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GreatBob

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Jubilee is stocked with rum and balls.
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[Feb 15, 2013 2:27:40 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Jeriannah

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So, apparently there has been some discussion of making the world round:

http://forums.puzzlepirates.com/community/mvnforum/viewthread?thread=13943

Not much going on there, not many posts, and it's fairly old. But it might be something someone should revive, in the interests of helping flagging trade routes and the like.
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Anothersneak & Sneakysalt on Cerulean
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[Feb 16, 2013 11:01:06 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
TexasBeesh

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Hermes Wrote:
 
Q: Is the world round? Can you connect the oceans on both sides?
A: We actually really like this idea, but it would be difficult to implement technically.


Mmm difficult but not impossible! I am sure it was once thought that an Ocean Merge would be difficult and quite impossible.

Samjones was so right!
 
I would suggest to the developers that when the oceans merge the maps wrap around, like a globe. Otherwise the arches at the corners will have less traffic and become dead.

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Seatexan - on the Midnight side of Cerulean
LOW RACK PRICES AT DRESSED TO KILL - NAMATH
Always looking for Pollack Sloops!
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by TexasBeesh at Feb 16, 2013 12:17:02 PM]
[Feb 16, 2013 12:14:44 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
wrs1864b

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I would suggest to the developers that when the oceans merge the maps wrap around, like a globe. Otherwise the arches at the corners will have less traffic and become dead.

The "corners" of the oceans have always been a problem, and merging the oceans actually make it better. The larger the square, the smaller percentage of the square is in the corner/edge. (mathematically, the area = side^2 but the perimeter = 4 * side)

Long ago, I wrote a game that had wrap around universe. The problems it creates are far from impossible to solve, but there are a bunch of gotchas. For example, the concept of "are the ships going toward each other" becomes murky because no matter which direction the ships are going, eventually they will wrap around and become nearer to each other. Likewise, you can't tell the distance between two items in the x-direction by programming "abs(x1-x2)", you have to do a slightly more complicated calculation.

This kind of extra work isn't too bad to add when you are developing the program, you just call subroutines to calculate distances and such, and while you are coding, you remember to deal with the problems of having multiple distances between any two points. You would know to create the "view the world" code to handle infinite scrolling in all the directions, rather than running into the side.

Going back into old code, however, would be a huge amount or work. Distances can be calculated in many subtly different ways and trying to find all the places you need to call the correct subroutines is easy to mess up.

I really hope OOO doesn't spend the time it would take to make the world wrap around, the payoff would be far too little for the amount of work and new bugs it would create.
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by wrs1864b at Feb 16, 2013 1:00:35 PM]
[Feb 16, 2013 12:54:54 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
TexasBeesh

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Well then there is also the solution to shutting down islands... BUT I know there has been discussion of this as well on Midnight forums...

http://forums.puzzlepirates.com/community/mvnforum/viewthread?thread=170408


I didn't read all of it but Apollo chimed in at the start of it.

I don't know why the devs just can't make the islands uninhabitable (like Waterberry with a bidding market) instead of the messy change hands/blockade ordeal.
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Seatexan - on the Midnight side of Cerulean
LOW RACK PRICES AT DRESSED TO KILL - NAMATH
Always looking for Pollack Sloops!
[Feb 16, 2013 1:12:46 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
GreatBob

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I would suggest to the developers that when the oceans merge the maps wrap around, like a globe. Otherwise the arches at the corners will have less traffic and become dead.

The "corners" of the oceans have always been a problem, and merging the oceans actually make it better. The larger the square, the smaller percentage of the square is in the corner/edge. (mathematically, the area = side^2 but the perimeter = 4 * side)

Long ago, I wrote a game that had wrap around universe. The problems it creates are far from impossible to solve, but there are a bunch of gotchas. For example, the concept of "are the ships going toward each other" becomes murky because no matter which direction the ships are going, eventually they will wrap around and become nearer to each other. Likewise, you can't tell the distance between two items in the x-direction by programming "abs(x1-x2)", you have to do a slightly more complicated calculation.

This kind of extra work isn't too bad to add when you are developing the program, you just call subroutines to calculate distances and such, and while you are coding, you remember to deal with the problems of having multiple distances between any two points. You would know to create the "view the world" code to handle infinite scrolling in all the directions, rather than running into the side.

Going back into old code, however, would be a huge amount or work. Distances can be calculated in many subtly different ways and trying to find all the places you need to call the correct subroutines is easy to mess up.

I really hope OOO doesn't spend the time it would take to make the world wrap around, the payoff would be far too little for the amount of work and new bugs it would create.

