Author Topic: A beginner's guide to trade skill, outposts, and getting rich  (Read 4765 times)

Jake42

  • Mercenary
  • ***
  • Posts: 178
A beginner's guide to trade skill, outposts, and getting rich
« on: January 26, 2012, 02:29:12 PM »
Trade skill is very important, as increasing that and getting more outposts is the key to getting the resources you need for buying and upgrading weapons/armor, as well as getting into safehouses.  However, there isn't much a tutorial in game for how this system works, so I hope this guide is helpful for new players.

1. What is an outpost?
An outpost is a magical money or supplies maker.  You inspect a location and can then build an outpost, then after an amount of time (varies depends on the type of outpost from 3 to 48 hours) you will be able to collect cash or supplies from it depending on the type you made.

You can only have 1 outpost per location, but only you can see them.  Whereas there can be only one safehouse per location (and you will see other players’ safehouses if they have built one at a location and you will not be able to build your own), you cannot see other players’ outposts and may freely build one at a location even if they have one there. So don't worry about people stealing from them or raiding them, outposts belong to you and you only.

2. How do I increase my trade skill?  Is there a limit?
Trade skill is increased by collecting from outposts, and can be as high as your current level.  As far as I can tell, it takes 10 collections per current skill level to go up a level. So if you have 10 skill, you need to collect 100 times to get to 11 skill.  At least I tested this long ago at a much lower skill level, and I have assumed it is the same at all levels. At the least, it feels about right to me even though I've stopped counting.

EDIT: Update: Well, my memory is faulty, or the mechanics changed since I last leveled trade skill, or the curve gets steeper at higher skill levels.  In any case, I got to skill level 33 and bought a ton of 3hr outposts.  I've got at least 450 collections in, and I'm only about 1/3 of the way to the next level.  Which means something like 1500 collections to level up.  I should have started leveling trade skill again sooner, but oh well.

One thing to note: all outpost collections are equal.  It doesn't matter if it's a 3hr or 48hr outpost or anything in between.  So if you want to level up your skill fast, you want to use 3hr outposts and lots of them.

3. What good is trade skill?
Trade skill lets you have more and more outposts.  You are allowed to have 3x your trade skill in total outposts, but if you have more than your current skill level in outposts you will receive a penalty.

From what I have read, there is a maximum penalty of 50% if you have the maximum number of outposts for your level.  Most likely there is a sweet spot somewhere below the maximum number of outposts where you will get the max payout, as at some point the increased penalty on all your outposts from adding one more will outweigh the added resources you will get from that added outpost.

There will be diminishing returns up to that point however, where more outposts will give smaller and smaller gains.  I think having roughly double your skill in outposts is probably a good balance (that’s in the long run if you are just collecting for the cash/supplies, if you are trying to increase you skill level go ahead and get all the outposts you can).

4. How do outpost penalties work?
As outlined above, having more outposts than your trade skill results in increasing penalties as you add more outposts.

Additionally, there are penalties for distance.  I'm not certain how those work, but when far away (on vacation) I've had the penalty at 30% or more.  I have mine near my house, so they are all within 800m or so, and at most I have a penalty of a few percentage points.  So try to have your outposts be close to where you will be when you collect from them.

Finally, there is a penalty applied for collecting from an outpost late.  I'm not sure what the timeframes are, but if you collect within a half hour I don't think you see a penalty at all.  Your moneymakers will be the 24 and 48 hour outposts, and you’ll want to collect those promptly anyways so that you can collect from them at the same time of day each day or every 2 days, so this penalty shouldn't be an issue.

5. Outposts tips
All armor/weapons/upgrades in the game cost a lot of cash and supplies.  Many cost much more than you will get from hunting/scavenging.  That's where outposts come in.

First, you will want to get many of the cheapest outposts to raise your skill level.  If you get a full 3x your skill level in outposts you will gain more than 1 skillpoint per day if you can collect from them 5x per day, which is doable without losing any sleep.

Once you get your trade skill up where you want it, you can start trashing those cheap outposts and get more expensive ones.  I started with 24hr outposts until I could afford the 48hr variety.  You will want to switch over to the 48 hour outposts when you can.

There isn't a lot of difference in the output of those outposts (24hr ones give 500/day, 48hr ones gives 1200 every 2 days, which is 600/day), and the 48 hour outposts cost a lot more, but their real value comes in the fact that you can have more of them. Sure two 24 hour outposts give almost the same income as one 48 hour outpost, and you get income every day which is nice, but they take 2 outpost slots.  Since you are limited in the number of outposts, the 48hr outposts come out way ahead once you can stock up on them.

I'd advise starting with 24 hour outposts if you can't afford the jump to 48 hour ones, but once you have enough income coming in buy the more expensive ones and start trading up your 24 hour outposts. Use your new found wealth to buy weapons/armor you absolutely need, but the focus early on should be more outposts.  Cash invested in new outposts will be paid back to you over time, and lots of outposts is the key to affording high-end weapons/armor/upgrades later on.

I would also advise you to have more supply outposts than cash ones.  Weapons/armor have a one-time cash cost, but then require 5 upgrades with supplies, and each upgrade is as much or more than the cash cost of the weapon.  So you need 5x more supplies in the long run than you do cash.  Then again you need cash to get more supply outposts, so you will want enough cash outposts so you can buy more of the supply version every payday.

One last tip: you will want to have your outposts collect at the same time each day or every 2 days.  This way you gather all your cash/supplies at the same time, so you can make big ticket purchases right away. That way you will be safe from duelers.  This will mean that if you staggered your initial outpost purchases at different times of the day you will have to wait and eat a penalty to sync them up to collect at the same time.  It's worth it though, and when you collect from them all at once, you can buy more outposts immediately, which will then be ready to collect at the same time as your other outposts.

I hope this information is helpful.  Sure you can bash zombies for cash and crawl around in the dark hunting for supplies lying around, but nothing beats having a load of magical boxes that produce cash and supplies for free.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2012, 06:41:59 PM by Jake42 »

Areksoo

  • Hero
  • *****
  • Posts: 511
Re: A beginner's guide to trade skill, outposts, and getting rich
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2012, 10:58:12 AM »
I don't think what you have for collecting trader skill is right.  Your right that it doesn't matter what outpost you have, but I think it's an exponential growth of the times you need to collect rather than Trader level X 10. 

I've been on level 34 for nearly a week... Taking inventory of my current outposts, I collect about 155 a day.

Jake42

  • Mercenary
  • ***
  • Posts: 178
Re: A beginner's guide to trade skill, outposts, and getting rich
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2012, 07:41:12 PM »
Hmm, I know when I was boosting my trader skill I had about my trading skill in 3hr outposts in addition to some 24/48 hour outposts, and I was gaining a skill level every other day or so, which is about right for 10x trader level.  However, I'm only currently level 32 skill, so it's possible the formula changes at higher skill levels.  When I start leveling my skill again I'll try to get a more accurate count as my skill goes up.