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Trading commodities is one of the many ways for an independent captain to earn credits. This involves purchasing a commodity in bulk at a low or medium price on one planet, and selling at a higher price on another. Traders generally employ vessels with large cargo capacities called freighters to maximize profits on a given run. A common tactic is for the player to use a combat-capable ship as a primary vessel and hire or capture escort freighters to do most of the hauling. This allows the player to better protect the relatively defenseless freighters from attacks by Pirates or other hostile forces.

Some special commodities (also called junks) can yield a large profit, but the reason they are so profitable is because most of them are considered contraband in Federation and Auroran space.

KEEP IN MIND: You may be able to Alt-click on the "Buy" or "Sell" button (or click alt-b or alt-s) to save vast amounts of time rather than clicking repeatedly (or holding in b or s).

Trade Routes

These are a few of the short, profitable runs used by veteran pilots:

This is a slightly modified version of the trade route the tutorial teaches you.*

Bio-Weapons are the most profitable, but need at least 6 jumps or a hypergate to be traded.**

An insanely profitable route that can get you millions of credits in minutes with a hired Polaris Cambrian escort. Start with hired Polaris Sprites if you only have little money.***

For anyone with more time commitment than I, feel free to make pretty my short guide:

-As you see above there are some very nice trade routes, however, not to cut short the value of the below guide, if you're into sheer moneymaking in the quickest time possible, here's what you do.

-Start of game, go to earth.

-Buy as many cargo droid escorts as possible. Go to europa, buy as many luxury goods as you can

-Go back to sol, sell them, repeat.

-When you feel like you have some extra cash, grab an afterburner, and use librally.

-The moment you have enough to get a terrapin (the one that's for hire for 11000) get it. Yes it's the crappy one, but you're just staying within the same system so endurance doesn't really matter.

-Do the above process that you did with the droids, but filling out your escort with cheap terrapins as you can.

-Farm up to about 2 million (I normally go up to 3 M just to have a safety cusion) (this takes about 10-20 minutes or so, from game start) and then release your escorts and grab the viper.

(If you get bored or sick of clicking so many times you can increase your profit per trip by doing a 2-jump trip to Xyon in Enligthenment and back with the same goods.)

-Stick an afterburner and battery pack on it, and fly to Kel'Ariy.----- different person=When i tired this i jumped into polaris space and got killed. Apparently i was an offender for i know not what reason.

-Hire an escort cambrian

-Fly to veravo, and buy exotic bio somethings there, as much as you can. (but make sure you ALWAYS have enough left to pay for your escort a few times over, so that you don't loose it + your goods. This happened to me once, and is why I always have a 1 M safety cusion when I go to polaris now.)

-Fly to verikar, sell the exoticthings, buy equiptment, and fly back to veravo, sell, repeat.

-Whenever you have enough to hire and fill another cambrian safely, stop by Kelariy and grab one. (as a note, selling your equiptment here during these runs is preferred, but not profitable if you're not also using the stop for hiring.)

-Fill out your escort with cambrians and repeat, I was able to gain in excess of 100M from game start in about 45 minutes.

-Hope this helps, especially for anyone who is looking to create a "jumping off" account (one from which to try mission strings, but not have to earn base funding/work their way up.), GLHF.

A Few Other Ways to Earn Cash

1. Fuel refills (2,000 credits)

Sometimes, a civilian Valkyrie will hail you and ask for assistance. If you hail it back, you get an option to give it one jump's worth of fuel for 2,000 credits. Just move close to the Valkyrie and try to board it, and you'll automatically get the money.

The money is small, but it's actually not a bad thing to do early on, because it requires so little time. You get much more out of it than the amount of fuel and effort that you spend. So, consider this a little bonus.

2. Gambling (4,000 credits)

Since the odds of winning seem to be low, gambling is very unreliable, and you should probably never do it. Just like in real life.

3. Passengers (5,000 credits)

Passengers are the easiest type of delivery to make, because they take up almost no cargo space. However, the reward is also small. Early on, you only get 5,000 credits for each group of passengers that you transport, which really isn't worth the time to ferry them to their destination.

In the Vell-os and Polaris campaigns, you can get passenger missions that pay a little more (around 15,000 credits), but that money is useless to the Vell-os, and nowhere near enough for the Polaris, so even then, it's not really worth bothering yourself. Basically, you should only take a passenger mission if you see a better-paying mission to the same system on the same Mission BBS.


