Lieutenant
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 61
# 1 The Art of the Deal
10-11-2012, 02:24 PM
Getting Started (or, how the heck do I make my first million?)
The art of making EC in STO can be pretty intimidating at times, but the truth is that it's not as complicated as it sounds. The first million can come pretty quickly if you know what you're doing, but here are some tips to get you going.

Tour the Universe
This repeating event lasts for one hour. During this hour, you can take a quest from an NPC from Earth Spacedock (Federation) or the First City (Klingon). Go to every sector of space your faction can visit, and gain 50,000 EC for each sector. You can repeat this quest as long as the hour isn't over.

There are maps of the optimal routes, and with some practice you can do this mission two or three times during the event, for a grand total of a little over a million EC for an hour's worth of work. Not too shabby.

"Sell" Your Dilithium
For about 125 Zen (at average market price, that's approximately 19,750 dilithium) you can purchase a single lockbox key from the Zen store. They sell for about 1.4 million EC each on the exchange. Since you can refine 8,000 dilithium per character, per day, that works out to about 2 and a half day's worth of dilithium, assuming you hit 8,000 every day.

Now, once you reach the 5 million EC mark you won't want to (and shouldn't) sell your dilithium in that manner. However if you're just starting out, and need starter cash, selling your first 20,000 dilithium for your first million might not be a bad deal.

Investing (or, Expand or Die)
This is where things get interesting. Once you've got your first million, you're going to want to turn it into something more valuable. So how do you do that?

Duty Officers (or, slave trading for fun and profit!)
Used to be, selling very rare duty officers was the way to go. Nowadays, very rare Duty Officers have dropped so precipitously in price that it's no longer profitable to make a living off of them.

Instead, consider selling your common or uncommon duty officers. The reason these officers can sell these days is because of the new starbase system. For those not in the loop, upgrading your starbase requires a huge amount of common and/or uncommon duty officers, and many people end up buying them in bulk from the exchange.

How can you get mass quantities of these duty officers? May I recommend, sir, the Duty Officer Mini-Pack. These ridiculously cheap little packs will give you four duty officers (one of which is guaranteed green or better), and you can typically sell many of them for 50,000 EC, especially the tactical and security officers.

Also, you can go to Starfleet Academy or the Klingon Academy to "grind down" any rare or very rare duty officers these packs might give you, unless the very rare is something valuable, such as a Shield Distribution Officer.

You'll typically make quite a tidy profit from these little packs, and at the very worst, break even. This method is slow, but it will get you to 5-10 million and is fairly safe.

Ripping Off the Wealthy
This method relies on the fact that there are wealthy idiots out there willing to drop a pretty penny on something that, in my opinion, is utterly garbage. What I'm referring to, is the Special Requisition Pack - Shields and related packs. At Vice-Admiral level, these packs are practically worthless. But, at Captain level ...

The reason I've got this here at the million EC mark is because you'll need a bit of initial investment capital to make this work. Each of these packs can be bought for pennies on the dollar (around 50,000 EC, last I checked, each), and when opened by a level 29 character, gives a guaranteed very rare shield/armor/weapon/whatever.

VA level purple shields and such don't sell for anything, but for whatever reason, rich idiots like to purchase purple-level shields for their captain-level ships. Why? Who knows! But it's pretty insane that you can turn a 50,000EC pack into a million EC's worth of profit. Yes, sometimes these purple shields really can sell that high.

The Big Leagues (or, Using Money to Make Money)
Once you start getting into a decent amount of cash, it's time to seriously invest in certain things. Basic arbitrage can be irritating, but it can make you a decent racket ... if you can maintain it.

What is arbitrage? To put it bluntly, it's buying low and selling high. More complicated: it's controlling a specific market. Find a niche that isn't controlled already (that can be hard, but not impossible).

A good example might be duty officers. If you've got 5-10million, you could conceivably control the price of, say, common Assault Squad officers, artificially maintaining a price of 100,000 EC each. Any one of these that appear on the exchange below that price, you purchase and re-list at 100,000.

Yes, you initially lose out on some cash, but since due to Starbase construction projects requiring boat-loads of these, your assault squad officers WILL eventually sell, and you'll get your money back plus interest.

The Keys to Wealth - Literally!
And now we get into the biggest of the big-leagues. The purchase of lock-box keys.

You're gonna need some serious cash for this. I do mean serious. Like 50 million, at least, but in a few weeks of doing the above you should be able to get there. Also, you need to be prepared, because this is a high risk gamble. But the rewards are equally high.

Now, the first thing you're gonna need to do is acquire as many lock-box keys as you can, but leave about 1-2 million EC left. At around 50million EC that's about 30 keys. Then, purchase that many Cardassian Lock Boxes.

Yes, Cardassian. Don't get the Ferengi, definately don't get Tholian, and temporal is pretty meh.

Why Cardassian? Because everything good from that box will sell. Let's see:

Galor - sells at around 80 - 85 million EC
Attack Pattern Duty Officer - Sells at around 15 - 35 million EC (this one is highly volatile)
Subnuke Duty Officer - Sells at around 10 million EC (at least until it's nerfed to high-heaven)
Shield Packs - send these to your low-level character (if you don't have one, make one), have him open them and sell the proceeds for quite a profit
Duty officer mini-packs - didn't we go over these already?

