Commodity Exchanges - For a grounded future

I don’t know if they mentioned this but I think the real reason they are moving CXs off-world is the CX will be system-wide. You will probably not build planetary CXs but system CXs. This avoids 1000 mini-cxs all over the place. Instead we could eventually build a CX in every system, instead of every planet. Its better, I guess. This is just my guess.

But lets get down to the real reason we don’t want off-world CXs. We don’t like the local market system.

It’s worth noting that if Promitor did not have a CX but Berthier did instead, I’d recommend Promitor over Berthier as a starting location. There is something to be said about Montem and Promitor being both CX planets as well as S tier in terms of resources.

Montem has LST and FEO for ideal conditions to make Bfabs (the building blocks of PrUn).
Promitor has massive H2O and fertility, ideal for RAT and DW.
Katoa had a CX, yes, but it was never as strong as Montem/Prom because SF didn’t seem like a hot commodity due to the nature of so many people vertically integrating within Montem/Prom.

I also believe that CXs on the planets is important. The CX interface facilitates trade. The LM interface does not (by the nature of being paywalled and unusable at scale). Trade is the reason we all play this game together. I feel it is especially important early on because creating a high cost for trade (outlined in OP) is problematic.

2 Likes

It’s also worth noting that a planetary CX could also be located on a planet with minimal gravity and atmosphere.

Good summary of in-game chat suggestions on modular CX and space elevators.

Space elevator would help players get on-planet benefits to an orbital CX, and possibly loading/unloading with bases, CX, or WAR from orbit to save on fuel and damage.

Also, many of us would indeed have loved to use a modular/buildable CX instead of over-using a LM in places like Etherwind, Berthier, Boucher, Gibson, FJ-982c, Pyrgos, and probably others. The option to purchase partial volumes of sells would have made trade much more granular, and players could communicate via the CX rather than sharing price lists outside of game mechanics to do the majority of selling through even more LM contracts. I’m sure the developers have access to the volume of contract history on some of these local markets. These benefits would have greatly encouraged smaller and newer players to trade on these and more additional planets.

1 Like

Love the break down, Bobby!
I also agree that this, if not done correctly, will be highly damaging to the game.

I think we do know that the next universe will be hand crafted so if I had to hazard a guess, the plan will be to make entire systems a hub (and multiple planets in the system will have valuable stuff on them) rather than a single planet and as such the CX will be more of a system CX than a planetary one. If that is not the plan then there just is no reason to really have it off planet.

Another option in case of a sector based CX would be to have automated shuttles or even a teleport system that can run/transport goods to the planets in system for free or for a fee (perhaps a small percentage of the total cost of the goods). This would still allow players to have relative freedom of access but to a wider group of planets at a small cost to add the convenience of shuttling in sector.

Thoughts?

1 Like

What is actually needed is for the CX to mirror reality. Proper contracting systems and abilities to advertise on exchanges with shipping requirements associated with the ad.

Moving the CX off-world is just another band-aid on an open wound the devs are planning to implement.

Remember, they said it, they aren’t interested in fixing things, they are interested in adding new features.

This is taken out of context.
The statement reflects the goals for 2020, not the overall mindset.

2 Likes

Actually it was not taken out of context. He elaborated on it and even provided deeper explanation as to the mindset.

I guess you are refering to Is this how the game is intended to be played?
It seems we have two different understandings of what molp explained.

I think this is a great time to be talking about CXs, particularly how we envisage they will be used in the next test. +1 for you Bob.

I feel that the CX concept provides a good base for further development and I’m hoping that the dev team will see fit to iterate on their designs.

There are multiple locations where CXs can be emplaced - on a planet, orbiting a planet, and orbiting a star. Each offers a particular set of benefits/trade-offs.

I think @molp’s concerns that

it would simply lead to many, very small commodity exchanges with low volume brokers

are valid and is something that is to be avoided. That said, I wholeheartedly disagree that the solution is to prevent CXs being constructed by players. I feel that the concept still has many avenues that could be explored.

To be clear from the start, I am in favour of players being able to construct CXs in any and all of the 3 locations I’ve listed - on a planet, orbiting a planet, and orbiting a star.

CXs should be complex and costly to build and maintain

I am very much in favour of the module CX ideas that have been floating around the galaxy.

