance of new producers into the markets as the returns become competitive with dropped trade goods.

Some server-side data collection will be necessary to establish the threshold, but one possible set-point might be an average of current sales contract volumes in from all capital ports on the Caribbean server.  This might not work, however, on PvE, where the player population is probably too low for the average to have any meaning.

2)  The ET should resume operation in any port where the total sold volume falls below the threshold.  This provides a safety net in the event of a regional population collapse, allowing players to obtain resources, and limiting exploitation in markets with a limited number of sellers.

3)  The UI should signal the presence of an active ET mechanic, with the appearance of some sort of flag in the shop screen.

4)   Once the ET threshold has been successfully set the stamp tax can then be applied in the reinforcement zones to activate in concert with it.  When this threshold is reached a healthy regional economy exists that will support taxation.  The tax will now generate an outward pressure on player production toward ports outside of the reinforcement zones where applying the tax in the absence of a healthy economy would merely hasten implosion.

AN OBSTACLE:

There are not currently enough types of necessary or desirable production buildings.  My thinking on this has shifted somewhat since posting here:

At that point I thought it was possible for a non-alt player to compete in the economy against a player using one or more alts.  I have since concluded that this is in reality quite difficult.

Alts have an effect on the economy that reaches beyond direct competition against another player.  They enable a player to opt out of contract markets, or exploit them without fulling participating.  They can sell in a market, and in some cases manipulate it, but do not actually have to buy anything from it.  Some players with alts might buy at contract but there is no inherent need to do so.

Having (briefly) been the resource manager in one of the newer clans I am also not convinced that players with alts have any inherent incentive to cooperate in stocking a clan warehouse.  But that is a separate issue.

This ought to have been blindingly obvious at the time.  But the effect wasn't completely clear until after I purchased the Admiralty DLC and discovered I could do something similar.  The difference being the DLC provides a slight brake on this in the form of labor hours and outpost permits, but as a practical matter there is no difference between the two when considering the actual effect on the economy.  Alts and the Admiralty DLC become weeds on the hull.  The economy can tolerate a small amount of this but at some point, the drag created will cancel out any meaningful forward motion.

Any sort of adjustments to the contract markets are unlikely to have a visible positive effect,  as long as a players have a way to sell resources without being obligated to buy any.  The number of types of useful player production buildings needs to be radically expanded.  It probably ought to be at least double what can be controlled by a player using the Admiralty DLC, or a player using a single alt.

The only other alternative to radically expanding the number buildings appears to be abandoning the contract system altogether.  But this removes an entire tier of player-generated content from the game and seems to me to increase the onus on the developers to develop more.

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Marcus, I must say your writing skills are superb, and I for one never need to resort to TLDR with your posts.  Pleasure to read. :)

You make an interesting observation with the ET affect on player sellers and entrepeneurs.  One comment however.  This game issue seems to be another one of those problems that would magically disappear under a larger player base, or at least under a successful nation-specific player base.

I see a couple solutions.  One might be to widen the perceived selling margin by simply raising the ET purchase factor from 4X to something like 5X or 6X, thereby increasing player margins to over 3X and making labor hours pay back.  Another solution would be to expand/limit ET sales to things like repairs only, or resources that are not for sale by any player in the region in question.  The ET interface would have to be more transparent though, so players don't get mistakenly ripped off by the game.

As for stone block, it's not as bad as it used to be, but there was a time before when that resource couldn't be produced quickly enough, and they were a seller's market.  And many folks used to sell a lot of repairs too, prior to ports selling them.

 

Edited by Jean Ribault

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3 hours ago, Jean Ribault said:

Marcus, I must say your writing skills are superb, and I for one never need to resort to TLDR with your posts.  Pleasure to read. :)

You make an interesting observation with the ET affect on player sellers and entrepeneurs.  One comment however.  This game issue seems to be another one of those problems that would magically disappear under a larger player base, or at least under a successful nation-specific player base.

