Originally posted by NMAL72

So you want to try out the economy? Where to begin? There are many different approaches and specialties to the crafting system. There is no blueprint for how to be successful. The measure of success in this game is a personal evaluation, rather than a “score”. If you enjoy playing the game then you are ‘succeeding’. The purpose of this article is not to outline a roadmap to riches; it is about getting enjoyment out of the crafting system. I don’t want to dictate a method or set a standard. My goal is mainly to help you avoid potential pitfalls and point out common mistakes that people make when they first take a stab at the economy. If I can help you eliminate potential frustration, then I’ve done my job. Success / profit will be up to you. With that in mind, here we go:

The Tutorial

The economy tutorial is easily the longest tutorial in the game, and with good reason. It teaches you the basic steps of building a structure, harvesting raw materials out of those structures, and even sends you on a short, delivery mission with the materials you have harvested.

Your starting position

The game is fairly good about where it allows you to build your first warehouse. Normally it is in an area with an ample variety of resources, which gives you plenty of options for starting a profitable, economic setup. Keep in mind that you don’t have to stay there once you are done the tutorial. You are learning techniques and concepts. The warehouse functions as little more than a learning tool. It has no bearing on storyline or future missions.

Getting there isn’t always half the fun

Beware of the red circles on your global map. Hit the ‘M’ button or the globe icon on your bottom, right-hand icon bar. Avoid these zones at all costs. If your starter port is under attack, or your delivery mission takes you directly into a red circle, it’s probably a good idea to leave that tutorial alone and concentrate on other missions. These zones leave you open to attack from rival players and quite often you are ill-prepared to defend yourself at your current level.

Common wood and gravel are fine….to a point:

The starter structures the tutorial sets you up with are too basic to give you any real value. They are simply nothing more than a mechanism to practice harvesting raw materials, demonstrating how the labor builds up in a structure over time, and how to keep the structure going through a weekly upkeep cost. Once you are clear with these principles it’s time to tear them down. Don’t harvest 5000 units of common wood and gravel.

In short the tutorial lets you become familiar with operating a structure, and transporting goods on the open sea. It equips you with a free warehouse, and helps you establish a meager base of operations for your economic enterprise. The mistakes you want to avoid during the tutorial are to stay out of the red zones and not to produce too much raw material out of your starting structures.

Location Location Location

It sounds strange to talk about location before you talk about what you want to produce. There are several questions you should ask yourself about the server in general, as this will affect which locations are actually viable for you to start a business.

Who's the alpha team?

Is there one faction that is head and shoulders amoung the rest? Who's the warmongers? These baddies will be the biggest threat to your business. If they conquer your port, your tax rate could shoot through the roof and effectively close you down. If this is the case, do your best to aquire solid information about their attack history. Do they always seek to aquire a particular port?

Example: You need Limestone and Iron Ore to make Iron ingots (a very valuable commodity). If you're the British, Limestone is available in Bartica, but the nearest resource for Iron Ore under British Control is Spanish Town, which is a fair distance away. However, just next door lies Port of Spain with it's own source of Iron Ore. The only issue is it's controlled by the Spanish. That makes Port of Spain a popular choice of the British Nation to attack right off the bat to simplify their iron production. If you're a Spanish player looking to jump into the iron business, it may not be a good idea to start your business in Port of Spain.

How cutthroat is your server?

What riles up a server community is to see a 'newbie' area under attack. The established players try to adhere to an 'honor code' which prohibits attack in areas where new players are going through their starter missions and tutorials. Every so often, one of these areas falls under attack and retribution soon follows. Pretty soon no place is safe. Before you decide to establish your business in one of these 'safe havens', make sure it really lives up to it's name before you do.

Where are the economic centers?

Every server has different ports they consider to be economic hubs. This is where you will find not only the widest variety of goods, but the largest quantities of goods as well. Identify these areas for reference. It's good to know where the goods are.

Gathering this knowledge in advance will help you make a more educated decision about what production line(s) to pursure and where to set up your enterprise.

What To Make?