Dirty solution: One way portals. Place "islands" (or maybe "navigation outposts", or even just "toll booths") on the left and right extremes of the ocean, whose entry and exit league points were on different sides of the ocean. Obviously there are issues such as loss of speed, puzzle resets, and ships setting these as their "last seen" location and reverting there if abandoned (even worse if these locations could not be whisked to!), though these are hardly a price to pay for such a gain.

If those kind of direct mechanics wouldn't work, perhaps a blockade board could? Enable a never-ending blockade at the desired LP, whose "island side" exit was tied to either a placeholder island or even just the real thing at the far end. We already know that these boards can send a ship to a different location based on which exit they take, so hopefully tying it to a far off island wouldn't be impossible. Populate these boards with sea monsters or other nasties (risk all of your cargo for the short route) as they're off the beaten path and you've got a task whose reward is worthy of the effort.
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[Feb 16, 2013 2:07:28 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
marundel

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I think I would much rather see a "mainland" at either end of the arch map... there was mention of a "mainland" when IOs were first introduced, and I never heard anything about it after that.
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SO, Boochin' Drunks

Pizzahutpete everywhere, thanks to the merge
[Feb 16, 2013 8:33:12 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message    http://www.thehomebrewstore.com    meadbrewer [Link]  Go to top 
mflydy

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I'm not into the shopkeeping. Too many numbers, too many variables. It's not my thing. I know some people get it, but if I hate bilge (which I do), then the shopkeeping "puzzle" is a billion times worse in my eyes.

(Please understand the above to mean that it's emphatically not my cup of tea, and I admire anyone who can do it well, but will never throw my hat in that ring. Not me knocking those who do shopkeep.)

I'm willing to accept that I've been hitting the shops at bad times - excepting yesterday, I haven't been consistently checking each hour or so. So, it might have been off luck that each time I went to load my CI, there was no rum available.

This might be a dumb question, but given the dual issues of expert labor and sugar cane availability, would any of those shops or stalls be willing to produce grog? For every 20 units of fine rum capable of being produced, you can do 30 units of grog. And honestly, I don't think anyone's hold (at least for CIs and pillages) will be so screwed up if they have to buy 30 grog instead of 20 rum. The difference in volume and sizing is negligible even on sloops.

I've heard the royals weigh in (and thank you guys - so much easier than trying to /who and keep a conversation tracked in game), and I've heard from other shopkeepers, but not anyone on Jubilee. Any of you shopkeepers out there? Willing to weigh in?

Cala - as an aside, if you need help sailing sugar cane, let me know when you normally do it. I'm typically good on sails and will gladly help out.



I am a shop keeper on Jub, and I run into the problem of not enough Sugar. I am always running it down from Napi. I have people that provide me with Expert labor, and I do sell dockside. I can deliver 500 rum one day, and it will be gone the next morning. So that leaves me with waiting for sugar cane to fill again, and start the process over. People buy out of my stall 200+ a lot. I am thinking this is for flots, SMH's, even blockades maybe. I have recently brought down about 4000+ rum from the other stall I have. Although I will not put it all in at once, it will be there in spurts, only to be gone within a few hours. Seeing I need to run out the door now, I have to cut this short. I only sell rum through the dock, you won't find it in the Bazaar at all.

Mike
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Madmike on Cerulean

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[Feb 17, 2013 11:59:12 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
jpat



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Mike, raise your sale price! The nearest islands are selling their rum 4-6 PoE higher than you. They are possibly profiting off your efforts.
At a higher price, your rum will last a bit longer and be available for those wanting to set sail from Jubilee.

....but, that's just me :)
Jeweleen
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mflydy

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I am already making a profit as it is, even though I do pay pretty high for expert labor. I just can't see charging people 68Poe for a unit of rum. Hell, I wouldn't even pay that much for a unit of rum, I would head elsewhere. It's not always the same person buying from me either. I have a variety of different people buying. I have few that buy large amounts at a time, but there is usually a flot or something of that nature in the area. I also see that I buy the unused portion of rum back from those same people. Although the loss to them is not so bad when selling back to me also. I have yet to lose Poe on any stall I am in, unless of course, it is a tailor shop ( an overpriced closet). I do not run that for profit, it is more to get rid of all the crap I don't want. I have also been told many time, the Shipbuilding stall I manage on Carmine is the only stall to sell decently priced ships in the region. People have thanked me many times for having good prices and nice pay to go with it. It is a less traveled arch at that, so you aren't selling products everyday. I also provide the majority of the labor in those stalls myself. Having said that, let people profit off me, I am just profiting off them anyways. lol
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Madmike on Cerulean

Nubz on Meridian
[Feb 18, 2013 10:43:36 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
laramy

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let people profit off me, I am just profiting off them anyways. lol


That's how I feel myself, if someone want to buy me out at 56 and turn it around for 58 or even 59. They can enjoy that 3 poe of profit (not counting transport and stall rent) and I will enjoy the wider margin for making it...

