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12. Will try to answer everyone's stuff Nov 12, 2005, 12:56 Creston
in one go, will probably get terribly long

And when I returned to Argon Prime, everything was red to me, which was a bit of an eye opener lol.

Apparently you need to contact one of the ships and say you're sorry. Seriously.


1) The Best Buy / Best Sell works for any sector you are looking at in which you have a presence. By that I mean, in which you have something that belongs to you. This can be you yourself, a ship, or even a satellite (which is why many advanced traders will put satellites in trade heavy sectors, so they can monitor the flow of goods in that sector).
If you hit the 5 and 6 keys while in your own ship, you will see the best buy and best sell prices in the sector YOU are in. If you wish to see it for other sectors, hit the R key (for your property list), hit enter on the ship / satellite / whatever that's in the sector you want to watch, and scroll down to the best buy / best sell selection. (the shortcuts don't work here, this is a bug.)
Best Buy will always show you what's available in the sector, but best sell shows you what the ship you are looking at has for sale, and ONLY that. I believe with satellites it shows what you have in your OWN ship's cargobay.
So if you're trying to check the best sell price for silicon in a different sector through one of your own ships there, you can't unless that ship has silicon in its cargo bay.
You CAN if you'd have a satellite there.

Really the best way to get a grip on this is to just fiddle with it.

2) You CAN actually make pretty good profits in argon prime. Buy satellites from the satellite factory (NOT the advanced ones, the normal ones) when they are showing a 1000 credit profit, you can buy 80 of them, and sell 40 right there to the trading station in argon prime. That's 40K profit.

You can buy more satellites in Red Light (West, South from Argon Prime), as well as fighter drones, and I believe Mass Driver ammunition.
You can sell fighter drones to trading stations, and mass driver ammo to equipment docks (in Argon space, there are docks in Argon Prime, Red Light, Cloudbase South East, Antigone Memorial and Three Worlds, which are all within 2 sectors of Argon Prime).

Go North from Argon Prime to Herron's Nebula, buy space fuel from the space fuel distillery, and sell to the trading station in that same sector. Take ONLY as much as the station will buy, since it's an illegal product.

Just do this a few times (you can try trading in low level missiles too, sell them to equipment docks) to get the hang of it, then expand into Boron space, which is north and northeast of argon space. Or at least part of it is.)

3) Is there any way to regulate this transaction?

If you mean automate it, no, not really, unless you're into writing scripts. It's not even that hard a script to write, to be honest, but Ego wanted to avoid having the game play itself. (Ie, Dungeon Siege Syndrome) Especially with having a SETA, it'd be terribly easy to just set up a trader, hit SETA, go to bed, and the next day you have 20 million credits.

Energy really is no longer a worthy trade, imo. They've cut the price range too much, and it's no longer required by all fabs (since most complexes now have an SPP built in). Personally, I've stopped trading from minimum price to maximum price. Ie, I no longer buy stuff at minimum, then haul it around for ages looking for that >>> avg price to make a max killing.
I now buy at minimum price, then sell at average price to trading stations and equipment docks. In fact, I'm currently working on a galactic trading loop as an arms dealer which I think will make around 15 million credits per go (although it would take about 5 hours to complete or so.)

However, you don't HAVE to sit there and watch the trader go. Just check in on him every now and then, and if he's docked somewhere, you either need to buy or sell something, then send him on his way somewhere else, while you go do more interesting things in your M4 Buster. It takes a bit of time to get the hang of remote trading, but once you do it takes almost no attention and makes nice money. I finally learned how to do this in X3. (I always traded manually in X2.)

Try to see if you can buy some low level weapons (AIRE, BIRE, APAC) and low level missiles, and start selling those. Alternatively, trade in high tech goods. Crystals, Quantum Tubes, Microchips etc. Microchips are easy to trade, you can do so even in your Buster.
If you have very little money, trade some food. Buy Argnu Beef in CB SW and ... Ringo Moon I believe, and sell wherever they want it.
Don't trade energy, it's just not worth it. Imo.
If you find you cannot buy low level weapons or high tech stuff yet, make sure to do at least the second mission, this should boost your rankings with the argon enough.

am just staring at that status screen way too much, taking me away from the "fun" bits, and limiting the scope of what I can do.