4. Regular deliveries (10,000 - 20,000 credits)

Very early on, regular deliveries are probably the best way to make money. You can reliably get 10,000 credits, and you only need to make one trip, unlike the shipping missions. If you have the cargo space, regular deliveries will probably be the most efficient way to make money after asteroid mining in the early game.

5. Small bounties (22,500 credits)

As soon as you start building up your combat rating, you can get the intro mission for the Bounty Hunters' Guild side quest. After that mission, you'll be able to see small bounties on Federation Mission BBSes. Each bounty gets you 22,500 credits.

Small bounties are a great way to make money, if you know how to do them right. If you pick up a bounty in a certain system, the ship that you have to destroy will not appear in that system, but rather, in one of the adjacent systems. This means that you should never pick up a bounty in systems like Nesre Primus, Kerella or Tichel, all of which have many adjoining systems. Instead, go to a system with only one neighbour, like Wolf 359 or Rimshot. Then, the target ship is guaranteed to appear in the lone neighbouring system (in this case, Sol or Lalande).

To make it even easier, you can choose your location such that the neighbouring system has a big Federation defense fleet. Wolf 359 is good for this, since it's right next to Sol. Pick up all the bounties that are listed, then fly to Sol and watch the defense fleet waste the pirates, then collect all the money.

6. Escort services / special deliveries (30,000 credits)

If you build up your combat rating a little, sometimes freighters will hail you and ask you to escort them to a certain system. The pay is better than for a delivery, and it doesn't use up any space. You will get chased by a couple of pirates if you accept the offer. However, when you enter a system, there will be some delay before the pirates jump in after you, so you can use that time to fly to the destination and land before they get close enough to fire. Or you can just blow them up, it's not hard by that point.

Sometimes, a freighter will also ask you to complete a cargo delivery. This is like the escort mission, but without the pirates. Overall, a nice little bonus, but sadly it appears randomly.

7. Equipment delivery (30,000 credits)

This is like a regular delivery with a slightly higher payoff. To get access to these missions, you have to complete the first missions in the Sigma, GLi-Tech, and terraforming side quests. The missions only require 10 tons of cargo space, but the pay is really not that much, so by the time you get access to them, you'll already need much more money than you can get this way. Avoid.

8. United Shipping regular deliveries (10,000 - 50,000 credits)

You should definitely do the United Shipping intro mission when you get a chance (it appears at random on Federation planets), because it opens up the door to high-paying missions down the road. However, the regular deliveries that you get access to early on are not the best option, because you need to make two trips for a single mission. On the plus side, these missions require very little cargo space, so you may not have many other options if your ship is small.

Basically, ignore any United Shipping mission where the pay is less than 25,000 credits. Sometimes, relatively rarely, you can see a regular United Shipping delivery for 50,000 credits. Usually, this happens when there are many United Shipping missions listed on a single BBS; just look at the ones toward the end of the list.

Eventually, you can get a mission to help United Shipping expand its business into the Auroran Empire. After doing this, you'll be able to do regular deliveries inside the Empire, but they won't pay any more than they do inside the Federation. However, you should still do the intro mission at least, since that opens up the door to United Shipping Long Deliveries, which are a whole different story (and discussed separately, further down).

9. Special missions (about 50,000 credits each)

While you're flying around Federation space, you'll probably get the opportunity to do the space probe, band escort, and Sigma missions. Each one gets you about 50,000 credits, give or take. This is a good way to replenish your money supply, but unfortunately, all of these missions are one-time deals.

10. Rush deliveries / urgent deliveries (30,000 - 60,000 credits)

These are like the regular deliveries, but with a time limit. The urgent deliveries have a tighter limit than the rush deliveries, but they pay more. Unfortunately, by the time you start to see these, the rewards won't really be enough to warrant the trouble.

The 60,000 rewards are still good enough to spend the time, if the destination is reasonably close. However, they tend to require a lot of cargo space. Some urgent deliveries require less than 10 tons of space, but they only pay 40,000 credits, which is probably not worth the effort.

11. Rescue operations (75,000 credits, but see last paragraph)

Sometimes, you will see derelict ships, which your mini-map shows as gray dots. If you highlight them, you will see the label, "Drifting Derelict." If you board these ships, sometimes you will get an offer to ferry the crew to a certain system for 75,000 credits. Basically, this is a really high-paying passenger mission, and it is possibly the best way to make money in the early- to-mid game. (Asteroid mining has a higher payoff, but is very boring.)