In any case, good job keeping your stalls running and profitable at that!
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Laramy,
Captain of iRum.
Leader of the Rum Cartel.
[Feb 18, 2013 11:55:24 AM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
Donsmythe

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There's some great info about shopkeeping and merchant bots in this thread. So, while we're add it, let me add another useful point. As Peng noted, merchants do tend to look for profit on their runs and go to the island with the highest dockside buy prices. Where it gets complex is how they calculate their "profit". In particular, they are looking at their entire ship's hold, not any single commodity.

Therefore, if you want to predict where the bot will go then you have to look at ALL the commodities that spawn on the originating island. However, it's not even that simple. See, you also need to know how much of each commodity is in the hold of the bot's ship in order to calculate the "profit". And we don't know that.

Shopkeepeers and - especially - governors can spend a good chunk of poe to find out, though. Set your prices stupidly high to attract one trip from the merchant and see what they deliver, it will give you an idea of the typical proportions of the various spawns at that point in time. (However, as ocean demand fluctuates, the spawn rates will vary relative to each other. Therefore this information is never static.)

So yes, with enough data points you can eventually build a model that will allow you to (with use of tax data and nearby island buy prices) predict what you have to pay for each commodity to attract bots. But fact is, it's not really worth the effort; trial and error tweaking works well enough if you can start out with a reasonably close estimate. Often it's easier to get to know a few shopkeepers around the ocean and buy the hard-to-get stuff off them when they have extra, and then move it yourself to where you need it.

For those that don't get what I'm saying about how quantities matter, here's a contrived example that should illustrate:

Island A spawns chalcocite and hemp.

Island B pays 600 for chalcocite and 4 for hemp.

Island C pays 500 for chalcocite and 8 for hemp.

Assume that B and C are equal distances from A, though in different directions. Also assume that both islands' buy offers are for enough quantity that the bot can sell everything in the hold at that single stop.

Let's say the island A is spawning 3 chalcocite and 20 hemp, and that's what the merchants carry on their trip. For that load, island B will gross 1,880 and island C will gross 1,660, so B wins.

Now, let's say that island A spawns 1 chalcocite and 50 hemp per trip. That's a gross of 800 for island B and 900 for island C. So C wins.

If you were looking only at the price of chalcocite, you'd wonder why the bot went where it did. But when you look at all the spawns simultaneously, it becomes more clear.

This is oversimplifying because we've kept distance and buy quantities out of the equation. You have to factor in for distance AND for trading posts. I suspect that trading posts simply make the island appear "closer" in the calculations when the distance is factored in by the bots. And even if you are priced right to bring them in, if you aren't buying enough of the commodities in question then no bot will come. Also, I believe that there's a minimum poe amount (as Peng said) that has to be crossed to get them to set sail at all, so in the second example with 800/900 at the two islands, I don't think either would see a delivery with those particular numbers since they don't cross the 1k threshhold.

Also, based on things I've heard from developers and other players, it seems that there might possibly be a penalty for crossing an interarch, and maybe a bigger penalty from crossing an interocean, though it's hard to be sure if this exists or not because these routes already involve longer distances anyway. So the "penalty" might just be that those routes are longer to begin with. If there is one, it seems relatively small and factoring distance alone seems to work well enough since it's impossible to have exact numbers anyways. (ie, the penalty, if any, seems to be less than the window of accuracy I've been able to achieve. That's weak evidence that there might not be an explicit penalty.)

Anyways, even if we knew 100% of the algorithm, enough of the data is unavailable to us that we can never be 100% accurate. At least we can make pretty good guesses with experience and good use of available data. And knowing that bots factor in ALL the commodities in their hold when deciding where to go helps in explaining a lot of what we see in their behavior.

Months ago when Peng calcuated out all the spawn points across the ocean and sent me the data, I did read all of it. It wasn't quite tl;dr for me as he suggested above - but I admit it was close, and it took me a while to wade through it.

I think I said this to Peng back when I saw his original data on post-merge spawn points: While I agree with him that this can be game-breaking for many shopkeepers, I suspect that the developers will not fix this imbalance in the hopes that it will stimulate players to do more ocean-based shipping and trading. That's the rationale I expect OOO to give us if we ask, anyways. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly (though I doubt they'd admit this) it would also be so much work to fix it that when compared to the effort they've put into this game lately I just don't see it happening. There are other areas to which they could apply their developers' time that would offer greater gains for the game.

Now, I should probably say something germane to the OP. Personally, I've never had much trouble getting the rum I needed from Jubilee, and in the past month I've done a LOT of solo pillaging in that corner of the ocean. I will corroborate that only the one stall and one shop are producing (and both their keepers have already explained their situation in this thread, which is actually pretty neat IMO). I usually buy grog over fine rum though, because it's a much better deal when available. (That too has been discussed; again, more great info there.) And as this thread has made abundantly clear, Jubilee isn't a great location for producing rum. It's better to make it elsewhere and then ship it in. (And Tyranny did just move in a huge load; I expect we'll probably do it again a few times as deemed necessary.)