Every kid growing up wants to be an astronaut. Every new player in POTBS wants to be a shipbuilder. When I first started out in the economy I knew I wanted to be one as well, but I didn't start out that way. I had 10 structures, limited income, and hardly and capital. I was a new player. I had forks and knives being passed off as 'cannon ammuniton' for goodness sakes. I had many things to consider when I took my initial stab into my business career. Some things you might want to think about when deciding on your first production line:

How much time do I have?

How much time can you devote to this game? The economic portion of this game can be deceptively time consuming. Figure out if you want to spend the majority of time hauling goods from point A to point B or doing missions instead.

Potential expenses:

While learning the game, you may sink a few times. You can go the cheap route and simply use the fallback ship you're given, and not have to worry about ship costs. You may be the player who needs the best ship available to your current level every 4-6 levels or so. Your dockyards may be full of ships, but your pocketbook could be very light as a result.

How many doubloons can you aquire weekly?

If you are going to look at one of the more expensive production lines (metals for example) you will need a large amount of capital until you can make that money back when you sell the goods. A good rule of thumb is to have enough doubloons to keep all of your structures running non-stop for three weeks. For something like hemp canvas, it doesn't cost much at all. For a full iron ingot line, it's 201,000 every week to maintain.

How patient are you?

Patience will always be your greatest asset. Rushing into something tends to be very expensive in this game. If you have your eye on a complex or expensive production line make sure you do your homework beforehand. Plan out your warehouse locations, structure locations and exactly what types of ships you will need to transport goods and materials around in as few trips as possible.

What you're looking to accomplish is to set goals for yourself, and devote resources to that goal in the form of playing time and material wealth. Once you're ready, it's time to plan the details…


You have done your research, decided on what business you want to start. You're all set and ready to build your structures. Just a simple matter of buying the deeds, getting the materials and plopping down the buildings. Right? But how many?

If you're just starting out you probably have very limited capital. Even if you're sitting comfortably on a modest pile of doubloons, one mistake in a mission or on the open sea and you may find yourself broke after an unexpected ship purchase. Getting your goods to sell on the market quickly is imperative at this stage. You cannot afford to have materials sitting in your warehouse, generating no income for you. One way to avoid this is to be efficient in your production.

Know your production chain.

Let's take iron for example:

You know you need limestone. You know you need iron ore. You know you need a forge to smelt the two into ingot form. But to do it properly you need:

2 limestone quarries, producing 60 units of limestone a day (10 every 4 hours) for a total of 120 units of limestone.

1 iron mine, producing 240 units of iron ore a day (10 every hour).

2 forges, producing 60 iron ingots a day (smelting 20 units of iron ore / 10 units of limestone every 4 hours) for a total of 120 iron ingots.

This setup, using 5 structures produces a manufactued good (iron ingots) with no leftover raw materials (limestone or iron ore).

If your end goal is iron ingots, then building your structures in this proportion is key. For small groups of people, who have the luxury of more than 10 building slots this becomes even more important as their production lines can become complex.

Let's look at rum briefly.
8 sugar plantations
2 sugar refineries
5 rum distilleries
1 oak logging camp
1 carpenter
1 iron mine
2 limestone quarries
2 forges

That's a lot of structures and it does leave you with some leftover oak and iron, but the refineries use all the sugarcane from the plantations, the distilleries use all the molasses produced, and all the oak barrels crafted by the carpenter.

Exceptions to the rule

The economy is ever changing. Patch changes, server merges can throw an economy into temporary chaos. You may find, that the raw material components such as iron ore and limestone have a higher markup value than the completed product (iron ingots). Limestone at one time on Roberts had a selling price of 40 (when it costs between 6-8 doubloons to manufacture). Sometimes, you can overproduce a raw material and end up making a fortune. Efficiency is nice, but part of the game is identifying the profitable markets. If limestone is selling at that price and in huge quantities, it may just pay to enter the limestone business and forget about iron entirely.

Don't overextend

Some production lines are just too complex to be handled efficiently by 10 structure slots. Sure, you can be a provisioner with 10 slots, but too often you will either have to shut down some of your structures because the goods they produce are not needed, or you have a glut of a resource that isn't in demmand on the auction house. Don't accumulate materials you can't sell until you've become established where you can afford to hang on to them until their value becomes noteworthy.