I see a couple solutions.  One might be to widen the perceived selling margin by simply raising the ET purchase factor from 4X to something like 5X or 6X, thereby increasing player margins to over 3X and making labor hours pay back.  Another solution would be to expand/limit ET sales to things like repairs only, or resources that are not for sale by any player in the region in question.  The ET interface would have to be more transparent though, so players don't get mistakenly ripped off by the game.

As for stone block, it's not as bad as it used to be, but there was a time before when that resource couldn't be produced quickly enough, and they were a seller's market.  And many folks used to sell a lot of repairs too, prior to ports selling them.

 

Thank you! 

The issue with the player base I suspect is a chicken-egg thing.  This particular structural issue might very well be moot with a large server population.  But having started playing the game in the player desert on PvE the  question in my mind is how to get there. 

And there are definitely are alternate possible solutions.  The dynamic approach seemed like a constructive way to get at where the devs seemed to want to go (at least three months ago).  It would allow markets to adjust in concert with the gradual shift in the operation of ET from the capital ports outward.

But simply raising the ET factor would be definitely easier to code and experiment with.

Regarding the repairs I am wholly baffled by that (it preceeds my experience).  If I understand you correctly, why on earth would we would choke off a critical money-maker by dropping it in direct competition with player production?  Early on I was looking at getting into repair production until I spotted that.  A more constructive approach would seem to be to sort out the structural bottlenecks in the market.

Edited by Marcus Corvus

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1 hour ago, Marcus Corvus said:

...

Regarding the repairs I am wholly baffled by that (it preceeds my experience).  If I understand you correctly, why on earth would we would choke off a critical money-maker by dropping it in direct competition with player production?  Early on I was looking at getting into repair production until I spotted that.  ...

 

No idea.  I sold thousands of them before they did that.  Same as some others.  I guess they wanted this magic repair configuration for this game.

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11 hours ago, Marcus Corvus said:

The economy can tolerate a small amount of this but at some point, the drag created will cancel out any meaningful forward motion.

Any sort of adjustments to the contract markets are unlikely to have a visible positive effect,  as long as a players have a way to sell resources without being obligated to buy any.  The number of types of useful player production buildings needs to be radically expanded.  It probably ought to be at least double what can be controlled by a player using the Admiralty DLC, or a player using a single alt.

 

Euro traders or NPC traders are there to remove shocks from the market. They provide the real option when there are no players to fulfill your demand for a resource. 
The issue of being able to get access to an enemy port using an alt by giving money to Valve is separate from it.
Just like clan based port conquest and hostility (real effort required) has drastically reduced or completely removed alts from conquest, similar methods can be applied to remove alts from contracts. For example - national reputation grind could be required to access the contracts which will only keep really determined alts in the contract wars. 

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13 minutes ago, admin said:

Euro traders or NPC traders are there to remove shocks from the market. They provide the real option when there are no players to fulfill your demand for a resource. 
The issue of being able to get access to an enemy port using an alt by giving money to Valve is separate from it.
Just like clan based port conquest and hostility (real effort required) has drastically reduced or completely removed alts from conquest, similar methods can be applied to remove alts from contracts. For example - national reputation grind could be required to access the contracts which will only keep really determined alts in the contract wars. 

Yes please, do something against alts. They are ruining the conquests experience.

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4 minutes ago, Intrepido said:

Yes please, do something against alts. They are ruining the conquests experience.

Lol...

Read the posts you quote once again.

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10 minutes ago, Intrepido said:

Yes please, do something against alts. They are ruining the conquests experience.

What conquest? There is no conquest, only friendly fights or vets gather to kill noobs, which by the way its called a great battle.

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4 minutes ago, RaimundoJoe said:

What conquest? There is no conquest, only friendly fights or vets gather to kill noobs, which by the way its called a great battle.

There is still some remaining rivalry between some nations.

However it is true that conquest overall is in bad shape generally speaking, mostly due to alts interference in server economies, no profits or rewards (only investements, risks and loses) in the entire conquest process (from hostility to succesful conquest).

People is bored of this meaningless conquest so they go to farm pvp marks at capitals.

