Humble Trader Start / Walkthrough for New-ish Players

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Humble Trader Start / Walkthrough for New-ish Players

Post by jwigeland » Thu, 9. Dec 10, 18:50


Well, I posted this in another thread because I wanted to help someone out, and people said it was a pretty good walk-though! However, I found some errors and omissions in the original. So, here it is again with corrections and additions, and I hope new players will find it useful!

This walkthrough is supposed to help people who have played the game a little and have gotten frustrated at not being able to complete many missions or accumulate dough to upgrade their ship.

A lot of people suggest new players try the Terran Defender game start as that puts you right in the Terran Conflict plotline which is a bit of a game tutorial. I would actually recommend against this as some of the missions can be very confusing to a new player even with their tutorial-ish nature.

I play the Humble Trader start; I’ve developed a specific sequence for getting the game off the ground which should be helpful and enable you to complete all kinds of missions, so here we go:

Part 1 – Claim your Player Ship

You begin in Argon space at the west end of the X-Verse, are neutral to all races (including pirates and Yaki), and are given an M5 Discoverer scout and a TS Mercury freighter. In the options menu, set your hull/shield display to "numerical," your SETA acceleration to 10x, your gravidar range to 25km, and enable subtitles. This makes navigation and fighting a little easier.

Do not accept the flight school mission - you can't complete it as you have no guns. Instead, switch to your Discoverer (by ejecting and flying over towards it) and have your Mercury follow you south to Argon Prime.

Important note! While in space as an astronaut you can fire a repair laser. If your ship ever gets dinged up you can use this weapon to repair it without paying for the repairs at a shipyard. This is an essential tool you’ll use throughout the game.

Once in Argon Prime, dock both ships at the EQD; sell the shield off the Mercury. This will give you enough money to buy a Trading System Extension. Then, send the Mercury to the shipyard and sell the ship outright. This will give you enough reputation and money to buy one IRE for your scout, Fight Command Software MK1, and to max out the engine (do only these things). Now you can do the flight school mission if you like.

Immediately fly as follows (starting from Argon Prime): East to The Wall / North to The Hole / East to Atreus' Clouds / North to Rolk's Fate / North to Menelaus' Frontier. Some of these sectors are foggy, so be patient and follow the direction of other trading ships if you get a little lost.

At the northeast quadrant of Atreus’ Clouds is a Boron Military Base – they’ll sell you a Triplex scanner even though your reputation with them is barely positive. This is an essential piece of equipment that triples your scanner range, so be sure to buy one.

In Menelaus' Frontier, there is a derelict Toucan Hauler sitting next to the farthest-away asteroid in the north-east quadrant of the sector. You can claim this ship for your own (but continue to use your scout). To claim a ship you need to eject from your own, fly up to the derelict as an astronaut, and click “claim” from the target ship’s drop-down menu once you’re about 30m away. Do not tell the Toucan to go anywhere until you leave the sector as it might collide with the asteroid (collisions are disabled if you are not in the sector yourself, so there is no danger – remember this). Send it to the equipment dock in Argon Prime.

Now, fly east to Ceo's Buckzoid, east to Teladi Gain, and east to Family Whi. In this sector is a derelict Iguana Vanguard - to find it, head towards the east gate but once you get about 10km away from it make a 90 degree left and fly for a while. It’s out there…

Claim this ship and send it to the EQD in Family Whi. Once it's there dock at the EQD yourself and switch to the Iggy (which will be your player ship for a while). Transfer over your SETA, Triplex, IRE, the TSE, and Fight Command 1, and then purchase all the engine and rudder tunings for your Iggy.

Install the IRE into the rear turret of the Iggy, and set the command to "protect ship" in the autopilot menu. Now that you have a new player-ship, you can send the Discoverer to the EQD in Argon Prime. Follow it back and dock there yourself (I know – this is a long and boring part – just trust me). You may actually catch up to the Toucan (it's slow).

Once all three of your ships are docked at the EQD, take everything (guns, shields, equipment) out of the Discoverer and the Toucan and put it all in your Iggy (except for a Duplex Scanner, if the Toucan had one – this you don’t need). Then, fly south to Home of Light. Once you're out of Argon Prime, command both your other ships to dock at the shipyard, and sell them.

Dock at Terracorp HQ. Sell everything to the HQ except the Iggy’s two 25MJ shields and the single IRE in your turret. This should give you credits and most likely enough reputation to buy a Jumpdrive. If not, you may have to do one taxi or transport mission (most of which can be easily done with the Iggy – but stay away from the “very hard” ones for now as the deadlines on these usually require using a Jumpdrive).

