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 Post subject: [GUIDE] Trading guide [Banzaimonkey] (general)
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 7:23 am 
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= Table of Contents =

= Introduction
- License
- Author's Note
- Why be a Trader?

= Before you Begin
- Required
- Recommended
- Budget Breakdown
- Extra Notes

= Trader Basics
- Purchasing Your Trader Flag
- Equipping Your Trader Flag
- Hazards of Trading
- Trader Experience

= Transporting the Goods
- Purchasing Transports
- Using Transports
- Purchasing Goods
- Star Level

= Journey on the Silkroad
- Planning a Route
- Distinguishing Between Player Thieves and NPC Thieves
- Dealing with Thieves
- Countering Abusive Play
- Healing / Replacing Transports
- Death
- Selling Your Goods

= Hints and Tips

= Introduction =

- License -

This guide (including images) is released under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License. The full license may be viewed here. The date of the licensing is March 7th, 2006. The original author and retainer of the license is:

- Author's Note -
This guide will help you get started as a trader.

This guide is not an expert guide, nor is it necessarily the "best" way to do things. This is simply an explanation of how to get started as a trader and a few basic tips. The character I'll be using in this guide is named Atlana (Female) and is level 20 at the time of writing.

- Why be a Trader? -
Traders buy and sell goods to make money and gain (trader) experience. It's risky business and requires a decent amount of cash to start, but it's quite profitable and it's also a great alternative to endless farming. A few successful trade runs could get you enough gold to buy yourself a fancy new weapon or a new outfit. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

= Before you Begin =

Before you begin trading, there are a few prerequisites (and recommendations).

- Required -
Level 20
Approximately 30,000 gold.

- Recommended -
Level 21 or higher
Approximately 50,000 gold.
Friend(s) of level 21 or higher

- Budget Breakdown -
10,000 - Trader Flag
6,000 - 5 Camels or Horses
9,500 - 50 Recovery Kits
12,000* - 1 Star Trade Goods (Horse)
16,000* - 1 Star Trade Goods (Camel)
4,500 - 50 Universal Pills (Medium)
_____________________________ +
42,000 - Total (Horse)
46,000 - Total (Camel)

(This is in addition to your standard combat expenditures, such as potions, scrolls, arrows, repairs, etc.)
*For more information on horses and camels, please see the "Transporting the Goods" section below.

- Extra Notes -
Between Donwhang and Jangan (the first two towns) you'll encounter some level 25-30 mobs. If you're level 21, you'll have to bypass these or have a higher level escort. It wouldn't be a bad idea to wait until level 25 to begin trading, since it will increase your chances of survival (and thus your profits). It's still quite possible to begin trading at level 20, but it can be rather frustrating when attempting to navigate areas with higher level mobs.

Level 21 is recommended above due to XP loss on death. If you die on a trade run it is not necessarily over; you can be resurrected and your transport may survive or you could use a new one. In fact, you can die and delevel (to 19) on a trade run and still complete it successfully, but you won't be able to summon new transports. For this reason, it's a bit safer to be level 21, or at least a good portion of the way into 20, before starting. This way you can die a few times and still be able to recover your goods (provided you have an extra transport).

= Trader Basics =

- Purchasing Your Trader Flag -
To become a trader you'll need to purchase a trader flag. These are available from the Trader Union Merchant in each town (listed as Specialty Shop on the map) and cost 10,000 gold. They are gender specific, so be sure that you purchase the correct one.


There is a second, upgraded version of the trader flag called a "Red Flag" which can be purchased in Hotan. This flag costs 1,000,000 gold. The Red Flag also has two pennants rather than one.

- Equipping Your Trader Flag -
In order to trade you'll need to equip the trader flag in your job slot (the bottom right slot on your equipment page). The job icon next to your name will update to reflect that you are now a trader. If you want to stop being a trader, simply remove the trader flag. A yellow bar will appear over your head indicating the time before your job item is removed. Once the trader flag is removed, it cannot be re-equipped for 10 minutes.

Here you can see the trader flag equipped (outlined in green):


- Hazards of Trading -
Once the trader flag has been equipped it will show up on your back. This indicates to other players that you are a trader (and makes you a target for thieves). If you are wearing a trader flag and are outside of a town, you can be attacked by player thieves unless you are on a 1-star trade. If you're running around with your trader flag on for no reason, you may be killed.


