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A game of survival, trade and exploration in the universe of Fallen London

Why does this game even have trading. Messages in this topic - RSS

Anathema
Anathema
Posts: 8

2/13/2015
I backed this on Kickstarter. Played an early version, back when it still had the card-based combat. My reaction to it was that there's the potential for a good game here, once there are places to go, and markets that aren't placeholders, so I can bumble about the Sunless Sea trading my way to better ships and occasionally dying.


  • Now that it's finished, I've picked it up again. And I'm finding that trading is absolutely impossible, especially when you're a new player who is being cautious. Every port within a safe range of London has absolutely punitive prices that won't even cover the fuel and supplies.

    The whole mood of the game feels like it is encouraging me to play it safe at first, but there's really no way to do that and keep myself afloat. So eventually every single one of my captains has made a futile journey out into the sea, hoping to find something that will actually make a profit and let me live long enough to do the various stories involving taking people and places to various things. None of them has discovered a market with the remotest hope of making any kind of profit on basic trading; only about half the islands even have shops that will sell me food or fuel at absolutely punitive prices.

    I find myself wondering why this game even has trading. I mean, the Kickstarter pitch of "sea-bound Elite with Fallen London-quality stories" hooked me. But five captains have succumbed to the many deaths of the Sea, and I'm really starting to get tired of sailing around aimlessly in the shitty starter boat, hoping to luck into a storyline that will actually give me enough fucking money to have a decent chance of making it back to London and re-supplying for another venture.

    I feel like every single captain is a total idiot for making these obviously-doomed journeys, and I'm beginning to feel like an idiot for playing them. I don't mind the permadeath, I don't mind the sea being merciless, but I would like to have some kind of fighting chance at actually applying the basic logic of "oh hey I journey between ports trading stuff, buy low sell high and get a better ship" to this thing.

    If the intent of the game is that trading is Not What You Actually Do, then why is there even a 'shops' tab in the interface? And what the hell does the game actually want me to do to get started? More idiotic, blind journeys out into the dark sea in hopes of that one lucky find?

    --
    They say she's a weapon from behind the stars. They say she's a cunning clockwork simulacrum. They say her virtue's for sale. They say she's kind to spiders. All lies, of course. Except about the spiders.
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    Fretling
    Fretling
    Posts: 529

    2/13/2015
    It explicitly tells you not to play it safe when you load the game up.
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    penknife
    penknife
    Posts: 85

    2/13/2015
    As the shops interface in London tells you, it's hard to make a profit buying things in London (or nearby ports) and selling them near London. You'll need to make early-game money by submitting port reports, finding the Salt Lions so you can ferry Sphinxstone, looking for the items the Merchant Venturer (in London) and Curator (in Venderbight) want, and killing small sea-beasts and small pirate ships. If there's a storyline on an island you find, do the storyline. That's the best way to build up some money.

    Later in the game, trading in very valuable items across long distances is profitable, but you'll need a bigger ship to really make that work well. In the early game, shops mainly exist so that you can get items you may need for various stories. For example, you can't make enough of a profit trading prisoner's honey to make it worthwhile, but you can trade it at the Uttershroom for something interesting.

    But, yes, in general, you'll need to make those journeys out into the dark, shoot things, and explore the ports you visit for your early-game cash. Trying to buy low/sell high early in the game is a bad plan.
    edited by penknife on 2/13/2015

    --
    http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Penknife
    Most social actions welcome, no SMEN or Boxed Cats please.
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    Master Polarimini
    Master Polarimini
    Posts: 310

    2/13/2015
    The answer is right there in your message: " trading is absolutely impossible, especially when you're a new player who is being cautious". The game does not want you to be cautious, so no surprise they haven't implemented easy trading routes.
    After all, if you're not cautious, whats the worst it can happen? that you die? :P

    --
    Devices workshop opening soon...

    Follow my story at http://www.fallenlondon.com/Profile/Master~Polarimini
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    censor
    censor
    Posts: 13

    2/13/2015
    You can trade, but not expect win trading. Trade is opportunity. Best rewards are for exploring.
    So, do not expect to build a perfect character by any means. There is always a chance to lose. So, go ahead, take risks and live or die.
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    Gideon Xanthous
    Gideon Xanthous
    Posts: 36

    2/14/2015
  • There are viable trades in the game, some for limited periods of time, others throughout. The whole point isn't to go around based on luck, you have to pay attention to who wants what, and where. As well as what quests are good for cash cows.