Also, be sure to buy a handful of salvage insurance from Terracorp. This allows you to save while in space and is useful if you want to try something (like a mission or battle) but aren't sure if you can win.
Last edited by jwigeland on Fri, 10. Dec 10, 17:19, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by jwigeland » Thu, 9. Dec 10, 18:51

Part 2 – Get a Bankroll!

Once you have a Jump-drive fly south from Home of Light into Ore Belt and get some energy cells at the solar power plants in the south east quadrant - now you can jump to any gate that you've previously found on the universe map (each jump costs e-cells). This is easily one of the two most important pieces of ship equipment in the game and turns a lot of missions from impossible to easy (the other is a docking computer – more on that later).

Missions you can now easily complete in any sector:

Quick Taxi / Military Transport / etc – these ask you to fly people from one station to another. The Jumpdrive makes quick work of these. To cut down on the time it takes to dock, don’t use the autopilot but hail the station and request docking permission. You can approach the green target from any direction at any speed as long as you slow down to under 40 m/s by the time you get to the target.

Special Wares – these ask you to fly to a station, pick up some entertainment chips or medical supplies, and bring them back to the target station. Use the Jumpdrive and the docking technique mentioned above. Sometimes you’ll have to sell or dump energy cells to fit the shipment you are sent to collect. Also, don’t accept the radioactive waste requests – you need a ship that can carry XL-sized cargo for these and the Iggy can only carry L-sized cargo.

Important note! I've found some of the medical supplies missions can't be done with Iggy if they are shipping too many. The Iggy's cargo hold is only 517, and the medial supplies take 5 cargo each! If you're asked to carry 70 or less you should be fine - just be wary.

Take some time now to increase your Argon reputation three more levels by scouting the Argon sectors nearby and completing the mission types listed above (shouldn’t take long – especially if you find “hard” and “very hard” missions). Once you’ve accomplished this, locate and purchase the following: eight IRE, two 1MJ, and one PRG. These guns and shields are for ships that we’ll purchase later on when we expand your fleet!

Important note: I only recommend stocking up now because at the beginning of the game all stations start with some stock, but this gets quickly depleted. NPC trading ships are usually not adequate to keep the stations at full production, so later on when you actually need these guns and shields it can be difficult to find them.

Now that you have some extra stuff, fly in the following order from Ore Belt: West to CBSW / South to Emperor Mines / East to Paranid Prime / South to Empire's Edge / West to Savage Spur. In Savage Spur (watch out for all the rocks) there is a derelict Enhanced Pericles for you to claim in the southeast quadrant. Make sure not to have it move until you leave the sector as it will crash into one of the asteroids.

Fly south to Ocracoke's Storm. In the Southeast quadrant is an Advanced Eclipse (Pirate version) for you to claim. This is Yaki space by the way, but remember the Yaki are neutral to you at the beginning of the game, so they won't shoot. Order both your new ships to follow you South into Senator's Badlands.

If you fly straight when you get into this sector, you will eventually see the Yaki shipyard. Order both your new ships to dock there, and once they have, dock there yourself. Transfer all the equipment, guns, shields, and missiles from the other two (but leave the fighter drones and any Duplex Scanners - they're tough to sell and you get some credit for them at the shipyard). If you run out of room, put a few energy cells in the Eclipse. Sell both other ships here.

Now, jump back to Home of Light and dock at Terracorp. Sell everything except: Five of the 25MJ shields (three of which are for your fighter - coming later), your nine IRE, two 1MJ, and the single PRG (if you were able to buy one earlier or one came off the Eclipse). You should have several millions by now, so let’s tool up and buy some ships!
Last edited by jwigeland on Fri, 10. Dec 10, 17:26, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by jwigeland » Thu, 9. Dec 10, 18:51

Part 3 – Tool Up!

Any effective player-ship should have these 15 pieces of equipment on board. The rule of thumb is if you plan on flying it make sure it has these things equipped. Some you have already purchased; others may have come off the four derelict ships you claimed and sold. At this point you can find and purchase all but one of the others for your Iggy:

You already have bought at least these:
Cargo Life Support System (Iguana Vanguard has this built-in) / Fight Command MK1 / Jumpdrive / Trading System Extension / Triplex Scanner / Singularity Engine Time Accelerator

At Terracorp HQ in Home of Light, you can now buy:
Bioscanner / Transporter Device

At any Argon Equipment Dock:
Boost Extension / Mineral Scanner / Navigation Command Software

At the Pirate Base in Atreus Clouds (far to the east in the sector):
Fight Command MK2 / Freight Scanner

At the Teladi Equipment Dock in Ceo’s Buckzoid:
Video Enhancement Goggles

Note that with Fight MK2 you can set your turret command to “missile defense,” which prioritizes incoming missiles. Also, by pressing “K” you will see the word underneath your laser bank go “auto, on, off.” Leave it “on” – this improves targeting.