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4 hours ago, admin said:

Euro traders or NPC traders are there to remove shocks from the market. They provide the real option when there are no players to fulfill your demand for a resource. 
The issue of being able to get access to an enemy port using an alt by giving money to Valve is separate from it.
Just like clan based port conquest and hostility (real effort required) has drastically reduced or completely removed alts from conquest, similar methods can be applied to remove alts from contracts. For example - national reputation grind could be required to access the contracts which will only keep really determined alts in the contract wars. 

I get the purpose of the Euro Traders.  I think something like this is necessary in ports without sufficient contract activity.  What I am talking about is the effect of the mechanic on pricing in a port where players are available to fill the demand.  By artificially suppressing the price it appears to discourage new production of the resource.

For an example of what happens without the ET, the cotton market provides a functioning example.  Cotton sails were selling at 250K in the Charleston market.  I put up a building, acquired the blueprint, and started selling at half that.  Someone else entered the market and the price came down further.  I can move one every 24 hours at 90K.  And there is room for the prices to come down further as more players join in the competition.

Regarding the alts, in this instance I am not talking necessarily about access to enemy ports.  Both an alt (of the same nation) and the new Admiralty DLC appear to allow players to opt out of buying in the contract markets (and possibly opt out of cooperating in stocking a clan warehouse as well).  With the DLC I now appear to be able to produce everything I need to build ships.  An alt merely provides an advantage in labor hours and outpost permits.  But the effect on the contract markets is the same.  Both can still sell.  This creates a contradiction in the structure of the game economy which is likely to render any other fixes to the the contract markets irrelevant.

If the Admiralty DLC succeeds you will soon not have any contract markets at all.

So a question.  How would a national reputation grind work?  What would that look like?

Edited by Marcus Corvus
clarification.
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8 hours ago, Jean Ribault said:

 

No idea.  I sold thousands of them before they did that.  Same as some others.  I guess they wanted this magic repair configuration for this game.

Sooo... In a game where there are complaints about a lack of content we strip out an entire sector of player activity.  Go figure.

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17 hours ago, Marcus Corvus said:

If the Admiralty DLC succeeds you will soon not have any contract markets at all.

That's not true dibs you still have limited number of outposts. 

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On 7/2/2018 at 10:23 AM, RaimundoJoe said:

What conquest? There is no conquest, only friendly fights or vets gather to kill noobs, which by the way its called a great battle.

The Spanish Belize campaign summed up :D

Edited by Gregory Rainsborough

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7 hours ago, vazco said:

That's not true dibs you still have limited number of outposts. 

The outpost limit has no effect on this.  This is a fatal structural problem created by the ability to sell at contract without any economically meaningful need to buy at contract.  And I have not seen anything in developer postings that indicate this will be mitigated in any way.

There are at present insufficient necessary building types to sustain the operation of the markets.  A player with the DLC can now do what used to require an alt.  All production for basic shipbuilding can had by the player without having to buy in the markets.  Or, for that matter, draw from a common clan warehouse.  Which is going to create problematic dynamics within clans but that is a separate issue, and possibly not the fatal one that it is in the markets.

With the DLC I now control a shipyard, fir, stone, hemp, LV, coal, and oak.  I also have cotton and have slots left over.  Oh guess what.  I can buy a workshop and and iron mine.  Production burns labor hours and cash but this is not a serious obstacle with some planning.

As the use of the DLC expands the contract markets will collapse.   The DLC and alts are weeds on the hull and the sails do not generate the energy to overcome this long term.  I also suspect the sinking contract market will suck player ship sales down with it.  But I am less confident about that.

It's simple math with what appears to be a very limited number of solutions in the current economic structure.

1) radically expand the number of necessary and/or desirable production buildings.  Probably to at least double what can be controlled by a player using the DLC or a player using one alt.

2) strip the contract market content from the game, as the DLC will turn it into junk that clutters up the interface.  It will be time to abandon the pretense of a player economy and focus completely on PvP.  Oh well.  This is was my first sandbox game.  I am sure there are others.

