Tobold's Blog
Thursday, October 20, 2005
 
Know any good trading games?

Nearly 20 years ago now I was happily playing Ports of Call on the Amiga. Elite was even earlier, I played it on the Sinclair Spectrum. But since then, games which are based on buying, transporting, and selling goods have disappeared. The only modern trading game I can think of right now is EVE Online, but that one has a really nasty form of PvP, where traders are often victims to player pirates.

Curiously in multiplayer online games, many people find trading morally questionable, while "killing" other players is morally okay. If you want your character to have a really, really bad reputation on a WoW server, you just need to buy blue under-priced stuff on the auction house cheap and sell it back with a profit. Soon people in Ironforge / Orgrimmar will curse your name on the general chat. That is probably the result of the transporting part of the trading game missing in these games. It is easier to accept for others that you make a profit from trading if you had to actually do an effort transporting the goods. If you buy and sell at the same place, you are portrayed as exploiting the gullible.

Can anybody suggest a good modern game which involves trading to me? Doesn't have to be a MMORPG, but should involve transport, not just buying and selling on a stock market equivalent.
Comments:
I do it in WoW, but not with blues. Overpricing blues will lose you money faster than you will ever make it. People curse my name for it and call me an eBay gold seller.

Point is... I make a profit. I don't make huge profits since I do it on a limited basis, but for a casual gamer it keeps my gold needs covered without farming. It paid for my mount, my arcanite reaper, and twink gear for any alt I'll ever want. I've waste tons of gold on things I've found fun or curious and I love it :)
 
I don't have the patience to trade in WoW, there are so many different goods, and I don't like to use addon software to keep track of prices.

But what earns me a good amount of money is alchemy transmutations of elemental essences. You can only do one transmutation per day, but as that earns you several gold pieces and only takes a minute, it is a good and steady income.

What I find strange in WoW is that the auction house fees are fixed to what WoW thinks is the NPC merchant value of an item. There is an additional percentage fee, but you only pay that if you actually sell the item. So putting up something with a buyout of several hundred gold pieces doesn't cost you all that much, and it only needs to work once to be profitable.
 
Suggestions off the top of my head are X2, the 'gone gold, but I don't think quite in stores yet' X3, or possibly Space Rangers 1&2. All single player. All complete with Starforce copy protection at least in the versions I have here in .uk.

With X2 just skip the story after doing the first couple of missions that net you some cash. This also has the added benefit of meaning you only have to watch a couple of the eye-gougingly bad cutscenes.

It's a slow paced Elite descendent. It's a hand crafted -- rather than procedurally generated -- universe with stargates between sectors, so not as big a universe as Elite, Frontier, or EVE. There's plenty of trading to do, with plenty of NPC ships flying around doing there own trade. You'll really hate it when they scoop on the best deals.

Various trade missions pop up on the station BBS's.

Be warned that the game runs on the Teladai clock, which doesn't have anything to do with your puny human days, hours, and minutes. This means it can be a bit difficult working out how long you've got for a get the required amount of goods back to your cilent when you do these missions.

You'll have to do some fighting to get your reputation up with the Split and the Paranid races if you want to trade in their sectors. My somewhat measly fortune was built up mostly trading and Chelt Meat and Silicon Wafers in the Split sectors.

Once you've amassed a sizeable enough fortune you can start building your manufacturing and trading stations stations, programming your now undoubtedly vast spacefleets to purchase and sell good from them.

I don't usually get that far before I get distracted by some other shiny piece of software entertainment.

Space Rangers 2 has a somewhat less advanced economy than the X games as your can't build your own stations,
equipment pieces aren't part of the manufacturing and trade system, and you can't run your own trade fleet. Equipment runs on a seperate buying/selling system like Elite.

However, NPCs are still in competition with you in both trade and the usually combat and reputation stakes. And the equipment system is arguably more interesting than the X games, due to diablo like randomisation and enhancement of items including the all important stat of how much cargo space they take up. Cargo space and equipment space in your ship hull will quickly become your obsession.

Space is resolutely 2D and turnbased, rather than 3D and real time. However if you fly into a black hole, you'll get a 2D arcade 'asteroids on a pinball table' combat game. There's also an 3D RTS segment for ground based combat missions, and a text-based turn-based adventure game system for important planetary missions such as surviving 80 days in jail, or winning battle of the bands, and pizza making contests.