I think, again, the developers don't see a problem with this since it encourages different types of shopkeeping. The idea of a big factory in a favorable location periodically shipping large batches out to satellite sell-only locations makes a lot of sense right now, even if it's a little different than the usual "traditional" approach. There are opportunities where this can work for IMs, too, though distilleries are the easiest ones for this. Making cloth in a weavery on the Midnight side to supply a tailor on the Cobalt side is another obvious opportunity, as long as shipping millions of poe worth of cloth in a trip doesn't scare you.

One of the things that keep this game interesting (for me at least) is that much of it can be approached in many different ways, none of them necessarily "right", and that flexibility means players can have fun trying things out until they find a combination that works for them - and everyone can arrive in different places and still have fun. Of course, that design is also set up to force some clashes to keep things interesting for everyone.

(For example, there are quite a few opinions, some conflicting, on what the "right" way to run an island would be. Nobody is truly right or wrong - but it can lead to blockades, which is way better than everyone agreeing on one thing and stagnating. And sometimes it's even worth role-playing a devil's advocate position just to keep things from becoming totally dead...*wink* )

Edit: fixed black market -> trading post to improve accuracy. Oops, and thanks for the catch Algol.
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[Edit 1 times, last edit by Donsmythe at Feb 19, 2013 2:40:21 PM]
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Aethera21

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I think I said this to Peng back when I saw his original data on post-merge spawn points: While I agree with him that this can be game-breaking for many shopkeepers, I suspect that the developers will not fix this imbalance in the hopes that it will stimulate players to do more ocean-based shipping and trading.


On this note: anyone have stats on shoppe and stall ownership? Anecdotally, I see fewer stalls in a few places, notably Lima, where I spend a lot of time, but that's far from useful data. As I've become more active on the Midnight side, I've found more bazaars that are stall-less, but for all I know they've always been that way.

Shoppekeeping is a major piece of my gameplay. All of my shoppes & stalls make money, but it is getting more time consuming to keep them stocked. I am doing more trade runs than I used to, because commods at the islands the shoppes are on (wood on Terra, Hemp & Wood on Lima) are staying very high, and those trade runs are longer as well, since I'm needing to go farther afield for my commodities. Sometimes I don't log on because I know I've got trade runs waiting for me. I could see these issues making shoppekeeping no longer worth it for those who enjoy it less than I do, if even I'm getting irritated by it.
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Aethera of Cobalt Cerulean
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[Feb 19, 2013 12:13:21 PM] Show Printable Version of Post        Send Private Message [Link]  Go to top 
wrs1864b

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For those that don't get what I'm saying about how quantities matter, here's a contrived example that should illustrate:

Island A spawns chalcocite and hemp.

Island B pays 600 for chalcocite and 4 for hemp.

Island C pays 500 for chalcocite and 8 for hemp.


Ok, lets go back to the real ocean example that I started with:

Moab spawns chalcocite (the only spawn on cobalt) and sugar cane
Disastrophe pays 690 for chalcocite and 5 for sugar cane. It is 3 leagues from Moab.
Kirin pays 670 for chalcocite and 4 or sugar cane. It is 25 leagues from Moab and across an interarch.

Chalcocite would sometimes get delivered to my stall on Kirin instead of the fort/shipyard on Diastrophe. And yes, I explicitly set up the prices and quantities based on how you described merchant bots working, and then rechecked everything when I saw it start happening.

Note: this is before trading posts. (minor nit: trading posts influence merchant bots, blackmarkets influence brigands)

Or, another real ocean example:

Yax Mutal was only island that spawns Sassafras and the only thing it spawns wass sass.
Labyrinth Moors is a large island, 6 leagues away with quite a few people trying to get sass.
Diastrophe is 51 leagues away and paying something like 200PoE less than my stall on laby, and 500-1000PoE less than islands near diastrophe.

And, yet, I get a little sass at the fort on diastophe from the merchant bots.

There were other examples that I have noticed, but none quite as sharply.

I agree that you need to look at the entire hold that the merchant bot is shipping, that was the point I was trying to make in my first reply. That chalcocite prices could be dragging the sugar cane it spawns away from Jubilee and to other islands.

I also agree that both price and distances have a large impact on where merchant bots go.

I just don't think merchant bots follow anywhere near of a simple system as is often presented.

