Trading has always been a massive component of the Elite: Dangerous experience and with the capabilities of our event system at our disposal, as well as online multiplayer, we have the opportunity in Elite: Dangerous to make a trading system that is more dynamic and detailed than ever before.
Markets exist in a range of locations, both mobile and static; something we plan to expand further overtime. There are also a variety of different market types available to visit, each type helping to determine what goods may be available to buy: Space Stations: Trades legal commodities and essential ship supplies. Shipyards: Trades limited commodities relating to ships, ship modules, ship supplies and specialist enhancements. Factories: Specialist markets for particular commodities, relating to the factory and generally at a discount. Black Markets: Private markets only accessible based on player reputation. Trades illegal commodities, requires contact to access, and can be a hidden part of a legal market. Pirate Bases: Ignores fines and bounties,trades,both legal and illegal commodities, and requires a contact to locate. Smuggler Bases:ignores fines but not bounties, trades, legal and illegal commodities, and requires contact for location.
What to buy and what to sell
BUYING:anything that station is producing (Supply greater than NONE) is good for buying.For best profit you must only look at MED/HIGH supply and where numerical value is big, because the more units of commodity are just sitting in station's cargo hold without consumption (demand) the lower price will be.
SELLING:anything that station is consuming (Demand greater than NONE) is good for selling. But for best profit you must only look at MED/HIGH demand and where numerical value is close to zero, because if station needs something but has very low or even zero amount available the price will be very high. Biggest price will be when demand is high and there are 0 units available.
Buy goods cheap
The rules are, of course, simple and universal –buy goods cheaply, where they are made and there is plentiful supply, and then sell them where prices are high, in a location that has a high demand for your cargo. Of course that may be easier said than done because of people who have honed their combat skills and are not averse to a little piracy as they spot you travelling from A to B –but let’s not worry about that for now…!In Elite: Dangerous there are thousands of star systems with commodities markets – and some with multiple markets. Each of these markets exist in a starport – generally an orbital station or stations far above the planet surface.
Systems have different economies
Each star system has a different basic type of economy – for example Agricultural, Industrial, Hi-tech, Extraction, Refining or Service, and some have a mix of these basics – such as extraction and refining are often (but not always) in the same system. From a commodities perspective all but a service economy produce items for consumption. This creates an active trade network.The core economies also have further variety, as there are more specialized sub-economies –for example an Aquatic Agricultural economy is focused on marine activities and will not produce Grain or Meat – though the locals may still consume it, so there will be demand for those goods.
Most markets will only produce a few of the many different possible types of core commodities – and in some places exotic variants of them – so of course you need to explore this fabulous galaxy and discover your own favorite trade runs! The makeup of each market is governed by several factors: Its galactic location typically indicates which of the main factions the system belongs to; whether Federal, Imperial, Alliance or Independent.
The type of government in each system helps define the legality of individual goods in that particular market; ranging from anarchy where ‘anything goes’, to theocracies who have their own idiosyncratic strict proscriptions, and many points in between.
Goods and scale
The kind of planets, chemical composition, temperature, presence of asteroid belts, and other celestial bodies govern the resources that are prevalent in system, and hence what drives the economy and what goods are produced.The system population determines the scale of production and consumption and capacity of the market –this can be modified by the type of government, too.
Supply and demand
As in today’s world, supply and demand drive prices. Elite: Dangerous’ galactic market uses a server-based background trading simulation as a foundation.supply and demand levels are influenced via trading between local systems. In this way, markets are not isolated but affect their near neighbors; if there is an increase or decrease in the supply of a particular commodity it will have a knock on effect on the pricing in other local systems too, as traders (AI or player) rapidly level the prices a little based on supply and demand.
Players can influence the economy
Of course your actions will also contribute to such market activity. The smaller the market the more you will be able to influence that market through trading. The more valuable a commodity the more rare it will be, and therefore the more susceptible to your influence. All your individual trades are added to the whole, and even mid-sized economies can be influenced by concerted efforts between groups of like-minded individuals. So you may find your ‘milk run’ dries up for a time, forcing you to look elsewhere for the deal. Or you could engineer a fat profit for yourself by cooperating with your friends…
Locations and other factors
The supply and demand (and as a result, the prices) of commodities at a specific market will be heavily determined by its location and the events taking place close by. Here are some possible examples of how the properties of a market might be affected by its location:Markets near an agricultural planet will have low demand and a low price for food or other organic produce, but might have a high demand for machinery and fertilizer.
If a disaster hit the same planet (perhaps blight hits the planet’s crops), chemicals to produce fungicides as well as food and medical supplies to survive the destroyed harvest might sky-rocket in demand. Politics/laws determine the legality of specific commodities. So a system that prohibits alcohol consumption would be a difficult place to shift Lavian Brandy, but if you could establish black market contacts then you could set yourself up with a lucrative (albeit illegal) trade route.Newly colonized planets might demand a wide range of supplies to begin settlement building. If this planet later became populated by affluent citizens then a range of luxury resources might fetch a high price.Alongside the main trading screen each commodity will have its own data panel, allowing players to make more informed trading decisions. We are still investigating how best this will work, and the data that is most helpful to a trader, while allowing some element of skill to make this work. For example only showing the last known price of a commodity at a given remote market, instead of a fully up to date price list.
In Elite: Dangerous information will also be a commodity in itself, with players able to buy and sell data packets to automatically update their galaxy map. These will open up a range of possibilities to the buyer, for general gameplay as well as trading, for example sharing more up to date market information on a distant system. Data packets can contain information on the following things:
- System locations
- Market locations
- Resource gathering locations
- Mission/event locations