Freetrader Econ Bonuses

I've been very careful not to mention the free trader class too often when discussing economy. I've done that on purpose. This game was designed so that any class can excel at a given role, and that no class has exclusive rights or major advantages over the others. Naval Officers and Privateers can do quite well at the economy, much like a Freetrader can (and does) do well at PvP. Even if you are a NO or Priv and are reading this, it bears learning about the econ advantages of the freetrader and whether or not it would pay to make an alt just for econ purposes.

Advanced Structures and recipes

Many people are often confused with the purpose and benefits of the advanced structures. All they see is the 6,000 - 10,000 doubloon price tag and say 'no way'. Yes. They are expensive initially to build, but is it worth it. Depends on a lot of factors.

There are also the advanced recipes that actually STACK with the advanced structure for an even greater advantage. You obtain these recipes by going to the Company Office in your Nation's capitol. See one of the clerks sitting behind the desk and you can purchase 3 books which give you the entire line of recipes.

What does this mean in terms of production? What do you gain?

Under normal circumstances, if you're smelting iron for example:

10 structures (2 iron mine, 4 limestone, 4 forges) = 240 ingots per day.

An advanced iron mine produce more iron ore per day, and advanced forge will not only smelt iron in less time, but will use the advanced recipe which will further reduce the smelting time.

In the end, the structure setup stays at 10 buildings but now, the breakdown becomes (2 advanced iron mines, 5 limestone quarries, 3 advanced forges) and the total becomes 300 iron ingots per day. You are gaining 60 ingots per day or 420 ingots per week. That's almost 2 extra days output in one week.

Look at it another way. If you have a huge construction project on your hands, say you're building something that needs 10 line ship bundles (a 2nd Rate) you will need 1400 iron ship fittings or 2800 iron ingots to complete that part of the project. Producing 240 ingots a day will take you almost 12 days to produce that much. The advanced structures will get you there in a little more than 9 days.

With the discovery of these grinding missions, players are finding that the easiest way to make money is by grinding rather than through the economy. The limiting factor now isn't doubloons, its labor. The person who has the most labor will be able to effectively meet the demands of these doubloon-rich grinders better than anyone, because you will be able to produce more in less time. It's not cheaper, just more effective and just as valuable.

The Smuggling Chain

We don't like getting caught and sunk in the red. It's expensive, it's frustrating. It's bad for business. If you are going to haul goods in an area that's always in the red (the lower Antilles for example) then this skill tree is a life-saver. Get the whole chain if the skill points permit it. Misdirection and 'Give Them the Slip' will help you avoid getting tagged in the red. 'Running Dark' will make it hard for the enemy to spot you in the first place.

Cargo ships

Nobody can even touch us in this area. The San Mateo Trader's Galleon can hold 2400 tons of cargo. The best option for a Naval Officer is the Defiant Stripped, which holds a little over 500.

The Trade Skill Line

Most people know about our ability to see every auction house on the map, the ability to talk in the trade channel, and the ability to avoid high taxes in foreign ports; but the last point bears further discussion.

What matters is the recipe cost when you're talking about tax evasion. I'll use iron again as an example.
The cost to mine 10 ore with a 5% tax rate is 252 (240 for the recipe + 12 for the 5% tax rate).
The smelting process costs 630 (600 for the recipe + 30 for the 5% tax rate).
But harvesting limestone only costs 63 (60 for the recipe + 3 for the 5% tax rate).

Now if the port flipped and the tax rate went to 30%, the higher recipes will be affected far greater than the cheap ones.
252 becomes 312, 630 becomes 780, but….63 becomes 78.

Instead of it costing 1197 to make 10 ingots it's now going for 1482 or from 120 an ingot to 148.

The point is it gets expensive, but not EVERY part of the build process is. Limestone is a very minor component. If you had your iron mines and forges in your home port, and had limestone in a rival port, how much difference would you see with a 30% tax rate? Just 15 extra doubloons for every iron ingot you produced. Or 121.5 instead of 120. The lesser tax rate gives us more options when we're picking where to place our structures. We can easily save shipping time by picking a port, ANY port with the resource we want in close proximity to where we need it delivered to. This is the actual benefit of the tax evasion skill.

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