X can feel that way, yeah. There were days in X2 where I did almost nothing besides work on my status screen, managing my empire. However, if you don't FEEL like doing this, then don't.

or does trading break down to either doing it all manually or just letting the "kids" loose and seeing what happens? Even in that last scenario, surely there has to be some way to restrict it?

Well... Yes and no. A Universe Trader, once he gets above level 12, really isn't a "kid". He's actually pretty damn clever, and will make more money trading than you can. But other than that, yeah, I'm afraid it's just you doing the work.
Now, like I said, you can script the trading behavior, and there were some monstrous trading scripts for X2 (which made literally millions of credits per hour), but I honestly find those too easy. They cost nothing to set up, made millions of credits, used jumpdrives, stocked up on energy themselves, would use fighter drones to ward off enemies, would jump away if they got in danger, and would go to a shipyard to repair themselves.
All for free. Sure, the MK3 universe trader that's included does all this stuff too, but it costs 500K to buy, and takes awhile before it gets to that level.
The scripts were there straight away. If you want it that easy, I don't understand why people don't just add 5 million credits to their account every hour, and save themselves the hassle.

You could google for some of the old X2 scripts, I'm sure they'd still work in X3, since the engine is pretty much the same.

But having the satellites does let YOU monitor the eb and flow of profit opportunities in the galaxy, but yes, that takes a long time and would require you to stare at that screen forever. Unless you do the weapons trader to the equipment docks thing, I'd just find a corner of the galaxy to work in, and focus on that. I never looked beyond the NW corner of the galaxy in my X2 trades.

5) would it not be smarter to save up for and aim for another cargo ship?

Absolutely. Provided you can handle multiple cargo ships by yourself ofcourse. Cargo Bay Extensions are only valuable up to a certain point. After that it's really diminishing returns. Let's put it this way, if you start having to pay 200.000 credits for 100 cargo space, calculate how long it would take you just to earn that 200.000 credits back with that extra 100 space. (well, not that long with dealing weapons, but you get the point.)

I typically buy about half cargo bay expansions, and ignore the rest, until I have so much money that I get bored with it, and then I upgrade ships to max. But yes, it is definitely a waste.

I there a ship that can expand its cargo bay an additional 20,000 slots?

No, the max is 4000 slots, I believe. But yes, it's an exponential function, and gets ridiculously expensive. My buddy calculated the formula once, but my math sucks. It's bad though.

and I presume this AI unit is a completely different leveling scheme than my own trading rating, correct?

Yes, he will have his own level. In fact, if you buy two universe traders, they will each have their own level.

No doubt, I am still a n00b in the trading world, I bow before the might Creston, but my trading has been "promoted" something like...eight times now.

It's David Braben's Elite Syndrome, where advancement is an exponential function. Your first 12 levels come within half an hour. But believe me, to get from Capitalist to Mogul, will require about half a BILLION credits worth a profits, or something like that. Fighting rank is even more absurd. I know guys who killed 2000 Khaak Destroyers just to get from Combat Ace 2nd grade to Combat Ace 1st grade... :(

Now, as for combat, how in the heck do I cap ships?

Capping has changed quite a bit from X2. It's no longer tied to getting the ship below 87% hull, and then dropping his shields, letting them recharge, dropping them again etc.
It's become REALLY a matter of selecting your weapons. Firing at a ship with 1 AIRE for an hour has as much chance of capping them as just firing with your full load of weapons.
Yes, it IS random. There is no surefire way to cap something. However, I found that using 4BIREs worked well on capping super class freighters, and two BIREs worked well on capping pirates.
Currently I am flying a Nova, and I'm using 2AHEPTs and 2APACs. And I'm capping Pirate Falcons by the dozens. At one point I had about 12 falcons streaming back to the shipyard. That loadout also works very well for capping teladi freighters, btw. I've capped about 10 or so of those, one of which was worth a cool 1.2 million

However, don't try to cap. I've done that in X2, where it worked (capped about 90 Novas in Antigone Memorial in space of three hours, ridiculous really), but it doesn't seem to in X3. The guy either jumps or he doesn't. Shoot at him in slow bursts, but keep shooting. If he jumps, great, if he doesn't, oh well. Kill him and move on.
I never make a cap when I'm trying, and always when I'm not trying. I took on a group of 8 pirates to repair my teladi race ranking (they didn't like me capping 10 of their freighters, and killing 20 more), and capped four of the blighters. NOOOOO I NEED YOU TO DIE!!!!