The last crucial piece of ship equipment is a Docking Computer, which can be bought from any Paranid Equipment Dock. But, you need more reputation with them to purchase one, so we have to do some missions first. The Docking Computer allows you to instantly dock at a station from any direction and speed so long as you are within 5km.

From Atreus Clouds, fly and explore (i.e. locate all the stations in) the following sectors: South to Farnham’s Legend / East to Bala Gi’s Joy / South to Olmancketstat’s Treaty / South to Brenan’s Triumph / South to Danna’s Chance / South to Freedom’s Reach. This is known as “pirate alley” as these are mostly pirate sectors. Like the Yaki, Pirates are also fairly neutral to you right now so you won’t be shot at – but to be safe steer clear of the hostile ships and be ready to jump if you end up in trouble.

Another mission type is common in pirate sectors:

Scan for Valuable Freight – pirates will ask you to scan ships in the sector, and your reward is a percentage of the value of what the scanned ships have on board. Right now you can only do this in pirate sector as you don’t have any police licenses yet (try it elsewhere and the cops will attack you). Farnham’s Legend is a good sector for this as there are a lot of traders passing through.

With enough missions along pirate alley, you will accumulate money and reputation with all the major races very quickly (and with the pirates too). Once your Paranid reputation is high enough, jump to Paranid Prime and buy a Docking Computer from their EQD. Keep checking at the trading stations of the Boron, Argon, Teladi, and Paranid – when your reputation is high enough you can buy their police licenses which allow you to scan ships in their sectors without the police getting mad at you.

Note that in Danna’s chance the two pirate stations are hostile. Hostile stations need to be hacked before you can land there. A “hacker” mission offer is denoted with a light bulb icon and usually costs about $250k, and occurs randomly on any station within three sectors of the hostile station. Be sure to hack the Plasma Burst Generator Forge as soon as possible. This forge sells a flamethrower weapon that is absolutely brutal (and we want it for your fighter ship). You may be lucky if the forge still has weapons available from the beginning of the game (you need eight of them). Otherwise, you’ll have to wait for it to produce more.

The PBG forge may be out of a resource it needs to produce the weapons. Space-fuel can be found at the two distilleries at the north end of Herron’s Nebula (be wary – it’s illegal to carry space fuel so jump to pirate alley as soon as you have some on board). Energy cells can be had from the power plants in Bala Gi’s Joy or The Wall. You can’t carry Ore yet as it is an XL cargo, but the forge usually isn’t out of this.

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Post by jwigeland » Thu, 9. Dec 10, 18:52

Part 4 – Expand your Fleet!

Another good source of income early in the game is to buy used ships that are damaged, repair them, and sell them at a shipyard for profit. These ships usually appear near the gates, and are sometimes parked at stations. Be wary of ones with 100% hull or really high prices for the ship class – you’re paying a premium for all of the ship’s equipment. However, when you buy a used ship in space all of its equipment is magically spirited away, so you waste a ton of money buying ships at 100% hull.

Important note! If you buy a used ship for sale that’s docked at a station the equipment is NOT spirited away. Make sure to check on these – the price may be high but sometimes you can get rare equipment like Advanced Firewall Software or fully trained marines! Since you have a freight scanner you can dock at the station where the ship is and click on its “info” tab (from the station’s list of docked ships) to see what it might have.

If you happen to come across a damaged Discoverer Raider for sale, keep this one safely parked somewhere. This is a faster version of the scout you started the game with and should be added to your fleet. If you haven’t happened across one, at this point you should purchase one from the shipyard in CBSE (S version, and max the tunings, as always). Send it to the EQD in CBSE and dock there yourself once it’s arrived.

Scouts are useful for exploring sectors very quickly and for completing "scan asteroids" missions which usually have very tight deadlines, so it will be a valuable addition!

Now, we need to transfer two 1MJ and four IRE from Iggy to the Disco (it came with one shield so now it should have three, which is the max it can carry). Also, since you’re going to be flying this one now, move over 11 of the 15 pieces of essential equipment. Note that you can’t transfer the Cargo Life Support because it’s built into the Iggy. No worries – the CLS is available at the pirate base in Atreus’ Clouds, so that should be your first stop. You also can’t transfer the Triplex Scanner or Fight MK1 and MK2, because the Disco already has these built in.

