When one mentions the economy in Forge of Empires, likely the first thing to pop into your head are Forge Points (FPs). The reality though is that FPs really only drive a small portion of things in the game, and the real economy is centered around goods. This is because while there are sufficient resources to make a lot of FPs, and the inclusion of Arc makes it possible to bank, invest, and profit thousands more FPs; goods are a much costlier resource. Why is that? Well, the short answer is that it’s harder to get a dense goods-per-square ratio of space than it is FPs. Lets take a deeper dive into the economy surrounding goods though, and don’t worry if this seems really abstract–it is.
I’m going to first break this into a few quick sections for review, or perhaps education if you’re very new to the game, so that we can all be on the same page for the more abstract parts. Just for clarity, this is only discussing goods that can be traded, so special goods like promethium from Arctic Future (AF) and beyond are not included.
First, how does one create goods?
There are a several ways to create goods on your own: goods buildings, great buildings (GBs), special production buildings, event buildings, questing, and rewards.
- Goods Buildings: These buildings require you to have the correct boosted good on the continent map (c-map) in order to produce goods efficiently. They will produce the specific good that they imply or state in their name, ie: a lumber mill will create lumber and a weaving mill will create cloth, etc. To use these you must have the required components on-hand, in the beginning this is just coins and supplies but in later eras you’ll also need unrefined goods as well. These buildings can be plundered.
- Great Buildings: These buildings, for the most part, will create one type of good a day in a specific quantity based on their level. In Modern Era (ME) and beyond the goods they produce will be unrefined, that is to say not of your current era anymore. To raise the level of a GB and thus raise its efficiency, you will need to invest FPs into it and level it up either by self-investment, swap threads, or lock threads. GBs cannot be plundered.
- Special Production Buildings: These are production buildings with the typical six time options of 5min, 15min, 1hr, 4hr, 8hr, and 1 day; but instead of making supplies you’re going to also have options like medals, guild power (crowns), FPs, and goods. Quite often the option for goods is going to be the 8hr or the 1 day option for these buildings. The era of good you create will match the era of the building, which is great because it means you can make refined goods. Special production buildings also only cost you time, and will make at least one of each good for the era specified (to know how many total of each, divide the number you’ll be producing by 5). These buildings can be plundered.
- Event Buildings: These are buildings won through events, be them set buildings, upgradable buildings, or just standalone buildings. They will create the era of goods that matches the era of the building, which is great because again you get refined goods. The building itself will tell you if it’s creating a variety of the goods, or if you will randomly get one of the five possible goods for your era from them. As far as plundering goes, the general rule of thumb is thus: If it can be motivated, it cannot be plundered; if if cannot be motivated then it can be plundered. Of course, some exceptions apply and the building will often tell you if that’s the case.
- Questing: This requires the use of Chateau Frontenac to be truly effective, but it’s the act of doing recurring quests over and over again and hoping you get goods for a prize (which is fairly common). Since I’ve discussed this at length elsewhere, I won’t go into it here. These goods will always match the era that you’re in.
- Rewards: You earn rewards from participating in GE and GBG, and these will always be for your current era unless it states specifically that it’s for the previous era. The only exception are GE chests, which will match the era that you were in when GE opened for the week (so if you age-up after GE opens, the chests will still be for the previous era but relics will now match your new era). In addition if you have planted Himeji Castle (HC) or Space Carrier (SC), then you have a chance to win goods as a prize for winning a battle or a negotiation respectively.
Depending on your needs will determine what combination of these aforementioned methods you’ll use. It will come down to space and time constraints, as well as patience. The person who chooses the path of negotiator for a play style will use the majority of these for a strategy, and will need a lot of patience and dedication to also work the market to their advantage.
Second, how does one use goods?
We use goods in a variety of ways in the game, and of course it’s never just the few goods you can create yourself–it’s all of them. Hence the economy. Lets just look at where goods are used though real quick:
- Tech Research: You’ll need goods in order to advance through the eras and research techs on the tech tree. These are fixed amounts and there’s nothing that modifies them.
