Trade represents the transfer of goods or resources from one entity to another. There are multiple types of Trade possible, each having different mechanics, and all play a large impact on the economy of an empire or even the entire galaxy.
Trade Value is collected and exploited by Starbases above Outpost level. By default Starbases will only exploit Trade Value inside the system they are built, but their collection range can be extended by 1 hyperlane for each Trade Hub module.
Trade value is an in-game numerical value that represents the civilian and private-sector economy of an empire as well as the total value of all goods being traded. All Pops generate a small amount of Trade Value based on their living standards, with higher living standard Pops generating more Trade Value, and Trade Value is also produced by a number of different jobs such as Clerks and Merchants. The trade value of a planet is affected by its stability , with 100 stability giving +30% trade value and 0 stability -50%. Additionally, small amounts of Trade Value can be found as deposits in space, representing various resources that do not have industrial applications, but nevertheless are desirable to the population.
Each unit of Trade Value exploited is converted into Energy Credits and, depending on the Trade Policy, additional Consumer Goods or Unity.
In order to successfully exploit Trade Value, two conditions must be met:
- There must be an owned Starbase within range of the system and it must be of higher than Outpost level in order to extract Trade Value from the system. By default, every Starbase will only extract trade value from the system it is located in but the extraction range can be increased by building Trade Hub modules, up to a maximum collection range of 6 hyperlane jumps from the Starbase. A planet that is within range of a collecting Starbase will automatically have its Trade Value collected by the Starbase. If the Starbase is disabled it will not export Trade Value until the hostile fleet is removed.
- Once extracted, the Trade Value must successfully reach the Starbase in the capital system of empire. If the collecting Starbase is located within the capital system the Trade Value will be instantly exploited. On the other hand, if the collecting Starbase is not located within the capital system, it must be connected to the capital starbase via a Trade Route. The capital starbase must be above Outpost level to be included in trade network (as any other trade hub).
Corporate Branch Offices exploit 50% of a planet's Trade Value without reducing the planet owner's profits. Trade Value exploited by Branch Offices is converted entirely into Energy Credits regardless of the Trade Policy. They do not create Trade Routes, all profits being transferred directly to the capital.
A Trade Route is a path that serves to connect a Starbase collecting Trade Value to the capital system and is required for the Trade Value to be exploited. Each upgraded Starbase has one outgoing Trade Route, which by default is connected directly to the capital, but can be manually re-routed to any other Starbase (select the base in trade route mapmode, then right-click on the target base to cancel or switch route). If the Trade Route of a given Starbase leads to another Starbase, the receiving Starbase will send both its own collected Trade Value and the Trade Value received from the other Starbase further towards the capital system. Once the Trade Value reaches the empire's capital, the capital system must contain a starbase of higher than Outpost level in order for the Trade Value to be exploited.
As an example: We have three Starbases; A, B and C. All three Starbases are connected to each other by a Trade Route going from A to B and then to C which is located in the empire's capital system. Starbase A collects 10 Trade Value from within its range and Starbase B collects 15 Trade Value from within its range while Starbase C receives and converts all Trade Value into Energy Credits. In this scenario, Starbase A will send its collected Trade Value (10) to Starbase B which will send both its own collected Trade Value (15) and the Trade Value received from Starbase A (10) to Starbase C which will convert the combined Trade Value received (25) into Energy Credits at a 1:1 ratio.
Trade Routes have their own map filter showing routes, protection and piracy.
Civilian Trade will always make use of Wormholes, Gateways, and L Gates . Starbases with Trade Hub modules will collect Trade Value from the other side of a Bypass, as well as systems neighboring the other end if enough modules are constructed. Trade Routes will also be formed through a Bypass if the path is shorter that way.
Lucrative trade always risks attracting piracy. Every trade route that goes through a system without an upgraded Starbase will attract piracy in that system, slowly growing for 10 years until it reaches 25% of the Trade Value going through the system. Piracy can be countered in two ways:
- Piracy Suppression: Fleets automatically decrease Piracy in the systems they are located in when Max Piracy is less than Piracy Suppression. As soon as the fleet leaves the system Piracy will start rising again but any fleet can be given orders to patrol between systems in order to keep Piracy levels low. The amount of piracy suppression is dependent only on the ships hull size, with corvettes being the best and titans being the worst, independent of their equipment, although high mobility might help soften piracy spikes on long routes.
- Trade Protection: All Starbases bigger than Outposts give nearby systems a Trade Protection value representing heavily escorted convoys that cannot be attacked by pirates. A Trade Protection value ensures that the same amount of Trade Value cannot be lost to piracy. By default this trade protection only applies for the system the Starbase is located within but can be extended to additional systems with weapon modules. Trade Protection is generated by the following:
- +8 for each Starbase level
- +5 for each Gun Battery module
- +5 for each Missile Battery module
- +10 for each Hangar Bay module
- The Secure Shipping tradition adds an additional +5 Trade Protection on all Trade Routes.