A standard CX configuration could consist of (examples):

  • CX Core Module
  • CX Habitation Module
  • CX Storage Module
  • CX Trade Module(s)
  • CX Warehouse Module

The CX Core Module should come in various sizes and should be upgradeable through the various sizes. The CX Core Module provides a limit on the number of modules that may be attached to the CX.

The CX Habitation Modules provide staffing for the CX. Staffing must be maintained in the same manner as colonies.

The CX Storage Module should come in various flavours similar to ship cargo bays. This module would provide the storage space for materials that are listed on the CX. We should not have “unlimited space” CXs.

The CX Trade Modules provide the capability to list items from the category which the Trade Module represents. Eg, a Trade Module designated for Basic Consumables will allow the Basic Consumables to be traded.

The CX Warehouse Module would function similarly to the planetary warehouse. I don’t envisage this being utilised on a planetary CX as it would be more expensive to construct and maintain than the planetary warehouse.

All modules should require staffing and upkeep materials (like OFF).

Who manages the CXs?

The governor of the planet may appoint a CX Administrator.

The governor of the system may appoint an orbital (planetary) CX Administrator.

The governor of the system may appoint an orbital (stellar) CX Administrator.

Who gets the fees?

Planetary CX fees go to the planetary governor.
Orbital (Planetary) CX fees go to the system governor.
Orbital (Stellar) CX fees go to the system governor.

System governors could impose a % tax on all planetary collections. EG, the planetary governor collects 1000 in taxes/fees. With a 10% system tax, 100 would be paid to the system governor.

Parting thoughts

Having the flexibility of building new CXs in multiple locations would be a fantastic game mechanic. Whilst I understand the risk associated with allowing players to build CXs, I feel this can be greatly mitigated by making CXs expensive to build and by imposing staffing and upkeep requirements - this will cause more resources sinks as CXs compete with each other. (Yay! Capitalism??!!!) Higher levels of Core Modules may require staffing by higher tier workforces.

I feel that orbital CXs (planetary or stellar) will be a fantastic addition to the game and allow a greater degree of trade whilst minimising the impact on ship degradation. Ship degradation is going to be a massive factor in the next test, and I envisage scenarios where smaller ships acting as barges can ferry goods between planetary and orbital CXs, whilst much larger and less protected ships move between system CXs. Ship degradation is going to be expensive, and it will likely be worthwhile to implement such a system when the volume of shipping reaches a certain threshold.

Orbital CXs (without planetary CXs) allow free players to utilise more planets as they are currently restricted to not using LMs. I feel this restriction should also be lifted, but with a limit on the number of active contracts and ads.

2 Likes

And I quote:
“We could have promised the perfect production system instead, asked for the players’ requirements etc etc, but “perfection is the enemy of progress” as they say. We’d rather implement and test new game mechanics than re-iterate over and over the old ones to make them perfect. This doesn’t mean that we won’t improve existing features, but a whole re-write binds a lot dev resources and we don’t have that.”

Thus far improvements of existing features boil down to slowing down the bleeding of the POPI system without actually improving it, establishing that they don’t intend to implement a Commodity system that would be akin to anything resembling a standard commodity exchange system in any game let alone in the real world, while trying to maintain control over a fluid economic system, which ultimately will fail.

Their best option, is to take their hands off the reigns and implement either a universal commodity system or allow for players to construct their own, but as he said, Molp: “it would simply lead to many, very small commodity exchanges with low volume brokers”. Which is in reality how it is. The place you buy a good is usually very near where that good is produced, or some sort of shipping agreement has taken place and been fulfilled to bring it nearer to the buyer.

There is virtually no means of creating an actual supply line so complex fulfillment agreements are out of the question, and with a lackluster ship system and no incentive for most players to progress out of just T! materials arbitrage is pretty much impossible on any meaningful scale.

There is a lot wrong with their mentality. If wanting to avoid smaller exchanges is because they can’t fathom how they would support the data infrastructure for it, from a hosting perspective, then that is a fair argument, albeit not a very likely one or good one, but still fair because depending on your hosting you may pay based on the number of database transactions you have. But, giving them the benefit of the doubt, I’ll assume they have at the very least self-hosted so amount of transactions isn’t the issue. So the question becomes, what is? And why is a small exchange a bad thing? Is it because the prices could be low?

This is a phenomenon that is present in games like Eve Online. You have your trade hubs like Jita, and outside that prices start to go up because of less competition, however, prices on resources that are readily available in that system are well below what could get them at in Jita, because all the shipping factors don’t apply and competition for that specific resource or material in that system is high which drives the prices down. By forcing a controlled number of exchanges you arbitrarily inflate the price of everything which is exactly what is happening with the CX right now. Look at the price of RAT in Montem compared to everywhere else and you’ll see.