 
I think I said this to Peng back when I saw his original data on post-merge spawn points: While I agree with him that this can be game-breaking for many shopkeepers, I suspect that the developers will not fix this imbalance in the hopes that it will stimulate players to do more ocean-based shipping and trading. That's the rationale I expect OOO to give us if we ask, anyways. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly (though I doubt they'd admit this) it would also be so much work to fix it that when compared to the effort they've put into this game lately I just don't see it happening. There are other areas to which they could apply their developers' time that would offer greater gains for the game.

Making players run from jorvik to crimson (79 leagues) in order to get lorandite is a stretch, but at least you can do it in a sloop and make lots of other trades along the way. You wouldn't need to do it that often, maybe even once ever several months.

Making players run from Dragon's nest to charcoal (40 leagues) or hadrian (54 leagues) seems out of line. A busy shipyard might require you to do it several times a week and you would need to use at least a MB or a MG. That's huge amount of unfun time spent.

Sadly, my gut says you are right. OOO won't fix anything. Instead, the cobalt players will either suck up to paying really high prices, retire, or move to the midnight side. And OOO won't care if they retire. Oh, I guess they might move to a green ocean, which might make OOO happy.

 
I think, again, the developers don't see a problem with this since it encourages different types of shopkeeping. The idea of a big factory in a favorable location periodically shipping large batches out to satellite sell-only locations makes a lot of sense right now, even if it's a little different than the usual "traditional" approach. There are opportunities where this can work for IMs, too, though distilleries are the easiest ones for this. Making cloth in a weavery on the Midnight side to supply a tailor on the Cobalt side is another obvious opportunity, as long as shipping millions of poe worth of cloth in a trip doesn't scare you.

Shipping millions in a sloop doesn't scare me, but it is going to be hard for a tailor on the cobalt side to be competitive against a whisk to the midnight side. Similarly, it is easy to whisk swords, furniture, bludgeons, etc., all of which are high profit items.

Sure, CI/SMH/flotillas can attract bnavvers from across the ocean and boosts sales at remote islands, but often these don't spawn exactly at those remote islands. Bnavvers will often sail in a stock ship to the most appropriate point anyway. They will buy where it is much cheaper and it gives them control instead of hoping the island doesn't sell out.
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Algol can not assert the truth of all statements in this post and still be consistent.
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Donsmythe

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On this note: anyone have stats on shoppe and stall ownership? Anecdotally, I see fewer stalls in a few places, notably Lima, where I spend a lot of time, but that's far from useful data. As I've become more active on the Midnight side, I've found more bazaars that are stall-less, but for all I know they've always been that way.


I haven't tracked it myself, so I have no hard numbers. But I have noticed an ocean-wide decrease in stalls on the Midnight side. (And many shops have dusted too!) Most of those bazaars on Midnight had anywhere from 2-20 stalls in their prime depending on the island's traffic; in the past few years 1-4 has been more common. It wasn't until post-merge that empty bazaars has become commonplace; they used to be very rare.

Not hard numbers, but at least that gives a general idea.

I do have a small sample I can offer, though. It's nowhere near complete, but at least it corroborates the general trend I'm reporting above. This is from November 2009, and I have it because of an "event" of sorts our flag ran:


Each entry is { #Shops / #Stalls }

Island Tail IM SY Dist Weav Apo Furn
Jorvik 4/1 6/8 5/1 4/7 4/2 3/3 2/1
Delta 2/1 3/2 4/1 2/6 3/2 2/2 2/1
Beta 3/1 4/4 4/2 3/5 2/2 3/1 1/1
Cnossos 2/4 1/16 2/2 3/8 2/9 1/7 0/3
Guava 5/2 4/14 5/2 4/5 3/5 3/2 2/3

Total 16/9 18/44 20/8 16/31 14/20 12/15 7/9


Out of curiosity, I went and took a sample of today's situation:


Island Tail IM SY Dist Weav Apo Furn
Jorvik 4/1 3/3 3/0 4/2 3/1 2/4 2/0
Delta 3/0 4/2 6/0 3/5 3/0 2/1 1/1
Beta 3/0 4/1 4/0 3/1 2/0 3/1 1/0
Cnossos 2/6 1/4 2/2 3/5 2/2 1/3 1/2
Guava 3/0 4/5 5/1 2/1 2/2 3/1 1/0

Total 15/7 16/15 20/3 15/14 12/5 11/10 6/3
Change -1/-2 -2/-29 0/-5 -1/-17 -2/-15 -1/-5 -1/-6


Looks pretty bleak overall to me, but these changes shouldn't be any surprise to anyone who has been here that long. (Also note that the flag that had Delta during this time went on a shop-building spree, so that island is skewing things and hiding how many shops have actually dusted. Delta is a nearly dead economy, so those extra shops are probably being used for self-supplying.)