The Disco can’t carry too many energy cells for jumping, but it won’t be an issue since we’ll be heading into new sectors that you can’t jump to anyway (because you haven’t been there yet).

Now you need a TM. TMs are a transport class that have a moderate XL cargo hold and can carry four fighter-sized ships (M3 or smaller). This makes them ideal mobile bases for early in the game. They are also essential for completing certain missions that the Iggy can’t do. My favorite choice for a TM is the Split Boa. It has the highest speed of the TM class, and when you buy one it already comes with the only shield it needs.

So, we need to fly to Family Pride – from Family Whi it’s South to Family Zein / South to Thuruk’s Beard / East to Family Pride.

While you’re on your way, remotely send Iggy to Terracorp HQ in Home of Light and buy it another jump-drive. Then, you can command Iggy to fly to other places in order to purchase the other 10 essentials it’s now missing (because you took them all). This will restore it to a player-ship for your use when you want it again.

You may need to raise your Split reputation before they will sell you a Boa (depends on how many Split missions you did in pirate alley earlier). If this is the case, as soon Iggy has a jump-drive command it to jump to your sector and dock at any convenient station. Dock there yourself, and switch everything back to the Iggy so you can use it to do more missions. There is a huge block of Split sectors to the south and east of Family Pride, so there’s no lack of opportunity. You’ll get the rep in no time (and don’t forget a police license too – now you should have all five).

While I think of it – sometimes you’ll see a mission request to catch smugglers by scanning ships in the sector. Now that you have police licenses it’s legal for you to scan ships. The trouble is, I’ve never found a single smuggler and since the reputation gain and reward is based on how many you catch… well… I’d skip these.

When you’re ready to buy your TM, get in your scout and position yourself about 40km away from the shipyard and save. Order your new TM to “follow you.” If it collides with the station you can reload (hooray for salvage insurance). Wait for it to get within 5km of you, and then dock at the TM. Poof! You are now driving your TM and the Disco is safely docked inside. If you press F2 you will get an external view of your ship – use the num-pad to rotate around and see the Disco all snug. F1 returns you to the cockpit view.

Note that the Boa can haul XL cargo (like ore to the PBG forge, if it needs any and you’re short on those eight guns). It can also complete almost all the same transport-type missions the Iggy could do (but not as easily, because it’s slower). Watch out for the picky people who want a “passenger transport” however – these missions can only be done using a TS like the Iggy.

Now you have three ships, and this is a confusing part. It doesn’t really matter how you accomplish all this, but at the end you should have a fleet like so: All three of your ships are equipped with the 15 essentials. The Disco, armed with three 1MJ and four IRE, can be parked safely in the Boa, itself armed with one 200MJ and four IRE (in the turrets). In the Boa you should also have the extra three 25MJ shields, the single PRG, and the eight PBG for use when you buy your fighter. Iggy should still have two 25MJ and its own single IRE for the turret. All done? Great!
Last edited by jwigeland on Fri, 10. Dec 10, 17:31, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by jwigeland » Thu, 9. Dec 10, 18:53

Part 5 – Finally, a Fighter!

Another important aspect of having a TM: You can now carry multiple versions of ship equipment (jump-drives, etc) – one in the TM and one in each of its docked ships. This makes equipping new ships so much faster. It also means that you can do all of the “return my ship” missions with ease (caution – NOT the “return my stolen ship” variety – steer clear of these).

Return my ship missions:

If the person’s lost ship is a fighter or smaller, after claiming it you can simply 1) transfer over the docking computer from your TM via the transporter device, 2) instantly dock the lost ship in your TM (make sure to then take the docking computer back out), 3) jump to the target sector, and 4) send the lost ship on its way to the target station. This cuts down on travel time so much that these missions become very easy.

If the lost ship is something bigger (a bomber, a freighter, a corvette, or even a frigate), you can send over your jump-drive and some energy cells (provided you’re 5km or less away – inside transporter range) and order the lost ship to jump to the target sector. Then, swap in a spare jump-drive from one of your docked ships and jump there yourself. Remove the jump-drive from the lost ship (or you’ll lose it and have to buy another one), and order it to either dock at the target station or move close to the station using the “move to position” command (frigates can’t dock at most stations).

If you’re running low on time, you should jump out of the target sector to disable collision detection (this means the lost ship will fly straight to the target station at max speed instead of slowing down for a normal approach to the docking clamps).

Slight variation - missions where people ask you to buy them new ships. Well, the same techniques apply. Just be sure before you accept any of these missions that you've found a shipyard that sells the ship they're asking for (you can look under the ship's description in the in-game encyclopedia to verify if there's a shipyard you've found that sells it). Be wary - some of these missions will ask for ships you cannot buy!