As noted, I am near one-hundred kills now so I do not think it is unrealistic to think/hope that at least a second mob would have jumped ship by now.

It's probably just your weapon loadout. What are you using? You don't want to OVERDO it on the damage. In my 2AHEPT, 2BPAC, 2BIRE Mamba, I never capped anything. Too much damage in one go.
Oh, btw, Khaak ships don't jump. They did in X2 1.4, but I believe that was taken out. I've killed about 700 khaak, and none of them ever jumped. It could be that they've finally fixed the bug where you have to be a certain RANK before they will jump. Not sure on that.

It is mostly my capping woes, figuring out how I target items within my reticle (playing with the joystick - I know I can just click the game thing with the mouse,) any trading pointers , I realize the speed-matching (combat) is a combat upgrade, and then if there is any way to have SETA not break when I touch the keyboard, my fully realizing that puts me at increased risk of being blown up.

Target items is T, or Shift T for enemies. The "E" from the manual doesn't work. Ego can't write manuals for shit.

Trading pointers as above, that should get you started. I'm working on my weapons trader documents, I have the entire universe mapped out and indexed with weapon fabs, equipment docks and what they all buy, now I just need to calculate the best route between all of them so that it's the shortest flight distance and the best trade off between races (since they all love each other's weapons.)
Once I have that done I'll post it on Ego's forum and link to it here.

I will go check out the performance increase. I have been playing 1152x864 just fine with all stuff set to high (sans AA, obviously,) and it would be neato freato to bump up to 1280x960.

Why sans AA? I've got AA on at 1280x1024 and it runs like silk. And I think your system is pretty much on par with mine.
I think you've got all your issues from the other thread sorted, but if not, let me know


Edit : Ray - capping ships is really the only way to get big cash fast, unless you already have a functioning trade empire.. which you wont until you have millions of dollars spent on it

Nah, I don't agree. Capping works well, but so does trading. You just need to know what to trade, and you need to change your mindset from X2, where you bought for absolute minimum and sold near absolute maximum. That's VERY hard to do in X3.
However, buying at a minimum and selling at average to equipment docks and trading stations makes you millions of profits, and avoids interference from the AI (who generally trade more fab to fab, since they don't want to sell for average price), although apparently that got tweaked a bit in 1.21
Just write down some products from some trading station and eq docks, then fly around finding them, buy them for <<< avg, and sell them to the trading station.
Like I said above, fighter drones, navsats and mass driver ammo, as well as low level weapons and missiles, are absolute goldmines. You can easily make a million credits in a few hours just selling those.

Hey, capping works, I have nothing against it, I cap a lot myself (accidentally mostly), but trading is a LOT more powerful in X3 this time, because of all the stuff you can sell.

what you want to try to do is keep the hull at 75% at least, or preferably higher... just let the shields go back up and then keep bringing them down

This is no longer necessary. That's how it worked in X2, but in X3 it seems that the rate of shield decay is no longer the overriding factor in determining if a pilot jumps or not. Rate of damage seems to be far more important. I've had traders with shields down, 80% hull, wouldn't jump, i kept peppering him with 2BIRES, and he jumped once he reached 50% hull. Never let him recharge his shields.
Also, I've capped ships now with more than 87% hull. I capped a falcon at 90, another falcon at what LOOKED like 95-100%, but I failed to notice his escorts, and so got zapped when I spacesuited over , and I've capped a Super Freighter at 88%.