  • Have you found the Salt Lions? Even with the starter boat, if you're smart with your planning you can take about 2 loads average, garnering a nice paycheck while the quest lasts.


  • Carting Mushroom Wine to Godfall (until it hits 199 for Time, The Healer) is pretty good, Clay men from Polythreme is good if you have the space though they shouldn't be your only cargo or you'll make not that much. Scintillack from Port Cecil (either via the interaction, or the main questline) can net a fair bit of cash.


  • Its about managing your ship and getting routes in your mind (for me, most of the routes I made revolved around where the Admiral sent me, in conjunction to whatever quests I was pursuing) of how to make those routes the most profitable.
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    Impish Axile
    Impish Axile
    Posts: 50

    2/14/2015
    Yeah, at least early-game, trading isn't profitable in itself. It's more just, if you're going to Venderbight anyway, may as well bring a couple barrels of wine along. Picking up as many port reports on the way as you possibly can is important, too, since that's what should really be covering your fuel/supplies expenses.
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    Anathema
    Anathema
    Posts: 8

    2/14/2015
    I started a new captain, named them The Foolish Moron, and went counter to every single instinct I have when dealing with a deep dark treacherous sea.

    They were able to get a house and an Ironclad Will.

    God this game is counter-intuitive.

    --
    They say she's a weapon from behind the stars. They say she's a cunning clockwork simulacrum. They say her virtue's for sale. They say she's kind to spiders. All lies, of course. Except about the spiders.
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    ZeaCat [Banned]
    ZeaCat [Banned]
    Posts: 20

    2/14/2015
    Having broken the game down and looked at the files, there's a reason for this.

    Beyond fuel / supplies / terror, there are no (zero) mechanics that usual rogue-likes use.

    1) Monsters don't scale that much, and they have set spawns. i.e. there is no time based mechanic ingame that ramps up Zealife difficulty. There should be. e.g. hit 6 dawn / London supremacy, Khan spawns dramatically increase. At the moment there is zero (0) ingame reaction to your progress.

    2) All threatening events are entirely optional. There is literally not a damaging event that cannot be avoided. Even the terror / God events are fairly mild.

    3) There are no unusual or specific challenges. By this I mean the rogue-like standard of "Oooops, that was a medusa, and you didn't have a mirror / mirrored shield / visor". Everything ingame boils down to stat checks. Which is kinda sad.

    4) Trade sunlight already.
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    Avian Overlord
    Avian Overlord
    Posts: 62

    2/14/2015
    Oh yes. Yes it most certainly is.

    --
    The Principled Dectective-http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Corvidae
    Open for social actions of all sorts.
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    Gregg Johnson
    Gregg Johnson
    Posts: 263

    2/14/2015
    That's the nature of the unterzee.
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    Impish Axile
    Impish Axile
    Posts: 50

    2/14/2015
    ZeaCat wrote:
    Having broken the game down and looked at the files, there's a reason for this.

    Beyond fuel / supplies / terror, there are no (zero) mechanics that usual rogue-likes use.

    1) Monsters don't scale that much, and they have set spawns. i.e. there is no time based mechanic ingame that ramps up Zealife difficulty. There should be. e.g. hit 6 dawn / London supremacy, Khan spawns dramatically increase. At the moment there is zero (0) ingame reaction to your progress.

    2) All threatening events are entirely optional. There is literally not a damaging event that cannot be avoided. Even the terror / God events are fairly mild.

    3) There are no unusual or specific challenges. By this I mean the rogue-like standard of "Oooops, that was a medusa, and you didn't have a mirror / mirrored shield / visor". Everything ingame boils down to stat checks. Which is kinda sad.

    4) Trade sunlight already.


    Yeah, it's definitely not a 'roguelike' in any conventional sense. Like if you go by just 'has permadeath', 'repeatedly dying to learn more about the game mechanics is an intended (though actually optional) feature', and some degree of randomization, it would be, but imho 'roguelike' is really thrown around way too much. SS is absolutely more focused on story than throwing incredibly myriad different threats at you.

    That said, given that rogue-like games are very much a niche genre, and how 'roguelike' is thrown around for anything with permadeath these days... I'm baffled and fairly impressed if you actually were expecting SS to be much more rogue-like and actually feel misled?