Now it’s time to fly to Omicron Lyrae. This is a far-away Argon sector, and the first part of the Terran Plot will initiate as soon as you get there, but it’s where we can finally purchase the fighter that you need. The flight path from Family Pride is: South to Rhonkar’s Clouds / East to Tharka’s Sun / East to Cho’s Defeat / South to Patriarch’s Keep / East to Two Grand / South to Profit Center Alpha / East to PTNI / South to Scale Plate Green / East to Nyana’s Hideout / East to Omicron Lyrae.

For this trek I would recommend using your Disco Raider up to Nyana’s hideout (hooray for speed!). Once there, have your Boa jump into the sector so you can dock to it and fly into Omicron Lyrae on the Boa. The reason for this is that the Boa has the shields and guns you need to equip your new fighter, and we have to do a little quick swap-a-roo.

When you enter Omicron Lyrae, you are hailed about escorting some Terran diplomats. This is the “bridge mission” that enables you to play the Terran Plot. You have a limited time to accept, after which point the bridge mission closes and you have to wait for it to be offered again – not good. So, accept the mission.

You are told to join an Eclipse awaiting the Terran ship. However, you will have enough time before the mission advances to communicate with the shipyard and purchase a Nova Raider (S version, and be sure max the tunings). Fly and dock at the shipyard. Now, switch to your shiny new Nova, and swap over the three 25MJ shields, the single PRG, the eight PBG, and the 15 essential equipments from the Boa. Now, undock and fly towards the Eclipse.

On the way, you can install the PBG in your main weapon slots, and the PRG in your turret (set the turret to “missile defense” in the autopilot menu). You are now a death-dealing fire-breathing demon of destruction! Seriously – be careful with these things. No, really! They are far and above the most powerful melee fighter weapons (meaning they have short range) but because the flames plume out and encompass a huge area of damage, you can easily hit other friendly ships and stations. Just be cautious, and enjoy!

Now, the topic of "what's the best M3 fighter / weapon" comes up a lot on the forum, so people will probably disagree with my choice of a PBG-equipped Nova Raider. Please feel free to experiment with other weapons and ships as you like - this is just the one I like best and I can seriously complete the entire Terran Plot with it (except for one freight mission).

Important note! If you want to stay friendly with the pirates, you may want to avoid destroying the two that show up to attack the convoy (the other ships will take care of them). However, you might want to pepper the pirate Buster with fire from your PRG (switch it to one of your main guns, assign the gun to a different fire group, and switch to that group to fire only that weapon).

If you lower the Buster’s shields quickly but don’t damage his hull too much (disengage, then re-engage when his shields have recovered), he may get scared enough to jump out of his ship. No joke! Now the Buster is a derelict that you can claim, and after the mission is over you can repair and sell it. This is called a bail – the ship types that can bail are as follows: M5, M4, M3, M8, TS, and TP. Always watch for a bail (there are several missions in the Terran plot where you can get bails fairly easily).

Once the bridge mission is complete, you can order the Boa to jump into your current sector so you can dock to it (transfer the Jumpdrive from the Discoverer). Your last chore will be to get a complete set of 15 essentials for the Nova Raider (once you move all the equipment back into the Boa so you can fly it).

So, all told you should have the Iguana Vanguard, the Boa, the Discoverer Raider, and the fire-breathing Nova Raider all fully equipped, and several million left over.
Last edited by jwigeland on Fri, 10. Dec 10, 17:36, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by jwigeland » Thu, 9. Dec 10, 18:54

Part 6 – About Fighting Missions

At this point, you can proceed with the Terran plot (there are great walkthroughs on the forum for that), or fly around exploring sectors and doing all kinds of missions (fighting missions will be fairly straightforward with your Nova until your fighting rank gets much higher).

Some words of caution concerning fight missions:

Most fight missions have you assassinate a pirate, or defend a station against pirates and/or Yaki. Killing these ships means that these “races” will grow to hate you. The downside of pirates hating you is that they will simply attack your ships and stations (and it will get difficult to do missions in pirate alley). Later on, when you have a fleet of autonomous trading ships, these attacks can get fairly annoying.

Also, there is a pirate corporation that offers some neat ships as rewards for doing their missions. If the pirates hate you too much you won’t be able to work for this corporation. Finally, if you ever want to build a complex of stations that makes highly profitable space fuel and space weed (hint – you do, but it’s illegal in most sectors), you won’t be able to build in any pirate sectors because the locals will constantly attack you.