Your only option is to go to another CX which doesn’t use your currency so you have to do a currency exchange which takes time, not to mention the travel time associated with moving the material.

Anyway that was mostly off-topic with what you and I were talking about, and on topic with what this post is about.

The point is, the man himself in his response about small exchanges alluded to the mentality of the development team which is inline with the one quoted above. They don’t want to chase perfection, well how about just not broken then, not excessively tedious for no apparent reason, how about inherently intuitive.

I bet when people came to the game they were thinking I’m gonna setup some great contracts with manufacturers and try to sell at a markup. Nope, sorry can’t do that, and from what I’ve seen, won’t really ever be able to. At least not for a few years.

2 Likes

Again, check what you wrote, and what molp wrote.

All I am pointing out is that you are ignoring this and turn their words around.

1 Like

First of all: @Bobemor thanks for putting so much effort into this, your feedback is much appreciated.

Your analysis of why we are moving the CX off-world is spot on. During the PC Gamer influx a year ago we have seen that the CX planets are very attractive to old and new players alike. We had to double the number of available plots on these planets and implement a purge algorithm for deserted bases to make room for the new players. This did solve the issue for the moment but it is not sustainable. We would rather have a system where new players start on a larger number of planets to prevent that kind of bottle-neck.

This is one of the points of your critique where I don’t have a definitive answer/solution yet. I agree that it makes the new player experience a bit harder and we have yet to come up with a solution for that. On the other hand, there are new players that started out on non-CX planets and seem to be doing fine.

I am currently looking into a warehouse like rentable storage system for the CX. We obviously need one in order for players to be able to work the markets and provision their orders. I don’t really see why there is a difference from having a large STO with inventory ready to trade from having a CX version of the WAR with inventory ready to trade. Why would this depend on a ship?

Sorry if I unfairly dismissed the idea, I didn’t want to be rude. If I remember correctly I dismissed the idea of full-blown CXs being able to be build by players. I still think that this would lead to a lot of low-volume brokers and boring gameplay. One would have to go through many CXs to find one broker that actually has listed a random, rare ship item for example. I strongly believe that it doesn’t matter how expensive these full-blown CX are, eventually we will have on in every system. So to keep it interesting we can’t have them.

But, we have never been opposed to modular CXs! I don’t remember exactly where it was (maybe a live stream) but we have talked about that idea in the past and didn’t dismiss it all, if I remember correctly. I really like your and prdgi’s ideas and I think it could work. It fits nicely into the internal discussions about space infrastructure we are currently having.

Your critique has been heard, but we will still have off-planet CXs for the next universe. We are conviced that it is a good idea and now is the time to try out how it works in the wild. This is not the last universe and if it turns out to be a very bad idea, we still can go back to planetary CXs and I will happily read your “told you so” posts. :wink:

3 Likes

Perhaps open this up to something that can be purchased, along with system and planetary naming rights? If it is appropriately priced, players will only buy a CX construction module if it would actually be a significant QOL improvement to do so. It could still require in game resources to build it and bring it online if deemed necessary for balance reasons.

For monetization I would really like to see more things like this where some people can pay, but everyone benefits. For example, in the current universe Esabab wanted to set up a new area in the north east and attract players to settle there. Giving players the ability to purchase and setup a CX, and buy naming rights to “put an area on the map” so to speak, would allow the game to grow organically with player backing, and without resorting to pay-to-win mechanics.

I think it’s really unfortunate that the current CX’s are pretty stale. You usually see large spreads in price, and low volume. Also it’s pretty easy to move the price with little stock. That’s why i suggest having one CX in the universe, placed on a plain planet with no resources but forgiving atmosphere/gravity/temperature in the middle of promitor-katoa-montem systems. New players without PRO license can still start on this planet, buy raw resources and sell finished products. Also on the CX hide ask/bid company names and merge same priced orders. This merging would only be a visual thing to be clear.

1 Like

Perhaps, the easiest way to implement these new, orbital CXs, is to have them orbit the Sun, and anyone in that system can access it. Instead of needing to fly a ship up there to deliver/collect whatever product they are buying/selling, the station will, for a fee, deliver/collect that product from your base. And it would take a standard 2 hours to do so. I picked 2 hours because it still takes time to move the freight, but it’s not so much time as to drive people away from the game. It’s a little pain, compared to a hurt that drives people from the game.