If piracy is left unchecked in a system it might also spawn a pirate fleet that will occupy the system and destroy stations there. Pirate ships scale in strength with the number of years passed in the game but their ship components will never advance beyond tier 3.
|Tier||Years passed||Pirate fleet composition|
The Market is available from the start to every empire and represents various actors within an empire with whom the empire itself can buy and sell resources. Resources are bought and sold for Energy Credits, with their prices dependent on empire economy, supply and demand, and whether the Galactic Market is founded. Resources can be purchased either in bulk or by setting up a monthly trade and the setting a minimum sale/maximum purchase price. The Market base prices are the following:
As soon as both 50 years have passed since the start of the game and an empire has established communications with at least 50% of the other non-fallen empires in the galaxy then the Galactic Market Nomination event will begin. One of the empires which has established communications with at least 50% of the other empires in the galaxy will be chosen randomly and that empire along with all empires which they are in contact with at that time will be eligible for nominations. For 5 years a competition will run to determine which empire will host it, during which all eligible empires can nominate one of their planets for the competition. When the competition is over the system of one nominated planet in the galaxy will be chosen to host the Galactic
Market, with the following weights:
If no empire nominates one of their planets a system will be picked at random.
Any empire that knows of the Galactic Market system has access to it and is able to trade on it. The owner of the Galactic Market system gets a reduction in its Market Fee. Supply and demand on the Galactic Market affects the prices for every empire and large shifts in prices will affect the economy of every empire relying on importing or exporting a resource. Strategic Resources will not be available until they are accessible to empires on the market in large enough quantities.
The Galactic Market cannot form in a galaxy with only one or two empires.
|Available only with the MegaCorp DLC enabled.|
Access to the Slave Market is granted once the Galactic Market is founded. Only empires that also have access to the Galactic Market will be able to use the Slave Market. Only Pops that are enslaved are able to be sold on the Slave Market, with a base price of 500 Energy Credits, raised or lowered by species Traits.
Empires that have the Slavery policy set to Outlawed will set free any Pop bought on the Slave Market but the Pop price will be doubled.
You will be notified if there are slaves of your main species put on sale.
All sales or purchases on the Internal and Galactic Market have a Market Fee added to them. The Market Fee starts at 30% and cannot go below 5%. It can be lowered by the following:
- Trader Proxy Office starbase buildings add -5% Market Fee each
- Import / Export agenda adds -5% Market Fee
- Insider Trading diplomacy tradition adds -10% Market Fee
- Adaptive Programming versatility tradition adds -10% Market Fee
- The empire that houses the Galactic Market gets -10% Market Fee
Diplomatic Trade is negotiated via the diplomacy menu. Most of physical resources, that are tradable through Market can be traded here too, although instant trades amounts can be defined manually here and there is always 10-30 years time limit on long-term contracts. Diplomatic Trade often can yield better deals than the Market.
The following resources can be traded. Each one is considered more valuable than the previous but a sudden shortage can make AI empires value a certain resource more.
- Energy Credits: The least sought resource. Some types of empires might still often run low on it. For example, Machine Intelligence, which highly dependent on it for maintenance, or underpopulated Egalitarians, which tend to buy out a lot slaves with acceptable habitability.
- Minerals: Valued twice more than Energy Credits.
- Food: Valued even more than Minerals due to its growth bonuses.
- Alloys: Very often in demand, especially by empires that are not Pacifist.
- Consumer Goods: Valued a bit more than Food due to potential bonuses and uses for upkeep.
- Volatile Motes: Highly valued due to its possible uses and great rarity.
- Exotic Gases: Highly valued due to its possible uses and great rarity.
- Rare Crystals: Highly valued due to its possible uses and great rarity.
- Living Metal: One of the most valued resources due to its scarcity.
- Dark Matter: One of the most valued resources due to its scarcity.
- Zro: The most valued resource due to its scarcity.
- Communications: Valued based on the number of new contacts.
- Active Sensor Link: Valued based on distance, neighboring empires being more interested.
- Transfer System: Available only towards neighbors during peacetime, it is the most valued trade option and can be used to offer to cede one of your star systems, usually non-preferred planets that are too expensive to terraform or adapt pops to, or as a way to ease opinion penalty of claims or border tension. The AI will always refuse to accept systems that contain colonized Holy Worlds or border the Militant Isolationists.
AI values resources depending on empire's existing reserves, once AI fills their stockpile long-term contracts become only viable option and still will be accepted. AI will never accept mixed long-term/instant trades. Although Gestalt Consciousness empires have no use for Consumer Goods or Zro, they are still willing to trade for them.
Trading requires a neutral or positive attitude between the two empires. Empires holding a negative attitude will accept only gifts. Fallen empires only trade if they're patronizing towards the proposing empire.
The trade acceptance number shows how much the other empire favors a deal. A trade acceptance lower than 1 means that the other empire sees the deal as disadvantageous for them and will always refuse it. A trade acceptance of 1 means that AI empire sees the deal as fair and will always accept it (unacceptable offers and demands still can be sent, it has no penalties). A trade acceptance higher than 1 means that the other empire sees the deal as advantageous for them and will give a temporary bonus to their opinion ( Favorable trade deal), although this has a limit of only 100.
Trade Willingness shows how much an empire is open to trading with other empires and is dependent on their AI personality. The lower their Trade Willingness is, the more favorable a trade deal has to be for them to see it as fair. Empires with less than 75% Trade Willingness will never make offers. The only way to improve Trade Willingness is by activating the Diplomatic Grants edict.
|AI personality||Trade Willingness|
|Keepers of Knowledge||50%|
|Available only with the Utopia DLC or the Synthetic Dawn DLC enabled.|
|AI personality||Trade Willingness|
Fanatical Purifiers only trade with empires of the same species. Determined Exterminators only trade with machine empires.