There's no way to predict where the derelicts will be. I seem to run into them most often in systems that are close to Sol. Nesre Primus, Arcturus, and Tichel tend to have many derelicts. Something like Lalande or South Manchester is too far off. Sometimes the empty systems between Koria and Federation space will also have derelicts.

Unfortunately, sometimes, instead of the monetary offer, you will get attacked by pirates. If this happens, just run back to the spaceport or jump out of the system, whichever is more convenient. The pirates will not reappear when you come back.

If the derelict is a shuttle (heavy or normal), it is almost always a pirate trap. 'Fancier' ships, like star liners or argosies, are a much safer bet.

By the way, if there is a pirate ship in the same system with you, it can board the derelict before you, thus depriving you of the rescue mission. So, you might want to take out any pirates that may be close before you board the derelict. Association ships likewise.

There is a bug with rescue missions that happens when you already have an uncompleted rescue mission active and rescue another derelict ship. Instead of the rescue mission, you will get the normal boarding dialog as if you had disabled the ship yourself (assuming it's not a pirate trap). This can be extremely profitable with derelict leviathans, as they carry millions of credits and there are no legal ramifications for boarding a derelict ship. It takes patience to find your second derelict, especially a valuable one, but since you don't even need to disable the ship yourself you can do this in your starting shuttle.

12. Transporting colonists (75,000 credits)

If you complete the terraforming side quest, you'll be able to access these missions. You can pick up colonists on any Federation planet. The destination will always be the new Nirvana planet in Procyon, so you can pick up a few batches of colonists before moving them all to the same place. The pay is quite good. The only problem is that, if you do complete the terraforming quest, it'll probably be fairly late in the game, by which time 75,000 credits is no longer sufficient. This is, however, the third best way to make money that can be found on a Mission BBS.

13. Medium bounties / large bounties (45,000 - 135,000 credits)

As you advance the Bounty Hunters' Guild quest (this involves expanding the Guild's operations inside Auroran and Polaris territory), you get access to the medium and large bounties. The medium bounties work exactly like the small ones, only the target ships are more powerful, and you have to disable them rather than destroy them. This automatically makes them useless, because you won't be able to use the local defense fleets to get the bounty for you. In fact, the defense fleets will make things more difficult, because they'll usually destroy the target ship after you disable it, thus failing the mission for you.

However, the large bounties again require you to destroy the target ship. This time, you are told which system the target ship is hiding in. Usually, it's a Manticore or Pirate Carrier. Of course, you need a powerful ship of your own if you want to do the work yourself, or you can easily use the local defense fleets to do it for you. Large bounties are one of the easiest ways to make a lot of money late-game.

14. Asteroid mining (150,000 credits)

I always end the early game by buying an Asteroid Miner and doing enough mining to buy a Mod Starbridge. That changes the game completely, and makes it much more fun, but getting to that part is tedious. You can make a lot of money by mining, but even if you know what to do, it's really boring.

Basically, you need to mine opals, which can be found, for example, in the Fomalhaut system. You need to have some Mining Lasers and the Asteroid Scoop to do this; the Asteroid Miner comes with all the necessary equipment. Just fly around until you see a dark asteroid with some gold colouring, like gold splotches on the gray surface. Then shoot this asteroid until it falls apart into little round rocks, then fly into the rocks to collect them. Repeat until your cargo space is filled up. Then fly to the Lotus system and sell all the opals you've mined, then go back to Fomalhaut and repeat. The Asteroid Miner has 100 tons of cargo space, and you can get about 150,000 credits for 100 tons of opals. You can also sell opals on Gem in Fomalhaut, but there the price is lower, so you'll only get about 100,000 credits.

This is a very easy way to make money. Unfortunately, the Asteroid Miner is a very slow and unwieldy ship. It takes time to find the right asteroids, and even when you blow them up, it's difficult to move the stupid ship in order to collect the opals. You may need to do some mining in order to get a nice combat ship, but it's not really something that you'll want to return to. Sure, you can put Mining Lasers and an Asteroid Scoop on some other ship, but if you have a better ship, you probably won't want to come back to asteroid mining in the first place.

15. United Shipping Long Deliveries (100,000 - 500,000 credits)

After you've expanded United Shipping operations inside the Auroran Empire, you can get the opportunity to do long deliveries. This involves picking up some cargo inside the Federation (or inside the Empire), and transporting it to a destination inside the Empire (or the Federation). As you can see, this type of mission requires much more traveling than regular United Shipping deliveries. To make matters worse, you have a fairly strict time limit.