I would also like to see a storage per person implemented, so people can’t just use this as another warehouse. Each player will get X storage for free, while buying/selling on the CX, but after that, you will start to be charged a storage fee for excessive goods that you have on the market. This will stop people from just throwing up vast amounts of goods for ridiculous prices, just to free up their own warehouses. And it will force them to sell their products, and will force the prices down.

1 Like

@Gladi099 I put that in my quote, I didn’t ignore anything.

Molp: I still think that this would lead to a lot of low-volume brokers and boring gameplay.

Molp: Your critique has been heard, but we will still have off-planet CXs for the next universe. We are conviced that it is a good idea and now is the time to try out how it works in the wild. This is not the last universe and if it turns out to be a very bad idea, we still can go back to planetary CXs and I will happily read your “told you so” posts.

I called all of this, and Molp, it is a very bad idea, Bob clearly illustrated why it is.

@molp So here’s the question, what are you guys planning to do about the contracting system? Because that will be the only supplement to this broken idea until you come to your senses.

Firstly, thanks for taking the time to read everything I wrote! Hopefully you didn’t see it as a ‘Grr these players grumble about anything then write a really long post i have to read!’ and as a 'these players are interested in the game and want to talk about it!

I would argue these are perhaps exception that proves the rule. Though I’m not pretending there aren’t any. But I think it’s fair to say they are a minority. I definitely think it’s preferential to encourage players to spread out more though.

This would definitely be alleviated by rentable storage. But I think my point was that to use any of these products people still need to ship them. They’re not by people’s production lines. Rentable storage also has some potential issues, primarily how much will be available. Will it just be the equivalent of Starter base plots? Could of course be solved by infinite storage units.

I think Im and others perhaps, took you ‘dismissing’ (a bit hyperbolic by me) buildable CXs as all CXs, modular or not. I think you’re spot on that if we could build full CXs everywhere with no alternative we would. It’s also pretty fair to say that with unlimited time then every planet would have a CX at some point if possible. My solution would be to simply stop this. Maybe these modular CXs can only have 4 modules. Maybe they have to be a certain distance from another CX (personal favourite). Maybe we have to petition the devs to allow a new CX to be started. Maybe there’s a faction cap or cost to CXs. I think there’s ways and means to limit buildable CXs. I’m in full agreement that it would not be desirable to have 100s of empty CXs.

This is a very valid point, testing should be done. This is a big change and definitely needs testing, so let us test! I also hadn’t really considered what @Dirk_Diggler suggests that there may be 3+ great planets in a system. I think this could be a way in which I’m surprised by the need for an Off-World CX. Though I can’t imagine having the player base to support more than 1 of such a system, and it would be a major nerf to FTL… But that’s a different matter

I too will happily read any “told you so” posts from yourself/the dev team. I’m sure Nick will gladly produce such a take down :stuck_out_tongue:
(I won’t write any told you so posts no matter the outcome)

I’ll shoot some thoughts from Prdgi’s comment, because I like a lot of those thoughts, tomorrow

1 Like

I think the biggest issue is that the LM’s are not really good at high volume trading. It would be good to move fast-moving good such as fuel, RATS, DW and other essentials to a mini-exchange. Otherwise it gets cluttered up with basic need items.

3 Likes

[quote]This is a very valid point, testing should be done. This is a big change and definitely needs testing, so let us test! I also hadn’t really considered what @Dirk_Diggler suggests that there may be 3+ great planets in a system. I think this could be a way in which I’m surprised by the need for an Off-World CX. Though I can’t imagine having the player base to support more than 1 of such a system, and it would be a major nerf to FTL…
[/quote]

I would like to see systems with a few more “good” planets in it. It would allow for systems to be more developed, STL only ships would be great use in those systems. ( I would like basic system ships, with low cargo / speed , be available on technician level ) It would also be more realistic to try and colonize / utilise system planets before going further to other systems.

In such a way, system CX , instead of planetary CX would be more interesting. I like the idea of “specializing” systems and make some well developed clusters.

Also @molp : Would it be possible to create 2 simultaneous universes next round? One with CX’s in planetary orbits , one with CX’s orbitting stars ? It allows for more different testing, and it would give players more to do, especially in the starting months of a new universe.
It would also allow you ( dev’s ) to adjust things morer easily , because of the ‘double’ testing that will be done.