By the way, my original 2009 data has the stall owner names, so if you really want to check that against the current list, you could. You'd find of course that even if the numbers stayed the same, many of the owners didn't. Stalls come and go all the time.
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Donsmythe

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Note: this is before trading posts. (minor nit: trading posts influence merchant bots, blackmarkets influence brigands)

Yeah, I messed that up - I'll edit my post to fix it. Oops.
 

And, yet, I get a little sass at the fort on diastophe from the merchant bots.

I've had some player governors insist to me that palaces get some sort of a "premium" over shops and stalls, and that the bots will sometimes sell commodities to a palace even if the palace is buying it cheaper than the island's shopkeepers. I've never seen evidence for this, but it's an interesting idea. It makes me wonder if a fort, or a palace, or maybe just an outpost gets a "bonus" in the calculations so as to bias bots in favor of selling there just like a trading post can have an effect for a whole island. The developers might also have just thrown in a bit of randomization on where bots go, if for no other reason than to confuse the hell out of us. Whatever it is, I don't think any player has a 100% complete picture of how the merchant bots work.
 

I just don't think merchant bots follow anywhere near of a simple system as is often presented.

This is probably true. Alternatively, maybe there's a dead simple algorithm we're overlooking that has a few hidden variables we don't know about which cause our current ideas to be close to accurate...but not always. It could have been designed to be a chaotic system; ie, simple equations with complex results.

Whatever it is, I don't think anyone has a perfect model. We usually give up before we get that far because we get close enough that a minor amount of trial and error is usually sufficient to get us the desired results. I did explicitly say I was oversimplifying, and I have to say that because I'm still not 100% sure of how distances are accounted for; I just know that they definitely factor in somehow. Peng's theory in this thread seems to have something to it, but I am not yet convinced that it's the whole story. (He shared the idea with me months ago privately, I have yet to test it rigorously and doubt I'll ever take the time, to be honest.)

Still, it is fun to share what we think we know, and what ideas we have, in an effort to refine our understanding. :D I don't claim to have any exact formulas - or even any good data right now - so anything anyone else can offer is interesting to me.
 

Making players run from jorvik to crimson (79 leagues) in order to get lorandite is a stretch, but at least you can do it in a sloop and make lots of other trades along the way. You wouldn't need to do it that often, maybe even once ever several months.

Making players run from Dragon's nest to charcoal (40 leagues) or hadrian (54 leagues) seems out of line. A busy shipyard might require you to do it several times a week and you would need to use at least a MB or a MG. That's huge amount of unfun time spent.

Yeah, I totally agree with you. Moving minerals and herbs long distances is no big deal, no matter how much value is aboard. Moving lots of the bulky commodities - wood, cane, hemp, and to a much lesser degree iron - is a pain in the rear and never was fun to do. Moving it in anything less than a MB is a time waster, and soloing an MB can sometimes get a bit dicey. If we could get them to just fix the bulky commodities, though, that might be a nice compromise between effort for them and results for us.

But for bulky commodities I'm pretty sure the developers will just say "don't build a shop there then" - they designed the oceans so that in theory certain islands should be better than others for certain types of shops. It doesn't seem to be what the players want, though. I think Malachite was an extreme push towards the idea that not every island should have every kind of shop. It's an interesting idea but I'm not convinced that such a design actually makes things more FUN.
 

Shipping millions in a sloop doesn't scare me, but it is going to be hard for a tailor on the cobalt side to be competitive against a whisk to the midnight side. Similarly, it is easy to whisk swords, furniture, bludgeons, etc., all of which are high profit items.

Yes, whisking is a problem - and it will get worse. That's because it's only a problem with the comparison shoppers. There's a lot of players who never check prices and will stay where their home is, not realizing how much the prices on things vary. There's still quite a bit of asymmetric knowledge to drive the economies.

However, the players most likely to quit soonest are that same bunch - we have to count on the ocean's pirates to have less asymmetry in their economic knowledge as the ocean shrinks because those that "know" things or are invested enough in the game to take the time to look around also tend to be last to leave. Plus people share what they know. And with no new people coming in, the asymmetries are bound to shrink with the population's inevitable decline.

Shot and rum aren't undercut as badly by whisking since there's an opportunity cost in moving them. Ship sales are similar, except it is swabby fees that are the main moving cost for most pirates. But anything you can put in your inventory (clothes, furniture, swords, bludgeons, mugs) is very difficult to sell and profit on unless you have really worked hard to get all the relevant commodities cheaply.

As you note, as the ocean shrinks people will probably move towards a central location and I tend to agree. There are other non-economic reasons, too, such as apparent activity in the local inns that matter to some mates. Pre-merge, Midnight was already consolidating towards Diamond, Emerald, and to a lesser degree Ruby (Ruby is mostly pillaging driven, Diamond and Emerald more socially driven). I don't see any real abatement in that overall trend of consolidation.
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marundel

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I have to ask, because it's a possible variable that no one has mentioned yet...