3) claw back the DLC and refund the money.  Which still leave alts the ability to do this so this does not fix the structural problem.  Just buy alts when the game is on sale, set up a clan to contain them, and you are off and running.  The primary character provides the marks and periodic infusions of gold.  The alt(s) fill in the blanks.  But the market collapse will probably be slower than with the DLC present.

Edited by Marcus Corvus
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13 hours ago, Marcus Corvus said:

There are at present insufficient necessary building types to sustain the operation of the markets.  A player with the DLC can now do what used to require an alt.  All production for basic shipbuilding can had by the player without having to buy in the markets. 

That's the thing - a single player still can't do this with the number of outposts he has under his disposal now. He probably needs outposts for:

  • live oak
  • white oak
  • teak/fir/oak
  • lignum
  • iron/stone/stone
  • hemp
  • gold
  • silver
  • food supplies

That's 9 outposts already, with no room left for PvP/RvR/free cities outposts.

This, plus a fact that some resource hauling takes time, still saves the PvP economy somewhat. It's still a bit better than in old days, when economy was based on labour hours alone. This is the bottom line which we risk reaching. I agree with you that latest changes move us closer to a completely useless economy.

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@Marcus Corvus @admin

Now here's a neat solution towards saving economy:

  • increase standard production prices by 50%. This will also make european trader contracts more expensive (since they're 4x the production price)
  • create some ports far outside of protected zone, which have 50% discount for production costs of standard craft goods
  • remove bonus to crafting exceptional ships from all cities that are not capturable region capitals outside of protected zone (eg. Oranjestad shouldn't have bonus, even if it's a region capital)

Result:

  • traders will get more options to earn money
  • new trade routes will appear between region capital ports with shipyards and ports with discounted resources
  • ports with shipyards will be concentrated into a few cities, which will concentrate market for craftable goods. Right now this market is spread between multiple ports, as people have shipyards in many different places
  • without any traders, it will be still possible to craft ships through european traders, it will be just a bit more expensive
Edited by vazco

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Nailed it on the head @Marcus Corvus!

15 minutes ago, vazco said:

That's the thing - a single player still can't do this with the number of outposts he has under his disposal now. He probably needs outposts for:

  • live oak
  • white oak
  • teak/fir/oak
  • lignum
  • iron/stone/stone
  • hemp
  • gold
  • silver
  • food supplies

That's 9 outposts already, with no room left for PvP/RvR/free cities outposts.

This, plus a fact that some resource hauling takes time, still saves the PvP economy somewhat. It's still a bit better than in old days, when economy was based on labour hours alone. This is the bottom line which we risk reaching. I agree with you that latest changes move us closer to a completely useless economy.

That's assuming the player wants to craft ships with all of those wood types. I get plenty of stone, gold, and silver as random drops from my iron mines as it is. So it has some effect sure, but probably not as much weight as you think.

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23 minutes ago, vazco said:

That's the thing - a single player still can't do this with the number of outposts he has under his disposal now. He probably needs outposts for:

  • live oak
  • white oak
  • teak/fir/oak
  • lignum
  • iron/stone/stone
  • hemp
  • gold
  • silver
  • food supplies

That's 9 outposts already, with no room left for PvP/RvR/free cities outposts.

This, plus a fact that some resource hauling takes time, still saves the PvP economy somewhat. It's still a bit better than in old days, when economy was based on labour hours alone. This is the bottom line which we risk reaching. I agree with you that latest changes move us closer to a completely useless economy.

Unless I am mistaken several of these things come from drops and not buildings.  I happen to use sabicu from Bahamas ports.  That's a drop.  I don't need an outpost to get it.

An outpost is required to camp on the drop in order to compete with the alt players who are already doing that.  Which is a different problem from the building count.