The downside of the Yaki hating you is that you will lose access to their Incendiary Bomb Launcher Forges. The IBL is a useful weapon later in the game – there are only three forges in the entire X-verse, and the Yaki have two of them. When you upgrade to an M7 frigate, you will want to pack some Flak guns for shooting down fighters, and some capital-grade cannons for taking out other large targets. A lot of the frigates can’t mount the big guns found on destroyers and the like, but they can use the IBL, which is almost as big. Without access to IBLs, you may be limited to using corvette (M6) class weaponry. For this reason I usually avoid picking on the Yaki.

Be wary of the generic “patrol” missions – you don’t know what your targets may end up being (pirate, Yaki, Xenon, or Kha’ak). Station defend missions are a little easier to decipher – if some “shady characters” are going to attack, those would be Yaki ships.

If you’re asked to escort a convoy – these missions are some of the most annoying, as the convoy is slow and poorly defended (aside from you). Plus, the ships can get spread out and so you can’t effectively defend all of them. The enemy spawns are endless, and you’re likely to hit the convoy with your flamethrowers. Approach with caution.

Also be wary of the missions that ask you to destroy a convoy. These are actually pirate operations and you will lose reputation with the race the convoy belongs to.

If you like combat (and it seems like I’ve scratched out nearly every variety of it), you should scout around in sectors that contain a gate to a Xenon sector (Scale Plate Green is one of these). Stations in these sectors will usually offer “Xenon Invasion” missions in which a Xenon battle group will arrive through the gate and attack! Since you have a police license you get a bounty for each ship killed in addition to the mission reward.

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Post by jwigeland » Thu, 9. Dec 10, 18:55

Bonus Part - Two keys to Wealth!

There are two important things you should work towards as you progress in the game from now on. The first is an ever-expanding fleet of autonomous trading ships. Trade Command Software MK3 is available from Terracorp HQ and the Teladi EQD in PTNI, among other places. A ship equipped with this will trade goods and earn profit on your behalf – it truly is a “fire and forget” money-earner.

You need a TS class freighter (like your Mercury from long ago) to be an effective MK3 trader. The choice of ship is up to you, but I like the extra-long super-freighter versions of the Argon Mercury, the Split Caiman, and the Paranid Demeter (available in Omicron Lyrae, Family Njy, and Third Redemption, respectively). Once launched, the ship will begin trading and will “level up” as it earns more profit (up to level 25). Higher-level MK3s make smarter trade runs and therefore earn money faster.

MK3 traders can be launched with less equipment and upgrades, but I always start them out with everything maxed (engine, rudder, cargo). I always equip as many shields as the ship can carry (hint: by the “L” version of the ship when it’s in stock – it comes with max shields), and give it a gun in the read turret to ward off missiles. A ship like this can cost you about three and a half million credits, but it’s worth it.

My MK3 traders only need Fight Command Software MK1 (for the turret), Navigation Command Software (makes it easier to command them to go somewhere if I need a shipment of something), Trade Command MK3, and a Jumpdrive. Make sure that “auto-jump” is set to “on” in the autopilot menu. Use your Boa with the Nova and Disco docked in it to transfer jump-drives and Trade MK3 to newly-purchased trading ships.

MK3 traders come in three varieties.

Sector Trader – only trades in a single sector; MK3s level 5 and lower can only be an ST.

Local Trader – trades amongst several adjacent sectors; ships at level 6 can trade across two sectors, and at level 8 they can trade across three. LTs can only level up to level 20.

Universe Trader – trades across the entire X-verse, and levels up to 25.

To change an ST into an LT, you have to re-issue the trade command when the ship reaches level 6. There will be a new dialog box asking you to input the jump range. A range of 1 means the ship will trade in the assigned sector plus any sector next to it (which is all a level 6 ST can do). Re-issuing the trade command is also how you change the assigned sector and/or the jump range of your ship.

Universe Traders make more profit per hour than STs or LTs, but because they go everywhere they can sometimes wander into dangerous sectors and be destroyed. For this reason I usually leave my MK3s as LTs trading across three or four sectors in “safe” space so I don’t lose my investment in them.

You will notice (especially with lower-level MK3 ships) that they will go on “standby” quite often. This merely means there are no good trading opportunities inside their assigned trading range so they’re waiting for prices to change (as happens when good are bought and sold). This is only really an issue when the ship is an ST – once it becomes an LT it hardly ever goes on standby. In any case, simply re-issue the trade command to help it come off standby, or assign it to another area where there may be better trading opportunities.

