What is Trading?
Before we start to work out how to best make some cash from our trading activities, let's start with a very basic definition:
- "Trading is the art of buying something and subsequently selling it for a higher price"
OK - that's somewhat simplistic and doesn't include any concepts of fame, gaining favour and so on but it will do us for a start. The rest of this document will bear that statement in mind when dishing the advice.
Buying: Knowing your prices
You stand in front of the market keeper looking at his list of wares and wondering which is a good deal and which is a lame duck. How do you figure this out?
The first and most important answer to this is the Accounts skill. It's an essential for any trader in UWO, more so than any other skill (IMHO). With the Accounts skill you can browse the list of goods on sale with a handy percentage next to each. This indicates quite how expensive (relative to "normal" price) that the goods are. A higher percent indicates a higher than normal price and a lower one indicates a lower price. Focusing on goods with lower percentages here is a good indication of the potential profit. Buy goods with a higher percent at your own risk - my own personal limit is about 120% before I start to wonder if I'm going to be able to make a profit.
Bear in mind that you've got a massive potential information network at your fingertips. There are hundreds of players located all over the map with market keepers near them who can give them instant prices to pass on to you. If you want to know whether you can make a profit running Bronze from Plymouth to London - see if you can find someone in London to give you current prices. Just keep in mind that they might change before you get to your destination if you're travelling any serious distance.
Frequently when you buy yourself food and drink at the tavern, the barkeep will tell you the price of some local trade item as it sells in a remote port. This can be a pretty good indication of a profitable trip. Take note of what they say but, again, bear in mind the possibility that the prices might fluctuate during your journey.
Buying: Planning your goods
OK - let's assume you want to get the most profit from a trip that you possibly can. If you do then you need to keep in mind how much you can fit in your cargo hold. Some goods are a lot more expensive for a given space in your hold. If you're going to make 10% profit on a run it's better to make that on 100,000D of goods rather than 1,000 right? So - balance best % prices with raw price of the goods. General lower % is good and higher raw price is also good if you want to maximize your profits on a given run.
Also - keep in mind that you don't have to just run one sort of trade good. Go mad - fill your hold with a range of potentially profitable stuff. This offers you a little protection if market prices in one particular trade item drop as well. At least then you have other goods to fall back on.
This is also a good moment to mention the skills that increase trade goods. These follow titles along the lines of Food Trading and so on and each allows you to grab more of a good thing when you see it. It's worthwhile grabbing as many of these as you can afford to if you want to be a serious trader.
You have the Accounts skill right? Well - in that case you can haggle to get better prices.. or at least attempt to. Make sure you plan out everything you want before you buy and then hit the haggle button. Hopefully you'll pass the test and get a better price. It does cost a little Vigour to do this so maybe not so worthwhile if your not haggling over much but for most transactions you'll make a significant enough saving if you pass the test. Haggling can increase your profit margin by a lot, Once you get to R5 Accounts and a high sociability you can haggle about 4 times in a row. Bear in mind that you will be able to haggle easier in ports that your nation own, I've only managed to get one or two if im lucky out of nations other then my own.
Crafting: Turning Raw Materials into Products
There are 5 crafting tree's in the game, Sewing, Cooking, Handicrafts, Casting and Storage. Each has there own benefits and recipes. These crafts can turn materials into products for more profit. Crafting requires you to have the recipe book as well as the required skill to make it and the ingredients to make it.
Crafting: In depth
Sewing turns textiles like Wool and Cotton into fabrics like Flannel and Spare Sails. Merchant with the sewing skill can also make sails for ships as well as clothes.
Cooking turns foodstuff and livestock like Wheat and Sheep into food like Seafood Pizza and Edam Gratin. Merchants with the cooking skill can make foods which are sought after by many and can turn a tidy profit when there skill is high enough.
Handicrafts makes and brews alcohol as well as turning raw materials like Bronze and Lumber into statues. Merchants with the Handicrafts skill can also make Figureheads and Wooden Ship Armour.
Casting turns minerals and ores like Iron Ore and Tin Ore into industrial products and firearms like Bronze and Muskets. Merchants can also make cannons, Improve weapons as well as making ship armour.
Storage has several benefits for merchants, It makes the degrading of items slower while sailing at sea, Pirates plunder less from your ship and you can turn Caught Fish and Berries into Stored Fish and other fruit. Merchants with the storage skill will be able to make many fruits as well as being able to sail with their best equipment and their fortune without having to worry
Reference - Notes - Comments
- ↑ For me as a Maritime, i have yet to find a tip that is correct.