    That said, true roguelikes are easy too if you savescum, are thoroughly spoiled, etc. When the game is much less random and much more 'figure out what options are actually beneficial and which are dangerous, and how to prepare to avoid the dangers', and you're coming in already knowing how everything works, of COURSE it's easy. The difficult parts are when people are very new (and not genre-savvy), don't know what to do or where to start, get indecisive, and slowly die of attrition because they haven't hit on a good strategy. Or they run into mt nomad, don't know how to fight yet, and don't decide to flee quickly enough. Etc.

    I'm not arguing that the game is 'balanced' (no), or that the sunlight trade isn't broken (it absolutely is), or that the game isn't very easy for the spoiled (it is). But depending on map layout, many newer players might not have even SEEN anything about mirrorcatch boxes or sunlight smuggling. It's not rogue-like, but it's actually not a cakewalk for most people, and that's not some sort of personal fault. I'd think you'd be quicker to empathize with people who came in expecting a very different sort of game - considering.
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    Rapiere
    Rapiere
    Posts: 64

    2/14/2015
    Perhaps the Zee should be much (much) more dangerous when you progress from west to east? I mean, bring the monsters in groups!
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    Master Polarimini
    Master Polarimini
    Posts: 310

    2/14/2015
    Anathema wrote:
    I started a new captain, named them The Foolish Moron, and went counter to every single instinct I have when dealing with a deep dark treacherous sea.

    They were able to get a house and an Ironclad Will.

    God this game is counter-intuitive.

    I must say this is a great post smile
    Congratulations!

    (however I should add, counter-intuitive but not illogical)

    The good attitude towards trade in the game is what censor (and others) said, it's an opportunity for a surplus (I don't comment on the already enough-discussed sunlight stuff) but not much more.

    --
    Devices workshop opening soon...

    Follow my story at http://www.fallenlondon.com/Profile/Master~Polarimini
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    FreedomFighter
    FreedomFighter
    Posts: 17

    2/14/2015
    But ain't it is kinda counter-productive when the game and it's creator boast about fascinating story and written but turn out that we need to grind our face against wall until we can read the text behind it?

    Tbh, i really don't mind about trading but it look like it shouldn't be in the game at all. What does it serve for? I don't see it purpose except to be the wall to block player away from what they want.
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    Fretling
    Fretling
    Posts: 529

    2/14/2015
    What does trading have to do with the stories? I have steadfastly ignored trading this entire time and I've had no trouble getting to the stories. It's a thing that some farther-along captains can do if they want, not a thing that every captain needs to do (and certainly not new captains).

    Trading in its current state blocks nothing. If it's a wall, it's a decorative wall in a garden somewhere off by the roadside; if you want to get off and have a gander, that's your prerogative, but nobody's telling you to go out of your way to climb it.
    edited by Fretling on 2/14/2015
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    FreedomFighter
    FreedomFighter
    Posts: 17

    2/14/2015
    Fuel, Supplies, Equipment and Ship ain't free.
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    Fretling
    Fretling
    Posts: 529

    2/14/2015
    The point is that trading is not a good way to make money. Your funds come from exploring.
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    Rocket Heeled Jack
    Rocket Heeled Jack
    Posts: 311

    2/14/2015
    Never seen the point of trading in the game, there's never been a point where you can buy something in sufficient quantities (Barring sunlight) to make shuttling back and forth with goods worthwhile, I'm also with Fretling on the idea that it's not about trading. This isn't Elite on the water, with an infinite ocean of goods out there to be traded on, it's small items being traded for large rewards, the closest thing to a trading post would be the merchant venturer and his needs, and I've said before that having something like this as a permanent option within the various major ports (London, Khanate, Port Carnelian and so on) that each wanted particular goods to be brought from other locations, would be an easy way to work the journeys around the map, but this would also make the initial stages of the game significantly easier, and that might not be the intention for the game, after all, if you can get through the game with the first captain and call it even, where's the fun in the next game?

    --
    http://fallenlondon.storynexus.com/Profile/Rocket~Heeled~Jack
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    FreedomFighter
    FreedomFighter
    Posts: 17

    2/14/2015
    Fretling wrote:
    The point is that trading is not a good way to make money. Your funds come from exploring.

    Then why did it exist? It shouldn't be in the game in first place then if you said that.
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