- Great Building Construction: GBs cost goods to initially plant them in your city. The era of the GB will dictate the era of goods that you need to construct it. After you plant it the only things you’ll need to raise it up more levels are FPs, and then later on extra blueprint (BP) sets as well.
- Negotiation Games: Anytime you choose to negotiate instead of fight in GE or GBG, or when you get the requirement to negotiate something of a certain difficulty as a quest, or for the merchant in the Japan settlement, etc.; it will cost goods of your current era and/or goods of the era before (and perhaps coins, supplies, medals, or special goods) to do so. For someone who wants to be a negotiator as a play style, you will quickly get used to this.
- C-Map Negotiation: Instead of attacking a sector of a province to conquer it, you can just pay them off with goods. The requirements for each sector will vary, but usually they match the era and sometimes the previous era for which the province is in.
- Event Quests: Sometimes event quests specifically ask you to pay goods to them, or to the guild treasury.
- Guild Treasury: It is sometimes a requirement and/or a need for guild activities to donate goods manually (so not via Arc, Observatory (Obs), or Atomium (Atom)) to the guild treasury. Goods that have been donated to the treasury cannot be undone, and can only be spent by the guild on activities such as GE, GBG, and GvG.
Third, how does one trade goods?
You can trade goods via the marketplace with anyone in your neighborhood (Hood), on your friends list (FL), or in your guild. Trading with your hood or your FL will cost FPs from the person who takes the trade (the one who lists the trades pays no FPs), at a rate of 1 FP per trade. Trading with your guild mates costs no FPs ever, which is a perk of being in a guild.
Like Questing, I’ve done an extensive dive on trading and fair trades, so to summarize Inno has an imposed maximum ratio of 2:1 (or 1:2) in the system. There are “fair trade” calculators that do some crazy math to account for the cost of goods in ME and beyond, but most [players] just accept a 2:1 ratio for adjacent eras where you get get two lower era goods for one higher era good. Trades will stay on the market for about a week, and if they have not been taken in that time frame they will be unlisted automatically and you’ll get your offered goods returned to your inventory. If you don’t wish for your hood or FL to see the trades, mark them as “guild only” when creating them.
Alright, that should do it for a quick review (heh, “quick”), lets get into the real meat and potatoes of this article now.
So, what is the goods economy?
The TL;DR of this is essentially the supply and demand of goods in the world and your combined hood, FL, and guild’s ability to provide what you need. Yeah, I’m sure that didn’t clear anything up so time for the deep-dive. Again, this is kind of an abstract thing so if it seems that way and a little hard to grasp, that’s normal.
First, just a review of supply and demand. When something has high demand, but low supply, it becomes very valuable and expensive. Inversely, where there’s high supply and low demand, it becomes very invaluable and thus cheap. As far as this game goes, you’ll only really see this sort of expense applied to buying goods with FPs to get ahead-of-age GBs, or to buy goods with which you can trade down or otherwise. Generally speaking, higher era goods are harder to procure and thus more expensive to buy from goods dealers. Similarly though, within a single guild the supply and demand can be applied to how many players are in an era in general. Any era that has few players will have a goods shortage for that era of fresh goods coming in (aka goods being produced in cities, not traded), and thus those goods will be harder to trade for within the guild itself. This is also true of lower eras in general because in those eras the players are usually still developing their cities and they don’t have as much space to work with. To assist with supply and demand, it’s often necessary to look outside the guild and be prepared to spend FPs at times to get the goods you need.
The guild market is nice because it doesn’t cost FPs, so those trades can be in whatever amount and will likely be accepted (but please don’t do a million small trades of 5 goods for 5 goods when you could just do five trades of 50 for 50 or something). In contrast, when you’re working with the open market among your hood and FL, it’s going to cost whoever takes the trade a FP to do so. Because of this everyone is looking to make the most of their FP without depleting themselves of goods doing so, which means you have to find the “sweet spot” for trade amounts. In lower eras (Bronze Age to LMA-ish) this is often a 1:2 ratio of offering 15 for 30 to 25 for 50 (or the reverse). Beyond that, in the higher eras you’ll see things needing to be a minimum of 50 for 100 (or the reverse) to be taken. Keep in mind that trades which are seen as unfair are far less likely to be accepted, especially in later eras where players are much wiser to the ways of trading. Even though it might feel good to get the unfair trade through and make some extra goods off a fool, it can mean your trades sit for far longer than they would otherwise–especially if there’s high supply for what you’re offering and plenty of other options out there. The idea of fair trading is also why those using a calculator may see their trades sit for longer in market–most guilds and players just use the 2:1 between adjacent eras and scrap the need for excessive calculations, so those who are using a calculator are often at a disadvantage. Unlike a traditional market, there really isn’t a way to undercut the “competition” so to speak, aside from giving away more goods than you need to in order to obtain the good you want. In the case of a good that is in low supply but high demand though, this just might be your golden ticket.
