The Good Trade
To get the most profit from your trades, you need only remember 3 things:
* Matching base economies (within 10% is good)
* Long distance trades (preferably over 3500)
* Trading with lots of different players
That's the bare essence of things. If this is all you want to know, just hop on to the next chapter. If you want to know why, just keep reading.
The formula determining income for a single trade is as follows:
Income: Sqrt(min. Economy) x ( 1 + Sqrt(Distance)/75 + Sqrt(Players)/10 )
Let's take an example. You set up a trade route with two of your bases, both with 100 economy, and 25 distance from each other. You trade with 9 players total (you can see this number in the Empire > Trade screen). Now the numbers look like this:
Income: Sqrt(100) x ( 1 + Sqrt (25)/75 + Sqrt(9)/10 ) = 10 x ( 1 + 5/75 + 3/10 ) = 10 x ( 1,4 ) = 14
This is better than nothing, but not very good for a trade route. As you can see, the income of the trade depends on three factors: Minimum economy (lowest economy of the two trading bases), distance between the bases, and amount of different players that you personally trade with. To get a good trade route going, you need to maximise all three factors.
Now, the economy of your bases is at it is, how you set up your trade routes has nothing to do with that. All you can do is to get a trade to a base that's close to your own economy; If you have a base worth 100 econ, you would earn just as much if you were trading with a base worth 100 or 200 (or eleven million for that matter). The only difference is that the guy with the 200 econ base would get less money than he could, and he probably doesn't want that. Just make sure to get a trade with a base within perhaps 10% of your own economy.
Tip: In many cases you don't have to worry about trading with a base of lower economy, if you know that the base will grow to a better economy closer to yours eventually. If it's a good player's new base, and he knows how to protect his bases from trade plundering, it'll only be a few weeks before this trade is as good as any other.
The distance, you can do more about. The longer the distance between the two bases, the more you will make from the trade. Distance is calculated in a little tricky manner in AE. Key points to remember:
Distance between two astros in the same galaxy is usually less than 100. Distance between two neighboring galaxies (for example x05 and x06) is 200. Distance between any two galaxy clusters (for example x00-09 and x10-19, but also x00-09 and x30-39) is 2000.
Examples of distance
From x05 to x08 = (3 x 200) = 600 From x05 to x14 = From 05 to 09, then from 09 to 10, then from 10 to 14 = (4 x 200) + 2000 + (4 x 200) = 3600 From x05 to x34 = 3600 (as above) From x29 to x19 = (9 x 200) + 2000 = 3800
Thus, the maximum distance you can hope to attain is for example between x00 and x19, being 5600.
At the beginning you will want a short-distance trade, as the cost to set up the route is related to the distance, and you don't have that many credits at first. But you'll quickly want to get what they call "long distance trades", as this is an important step in maximizing the income from your trades. Once you're settled in, you'll want to try to always trade outside of your own galaxy cluster, i.e. all your trades should be at least 2000 in distance. Some will argue for more and only settle higher as more distance means more income, but if you've got at least 2000 then you should be alright.
The last component of the formula, la labeled "players", is the amount of players that you trade with in total. If you only trade with yourself, this number is 1 (modifier of sqrt(1)/10 = 0.1). If you've got 10 bases with 5 trades each, you can reach a maximum of 51 trading partners (modifier of sqrt(51)/10 = 0.71). This applies to ALL your trades, so it's important to trade with a lot of different players. How to do this? Well, that's basically what the next part of the tutorial is about.
Getting The Trades Out
Click the Income tab on the lower part of your trade screen. All your trades are now listed, from the lowest income to the highest. Select all the sub prime (ha!) ones, and cancel them. Now you have a lot of open trade slots, if you didn't already, that are looking for good partners.
The first thing to do is to check if there are any suitable trades on your guild's trade board. The trades might be from members in your own guild or outside it, more about that a little later. But in any case, please exhaust this option before you start spamming your routes everywhere. Remember to take just one trade from each player.
If you need to spread trades of your own, click the Trade Routes tab on the first part of your trade screen. Your bases are now ordered in respect to their amount of trade slots. Copy and paste all who have open slots, which is now made easier by a special 'hide full bases' button, which allows you to hide bases with full trades and simply copy the ones with empty trade slots.
Now, you can choose to spread your trades in two ways; to your guild, or outside it. To trade with your own guild, just post your list of coords on the guild board's TRADE section.
Trading outside of your own guild is recommended, however. Trading with your own guild is easiest in the short-term, but if your guild is ever at war, trades inside the guild are rarely spared in an attack, while trades to guilds outside the conflict usually are (since it will be perceived as a hostile action against the outside guild), so external trading is recommended. You'll want to end up on other guilds' trade boards, and there are a few ways to go about it.
Some guilds have designated trade ministers, to take care of incoming and outgoing trades, sometimes restricted to an alliance. If you want to trade with a specific guild, look if they have a such official. Do not message them to the guild leader or the first player on the guild list. Seriously, we're sick of it Instead, if you must trade with this particular guild, choose a random person with a decent econ and hope they'll be online soon.
The most efficient way to spread your trades to other guilds though is to watch the combat ticker. These are people you know are online, and so your trades will be posted to their trade board straight away. Note that this doesn't mean that you'll get trade offers straight away, though it might often happen within a few minutes.
Whoever you're sending your routes to, keep the following things in mind:
* Be polite! By posting your routes, someone is taking time out of their schedule to help you. Be grateful.
* Say your requirements for the trade. For the most part this will be "Long distance, similar economy". Unique trading partners is implied.
* Keep it short and sweet. When browsing for trades on the guild board, people rarely want to read a novel about your hopes and expectations for your particular trades.
* Delete the base names from the list, leaving just the coords. This will make the economies line up all nice and prettylike, again making skimming the trade board easier.
Now, your trade message might look a bit like this:
Hi there! Could you post these trades on your board for me?
xXX:31:91:21 186 / 186 3 / 5
xXX:53:20:23 182 / 182 3 / 5
xXX:52:78:31 191 / 191 4 / 5
xXX:52:21:11 176 / 176 4 / 5
xXX:42:16:23 178 / 178 4 / 5
Similar econ, long distance (2000+) please.
This is easy for someone to post to their trade board. If you're posting routes, remember to include the header, so your guildmates will know who the route comes from.
Now you should be ready to pimp out your econ! Let me just round off with a few do's and don'ts (mainly don'ts) that will make trading easier for all of us.
Do's and Don'ts of Trading
Check your trade board for open trades before posting new ones. Don't spam every guild on the server with trades. It's annoying to try and set up a route from the trade board with a base whose slots are already taken. Limit yourself to a couple of large guilds, or a lot of small ones. When posting to your own guild board, delete your post when the routes are filled. Same reason as above. Don't post trades asking people to "message you to clear up a trade". It wastes everyone's time, just bite the bullet and suffer a slightly lowered income for the few hours it will take. Defend your routes. Don't spend thousands, or more importantly make others spend thousands, to set up a route that might get plundered tomorrow. Remember, a base needs fleet as well as turrets to defend routes from plundering.