- Trader Experience -
Successfully completing a trade run will give you trader experience. To view your current trader experience, open the Character panel. Dying on the job causes you to lose trader experience and character experience, so be careful!

= Transporting the Goods =

- Purchasing Transports -
There are two types of transports available for purchase: Camels and horses. Camels are slower, have more hitpoints, and a larger capacity than horses. Horses are slightly faster than camels, but have less hitpoints and carry less goods.

More specifically, the basic conversion is a 33% increase in capacity from horse to camel due to the 25% decrease in speed. Going from camel to horse, the camel increases speed by 33% but loses 25% of capacity.

The speed and basic one-star values of each transport can be seen below ("~" is an approximation sign):

Horse: 4m (speed) - ~12,000 (capacity)
Camel: 3m (speed) - ~16,000 (capacity)

The exact amount of capacity of your trade animals seems to be based on your level.

Moogie recommends using camels. (Camels are also my personal preference, but you should try them both and see which you prefer.)

Moogie wrote:
They move slower, yes, but the benefits outweigh this small difference in speed. As you're filling up your trade animal with goods, eventually your rating will rise from 1 star to 2 stars and more. You can see this at the bottom of your animal's inventory window. With a camel, the amount of goods you can fill up before moving to 2 star ranking will be more than a horse can hold at 1 star.

Full text here.


There is, unfortunately, an exploit to which camel-using traders are more susceptible.

Bakemaster wrote:
A higher level player leads a steed or camel in front of you, forcing his or her NPC thieves onto you, is almost always deadly if you're using a camel, and almost always avoidable if you're using a horse. It's for that reason more than anything else that I never use a camel unless protected by some intimidating hunters.

As Bakemaster pointed out, player thieves may exploit the NPC thief spawns to get NPC thieves to spawn on and kill your caravan. To avoid this, it's best to use a horse, which is faster and can outmaneuver or outrun an abusive player. For more information on this, please refer to the Countering Abusive Play section.

Regardless of which you decide to use, buy a few of them. In the event that your transport is killed, you'll need to replace it. I like to keep about 5 transports in my inventory for emergencies. If you have extra transports you may also be able to sell them to other traders along the way whose transports have been killed.

- Using Transports -
Trader transports function in much the same manner as regular transports (red horses). However, trader transports do not disappear when you get off, have substantially more hitpoints, are slower, and have inventories. The same control panel is used for both, though the functionality is limited when using a basic transport.


Here you can see the trader transport interface buttons.

A - This button is used to access the transport's inventory. If for some reason this panel does not open automatically when you start trading with the Trade Shop Merchant, use this button to open it. You can also open your interface to dump extra goods if you inadvertently buy too many and realize your star rating is higher than you intended. You can configure a hotkey for the transport inventory. It is set to Insert by default.

B - This button allows you to mount your transport and ride it. While riding your transport, any mob or player attacking you will damage the transports hitpoints, not yours, so if you're a fragile int character, get on your transport and get comfy. ;) You will be unable to mount for approximately 20 seconds after combat, and you need to be quite close to the transport to get on it. The default hotkey for mount is Home.

C - This button allows you to destroy your transport. A confirmation dialog will appear before you your transport is destroyed. You can use this to change transports mid-run, or simply to get rid of your transport when you're done trading. However, you can sell your transport back to the stables (see D).

D - This picture shows you the transport you are currently using. The red bar underneath it indicates the health status of your transport. A full red bar indicates full hitpoints. You can also use this button to sell your transport to the stables. To sell your transport, it must be empty. Pick up the transport's icon and drop it onto the open stable merchant's trade window to sell it.

- Purchasing Goods -
In order to make money, you have to spend money. The first part of a trade run involves purchasing goods from the Trade Shop Merchant in one town to be transported and sold to the Trade Shop Merchant in another town.

In the picture below you can see the merchant's inventory on the left and the trader transport's inventory on the right. The current value and star rating of the trade are displayed at the bottom of the trader transport's inventory. The size of the inventory will differ based on the type of transport you're using.


To easily purchase a stack of items, CTRL-Click on it. Unless you know the market prices on the other end of the trade run, it's probably a good idea to buy a variety of goods to ensure that at least some of them will sell at a good profit. You can also purchase goods with various values to fit into a certain star rating.

If for some reason you wish to sell back some of the goods you've purchased, you'll get a 50% refund. Try to avoid over-purchasing by buying smaller amounts of goods as you get closer to your star threshold.