Commodities taken from players by NPC brigands/barbarians supposedly go into a guff to be redistributed as booty to victorious players in later battles. However, is it possible that some of those lost commodities get sold dockside near where they are captured?

With numerous commodity traders, stall owners, and governors hauling commods across the ocean, that might explain how something like sassafras could be delivered dockside 60 LPs from a better paying shop.
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Donsmythe

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I have to ask, because it's a possible variable that no one has mentioned yet...

Commodities taken from players by NPC brigands/barbarians supposedly go into a guff to be redistributed as booty to victorious players in later battles. However, is it possible that some of those lost commodities get sold dockside near where they are captured?

With numerous commodity traders, stall owners, and governors hauling commods across the ocean, that might explain how something like sassafras could be delivered dockside 60 LPs from a better paying shop.


I think that can indeed happen! You mentioning this jogged my memory a bit, thanks for mentioning that idea. I recall seeing possible evidence of it in the past.

My guess is this: the bot has to despawn ("port") at the island where the sale is made. A bot that despawns at sea (which is most of them) has its hold cleared and sent to the prize pool. Or, to flip it around, perhaps the brig/barb hold is cleared at despawn time, first by selling off what it can if at an island, and then whatever remains after that goes into the prize pool so that the ship's hold is empty and ready for the next respawn. I think that's a likely explanation.

It is possible that this is false, though, and that brigs/barbs always just go into a pool while a merchant that wins a battle simply sells all that is in its hold, including winnings, at its destination. This, and other possibilities I've considered, all seem less likely to me.

As evidence that they can sell stuff that they've won, or evidence that not EVERYTHING you lose goes into the prize pool, I've had bots sell me cannonballs before. Clearly, those aren't just spawning on uninhabited islands to be delivered around the ocean.

Also, all sales leave a ship name and seller pirate name in the shops' logs, even for bots. Merchant bots tend to have certain ship and pirate names and it's always the same one or two ships coming from a given originating source. So you tend to see the same merchants over and over. Yet every once in a while I see a commodity being sold from a ship and name that I have never seen before (and generally never see again) so it's a once-off and not the "regular" bot delivery; perhaps those sales are coming from brigand/barbarian ships. Or maybe stuff was spawning so fast that the game instanced another merchant temporarily to keep the deliveries from getting backed up and released it when things stabilized. I really don't know. But there's definitely some fun wrinkles here.
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wrs1864b

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Also, all sales leave a ship name and seller pirate name in the shops' logs, even for bots. Merchant bots tend to have certain ship and pirate names and it's always the same one or two ships coming from a given originating source. So you tend to see the same merchants over and over. Yet every once in a while I see a commodity being sold from a ship and name that I have never seen before (and generally never see again) so it's a once-off and not the "regular" bot delivery; perhaps those sales are coming from brigand/barbarian ships. Or maybe stuff was spawning so fast that the game instanced another merchant temporarily to keep the deliveries from getting backed up and released it when things stabilized. I really don't know. But there's definitely some fun wrinkles here.

In the case of Sassafras being sold to the fort on diastrophe, nothing else was sold to the fort/SY despite buy prices for everything. The name was also one of the names frequently used to deliver on laby. And, again, Spectre, Napi and Cochineal all were paying at least slightly more than Diastrophe, so the merchant bot had to have sailed past them.

The story I heard is that brigands don't sell stuff, but if someone picks a fight with a merchant bot and loses, the stuff the merchant bot wins from the battle will be sold.

And, I've also heard people claim that merchant bots will sail to multiple islands, unloading only somethings at each stop.

A lot of this could be tested by spending a lot of time observing them, but I've never been that interested.