Edited by Marcus Corvus
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10 hours ago, vazco said:

@Marcus Corvus @admin

Now here's a neat solution towards saving economy:

  • increase standard production prices by 50%. This will also make european trader contracts more expensive (since they're 4x the production price)
  • create some ports far outside of protected zone, which have 50% discount for production costs of standard craft goods
  • remove bonus to crafting exceptional ships from all cities that are not capturable region capitals outside of protected zone (eg. Oranjestad shouldn't have bonus, even if it's a region capital)

Result:

  • traders will get more options to earn money
  • new trade routes will appear between region capital ports with shipyards and ports with discounted resources
  • ports with shipyards will be concentrated into a few cities, which will concentrate market for craftable goods. Right now this market is spread between multiple ports, as people have shipyards in many different places
  • without any traders, it will be still possible to craft ships through european traders, it will be just a bit more expensive

 

In a weak economy raising production costs has the same effect as raising taxes.  Apply this on the PvE server or in a nation with a low player count and you collapse the market.  Existing players may adjust but you've just kicked the ladder down from the treehouse for new players.  Who have to start in that collapsed market.

Regarding the trade routes the problem is the relationship between the Eurotrader and the underlying resource remains the same, and which generally appears to cap the return on investment in a range of 2x to 2.5x the production cost.

Raising the production cost means you are still making 2x to 2.5x on what is merely larger pile of cash.  And still not able to factor in the labor hours as part of the ROI.  Versus 3x which is consistently possible to make on dropped trade goods.

 

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1 hour ago, Marcus Corvus said:

 

In a weak economy raising production costs has the same effect as raising taxes.  Apply this on the PvE server or in a nation with a low player count and you collapse the market.  Existing players may adjust but you've just kicked the ladder down from the treehouse for new players.  Who have to start in that collapsed market.

Regarding the trade routes the problem is the relationship between the Eurotrader and the underlying resource remains the same, and which generally appears to cap the return on investment in a range of 2x to 2.5x the production cost.

Raising the production cost means you are still making 2x to 2.5x on what is merely larger pile of cash.  And still not able to factor in the labor hours as part of the ROI.  Versus 3x which is consistently possible to make on dropped trade goods.

 

To be honest I'm not sure how you want to solve an issue. Turning euro-trader on and off based on supply won't fix an issue, as supply and demand already make euro trader irrelevant in a largely saturated markets - if there's enough supply, prices drop down. If  there isn't, price is capped at a price of euro-trader, plus costs of transporting resources to a port with a shipyard, which factor in risk. You can easily sell crafted goods at 4x and even 6x price now - I'm doing this. Yes, it's rare and removing euro traders would increase possible proffits. It would also increase crafting costs at the same time.

There's no walkaround. If you want for traders to get higher proffits, you need for crafters to pay more.

The solution I proposed simply creates a new role - trader of craftable goods - by making proffitable to transport some goods from some ports.

In a low population, players have a choice - either lower their costs by being in a role of both trader and crafter, or pay 50% more to eurotraders. With current prices, 50% is actually not that much. It's a much more insignificant cost than a cost of mods and unique woods for the ship.

btw, it's ok if crafting goods and selling them in the same port is not profitable. The value is in transporting them to where they're needed, avoiding the risks and creating more opportunities for a content.

Edited by vazco

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5 minutes ago, vazco said:

To be honest I'm not sure how you want to solve an issue. Turning euro-trader on and off based on supply won't fix an issue, as supply and demand already make euro trader irrelevant in a largely saturated markets - if there's enough supply, prices drop down. If  there isn't, price is capped at a price of euro-trader, plus costs of transporting resources to a port with a shipyard, which factor in risk. You can easily sell crafted goods at 4x and even 6x price now - I'm doing this. Yes, it's rare and removing euro traders would increase possible proffits. It would also increase crafting costs at the same time.

There's no walkaround. If you want for traders to get higher proffits, you need for crafters to pay more.

The solution I proposed simply creates a new role - trader of craftable goods - by making proffitable to transport some goods from some ports.

In a low population, players have a choice - either lower their costs by being in a role of both trader and crafter, or pay 50% more to eurotraders. With current prices, 50% is actually not that much. It's a much more insignificant cost than a cost of mods and unique woods for the ship.

btw, it's ok if crafting goods and selling them in the same port is not profitable. The value is in transporting them to where they're needed, avoiding the risks and creating more opportunities for a content.

