Trading Posts: how do they work? Are there a waste of time or a brilliant investment? This guide will show you some tips and tricks to make them wildly successful!
Trading Posts: How do they work? Are they a waste of money or just a storage dump for all your extra junk? How does the AI seem to make so much from them? And on a, perhaps surprisingly, related note why is the market always flooded with the stuff I want to sell? I burned down my competitor’s business, so where do all those (items) keep coming from!?
Well, to put it simply, the Trading Post is the most versatile business in the game, and consequently it’s also the most misunderstood. As Stardog has said on numerous occasions, you can use it for pretty much anything. But I know, what you really want to know, is how do you use it to make money? Because that’s what we’re really after in this game! Follow the money, honey! So to that end I put it to you that the Trading Post shines the best as a supplementary business, that is, a business that goes along side whatever other business you have and supplements your ability to profit. Yes it can be a stand-alone business, and I will cover that later. But for now, let’s assume a game where you already own one other business. You see the trading post become available, and you buy it. Now what?
Sniping Like an eBay Ninja
Watch the market like a hawk. It is very important, no, it is fundamental to your success, that you understand that there is more than one market in this game, and that the prices can vary significantly between them. Furthermore, and this will end up being the key to greatness, there are traveling merchants that, if watched by a careful observer, can be sniped for extreme profit. Let me outline it for you:
- Step #1: Buy trading post.
- Step #2: Upgrade one cart to max level, making it a horse cart that will work at all hours and never need to be paid.
- Step #3: Fire all your other workers. Seriously, you don’t need them.
- Step #4: Begin filling your trading post with overflow goods from your primary business, when (and only when) the prices in your local market are too low for you to sell and make a profit.
- Step #5: Watch the market in the other town for cheap goods that you do not produce (like iron or wood, whatever you are not making yourself) and buy some if the price drops to minimum. If you can sell these in your local market for a profit, go for it! If not, just hold on to them.
- Step #6: As soon as a traveling merchant arrives, load up your horse cart and snipe him like it’s 2006 and you’re an Ebay ninja! Send that cart over right away and offload everything you can at maximum price before he gets any stock from anywhere else. If you bought iron at 17 each, you can probably sell them at 34 each here! If you bought wood at 15 each, you can sell here for 28 each! I earned the Master Trader achievement for selling 2,000 gold worth in goods all at once this way!
- Step #7: Wait for the merchant to leave, rinse and repeat!
As for general advice: this ought to be pretty straight forward, but just keep watching the markets in both towns. As you see prices rise and fall, buy up stuff that is at minimum price, and sell it in whichever market rises to maximum price. You can use the trading post to create artificial scarcity as well, if you don’t mind playing a little dirty. Burn down your competitor’s production so you are the only one producing the goods, then hold all your overflow product at your trading post until demand climbs again. This way you never run out of storage space at your production building, and you can stockpile reserves to snipe the traveling merchant when he appears! Using this method I climbed to Geneat, owning 4 buildings, all upgraded, and earned the Prosperous achievement having 20,000 gold by the end of 890!
Oh, and it should go without saying, but don’t sell stuff at minimum price in the market. I’ve heard people complaining about how they can’t make a profit selling stuff at minimum. Duh! Of course you can’t, nor should you. Use some market sense. Buy low and sell high! Do this and the winds of fortune will take you far indeed!