The second key to wealth is to build stations for other people. Build missions are denoted by little green bricks. These missions can be some of the best-paying ones for two reasons – firstly, there is the mission reward itself, and secondly, you create another non-player station for your MK3s to trade with (and possibly even one that makes an item you want – like fighter shields or capital weapons).

To effectively complete build missions, you should have visited all the shipyards and have very good reputation with all the races. Some of the hi-tech stations they won’t sell unless you have high reputation (and these are the ones asked for in the “very hard” missions with the best payoffs). Also, you need many millions in the bank as you have to buy the appropriate station first (you are paid the reward after deploying the station). Some of the stations asked for can cost in excess of 20 million credits!

It is imperative to have a TL ship of your own before tackling build missions – equip it with a Jumpdrive (plus the other 14 essentials). A TL is very expensive, but it will pay for itself with a few build missions and is absolutely crucial when you start building your own stations and complexes later on.

The TL is a capital transport ship that carries “ST” or station class cargo. Two standout examples are the Split Elephant (comparatively inexpensive and fast for its class) and the Argon Mammoth (largest cargo bay, so it can carry more stations per trip). Most have a fighter docking bay and can carry a few defense weapons. However, like other capitals, TLs can only dock at shipyards, equipment docks, and Military Bases.

Accept the build mission while flying another ship. Command the TL to “jump and dock” at the nearest shipyard that sells the station you need (in the autopilot menu you can enable the ship to message you when it’s finished a given command). Once it’s there, use it to buy the station. Meantime, fly to the target sector and locate the beacon where they want the station built. Order your TL to “jump and move to position,” and select the beacon. Once the TL is within 20km of the beacon you can build the station.

Well, that about wraps up my guide for how to get going in this game. Be sure to check the forums often and ask questions – that’s how I learned everything I know about this game. Fight, Build, Trade, Think, and Enjoy!

POST 1300! Woo-hoo!

Michael Sheeler
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Post by Michael Sheeler » Thu, 9. Dec 10, 20:46

I just finished part one and learned tons. Great Walkthough. Thanks jwigeland.

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Post by Morias » Thu, 9. Dec 10, 21:11

Great walkthrough!

Slight correction right at the end there - the TL doesn't have to be within any range of the nav beacon to drop the station, neither do you.

I've dropped station build mission stations 100km from my and my TLs position without problem.

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Post by jwigeland » Thu, 9. Dec 10, 21:18

??? really? When I drop a station more than 20km away from the beacon it doesn't complete the mission... :S

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Post by Snafu_X3 » Thu, 9. Dec 10, 21:49

Excellent starter guide, but I noticed a few things:

1) The Toucan Hauler you mention early on is, IIRC, unique, so it may not be to your advantage to sell it (don't forget ships sold at shipyards are scrapped so you won't find it later on in the game). Similarly for your Iguana Vanguard. The Pericles & Eclipse are also unbuyable, but you can cap them later if necessary (I think they may also turn up as rewards in corp plots, but I'm not sure)

2) Mosquito Missile Defence is IMO more useful for your larger ships than Turret Missile Defence, as OOS your traders may try to fight with their pea-shooters rather than running/jumping away

3) You don't mention Best Buy/Sell s/w. Whilst only useful for the playership it /is/ extremely useful IMO, especially early in the game, despite its expense

4) For the early playership fight missions PACs are more useful than IREs as they do quite a bit more damage for only a relatively small increase in expense & gun battery power; later on you'll want PRGs but these are a) significantly more expensive & b) use quite a bit more energy

5) Obtain Ship missions - these don't have to be new ships bought; they can be ships you've capped. Don't forget the reward is the ship's value +maybe a bit more, so repair them first for more profitss if you've the time (& remember to transfer out any cargo they may have)

5a) Buying a brand new ship is like buying a brand new car - the depreciation is horrendous! Even if you buy the ship at the shipyard & then immediately sell it back without flying it anywhere you can make a serious loss. This will get better (ie less) with increase in race rep, but never gets as far as 100% - plus /any/ equipment on a ship sold to a shipyard is only sold back at 50% of its purchase price. So, be careful when making new ship purchases, especially early on, & strip out any salable weapons, shields & cargo to sell elsewhere first. S/w (including jumpdrives, scanners etc) cannot be sold except with the ship, so if it's expensive or hard to get transfer it to another ship before you scrap

6) I /think/ the Chokaro is faster than the Boa (nope - 1m/s slower; just checked), but it handles like a pregnant cow under anasthetic even with max tunings, so if you're going to fly your TM go for the Boa. However the Chokaro has nearly double the cargo bay size & double the shields for the loss of 1 hangar bay, so it's horses for courses there..

