LIFE ON TITAN
Two Types Of Trading
There are two reasons to run supplies from one place to another:
Money !! You can buy stuff cheap and sell it for top dollar somewhere else. The difference is a profit for you.
To get something rare or complex. If you're looking for an exotic Moth or a weapon, then you're going to have to insure that the manufacturer has the supplies he needs to make it. This is how you get Downtown Moths to make you a legit Police Moth or get Downtown Components to make you a Fusion Cell.
There are three aspects of trading to be condidered:
Distance. This is the total distance of the route. Shorter is better. There is less opportunity for pirates to attack you and shorter routes take less time. You should also charge your Cell before picking up valuable cargo. You can't afford the time and risk of charging up while holding cargo.
Margin. This is the difference between what you paid for an item and what you are selling it for. The higher the margin, the more you make. Trades with a high margin are worth a little more risk and time. Higher margins mean you can trade fewer units which comes in handy when you only have a little cash and a small pod.
Pirates. This is the 'risk' element. The more ships you pass the more apt one of them is going to be a pirate and attack you for your cargo. Haven and Midway are full of pirates and should be avoided unless the margin on the trade is very high.
You absolutely need a pod. The bigger the pod the better. A drone and Radar Level 3 will enable you to do a little scavenging on the side. There's no better margin than scavenging's 100%. You should also give priority to upgrading your engine and cell for maximum speed with fewer stops at Light Wells. Try to avoid using Auto-Pilot. Learn to dock manually. This will really save your bacon when you're trying to outrun a pirate. Consider buying a Neo-Tiger over a Hawk for its superior speed. Most pirates will be flying the slower Hawk.
Keep an eye open for messages like *Calling Traders*. These messages set up routes with higher than usual margins, but only for a short period as every other Trader on Titan has recieved the same message.
Open the message and target the 'Subject' to find the supplier. Target the 'Sender' to target the buyer. It's a good idea to target them both and look at their respective locations on the 'Buildings Menu' map. Is it too much distance? Too many pirates? If not, then load up as much as you can and get as much money as you can from the route before the buyer's cash is gone.
Using Trade Menus
All Trading Posts have a 'Needs List' and a 'Sales List'. The Needs list shows a menu of places and what items they need. The Sales list shows where you can get items. Both lists offer a 'Target' function. Use it. This puts the buildings in your 'Building Menu'. Go to your Building Menu and lock in important buildings.
The Sales list has a 'Mode' button. This button toggles between the nearest supplier of a given item and the cheapest supplier of the same item. Always give preference to the cheapest supplier to increase your margin.
It always pays to know a nearby place to sell your goods in case your planned buyer runs out of money. Know your geography and the type of businesses that will pay well for your goods. Check out my updated Table of Trade Items to get an idea of consistent buyers of various goods.
On particularly dangerous runs, you may want to clear the route before you take a lot of valuable cargo through it. Take a single unit of cargo along the route and target and kill pirates along the way. Don't hesitate to jettison your cargo with the "J" key. Use the "Dump and Blast" technique described in my Dirty Pirate Tricks. Once you clear out some pirates, make a big run. More pirates will show up soon so take advantage of the lull.
Don't hesistate to duck in buildings to raise your sheilds. Learn your geography well. If you're ducking a pirate, why not go into a building that will pay you top dollar for your cargo. Pirates aren't generally interested in traders with no cargo.
A route with one tunnel included can really help in shaking potential pirates. Jettisoning your cargo in the middle of a tunnel prevents the game-generated Scavengers and Pirates from stealing it. They just don't pick up stuff in tunnels except right at the entrances. Even if your running a route in one crater, make a note of the nearest tunnel. You can dump your cargo safely in the tunnel, charge up and kill your pirate friends, and then return to your cargo.
When Pirates Don't Attack
Ever wonder why a pirates sometimes target you and sometimes just ignore you? Well, there's a lot of reasons. To start with, pirates will not target you if you are carrying less than 10 units of Scrap Metal or Ore. Here are some other reasons a pirate may ignore you even though you are carrying a valuable load of cargo:
You are "cloaked" or not visible on his radar. This occurs when you fly a Swallow or any Moth equipped with the "Mystery Package" that's flying below 100ft relative altitude.
The pirate may be badly damaged. If so, he's programmed to head to the nearest repair shop.
The pirate may need power. He'll be going to the nearest Light Well and staying there until fully charged up.
The pirate's pod is full. He won't go for your stuff if he can't pick it up.
He's got an even better target than you. This is especially true when you are carrying a low volume of average items. Pirates, unlike yourself, seem to know the amounts of what you're carrying.
The pirate is already in a dogfight and has more to worry about than your cargo.
Special thanks to Yosemite Jane.