No matter what kind of a player you are, trading is going to be an essential part of the game. Goods are a valuable resource and they’re arguably one of the more difficult resources to amass, at least early on. You need goods to negotiate where you’re not strong enough to fight (or for some quests), to unlock the tech tree, and to help your guild treasury so that things like GvG and GE are possible. Unlike other things, you can’t just build all the goods and be profitable; and it costs coins and supplies to make them, at least where GB’s and special buildings aren’t involved (and those are random typically). So in order to get the goods you need, you’re going to have to trade, and no one likes to be ripped off. In addition to trading to get goods you need for the basics though, there’s an advanced trading method used to get goods you need that are ahead of you, which is kind of fun too. Let’s review.
Potential Trade Costs
If you want to trade, you need to be aware that there is a difference between the open market, and the guild market. When you’re trading in the open market, which would be anyone in your neighborhood, on your friends list, or with the basic merchants; then it costs FPs to do so. You, posting the trade, can do so for free in the open market, but to take a trade in the open market costs one FP. Typically, due to this, people trade in large quantities to cut down on how my FPs need to be spent to get their goods. A bonus to being in a guild is that the cost associated with trading among guild members disappears. It does not cost any FPs to trade within the guild. For this reason many will stick to trading exclusively within their guild in the early going, when FPs are at a premium to come by. Once you start generating 20 or 30 at a rip from special buildings, that’s not as big an issue anymore; which is good because sometimes you need to go outside the guild to get goods that the guild needs (or lacks that you need).
Inno has set up standard bots for all the goods, so that if you are (for some reason) trying to play in a solo fashion, you have a way to get other goods. However, whereas with other players you have a 2:1 or 1:1 ratio, this ratio is always 10:1. As in, it will cost you ten of one good to make one of another in the same era. These bots are extremely inefficient, and shouldn’t even be used in desperate measures. Spend the FP to get a trade from a neighbor, it’s far more worthwhile than working with the bots.
Basic Trade Ratios
At one point, players figured out the cost to make each era of goods, and created fair trade calculators. There was a time when these were fairly common to see in the game, and even now you sometimes encounter those who still work their trades using those. Generally speaking though, it has been simplified to the ratio that was always used for anything Colonial Era and earlier:
- 1:1 same era
- 1:2 later era to younger era
- 2:1 younger era to later era
Keep in mind though that the eras must be adjacent in the timeline to remain fair. So fair trades in 2:1 would look like this, for example:
- Bronze Age : Iron Age
- Iron Age : Early Middle Age
- Early Middle Age : High Middle Age
- High Middle Age : Late Middle Age
- Late Middle Age : Colonial Age
- Colonial Age : Industrial Age
So on and so forth.
Sweetened deals are when you’re offering more for less, and can often help bring in the goods you really need faster, because people like a deal. Or, if you’re offering an era that is of much greater value for goods of a lesser era.
For example, 20 EMA goods is worth 40 Iron Age goods. But if you really need those Iron Age goods, you might offer 25 EMA goods, which sweetens the deal. However, if you offer 20 Iron Age goods for 40 EMA goods, that is not cool because now you’re cheating the person giving you goods. Similarly, offering 20 HMA goods for 40 Iron Age goods is sweetening the deal because you’ve skipped over EMA. But offering 40 Iron Age goods for 20 HMA is unfair because the person taking the trade takes a loss.
That’s not to say you won’t ever post a trade like that. There are many reasons to do so, including helping other mates with goods and wanting to make them undesirable to be stolen, getting help with GE, etc. To just arbitrarily post an unfair trade without reason though is usually considered a very selfish, not teamwork move. Speaking of teamwork, it’s also considered polite to offer sweetened deals to guild mates only first by checking that little button that says “guild only”.
Generally speaking, the trade calculators aren’t used much anymore because by the time you hit around Colonial or Industrial Age, goods become pretty lucrative. You have enough higher-age goods to trade for pretty much whatever you need, even some above-age stuff relatively organically. You also are earning more coins and supplies than you typically use in a day, so they consistently grow instead of deplete, meaning you aren’t worried about making more goods, either. At this point, that negates the need to keep the ratio of supplies and coins spent per good at anything outside of 2:1. That, and they usually have special buildings giving them goods that don’t really cost anything to get. Changes the whole way you see goods when you get to that point.
Realize too, that Inno will only allow a trade ratio of up to 2:1 or 1:2. So we are constrained to work within this parameter, meaning if you have EMA goods and you need them to become Industrial Age goods, you’ve either got a lot of trading up to do, or you have to use this next method.
Buying Goods with FPs
Outside of trading normally, you can often get goods with FPs. There is no actual way to offer up FPs in the marketplace for the goods, so instead you have to seek out a player who is a Goods Dealer. Most of them have it listed in their city description box, however your guild also probably has a list of recommended dealers and their average price range for certain sets of goods.
The most common reason you will go to a goods dealer is to buy goods that are above your era by a long shot, to build a GB that is well above your pay grade. For example, if you were really into fighting and wanted Alcatraz to help with rogue supply but are still only in High Middle Ages, you’d find a goods dealer who could get you the Progressive Era goods you would need to build it. Then all you need to make sure you have are the BPs, and you’re set.
Once you find that goods dealer they will set up the exact terms of what GB or GBs you need to donate to in order to pay your FPs. Once you have put the required number of FPs into the one more more GBs that they request, you have paid for the goods. That’s how they get the value of the FPs from you, because GB leveling can be tough, especially beyond level 10. Then, you will set up trades 1:2 of Bronze Age goods for the era of goods you need, and they will take them.
The caveat here is that you can only make five trades unless the person you’re buying goods from is in your guild. So you’ll also want to have enough Bronze Age goods to make this happen. This is because anyone outside of your guild has to spend a FP to take the trades. They’re not going to want to spend more than five FPs to pick up these trades for you. Inside the guild trading is free, so it doesn’t matter how many trades you setup.
You’ll always want to use Bronze Age goods for these trades, too, because the FPs are the valuable item in this deal, not the goods you give the dealer. So use the cheapest goods out there, Bronze Age.
Now, mind you, in order to do a trade like this you need to first message the dealer to explain your interest. This is because you cannot trade with someone outside your guild who is not on your friends list or in your neighborhood. Goods dealers work with a lot of players, so they won’t just add you on their friends list, and it’s almost certain that they’ve got too many friends to send you a request. So make sure you can fulfill that requirement, too.
Aside from building above-age buildings, you might buy goods to help your guild out, or a younger mate who perhaps doesn’t produce FPs like you do but if they got above-age buildings they could be a real team asset. Doing things to help your team, helps you, after all. Just like taking trades that are unfair to you to help a younger mate finish GE to get them [potentially] some needed buildings or such, or to complete quests, and the likes. If they can get a good foundation to help the guild, that ultimately helps you. It also makes the game more warm and welcoming.
So generally speaking, use fair trades whenever possible. However, with good reason or when buying goods with FPs, don’t be afraid to use the unfair trade strategically. Just don’t abuse it, because no one likes that, either. Then, once you can, give back by helping those who are now in a position like you were, when you’re able.