It's usually not worth doing these, but there is one exception. Sometimes, you can come across a long delivery worth 500,000 credits. It will also have a strict time limit, plus you will forfeit the mission if you get scanned by any Auroran ships (it's a smuggling mission, basically). But the payoff is the highest you can get for any mission on the BBS. I recommend taking these high-paying missions, but doing the Sigma side quest beforehand so you have access to the Hypergates. This will help you make the deadlines.

16. Piracy (300,000 - 800,000 credits)

Of course, one really good way to make money is to steal it from others. But you can't make a lot of money by pirating helpless traders. You need to rob large capital ships. Of course, a Federation Carrier is carrying huge amounts of money, but it takes some work to bring down, and what's worse, doing so will ruin your legal status in Federation space.

So, if you want to be a pirate without becoming a wanted criminal, the only solution is to pirate other pirates. I recommend hanging out in Scheall or in one of the adjacent systems, and waiting for a Manticore or a Pirate Carrier to show up. If you can disable and board them, you can make off with a lot of money. If you're doing the Polaris campaign, this is the way to go, because you can completely wreck Manticores and Carriers with just a little Zephyr. This will also build up your combat rating.

Another option is to find one of the hero ships (a ship with a name, e.g. "Paul Pentecost") and attack it. Robbing a hero ship can get you millions of credits, much more than robbing regular pirates. But hero ships are very tough, plus you'll ruin your endgame by destroying them. There's also a second pirate system (Houseless in Auroran space), but those guys don't really have much money, so, Manticores and Pirate carriers from Scheall are your best bet.

17. Selling stuff you don't need (up to 1,000,000+ credits)

It sounds like a no-brainer. If you buy a new ship, and it comes with a bunch of extra outfits that you don't really need, you should sell them to make some easy cash. For example, you can sell off those worthless Radar Missiles and Radar Missile Launchers that every ship seems to come with. That's easy.

But sometimes, you might not know that you can save a lot of money by selling something and buying something more efficient. For example, in the Polaris campaign, the Scarab battleship comes with an Anti-Matter Reactor, which restores your fuel at a fast rate. Well, you can sell off the reactor for 2.5 million credits, then buy four Solar Panels for 60,000 credits and achieve exactly the same effect. Not bad, huh?

18. High-volume trading (1,000,000 - 7,000,000+ credits)

High-volume trading is considered by some to be the best way of raking in the credits by the millions within a short amount of time. The basic concept of high-volume trading is to hire a fleet of freighters, thereby increasing the amount of cargo you can carry around, and flying back and forth between systems trading items. For instance, you can buy opals on Gem in Fomalhaut and sell them on Serenity in Lotus, or you can buy lizard pelts on Vrenna in Outbound and sell them on Water Moon in Wittor. With a fleet of Cambrian freighters and a high-paying trade route, it is entirely possible to reap a profit of over 7,000,000 credits per run.

The only downside to this method is the risk of having your cargo destroyed by pirates or your enemies, and the need to pay each of your escorting freighters in order to employ them. Larger freighters tend to demand higher salaries, so stick to smaller, lighter freighters until you are certain you can foot the bill for a new Cambrian escort.

19. Planetary domination (daily income)

To dominate a planet, you need to achieve a combat rating of at least "Deadly." Anything less won't work. Then, go to any inhabited system, hail that planet the way you usually do when bribing the spaceport to let you land, and instead of offering a bribe, demand tribute. They will send out a defense fleet of about 120 ships. They'll come at you six at a time, and you need to destroy them all. After that, hail the planet and demand tribute again, and you'll dominate it.

It takes about an hour of fighting to dominate a planet, and it's really quite a tedious process. What's worse, if you dominate a planet under a certain government (say, a Federation planet), then you will become a wanted criminal in every planet with the same government. So, you pretty much have to conquer the entire Federation if you want to dominate any Federation planets. Of course, it's easier if you dominate Vrenna in Outbound, Harbor in Scheall, or Houseless in Kipa, since they aren't affiliated with any other planets. But even then, the fighting isn't really that fun.

The reason to do this is mostly for extra challenge, but if you succeed in dominating a planet, then you will get a daily income. For example, if you dominate Vrenna in Outbound, you will get 2,500 credits per day after that. Of course, the more planets you dominate, the more money you make. But if you can really dominate the whole galaxy, you probably don't really need any more money...

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