- Star Level -
As you purchase more goods and add them to your transport's inventory, your trade star rating may increase. A level 1 trader with a camel can carry approximately 16,000 gold worth of goods before exceeding 1 star. Horses' star thresholds are lower than that of camels. A level 1 trader can place approximately 12,500 gold worth of goods on a horse before exceeding 1 star. As your trader level increases, the amount of goods you can transport at a given star rating will increase slightly.

As your star rating increases, the power and number of NPC thief spawns increases. Be careful of advancing your star rating too high. I've seen groups of 6-8 black robber archers spawn and decimate a caravan.

If you are on a 1-star trade run, player thieves cannot attack you. Your only enemies will be NPC thieves and mobs. This doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be safe. If you're following behind another trader with a higher star rating, their thief spawns may kill you. Be careful of other traders, especially ones who do not have hunter escorts.

Once you have all of your preparations taken care of, you're all set to begin your journey.


= Journey on the Silkroad =

- Planning a Route -
Once you have your transport loaded (or even ahead of time), plan out the route you're going to take. Shown below is a map of the area between Jangan and Donwhang, with key areas highlighted.


The areas in red are areas with (relatively) high level mobs. These mobs range from level 26-30 and are quite deadly to a level 20 trader and their caravan. Unless you have a high level escort, avoid these trade routes. If you're lucky enough to get behind another caravan with escorts, you may be able to piggyback your way through some otherwise impassable areas, so keep your eyes open for opportunities.

Also pay attention to things like bridges which act as choke points. While you can avoid some conflicts by staying off the roads, you will have to cross bridges. You may want to use a scout in these areas, or advance more slowly to ensure you aren't walking into an ambush.

When traveling without an escort it's best to avoid other traders who don't have escorts (unless they're in your caravan), particularly if they're significantly higher in level than you are. Take a look at the equipment they're wearing to estimate what level the other traders may be. Since traders typically run in front of their transports, and thieves spawn behind, response time of a trader to an attack will be long. On the other hand, hunters typically float around the transport and kill off attackers quickly. Keep these things in mind while traveling. Situational awareness is key.

- Distinguishing Between Player Thieves and NPC Thieves -
Player thieves have a name and a small purple thief icon next to their name. An NPC thief is simple called "Thief" and has no such icon. Both wear thief suits. Examples of the name tags can be seen below.

Image Image

Both player thieves and NPC thieves have their own unique hazards and strategies for dealing with them. I'll try to outline a few of the basics in this guide, but some of them you'll have to learn from experience.

- Dealing with Thieves -
The pile of Universal Pills I suggested purchasing earlier is to counter the abilities of thieves encountered on your trade routes. NPC thieves have elemental attacks, much like other players. These can cause problems, such as freezing or burns, so use the pills to remove these debuffs.

Thieves generally spawn next to or behind your caravan, so keep an eye open over your shoulder to see if you're being pursued. Also, keep this in mind when following other caravans, as their thief spawns may target you instead. Thieves typically spawn after a certain amount of time, so if you sit down to rest, be aware that a thief may spawn while you are resting.

Thieves will generally attack the target nearest to them, so if you run past your transport to attack the thief, expect that the thief will change targets and come after you. If you're an archer you may be able to take advantage of this behavior and use your transport as a meat shield.

If you anticipate a lot of thief problems because of a high star rating, you should hire one or more hunters. A hunter's job is to kill thieves, plain and simple. It's quite fun to watch them from the comfort of a transport, so you may enjoy shelling out the extra cash for a show along the way. :) Making sure you have adequate protection will secure your investment.

- Countering Abusive Play -
There are a few exploits to be wary of (generally employed by player thieves) which are used to bypass the 1-star system.

As I've mentioned previously, it's important to be wary of higher level traders whose thief spawns may attack and endanger your caravan. In these cases, they are inadvertently putting you at risk. However, player thieves may use this game mechanic to intentionally put you at risk.

Moogie has written a detailed post about this issue, which you can view here.

Another tip that may help you avoid these situations is using a horse. A horse transport can allow you to outrun or outmaneuver a player thief who is attempting to swamp you with NPC thief spawns.

