Here in my garage, just bought this new Coyote here. It’s fun to drive up here in the Nevada Rim. But you know what I like more than materialistic things? Knowledge. In fact, it’s like some ancient guy used to say, “the more you learn, the more you earn.”
Well, today is your lucky day because I’ll be unloading a cargo-hold of facts on you. I’m not saying you’ll be the sector’s most successful wheeler and dealer, that position is already taken, but I am saying you’ll be a lot more successful a lot faster than you would have been otherwise. It won’t cost you a thing. I’m just doing this because I like people and I want you to make a lot of money.
This is obvious but join the merchant’s guild as soon as you can. It’ll cost you 1,000 credits, but it’ll pay itself back hugely over time. Just do normal missions from the mission board until you get around 5,000 credits, and then join the guild with a little extra cash to trade with. You’ll be taking missions from the guild nearly exclusively moving forward.
There is also a guild for mercenaries, but I haven’t bothered to join. I’m usually running goods from one system to another and don’t really care to side-track to take out a random target. Besides, I usually get jumped between points often enough and I do often respond to distress calls. I’ll go more into that in another tip, but I get most of my combat kicks during those events.
Don’t just take any mission, and not even the mission that pays out the best. In fact, when you start off, take mostly the in-system delivery missions. The guild will supply you with the materials and you just fly them to the requesting base. The missions are color coded with a relative degree of difficulty, so pay attention to that, but there are other things to look at, too. The best paying missions are the ones that ask you to procure a specific number of some item and then deliver it to a specific base.
Make sure you know where to get that item before you take the mission, though. What you don’t want to do is have a mission that takes you days to fulfill because you can’t find the good or enough of the good to fulfill the order. You also want to note where the delivery point is and whether it’s in a direction that’s likely to yield a good mission once you’re there. Missions do change over time, but Texas never seems to provide missions as good as you can get in Tennessee, for example.
One of the things I failed to do early on was explore as much as I should have. I’d get a mission, go do the mission, and then pick up another mission. When these are simple delivery missions or the normal story-line missions, all the information you need is in the mission and there’s no need to explore. That limits you badly on the trading end and also when it comes to missions you pick up through the merchant’s guild.
Each new system you enter, take the time to visit each station and planet. This does a number of things for you. First and probably most, it populates your knowledge-base of what that port produces and sells. This is critical information once you start running the trade missions where you have to supply the goods, but it also gives you a sense of prices in order to maximize profit. Knowing where to go to get what you need opens a lot of doors for you.
It seems a little silly but make some notes when you come into a system. When you’re going to one station, note down what the names of the other planets or stations in the system are. Once you’ve docked, check for missions to deliver items to the other points in the system. You’re heading that way, so you might as well make some cash when you do. It’s free money and it’s relatively common to land a job flying goods from one station to another you already plan to visit.
It also helps to make a note of particularly cheap products to buy and really good sell prices. If you know where to go, buying in bulk can make later delivery missions even more lucrative. Also, knowing where to pick up or sell good along a route can increase the margin of the entire run dramatically. It’s very common that I’ll take a mission that has me making five or more jumps, in which case I’ll often buy and sell at multiple points between where I start and end that particular run.
Buy in Bulk
Most missions you take won’t require your entire cargo space, so load up on other goods. If it’s a long run, check your notes and plan a few stops along the way using your extra cargo space. If it’s a short run, a great way to make extra cash is to load up on more of what you’re supposed to deliver anyway.
When you dock, the mission goods are automatically pulled from your cargo and the reward disbursed to your account, but missions usually indicate a particularly high demand for a resource at the given station. If you can buy the mission item in bulk, you can sell the rest at the station with very high margins.
Unless it’s a short mission or I’m just trying to make the run in as short of time as possible, I always like to leave a couple free spaces in my cargo hold. Every few systems, you get jumped and it’s relatively common for pirates to drop either loot or pilots after you blow them up.
I tend to ignore the pilots because they seem to only be worth 250 credits each or so, but I always try to pickup the loot. Often, the loot will sell well at any stations in the system, but of course your notes may have something better between you and your destination. This is loot you didn’t have to buy, so minus the cost of a few missiles, it’s effectively free money… if you haven’t stuffed your cargo-hold to capacity with other stuff.
This is more a “don’t do this” kind of tip. You can install a secret stash in your ship, which will allow you to haul illegal cargo and not be caught from a scan. The problem is that the secret stash is so much smaller than other cargo extensions that it doesn’t seem to be cost effective in any way.
Contraband can be very lucrative, but since there are only so many places that it can be sold, I don’t really think it’s worth it. There will always be the exception to the rule, but for the most part, I tend to ignore illegal cargo and prefer to use larger cargo extensions to maximize my bulk purchasing opportunities.
Gambling is Good
Every port you stop into, hit the bar for some financial action. It’s not uncommon to find someone willing to dice or play pool for a ship part and has been worth doing in every case I’ve looked at so far. I win more often than not and very rarely lose twice in a row. That effectively means I win a part for free or at a discount.
Even if you don’t want to use the part on your ship, you can sell it. Besides, I like to win the part just so I can get to whatever the normal bet is for that station, anyway. Pool in particular seems to be easy to win consistently and has resulted in a significant increase to my personal net worth. I may not need that new Auto-Cannon, but I definitely would like the chance to win 9,000 credits per game of pool.
There is a station that the player can buy and restore to use as a base. I haven’t gotten too far with it because I’ve been on the other end of the sector a lot lately. Buying it and then restoring it can take time and credits away from what else you’re doing, though.
I think having the base is handy, but it’s enough out of the way and expensive enough that I’d normally recommend passing on it until you get to a point where you’re just bored and looking for something else to do. Before then, I think you’re better off spending the money on a better ship or on improving your weapons and defensive systems.
Well, I hope you found these tips handy as you explore Dodge Sector and hunt down Ruth for well-deserved retribution. They say money doesn’t bring anyone happiness. That may be true, but it sure as heck makes the search for it easier.
If you happen to come across me in the station bar, come say hello. We’ll trade pricing info and knock a few back in a toast to “easy.” Until then, happy trading and good fortune.