I'm serious here, stop looking at me like that :)
 
Eve Online. If you should like to give the 14-day trial a chance, you can find an access code at least at http://www.eve-online.com/pelit
 
Had a good think about it, and I think EVE Online is probably the only current MMO with anything like what you describe.

The PvP is avoidable for a trading lifestyle, but you do need to be a bit savy with where you are, and what you're carrying, that sort of thing. It's not riskless, but the risk is quite manageable.

Ethic and Co on channel 'KTR' can probably give you a few pointers if you do try it.
 
Freelancer, at least unmodded, is not much use as a trading game, because:

- All prices are completely static. The same goods are bought and sold by the same stations for the same prices throughout the game. Find a trade route between two stations and it'll work exactly the same every time you do the run.
- Moreover there is effectively infinite supply and demand at those prices. You can always buy as much as you want, and sell as much as you want.
- Space is pretty much level limited, because equipment is level limited, with each 'Empire' having their own level range of ships and equipment. This means that trading in 'next level' empire in anything but the top end ship of the 'previous level' empire is pretty much suicide, and there's usually no equipment worth buying in 'previous level' empires.
- All non-plot missions are combat missions, there are no trade missions at all.
- The 'guy walks into a bar in 3d' user interface when you are landed may add flavour but quickly gets old when you're trading

Good things about Freelancer:

- The Faction System
- The Patrol Path setting on the sector map
- The Faction System
- Voice acting that didn't make me cringe
- The Faction System
- The mouse control for piloting is the best mouse control system for this sort of game that has ever been done.
 
I agree, Freelancer isnt a patch on "X" where trading is concerned. It's rather static in that respect.

Yup, I have to agree with SKapusniak and nominate X3. It's out here (UK) on 28th October. It's not quite the same as Elite, the universe doesn't feel as big, but the economy is dynamic and you can effect it.

Definately worth a look (be warned though, X2 seemed to have a few bugs and exploits, and I dont expect X3 to be any different).

As for online? Their looking at doing an online X# game I think. As for others, surely there must be some form of independent online trading game?
 
A pretty good trading mmorpg is starsonata. http://www.starsonata.com/?r=goog
Has alot of trading in the game. But the graphics are sort of 2D. Its a very active game with people on all the time.
 
I'm having a blast with CORPORATE TAKEOVER at globalgamenetwork.com it's purely industrial trading: harvesting raw materials, making intermediate materials and then finally consumer products. It's fun to figure out what the economic rules are. Games are medium-term (10 days at a time). You can play it intermittently. The time line is continuous 10 minutes per turn. Score is computed by counting all non-liquid assets. See you there!
 
Hi all well i was looking for a trading style MMO, and stumbled apon www.minewars.net, so the basis of this game is the fact that your the leader of a so called sector and within this sector it contains a mining facility that with resources u mine per tick(hour), it adds to the coffers of said resources.

Well theres no NPC just other players on that will create alliances(clans) and in a way create a trade network of many different sorts of units used to protect or atk how ever u chose to make your strategy.

I think its better than going against NPCs, however its purely web based(no animations) :(, but its rather addicting if u find some common goal, whether it running the resource market, stealing resources with the Pirate unit, and i forgot to mention that each unit takes a certain criteria to manufacture.

Its rather complex to describe so why not check it out and get to know some long time vets who in most cases look forward to new recruits.

Also it is round based so base management is crucial!
 
hi all a good but slow economic game is kapi lands on https://kapilands.com it is mmo there is no fighting... and lots of things to make and sell in factorys and mines and all that kind of stuff it is a browser game but still fun !
 
silkroad online. as the name says...
 
Kapilands is good enough and Industry Tycoon online is similar. Unfortunately both are browser games.
 
I have played many MMORPG's and the only one that has an outstanding trading system is Silkroad Online. You can be a trader, transporting goods from one city to another making huge profits. During your travels, thiefs will try to rob you. You can, however, hire hunters to guard you. Unfortunately the game has three major drawbacks: (1) it is full of bots while the number of human players is limited. (2) the servers are always full so to get in you need to buy an item from the item mall (so no f2p). And (3) to level up you will need to grind endlessly which makes the game extremely boring after a shoirt while. Its a pitty this game is hosted by such a badly organized company.
 
Have you tried Miniconomy? I think it is the best trading MMO.
 
If you like space trading games, you should try Vegastrike or Privateer Gemini Gold, both are open source and excellent space trading games.
 
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