Btw, Ray, the first time I tried capping in X2, it drove me nuts, it NEVER worked. I read a thousand posts, followed all their advice, and couldn't cap anything for like ten hours. And then all of a sudden they started jumping, and I capped over 150 novas in a week.
So don't get disheartened. the capping primarily based on racial ships and not pirate ships ships? And I presume I cannot capture the cock ships?

No, racial ships or pirates will jump about equally, I've found.
AFAIK you can't capture khaaks right now, but not sure if that's just because of combat rank, or because EGO took it out again.

(I believe the Falcon out-classes my crappy Buster?)

A falcon's an M3, Buster is an M4. But the Falcon is a super sucky ship for combat, since it's slow as dirt. I'm Death on Falcons, I cap them more than anything else. 2AHEPTS and 2APACS is like magic against them. I think I cap around 70% of all Falcons I engage.

Finally, I just got tired and kept the energy pea shooters going non-stop and whittled away his hull (which takes awhile for a Falcon and only two energy-draining lasers.) The pirate did finally jump out, but only when the ship was at 5% or so health. At least I have a new ship, presumably one better than my Buster, but I can only imagine how long, how much, it will take to repair all that, much less completely re-equip it as I presume I ended up blasting everything to hell.

Yeah, see? Don't bother with that shield recharge crap, it just doesn't work anymore, imo. Just keep shooting him. If he jumps great, if he doesn't, byebye.

As for that Falcon, just sell it, and get yourself some better weapons for the money. It will cost you half a million to fix the thing, and it sucks for combat anyways.

So same thing - am I doing something wrong or is it my overall choice of ships? I can understand pirates being a little more aggressive, but that is kind of ridiculous. When I am bored from whittling down your ship, it is probably time to jump out and give to to me, damn it!

Just your tactics, I think. You're using X2 tactics. Don't bother, just keep shooting him.
Hey, I have over 40 caps by now, and I'm not even trying, so I must be doing SOMETHING right

And how far do I have to let my reputation go? Can I cap two or three ships and just have them unwilling to trade with me or will they attack me on sight once I cap just one ship?

If your ranking falls to : Known Antagonist, Confirmed Adversary, Mercantile Rebel, Family Outcast or Tainted Wanderer, you will be attacked on sight in a race's CORE sectors (check universe map, it says in sector description if it's core or border).
I assume border sectors won't let you dock if you go one lower.

Personally, I'd say dink your ratings until you're ALMOST at that list I was above, then stop. This way you can still go to their core sectors, and kill some pirates and khaak, and get your rating fixed. I let myself fall to Mercantile Rebel 2% or so, and it took me a LONG time to get the teladi to let me fly in their core sectors again. (not that I really care to, but I don't want my universe trader to get whacked if he happens to go to a teladi core sector, and yes, that WILL happen.)

On another tangent, why does combat rank scale so slowly? I have gained one meager combat level, but my trading reputation is already "Retailer

Exponential curves.. We all hate 'em :(

Lastly, is there a good breakdown (good, better, best) of ships? For being essentially "new" to the universe, I really am not sure what would be a decent upgrade (or even just capping ) path for me to take. The manual just list a few "M" classes of ships, but there are obviously a ton of different ships in the game...

Well, Ego completely nerfed the M3 class in speed, and I mean brutally nerfed. They fly so slow it's just agony. What in fuck's name they were smoking when they decided this, I have no fucking idea.
I captured a supertuned Nova that I'm flying now, and it's still slow as hell. Pretty soon I'm just going to supertune my ships myself (with a script) and get rid of this slow as shit idiocy.

Overall I'd say that the M4 (ie the buster) is now the best ship, simply because of it's speed, but an M3 will give you a lot more leeway in battle because of increased shielding and better weapons.
In X2, the M3 was king. in X3, I'd say the M4 is, because of speed. In fact, you might even make a case for the M5.
The M3s need a speed boost, but Ego seems not to care.
M6 and capships are now so slow they've become utterly useless :(
(the Split Dragon, which went 312ms in X2, now goes 80ms :( )

This comment was edited on Nov 12, 13:31.
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