Additionally, be careful of strange-looking mobs along your trade route, as these may be the result of a Monster Summoning Scroll and are typically more powerful than the other mobs found in a given area. If you see something out of the ordinary, keep your eyes open and approach cautiously. Sometimes the best thing to do is to stop and look around to make sure you don't run headfirst into a swarm of nasty mobs or NPC thieves.

A second abusive issue is detailed by Bakemaster:

Bakemaster wrote:
Sometimes a thief will attack your one-star pack animal without his or her thief suit on in an area with many aggressive mobs. The attacker's name will turn purple, giving him or her offender status, but as long as it is a mob or an NPC thief which actually deals the killing blow to the pack animal, the player will not become a murderer and can work of his or her offender status fairly quickly. The goal is to weaken your pack animal while you are running ahead of it until it is killed by something else, usually an NPC thief. At that point the offender puts on a thief suit and steals your cargo which is lying on the ground. The only reliable ways to counter this tactic are by killing the offender, which is possible only while his name is purple and if you are strong enough, or keeping a close watch on your mount and healing it if you get into trouble.

- Healing / Replacing Transports -
Transports can be healed using a recovery kit, which can be purchased at the stables. These have a rather long cooldown, so don't expect to be able to survive an entire trade route simply by healing your transport. Enemies will have to be dispatched before they can kill your transport.


If your transport is killed, your goods will spill onto the ground. Quickly summon another transport, mount it, and collect the goods on the ground. If you leave the goods on the ground for too long, they may be stolen.

A more advanced trick to replace a severely damaged trasnport (~10%) is to purposefully kill your transport with the destroy transport button (See section C under Using Transports, above.). This will drop your goods on the ground and allow you to summon a new transport to collect them. If you decide to employ this tactic, be extremely careful to make sure you are not attacked while you are destroying / summoning. If you are attacked, you will have to end combat (by killing your attacker(s)) and then wait an additional 20 seconds to summon a new transport. During this time your goods will be on the ground and could be stolen.

- Death -
If you are killed during a trade run, you'll have to hope for a resurrection from another player or from someone in your caravan. Try to avoid death at all costs. Without a trader, a transport will not go anywhere, and will often suffer the same fate as its owner unless you have reinforcements or someone lends assistance.

If you're in the middle of a trade route, you're probably better off waiting for a resurrection from another player. If you're close to your res point you can resurrect yourself and run (or ride, a horse of course, not a trade transport :P) and try to recover your goods. If you were close to your destination when you were killed, you can take a calculated risk: resurrect and teleport there, then run to your goods and collect them.

Both waiting for a res and running back are risky as a thief may steal your goods. If you see thieves around, you may as well release and get a fresh shipment rather than wasting time trying to recover a partial shipment, unless the shipment was very large. Some thieves may be afraid to pick up too many goods so they may leave some or all of yours behind.

If you have to run back, don't summon your transport until you reach the spot where you died. Also, avoid thieves along the way. A trader without a transport is vulnerable to attack by player thieves.

- Selling Your Goods -
When you reach your destination, it's time to rake in the moolah! Head over to the Trader Shop Merchant to sell your goods. To sell your goods more quickly, you can hold CTRL and click on each stack. When you sell the goods, you will gain trader experience and gold based on the market price of the goods. The market price is the percentage of your purchase price for which you can sell your goods.

A market price of 387% will return almost 4 times what you spent initially. Keep in mind that you've purchased these goods, your transport, and other items for the trip, so your profit will be the difference between your initial costs and your end result (i.e. your net profit is not 387%).

Hopefully you'll manage to break even on your first trip and then make a profit on your second one. Unless things went really badly, you hopefully won't have used up all of your transports, recovery kits, etc. and you can use what you already have.

= Hints and Tips =

- Know the pros and cons of camels and horses.
- Carry extra transports.
- Do trade runs with a buddy (another trader or a hunter).
- If you exceed 1 star's worth of trade goods, player thieves can attack you.
- CTRL-Click goods to buy or sell a stack.
- Get to know your route and the mobs that spawn there.
- Trade a variety of goods rather than only one type.
- Help other traders and players along the way (but not thieves :P).
- Avoid heavily trafficked routes.
- Beware high level traders (and the thieves they spawn).
- Keep your eyes and ears open to avoid ambushes.
- Make sure you replenish your supplies when you pass through / arrive in town.

Good luck!


Heroes aren't born.

Last edited by banzaimonkey on Sat Mar 18, 2006 3:54 am, edited 22 times in total.

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