@admin already appears to be thinking about turning the ET off in capital region ports.  What I was suggesting was a way to do that without disrupting the markets.

The problem I am describing is the constraint the ET places on the rate of return in the resource markets.  Crafted materials are downstream of that and not the issue I am addressing.  The restricted ROI discourages the entry of new producers.  @Jean Ribault suggested raising the multiplier.  I am not opposed to that approach either.  That would make resource sales competitive with dropped trade goods.

The trick is finding an approach that addresses this without making the resource markets untenable for new, single-account players.

 

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45 minutes ago, Marcus Corvus said:

  @Jean Ribault suggested raising the multiplier.  I am not opposed to that approach either.

It's almost the same effect for traders as rising a production price, as increasing production price also increases the treshold price for euro traders. Your profit is based both on price difference and volume of goods you can transfer. The more valuable goods you transfer, the bigger you can profit on a single transport. Eg. if production price is 50, you can profit 150 per trade. If production price of the same good is 100, you can profit 300 per trade (4x the production cost, ET treshold)

 

The problem is that you can't increase eurotrader price 2x without doing anything else, as it's already too large for an economy without players. Another problem is - as you pointed out - that people have access to a lot of buildings and noone would buy overpriced goods - everyone would produce them.

You need to increase scarcity for a trade to work. That's why I think increasing production price in most ports, but keeping it low in some, actually best solves an issue of making trade more profitable without restricting new players. If then ships can be crafted only in region capitals, it creates big concentrated markets in region capitals and predictable trade routes.

Number of buildings is irrelevant then, as the whole value is not in producing goods (which wouldn't work since people have many buildings), but in transporting them from point A to point B.

 

If you can produce eg. oak for 50 per log or buy it from eurotrader for 200, but you still have to trasport goods from their port of origin to shipyard, you will base your price mostly on how often your trader is sunk and how much time and effort it takes you to get goods from A to B. 

Edited by vazco

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19 minutes ago, vazco said:

You need to increase scarcity for a trade to work. That's why I think increasing production price in most ports, but keeping it low in some, actually best solves an issue of making trade more profitable. If then ships can be crafted only in region capitals, it creates big concentrated markets in region capitals and predictable trade routes.

Number of buildings is irrelevant then, as the whole value is not in producing goods (which wouldn't work since people have many buildings), but in transporting them from point A to point B.

 

And herein lies the obstacle.  If a player either uses an alt or the Admiralty Connections DLC (or possibly both) they get to ignore the scarcity.  Mostly ignore it with the DLC as a labor hour constraint.  Or ignore it altogether with one or more alts.  Which is why the number of buildings matters.  The small number of buildings heavily weights the economic advantage in favor of the DLC and the alt.

Enough players buying alts and the DLC and it really doesn't matter what else is applied to the player economy.

I think we are going to need to agree to disagree on this.

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55 minutes ago, Marcus Corvus said:

And herein lies the obstacle.  If a player either uses an alt or the Admiralty Connections DLC (or possibly both) they get to ignore the scarcity

The brilliant thing is you can't ignore local scarcity of craftable materials. Even with alt you still would have to haul them from a to b in large quantities. Right now you do this in protected zones, between ports so close together its impossible to tag you. 

 

It's different from rare woods and upgrades, for which one trade run sets you for a month. 

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8 minutes ago, vazco said:

The brilliant thing is you can't ignore local scarcity of craftable materials. Even with alt you still would have to haul them from a to b in large quantities. Right now you do this in protected zones, between ports so close together its impossible to tag you. 

 

It's different from rare woods and upgrades, for which one trade run sets you for a month. 

Except that now with the coming crafting rework the Devs seem about to remove a fair number of the intermediate materials used for ships.  Which will further amplify the effect of the low building count.

I don't think we are going to convince each other on this.  Before I am going to engage any further let's get our interests out in the open so we better understand each other's position.

I am a single-account US player, focused primarily on the merchant activity, and have recently purchased the DLC.

And you?

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