This is exactly right. The "fun" in trading comes from:
1) Finding a trade good to exploit for the highest profit for the least time spent and the most acceptable risk. This is player calculation and genuine choice. It is hard. That's what's fun about it. Clicking on a mission and delivering it over and over might be fun the first couple times, but after it becomes obvious there's no decisions or variety or intelligence required, it bores very quickly to the point Id almost rather not do it even if it makes me a butt load of money. Real difficult choice is fun. That's why lots of excel spreadsheet lovers do well in this game.
2) Putting skin in the game, ie being required to make a personal investment ... this makes it speculative, which makes it exciting. Because if it pays off then you got away with it and just got rich as well. It makes it significant. It makes it mean something. Cause the player believed in the trade enough to go for despite the risks, and then feels good about the reward when it comes. You have to stand to lose something significant for it to actually "matter." If you can get caught and killed carrying something very precious (like 1 mil reals in trade goods loaded in 3 indiamen with like 4 hours of time spent in a trade run) things suddenly become very interesting. That's fun. Actualy risk is fun. It's one of the main things agreed upon by long term players of this game.
The death of #2 may be the worse effect of the current system. Why EVER buy trade goods when you can get free cargo missions. All you have to do now is get 1 t brig and grind cargo missions. If you get sunk, all you ever stand to lose is that one shitty t brig. You don't even really lose time, cause at this point, i just run these missions afk knowing that even if I forget about it and let my ship sit on land for an hr and then get ganked, who gives a damn. That's not fun. That's a joke. Basically with this system, devs might as well go ahead and just remove trade goods all together, as well as lgvs and indiamen, because they are pretty much redundant (except for logistics runs I suppose, though why not still just use some t brigs for those too?).
Plus, and this is almost worse of all, as a privateer, I almost don't even care about tagging a player trader anymore. Cause it's a t brig that I know will be carrying cargo missions. Before it was always this exhilirating little surprise. Whaat is he carrying? And you know, whatever it is, the guy is gonna be hurt you sunk it, and so thats as good as anything. Now, he doesn't care if he dies. So that takes the fun out of killing him.
There's so much that's weak about this economy change I can't for the life of me figure out why they did it. For myself, the system was quite great before reset. There was lots of balance. You couldnt ever dominate a single trade good or route cause other players got onto it and competed and pushed you out. I got mad all the time. Which means I was having fun. I made some great hauls and made a lot of money, but I never got stupid rich off it. Cause everything was limited. What I made the most off of was actually capping AI traders for dubs and their loot, which I then stored up over time till I had enough to sail to a capital and make a load of reals. That was fun. Now all I get when I cap an ai trader is a couple hunderd pounds of peanut butter. Sad.