Most players who produce goods will only produce goods of their era and the era previous, because the most common play style (at least at the time of writing this) is fighting, or balanced with a distinct leaning towards fighting. As fighters the need for goods is reduced drastically because they’re less likely to give them away on the c-map (essentially only doing so if a quest requires it and they cannot avoid it), and they’ll do everything in their power to avoid negotiations. This being the case means that the proliferation of goods for your era is going to be strongest in your hood, and not your guild. This is because your hood will be composed (typically) of other players in the same era as you, and therefore that will likely be the era of goods they’re mainly producing. Your guild [market] will be dependent upon the eras of each player in it, so there may be a time where it’s flush with mates producing the same era stuff as you, but it’s not going to be a constant. Finally, your FL will depend on how you stack it and how you continue to manage it. This is a topic in and of itself that warrants its own article, so suffice to say there are ways to build [and maintain] your FL to suit your needs (trading, Truce Tower, sniping, aiding, etc.).
Even if you’re in a trade guild, the amount of goods they will be able to supply you with should be considered limited. This is because their ability to produce goods outside their current era will be difficult, just as it would be for yourself, unless you deliberately set yourself up to be able to do so. Even still though, a negotiator play style will really only demand your current and previous era for goods so the likelihood of one making anything back beyond that (outside of unrefined goods from GBs) is slim. Thus, the further a player is from an era, the less likely they are to have the goods of that era. So if you’re someone in EMA and your guild is mainly filled with players in ME and above it’s going to be harder for them to take your trades. Not impossible though, should you have some efficient traders in guild who have stacked their FL in a way that they can effectively trade down to that level. Of course, this also depends on guild needs too–if players are trading down with the specific intent of donating to a depleted guild treasury then you may not find players able to take your trades after all.
This is why your open market among your hood and FL, especially your hood, will be better for supplying goods needs that are constant. Your guild mates can likely supply a lot of your needs, but will want to limit their distribution of resources they no longer produce to things you’re struggling with or need immediately for a task that must be completed in a quick time frame (like GBG or GE negotiations). Your hood (and FL if set up that way) on the other hand will be better equipped for handling your long-term needs as they’ll be in the same era as you (or close to, typically). It’s because they’re still making the same era of goods as you, and thus have what you’re looking for in trade.
So in summary, when it comes to the goods economy it’s nice to get them in guild for the lack of a FP cost, but it’s easier to get them in your hood (and FL) because of a better supply chain. The guild market is a limited market based on what era your guild mates are in compared to you, whereas your open market among your hood (and FL) is a better supply route because they are making the same era of goods that you are.
Should you choose to be a negotiator for a play style you will want to make sure you are stacking your FL accordingly and really studying up on solid trading techniques and getting a feel for the sweet-spot with trades to maximize your effectiveness. If you choose to play a balanced game that does rely on negotiation tactics you will be able to set yourself up to be mostly self-sufficient, but it would still be wise to understand the market for emergency situations. If you plan on selling goods, then you will need to be both excellent at proliferation of goods and also working the market to keep your supplies of goods up.
The biggest take-away though is that your guild economy is limited to the ability of your guild mates to produce goods in their respective eras, which may or may not match your own, whereas the open market among your hood (and FL) is not.
As a final note, the merchants set up by Inno in the market place that will turn 10 of your goods into 1 good are a ripoff. They’re the most expensive of all, the cheeky buggers, and not worth it at all. Ignore them.