So its been a few months since I first played and I decided to come back and try playing solo (keeping up with busy Corp spreadsheets is what eroded my interest in playing the first time round), and now that a week has passed and I’m looking at what I might expand to in the future and investigating markets for higher tier products… I’m realising that anything which isn’t Settler/Pioneer and basic stuff is suuuper low volume.
I’m talking plenty of products which might only see 10 sales per week, or none at all for long stretches.
I honestly think Corps are killing this game. New players start off Solo, and I think a lot would like to play solo, but the way Corps are able to completely vertically integrate their own supply chains and internally trade everything just leaves solo players in the cold with a dead CX market.
Were things better before Corps and Contracts were introduced to the game? I don’t really know, to be honest, all I can say is that the market system for this game is badly broken, and almost empty beyond the beginning tiers of production, this forces new players who continue playing to one of two positions:
1: Join a Corporation and take your entire production OUT of the open CX market, contributing to the entire problem.
2: Quit, because that’s the end of the line and you cannot expand to higher tiers as the only player in the market.
A year ago it used to be WAY worse. The high-end market has become far more commonly traded than it used to be. Back then, virtually all production was made-to-order and nothing was publicly listed.
The problem isn’t… necessarily corps. The problem is chicken\egg. If you’re about to make a major investment in producing item “X”, you want to make sure you have a reliable supply of the input materials. This is an incentive to self supply or setup a custom supply of those materials. You do not want to rely on the CX to acquire these materials because it may be an unreliable source because of it’s illiquidity.
Someone has to produce and provide them first. Then people will come. We’re starting to see this in the electronics market where the precursor materials are becoming readily available.
I agree with you though. I wish there were stronger incentives to publicly trade items on the public exchanges. IMO, there are too many CX’s for the current playerbase. Liquidity is too disperse. Things would be a lot closer to where I would want if we all traded on one CX, rather than four.
Some sort of money-sink as an end-game which requires high tier products might be the answer I suppose. Optional PvE? Everyone ‘knows’ combat is a waste of resources. In the real world this is obviously a tragedy, but in a game where we need to get the gears of industry moving and incentivise player ambition to the higher tiers any sort of ‘waste of resources’ which requires higher tier products could help get things moving.
High-end MM items: CBx, drones, POW, EDC\IDC, LOG, etc, etc, etc.
HQ upgrades require high end fabs, COM\ADS\LOG
Planetary popi upkeep requires, at the large scale, some pretty complex stuff.
The problem again tho is that all of these are more or less made-to-order. Fabs are the most publicly traded item. Though I am a huge supplier of COM\ADS\LOG and there seems to be a very nice demand for those items with people buying HQ upgrades. I’m glad I built the capacity to make 1\day of each.
There’s some trading going on in the higher tier, but it’s low volume like you said. It isn’t necessarily because there’s no trading, but because higher tier production requires a lot of lower tier production to support it. I play solo and up to 7 bases now with 3 extra permits. I don’t really find CX trading to be an issue, but you need to pick your products. It could definitively be better, but that’s going to require a massive overhaul of the production chains.
I have mentally created a CX tradability index for products to figure out what I could trade on the CX and what makes no sense. The components are :
How many recipes require this material
Of these recipes, what is the building distribution
Of these recipes, what is the experts distribution
If it’s an intermediary material, what is the global demand for the consumed material
What is the value per ton/m3
What is the tradability index of materials requiring this material
This explains why RAT and DW are highly traded, while AR and most electronic products are not.
RAT and DW are used in every recipe and score high on the first 3 points. AR is used for INS only, so its demand will only be as strong as the demand for INS, at which point you should just process it yourself. Materials with more recipes will have lower risk.
Materials like FEO are too heavy to move to the CX and back to a planet for processing. These would have a healthy market if we had planetary exchanges though.
Materials that are used in various industries, like PE, will see more trading because specialization is important and since you can’t have dual-specialization on a single planet, then going through the CX is economically advantageous. The CX connects a bunch of planets with different CoGC together and when you’re going to the CX to sell your stuff, chances are you’ll buy other stuff because you’re there already.
While corps do have an advantage in guaranteeing supply, they are not the reason why CX trading is dead. It’s because there’s too much risk involved in producing something that is used by a single recipe.
One among many solutions would be to modify all recipes by making them require 4 or 5 materials coming from various expertises to increase their tradability index.