*shrug*

As far as surveys go, I used to publish a Yet another Cobalt shop and stall census for Cobalt with data going back to 2009_11_03. This following is data for 2012_06_23.
(wayne@legbone) $ ./yarrg_list -print-island-totals
Island Apot Dist Furn Iron Ship Tail Weav Shop Total Min Assets
Ansel Island . . . . . . . 2 = 2 2167k
Carmine Island 4 12 . 17 3 . 4 2 = 42 2700k
Charcoal Island . . . . . . . 1 = 1 1000k
Cochineal Island . 5 . 6 . 2 2 3 = 18 1538k
Conglin Island . . . . . . . 1 = 1 0
Cormorant Island 6 11 . 7 . . . 4 = 28 1812k
Corona Reef . . . . . . . 2 = 2 64.0k
Crimson Island . . . . . . . 1 = 1 1000k
Dendrite Island . . . . . . . 2 = 2 235k
Diastrophe Island . . . . . . . 2 = 2 28.1k
Dragon's Nest 9 11 6 28 3 8 8 3 = 76 11406k
Fintan Island 3 5 3 5 . . 1 27 = 44 5925k
Garden Cradle 7 14 . 13 8 . 14 2 = 58 4644k
Harmattan Island 7 9 . 15 . . 7 3 = 41 2044k
Jubilee Island 4 7 1 7 3 . 5 8 = 35 2684k
Kirin Island 12 5 3 5 1 6 5 17 = 54 11160k
Labyrinth Moors 5 2 1 5 . 1 1 19 = 34 4231k
Lima Island 8 6 2 9 1 4 2 9 = 41 4818k
Napi Peak 2 . . 2 . . 1 19 = 24 3940k
Olive Island . 6 . 11 . . . 4 = 21 1854k
Pranayama Island . 6 . 6 1 5 6 3 = 27 1758k
Prolix Purlieu . 10 . 28 8 . . 4 = 50 3316k
Raven's Roost . . . . . . . 2 = 2 269k
Sakejima Island 2 7 . 6 1 . . 8 = 24 3203k
Spectre Island . . . . . . . 2 = 2 136k
Terra Island 8 1 4 6 . 2 5 28 = 54 8066k
Tigerleaf Mountain 3 4 . 6 . 1 2 40 = 56 7999k
Typhoon Island . . . . . . . 1 = 1 88.0k
Viridis Island . . . . . . . 2 = 2 112k


Going back further, lesleywalker published a Cobalt shop and stall census, which I kind of based mine on. Note that as I explain in my thread, lesleywalker is based on hand counts, mine is based on market data.
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Donsmythe

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In the case of Sassafras being sold to the fort on diastrophe, nothing else was sold to the fort/SY despite buy prices for everything. The name was also one of the names frequently used to deliver on laby. And, again, Spectre, Napi and Cochineal all were paying at least slightly more than Diastrophe, so the merchant bot had to have sailed past them.

And that's clearly a merchant that did the selling, then.
 

And, I've also heard people claim that merchant bots will sail to multiple islands, unloading only somethings at each stop.

I've heard that and I've also heard that they always sell everything at a single stop. Maybe it's both, depending on other factors. Or maybe it was once one way and now it's the other; I did once have a developer mention to me that the way merchants work has been tweaked from time to time, and not all changes have been mentioned in the release notes. True or not, it suggests that any old data on merchants might not be valid, and only current observations are useful.
 

A lot of this could be tested by spending a lot of time observing them, but I've never been that interested.

*shrug*

Same here.
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GreatBob

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The story I heard is that brigands don't sell stuff, but if someone picks a fight with a merchant bot and loses, the stuff the merchant bot wins from the battle will be sold.

I've had bots sell in gold nuggets on a few occasions, and I'd like to hope that people running gold wouldn't be silly enough to go engaging merchants...
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wrs1864b

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I've had bots sell in gold nuggets on a few occasions, and I'd like to hope that people running gold wouldn't be silly enough to go engaging merchants...

Maybe I'm missing what you are trying to say, but merchant bots have been selling gold and KB for over three years now. Selling you cannon balls is a sign that someone picked a fight with a merchant bot, but gold nuggets aren't (any more).
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Foilistc

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And, I've also heard people claim that merchant bots will sail to multiple islands, unloading only somethings at each stop.



It was always my understanding that merchant bots deliver where they make the most poe, or in the case of two ports that have the same buy price at the docks, to the one that's closest to the spawning island.

15 Madder spawns at island X and merchants pick up to move it to market.

Buy prices for Madder at islands are like this:
IslandA (8 leagues from X)
1000 poe - 1 Unit
500 poe - 20 Units

IslandB (16 leagues from X)
1100 poe - 10 Units
550 poe - 1 Unit
500 poe - 10 Units

So the madder gets delivered to both islands. 4 to IslandA, and 11 to IslandB.

At least that's how I used to make my assumptions when setting dockside buy prices for goods.

Foil

Edit: I was never sure when the mechanic chose the islands, either at the point that the merchant sailed, or once it hit the first island. I tried several times to put out a huge dockside price for lots of material and then watch for the merchant to be coming into port, then drop my price before it docks to see if it would sell to me at a lower price while bypassing the higher buys at other islands on the way to me but I didn't have enough clients to watch all the ports along the way after the merchant spawned. Could be done though I would think.
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Jeriannah

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I just wanted to drop a quick note here, and say that I don't know if it's because people have been bringing in more commodities, the run on rum is gone, or just great planning, but Jubilee has been fantastically stocked for the past week at least.

Thanks for stepping up quickly to answer this problem, Tyranny, and running in items to hold down the fort while other folks got things done too.

I've really enjoyed learning from the conversations that have been taking place, and I look forward to expanding my knowledge as regards spawn, the myriad intricacies of shopkeeping, and the like.

Y'all rock!
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