UPDATE: List of player contributed >> Speculative Trading Aides

Star Citizen Alpha 3.0 introduced the first iteration of cargo hauling and trading. Although these professions aren’t ones that I will be pursuing long term, I know that that they are popular among the game’s backer community. This first iteration of cargo hauling is carried out by doing game generated missions. In the future, players will be able to create contracts for cargo hauling requests.

There are cargo hauling missions to pick up specific items and deliver them to an identified location. Recover a black box, recover crates, retrieve and dispose of waste,  actual pick-up and deliver tasks, etc. These missions represent simple go-fetch quests you find in many games and allow CIG to test basic hauling mechanics. The locations for pick-up and delivery vary between wreck sites in space, crash sites on one of the moons, space stations, or planetside hubs. The ones that I’ve seen so far pay very little in comparison to the cost of items you might want to purchase for your character. However, I’m sure all of this will be balanced over time.

What I spent my time doing was investigating the ability to do freelance trading. I prefer the freedom of choice and ability to incorporate this activity with other pursuits such as exploration. If you want to give this a try, it’s fun, but there be dragons.

There are bugs and persistence isn’t complete. I see posts from players who’ve lost all of their money trading. Don’t let that be you.

As to be expected, this first release of 3.0 is buggy. It contains a lot of new technology and foundational features. If you’re not careful, these bugs can cause you to lose money that can only be replaced by grinding out missions. Players can’t trade money or goods with each other yet. Run out of coin and you’re on your own to earn it back. Additionally, the current implementation of persistence isn’t complete. The only aspects that are genuinely persistent at this time are the condition of your ship and a player’s personal inventory – your ships, weapons, gear, and money.

Missions themselves do not persist!

Theoretically, you can log out in the bed aboard your ship and respawn back aboard that vessel. However, this only works if you just happen to log on the same exact server, a choice that is not in your control. If not, like the days of old, you’re back at Port Olisar. Additionally, nothing to do with missions persists. Not accepting them, partially completing them or turning them in. You must start, complete and collect your earnings from a mission all in the same gaming session. I mention all of this because people are going broke conducting ad-hoc trading because of the limited persistence at this time.

Game bugs might not be your worst enemy. Players are already doing piracy. Always keep enough money in reserve in case you run into a defect that causes you to lose your cargo.

In most cases, if you disconnect from the server, experience a client crash or log out with cargo aboard your ship it won’t be there the next time you log into the game. The merchandise is gone, and of course, there’s no way to get your money back for it. Poof. Consequently, if you’re going to do trading which requires you to purchase items on spec and transport them to a location that wants to buy it, never go all-in on one load. You must also consider the implications of PVP. Yep, there are players already doing piracy. If they destroy your ship, some portion of your cargo is left lootable. They must carry it aboard their ship crate-by-crate and can then sell it.

TRADING BASICS

Trading is easy as far as what you need to do. Choosing a profitable item and arriving at your destination safely, not so much. There are three major hubs in the persistent universe – Port Olisar, Grim Hex and Levski. All of them have commodity kiosks.

  • In Port Olisar, which is where law-abiding citizens spawn, it’s right near the ship deck. You’ll see an administration area with one operational terminal.
  • At Grim Hex, where criminals arrive in the game, you need to take the elevator to the Core. When you exit the elevator look for a poster with RSI ships. Next, to them, you’ll see an opening. Follow the seedy little corridor to the end and go inside the sealed room. There you’ll see the Admin Office and trade kiosks.
  • At Levski, make a left after passing through customs and go to the end of the corridor. It’s along the wall by the windows, right next to the Admin Office.

Commodity availability, prices and payout are dynamic.

Availability of items, prices, and payouts are dynamic. It’s impacted by how many other players are trading the same goods. No one location has all or buys all of the available commodities. You have to plan what you want to sell and who’s willing to buy it. Although this information is highly subject to change players are collecting lists of buy/sell information and sharing it with the community. Here’s a link to a recent list that I’m using.

Not worried about profits just yet, I used a commodities list to plan my trade route which included locations I wanted to explore more of, as this is how’d I’d do it in the released game. My trading will be opportunistic; done while doing luxury transport, exploration or science-related activities. Knowing the places I wanted to visit, I looked to see which was selling commodities that one of the others would buy. This provided me with a list of what to purchase/sell at each stop. I organized the locations into a logical order and included redundant sell options. Voila, I now had a route plan.

I did a few trial runs of a simple trade route without losing my shirt.

The first time I ran the route, I bought small quantities of two items, made the trips and sold the items when I arrived at the appropriate destination. The second time, I got a little bolder but ended up biting my nails halfway through the run when server performance started tanking. Luckily, I sold all the goods before the server died.

The third trip, I returned to being more cautious and luckily so. With one more delivery to make I lost connection to the server. Fortunately, I’d already landed and stored my ship along with its cargo. I was already on foot, heading to the Administration Office to sell the goods when I was disconnected.

Bad news? The disconnect left my ship at Levski while the game returned me to Port Olisar when I logged in. Good news? I could see that my cargo hold still had 6 units of cargo on board. More bad news? Three attempts to return to Levski all ended with disconnects. With Delamar being one of the furthest locations from Port Olisar, it’s not exactly a quick trip. After the third disconnect, I decided to call it quits for the day. It will be interesting to see if the cargo is still aboard my ship the next time I play.

Disconnects withstanding, I ended the session with more money than I had when I started.

It was a decent showing for the first implementation of trading. There are players rolling in millions of aUEC from doing it. I ended the day with more than I started with and may still have goods I can sell at Levski next time I can get there. *grumble-grumble* All in all, it was entertaining.

A reminder that only a tiny slice of Stanton is implemented in the persistent universe today. All of this activity takes places around Crusader, one of the four planets found in the Stanton Star System. You can see the lore and an AU map of the system on my website.