7) You can get the Docking Computer from the EQD in Trinity Sanctum (another extremely useful shipyard to know about): S 4 sectors from Split Fire

8 ) Remember Advanced Firewall s/w, Internal Sentry Lasers & Hull Polarisation mean nothing to the player's ships except for (maybe) upping their selling price a bit, so don't knock yourself out or spend a fortune on 2nd hand ships that have these items equipped. Marines coming with ships may or may not be useful; you won't find out their training levels until you have a bioscanner installed on your playership. Marines with high Fight levels (above 3 stars) are your best prizes as the other levels can be trained up with money. Training takes a loong time, so if you're going that route start them as early as you reckon you can afford it (a use for that unique Toucan Hauler?), & it's more cost-effective to use Advanced training levels rather than Quick or Normal. Training marines can be done at any non-Boron Military Outpost or IIRC at some EQDs or Trading Centres as well at the Marine Training Centre (I think there's only one)

9) Remember that once you have access to Terran space its economy becomes live, so use those stripped cheap hulls you gained from bailing ships to keep important stations alive (ie not removed by GoD) until you can work on the Terran economy. Dock the hulls at any Terran station you find (except shipyards, defence or supply stations, SPPs or mines) & leave them there to prevent the game engine (GoD) from deleting the station whilst you're building up your finances elsewhere

I think that'll do for now. Good luck & happy hunting! :)

[edit - spelling & clarity]
Last edited by Snafu_X3 on Fri, 10. Dec 10, 00:10, edited 2 times in total.
Wiki X:R 1st Tit capping
Wiki X3:TC vanilla: Guide to generic missions, Guide to finding & capping Aran
Never played AP; all X3 advice is based on vanilla+bonus pack TC or before: AP has not changed much WRT general advice.

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Post by Snafu_X3 » Thu, 9. Dec 10, 21:50

jwigeland wrote:??? really? When I drop a station more than 20km away from the beacon it doesn't complete the mission... :S
I suspect he means the /transporter ship/ doesn't need to be near the beacon - the station dropped, of course, does.

Oh & don't forget the Y-axis (press Insert or click in the t/l corner of the radar screen) when using the numpad to move the dropped station around
Last edited by Snafu_X3 on Thu, 9. Dec 10, 21:56, edited 1 time in total.
Wiki X:R 1st Tit capping
Wiki X3:TC vanilla: Guide to generic missions, Guide to finding & capping Aran
Never played AP; all X3 advice is based on vanilla+bonus pack TC or before: AP has not changed much WRT general advice.

I know how to spell teladiuminumiumium, I just don't know when to stop!

Dom (Wiki Moderator) 8-) DxDiag

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Post by jwigeland » Thu, 9. Dec 10, 21:56

Ah yes, of course! Since you can only drop a station 20km away from the TL, the TL could be at most nearly 40km away from the beacon. Of course you, in the player ship, can be anywhere in the sector and still command the TL to drop the station.

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Post by Morias » Thu, 9. Dec 10, 21:58

Yep, really. You really don't need to have your ships close to the nav beacon.

You should of course always press Keypad 5 in the sector map to ensure precise placement of the station near the nav beacon, but ship range has nothing to do with it.

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Post by Snafu_X3 » Thu, 9. Dec 10, 22:06

jwigeland wrote:Ah yes, of course! Since you can only drop a station 20km away from the TL
Umm not IME - you & the TL can be anywhere IS. However, for very small sectors you won't be that far away, & for large sectors you may find the beacon spawniing off the edge of the gravidar. Zoom in with the beacon highlighted (not necessarily selected) & you can find it - you can use the same trick to find the station if you wish, but I find it easier to use the numpad to set the station at 0,0,0 (or at least until it appears onscreen).

Another thing to watch out for is the nav beacon spawning outside your gravidar range if you've taken more than one build mission at a time; this means it'll appear in the mission guidance but not in the gravidar screen. So click on the yellow highlight arrows to target it, then go back to the gravidar - hey presto, it's appeared!

BTW I like to use an Orca as my first TL - nearly as fast as the Split offering (with max tunings, natch) & only slightly less cargo space than a Mammoth for quite a reasonable saving in creditss. This means you can do 2 or 3 (if you're lucky with station sizes) build missions at once - more profiitss :)
Wiki X:R 1st Tit capping
Wiki X3:TC vanilla: Guide to generic missions, Guide to finding & capping Aran
Never played AP; all X3 advice is based on vanilla+bonus pack TC or before: AP has not changed much WRT general advice.

I know how to spell teladiuminumiumium, I just don't know when to stop!

Dom (Wiki Moderator) 8-) DxDiag

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