The Ferengi box's only claim to fame is the D'Kora, which sells on average 10 million less than the Galor. The Wells is hovering around 80 million, but not much else that's good comes out of that pack. The Tholian Orb Weaver is just sad, selling at only 30 million. Don't even bother; if you really want one, open Cardassian boxes, use the proceeds to buy an Orb and still have cash left over.

Now, at 30 boxes you might not get a Galor. That's OK, you'll probably still make back the 50 million you spent, if you sell off everything the boxes gave you. If you DO get a Galor, sell it immediately. Boom! Instant 80 million EC, which is more than the 50 million you spent.

I think you can guess what comes next. Yes, buy even MORE keys and repeat this process. Also, in the meantime, you're picking up Lobi Crystals. Once you hit 800 (which, if you keep repeating this process on the same character, will happen fairly soon), pick up a Temporal Destroyer. Sell it for 85 - 90 million EC on the exchange. Even more cash in your pocket!

The Art of the Deal (or, Know Your Market)
As the Ferengi would say, "Never pay more for an acquisition than you have to." It's good advice. When purchasing lock box keys, never pay more than 1.5 million. Even 1.4 million is a tad high; try to buy them at 1.3 if you can.

On the same token, don't buy mini-packs that are more than 300,000 EC in price. At that price point you're not making much profit at all. Don't be discouraged if they're at a high price; people are opening boxes all the time, and these mini-packs are some of the most common drops from them. The price rarely stays high for long as somebody is always trying to unload a pack of them.

So happy selling to you! Hopefully with this guide you'll be on your way to happiness and profits! Or at least profits.
Career Officer
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 315
# 2
10-11-2012, 03:39 PM
Thanks!

I find the Z : D exchange to be a fun part of STO, and have even been tracking it for a little while now. Finding new tricks and ideas is always a good thing ^_^

Most recent tracking: http://samonmaui.blogspot.com/2012/1...ng-101112.html

edit: And, too good not to share. So I posted a link on a forum I regular, and my blog. Great stuff ^_^
http://samonmaui.blogspot.com/2012/1...y-credits.html
Updated 2/11/13! Buying Zen with Energy Credits | Upgrading Duty Officers without Dilithium.
Q&A Presents: Maui Online! My friends' radioshow/podcast Computers, with occasional forays into astronomy.

Last edited by chikahiro; 10-11-2012 at 04:13 PM.
Career Officer
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 315
# 3
10-12-2012, 04:08 PM
Ensign
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 12
# 4
10-15-2012, 01:58 PM
What do you suggest for selling the duty officers from the Mini-Packs, turning all of them into commons and selling, or just leaving them as is...guess what I'm asking is what is a good price where it's worth selling as is?

For example, I got a rare out of the few I just did. Looks like I could sell it for around 200K-220K EC. Should I do that, or would it be more beneficial to turn it into commons and sell those?
Career Officer
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 315
# 5
10-15-2012, 02:38 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by staxed85 View Post
What do you suggest for selling the duty officers from the Mini-Packs, turning all of them into commons and selling, or just leaving them as is...guess what I'm asking is what is a good price where it's worth selling as is?

For example, I got a rare out of the few I just did. Looks like I could sell it for around 200K-220K EC. Should I do that, or would it be more beneficial to turn it into commons and sell those?
Personally? I've been exchanging them with the Personnel Officer.
1 Rare = 3 Uncommons
3 Uncommons = 9 Commons

You can do your own research on rarity (sorry, on break, so I can't check the exchange right now), but overall it seems that having volume to sell works pretty well. Some DOFF occupations (not looking at the rarity, skills, traits, etc, just the occupation itself) sell for very nice amounts of EC.

Now, honestly, some don't sell for much (~10k or less!), but some sell for 20k, 50k, 80k, 120k! You'd want get an average of 24-25k per DOFF (220k/9 commons) to make it worth your while.

Like anything involving the infamous Random Number Generator, there is an element of risk involved. Overall, I think the chances of you getting a reasonable amount of EC is decent, though. In a way, the DOFF packs are sort of like Mutual Funds - you're spreading out the risk by having lots of stuff rather than just one or two, and overall coming out ahead. The strong performers/sellers will (hopefully) counter the low performers/sellers...

For some additional reading on what I did over the weekend:
http://samonmaui.blogspot.com/2012/1...xperiment.html
http://samonmaui.blogspot.com/2012/1...-24-hours.html

Of course, looking over the Purple? Who knows - it might be worth keeping depending on what it is - is it useful for your Space/Ground slots? Is it particularly useful for DOFFs you might want to do?
Updated 2/11/13! Buying Zen with Energy Credits | Upgrading Duty Officers without Dilithium.
Q&A Presents: Maui Online! My friends' radioshow/podcast Computers, with occasional forays into astronomy.
Career Officer
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 315
# 6
10-15-2012, 02:55 PM
And I need to disclaim: That is my opinion and my strategy. It is by NO means the only or best way to do things. It's just one method, and I strongly recommend you read through, find more things, and add them to your overall toolbox.

