Pirates ahoy

My fleet is now 63 ships; mostly freighters. My Mk3 traders have been getting good and I had reached 4Mcr again. Time for some more building, but as I’d discover… the X3:TC universe is anything but at rest…

So I hired an argo lifter from Argon prime, another from Omicron Lyrae, a Paranid lifter from somewhere down south and had them begin hauling a whole bunch of factory complex to my base in Antigone Memorial. Then I spent several hours yesterday, while waiting for the haulers to arrive, mapping new sectors and scoring some new ships (I wish I’d kept the Xenon M and L that surrendered to me instead of selling them).

I also finished the “Exterminator” mission – if you listen to what he says, it’s actually quite easy, just don’t get stupid :)

My lifters nearing home base, I started the voyage back from Terran space. Enroute, the Duke’s pirate ships seemed scared of me, bringing me up to my 63 ship fleet. I reached home base and ran into my first construction problem – my existing complex (ore mine and laser tower factory) were set up too far away from my target silicon mine. DOH!

It took a while and some lateral thinking but in the end it was fairly obvious and now I have a sprawling factory complex. I set 10 ships off with the task of supplying it with Energy Cells, and I set a whole bunch more ships off buying the other bootstrap materials and selling off my excess meatsteak cahoonas, majaglit, ore and silicon.

My Mk3s and my ore mine and my police licenses had meant I was already back to 5Mcr. Probably a good time to dock and save.

That’s when the pirate caravel jumped in and whacked me. (As I thought “dock and save”, not as I docked with my station; I’d been sitting idling at -10ms for about an hour and had drifted quite a long way from it)

I got everything set up again, with some saves this time. When the Caravel jumped in, I had a dozen varied fighters (ragtag fleet, anyone?) marked as wingmen and ready to aid me. Several fails later, I had the hang of my missiles and I had my wingmen in a couple of “wing”s with a good missile firing probability.

Now, I probably need to learn about boarding and marines because I don’t think capital ships surrender, I think they have to be captured. But the caravel made an awesome explosion (well, the second time it was awesome, and in between that it jumped out before I could destroy it)

Unfortunately, my win was sullied by the fact that the pirates had wrecked some of the infrastructure of my complex (one can destroy the connecting tunnels). It dawned on me that I was wasting my factory here – I am churning out laser towers here, duh, so I grabbed a bunch and deployed them before the final conflict with the pirates. Also, one of my captured ships had a bunch of mines which I deployed.

With my sector mined and lasered, the pirates found me less than toothless this time. I got lucky with my first missile … a huge-yield proximity detonation that took out 3 of the fighters the caravelle was dispatching right as they took flight, but only took a small chunk out of it’s shields. That set us in good stead tho, the laser towers immediately began firing on it so that the shields weren’t regenerating at any time, allowing my fighters and missles to be far more effective.

With so many targets, enemy fire was spread out all over the place and I didn’t lose any ships – and a couple of pirate ships even surrendered (too slowly, alas, so they were generally destroyed by shots fired before the pilot could finish his eject).

Peace in Antigone, at last, I tasked all of my fleet with various supply tasks. Already money was starting to come in, so I ordered a new Demeter Superfreighter from the Paranids. Getting its cargo capacity to max and fitting it out with all the niceties brought me back down to 1.5M credits, and it looked like I might bankrupt myself again in short order.

Thinking it might be best to reorganize my fleet, I gave the station an order to report incoming ships. I got a long list of ships wanting majaglit, navagation satellites, meatsteak cahoonas, silicon and ore. With a veritable wave of friendly ships heading my way to pick up supplies, I tweaked my prices and began retasking my ships. Once the Demeter arrives and ensures I have a more than adequate supply of energy cells, I will be able to retask more ships from EC purcahsing to selling my staples. It doesn’t look like I’ll have to worry about argnu beef for the next month with all the ships trying to bring me supplies of cattle, but I think, as soon as I am back up to 2MCr I will add a cattle ranch and a wheat farm to the complex.

After that, I need to get some more Caiman’s running Mk3 auto traders.

What I need to complete the complex is a crystal fab and perhaps a solar power plant or two. I doubt I could afford the XL one (19Mcr) but I can probably get a Medium SP and CF in the next few game days. I’d really like to get myself a weapon or shield factory… But I need to get the current complex running itself so that I can quit tasking all my small fighters with short, fast, feeder runs.

Once I have my loop running itself, then it’s time to start thinking about getting me my first capital fleet and settling a score with the Yani. Or maybe I’ll take a crack at Xenon sector 101.