You never know what opportunities might come your way, or how interested you are/aren't in doing something at the moment. I'm a big believer in that if it becomes work to you, you'll stop having fun and stop doing it. I'd much rather you earn less doing something you enjoy than make a lot doing something you hate, get frustrated/burned out on the game, and stop playing!
Updated 2/11/13! Buying Zen with Energy Credits | Upgrading Duty Officers without Dilithium.
Q&A Presents: Maui Online! My friends' radioshow/podcast Computers, with occasional forays into astronomy.
Ensign
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 12
# 7
10-15-2012, 03:46 PM
Just an update, I purchased a few packs (7 i think) for 1.15mil total. Already made 1.4mil back (250K profit already), and it's only been about an hour...and I still have 1.2mil worth up to sell (if they sell for that much).

Certainly looks like a decent profit, if you don't mind having your exchange full of stuff (that the only hard limit I can see to this).

I want to try the box/keys...but getting keys at 1.3mil seems a bit tough right now, everything is at 1.8mil right now it seems.
Career Officer
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 315
# 8
10-15-2012, 04:11 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by staxed85 View Post
Just an update, I purchased a few packs (7 i think) for 1.15mil total. Already made 1.4mil back (250K profit already), and it's only been about an hour...and I still have 1.2mil worth up to sell (if they sell for that much).

Certainly looks like a decent profit, if you don't mind having your exchange full of stuff (that the only hard limit I can see to this).

I want to try the box/keys...but getting keys at 1.3mil seems a bit tough right now, everything is at 1.8mil right now it seems.
Personally, I'd just as soon buy the keys with Dilithium. You can sell them for 1.3mil+, or use them to open lockboxes. The reason I'd use Dilithium is because its versatile - while you're earning it and decide to change strategies? Sure, go for it. Also, it doesn't use your Energy Credit earnings, leaving them it for other things. It is definitely slower, though.

Just don't spend real money buying Keys to open stuff with! That's a little too speculative, IMO. If you buy a key with money, buy it to sell it. If you're opening stuff up, then buy with EC, Dilithium turned Zen, or maybe Stipend Zen, since that's not an extra cost out of your pocket.

I prefer DOFFing to earn my Dilithium, since its lunch-break friendly, but there are other ways to get it, and get it faster. And, usually with DOFFs, I've got a chance to get other things, too (may or may not be important to you), so I'm working towards other goals as well.

I honestly wish they'd sell more market slots, but that's just me. As is, though, so long as you're pricing well its not a big deal. I tend to price on the lower side (I want to move inventory faster, and don't feel I need to get "top dollar" for things), so usually I can go through stuff reasonably quick.
Updated 2/11/13! Buying Zen with Energy Credits | Upgrading Duty Officers without Dilithium.
Q&A Presents: Maui Online! My friends' radioshow/podcast Computers, with occasional forays into astronomy.
Ensign
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 12
# 9
10-15-2012, 05:07 PM
My Dilithium is reserved for fleet donations, so I don't use it to make EC with. I prefer to make my EC with EC, hence the reason I'm looking into keys, because it might be riskier, but it's certainly a lot more return on the EC if it works out. DOffs are nice, but I prefer larger returns with less effort...but DOffs will work in the mean time while I figure out the key market a bit

And yeah, I'd love more market slots as well.
Career Officer
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 994
# 10
10-15-2012, 08:30 PM
One does need to be careful not to flood the market with things, as this will only drop prices overall and diminish your returns. I think that's why the 40-item limit on the Exchange exists, and why I think it needs to stay.

I tried the Doff thing today. I've made my money back, but there's only a few hundred thousand EC worth left to sell. I got a lot of low value 10-15k EC ones though. Also possible that if a lot of people are trying the techniques in this thread, we're crashing the market, as I alluded to above

I will say that there is entirely too much EC in the economy. The fact that people will pay absurd prices for stupid things as the OP pointed out proves this. One interesting bit about MMO economies as opposed to real ones is that money can be created from nothing, and returned to nothing. Sell junk to NPC vendors, it creates EC that didn't exist before. Buy from an NPC vendor, and your EC vaporizes. Problem is, outside common consumables and commodities, high level players don't spend EC with the NPC vendors. It just builds up in the system as everybody swaps it amongst themselves.

More EC floating around the economy devalues the currency. Then anything of any use costs 2-5 million. That's straight up out of control inflation, and the "normal" income from just playing the game and selling drops can't keep up.

The Dilithium economy underwent a nice correction since the Fleet Starbases hit. They are basically pulling dil out of the economy and vaporizing it. That raises the value of any dil that's left, increasing its Zen buying power. I had thought the Starbases would suck down vast amounts of EC, causing a similar correction on the Exchange, but they don't. Not outside cheap common commodities anyway. Sure, it costs a lot to stockpile Doffs off the Exchange, but that's just transferring your mass of EC to another player. It doesn't take it out of circulation, and does nothing to correct the undervalued EC currency.

But I digress, and ramble.
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