Heh. Keep ’em coming! Great reads :)


Notes to self:

– Hey, dweeb, have the Zephyrus carry a fast scout to Home of Light, pick up a jump drive and then jump down to the Demeter (and, duh, make sure the Zephyrus has a transporter device), it’s going to take over an hour for the Demeter to make its way thru pirate laden sectors otherwise.

– Figure out how to stop buying Majaglit. Especially since you seem to be paying more for it than you are selling it for.

I just bought this game, in part due to your epic tales. I am slowly getting into it, but I can’t seem to figure out how I can send my freighter off and do its thing without calling me every 5 minutes for advice.

I have installed trading kits I & II and the best buy and best sell mods, and I can sorta make it autonomous (1 way). I.e. the ships calls me and says “Oh HI2U!” and I say “Go forth and find best buy of Ore in this sector”, and it does so. It then calls back “What should I do with all this ore?” and I have to punch in “Well, go sell it. D’uh”, and it does so.
If for some reason it can’t sell everything it calls me and says “Oh HI! I could only sell X, and still have 341 in the hold.” And I must again punch in “Well, go sell it!”.

Is there a better way? If I set a manual trade route it can go on indefinetly, but the best buy/sell stuff requires umpteen micromanage steps.

I guess I could invest in the mk3 trading kit, but right now I’m happy when I have 200k in the bank. Have you fitted mk3’s to all your 40+ freighters?

That’s /exactly/ what the Mk3 is for, although they’ve designed in a learning curve for it (i.e. at first it will keep getting stuck, and I think I’ve read that you have to “train” it by doing manual supply runs).

When you get the Mk3, the script isn’t quite as good as it could be, IMHO: there’s a lot of feedback missing until you realize that pressing Shift+M will bring up the message log – if you have closed all the ship messages in your message log, the instead it will bring up the Personal Journal which is where the ships write what scant info they provide to.

This was where, previously, I had started getting into scripting X3 myself.

One thing you can do is the manual trade run which has an option to repeat a run over and again. If you aren’t replete with cash and goods, and your ships have small cargo bays, this can actually pay off — finding a good solar power plant and consumer you can make a fair amount of money without too much oversight: the advantage of delivering small regular numbers of units is that the prices don’t change too fast.

Also – make sure you keep checking the bottoms of sector lists for abandoned cargo/missiles – you can sell ANY missile on your ship at a Military Outpost and some other stations. Some of them for staggering prices — imagine my shock at finding I had picked up 3 beluga missiles and that they would sell for 80k E A C H !

Also, as soon as you can get Police Licenses (from trading stations) they are a good investment if you are shooting baddies — you only get reward money for kills if you have the license.

Oh – one piece of feedback I think could be better done is with the Universe Trader — until you get your Mk3 pilots up to level 10 or 11, it doesn’t do anything. Find a good sector with energy cells and ore and train them there. I used a scout ship to train my Mk3s but found they went into stand by a lot when the prices weren’t so great and had to be manually prodded.

Basically, I think it’s all designed to keep you busy until you have built up plenty of other things to keep you going. I’ve made a bunch of my money by leaving the game running un-attended and hoping that none of my ships get’s whacked. The ore mine has been my main source of income, followed very closely by collected missile sales and my Mk3s will only just soon be taking over (since they cost 500k a pop and the ships have only recently finished paying off their setup costs).

That’s the thing with a Mk3, its a huge investment (note: the Mk3 pilots will eventually start auto-upgrading themselves so you don’t have to make them cost 1Mil+ setup).

But getting an ore mine up also means grabbing a Mineral Scanner and spending a bunch of (tedious) time scanning sectors unless you head over to the forums at http://www.egosoft.com and look thru the scripting/modding forum and find yourself the “Asteroid Scanning” upgrade to download (which basically adds a new Ship Extension for you to buy which adds an option to send a ship to go explore/scan a sector).

Oh! And I have a ship fitted with an ore collector, mobile drilling system and a bunch of cargo space that has been mining minerals and selling them, but I have /no/ idea of whether it has been profitable. It’s probably gathered and sold about 3-4k units of ore and 1-2k units of silicon, so it has probably at least paid for itself. The ship cost me 100KCr (it was a second hand ship passing me in a sector with a mission, except it wasn’t a mission, the pilot was offering his 60% hull ship for sale, and I spent 20 minutes zapping it with my repair laser to fix it), mobile drilling 50k, cargo space expansion maybe 150k, mineral scanner 20k, ore collector 30k… But its incredibly slow and every now and again wanders into pirate sectors and gets destroyed and forces me to roll back a few saves.

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