Trade represents the transfer of goods or resources from one entity to another, usually with the intent of generating a profit from said transaction. There are multiple types of trade possible, each having different mechanics, and all play a large impact on the economy of an empire, multiple empires or even the entire galaxy.
For information about trade deals between empires, see Diplomacy#Trade deals.
Trade value 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 standards generating more trade value per pop; trade value is also produced by a number of different jobs, primarily clerks and merchants. The trade value of a planet is further affected by its stability, designation, and other factors. Additionally, small amounts of trade value can be found as deposits on celestial bodies.
Each unit of trade value is converted into energy credits. Depending on the empire's trade policy, consumer goods and unity (or both) may also be produced.
Civilian trade is not available to Gestalt Consciousness empires. Corporate empires on the other hand are very efficient at generating and exploiting trade value through branch offices and other methods while Merchant Guilds and Corporate Dominion empires are also quite well-geared towards generating trade value, with additional merchants and access to the Mercantile diplomatic stance.
The trade value produced on a planet can be further modified by the following:
Trade value is collected by starbases above outpost level. By default, starbases will only collect trade value from the system in which they are built, but their collection range can be extended by 1 hyperlane jump for each Trade Hub module present; the Hyperlane Registrar starbase building also extends the collection range by 1, as does adopting the Mercantile tradition tree. A starbase with one or more trade hub modules can also have a Offworld Trading Company building, which produces +2 trade value for every trade hub module on the starbase, up to a maximum of +12 trade value on a starbase with 6 Trade Hubs. If the starbase is disabled or occupied, it will not collect trade value until it is restored. All trade value collected by a starbase must be sent through a trade route to the capital system, where it is converted into useable resources ( energy credits, and possibly consumer goods or unity) as determined by the empire's trade policy.
A trade route is a path that connects a starbase collecting trade value to the capital system, either directly or through another starbase, and is required for the trade value to be exploited. Each upgraded starbase has one outgoing trade route, which initially connects 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 starbase leads to another starbase, the receiving starbase will send both its own collected trade value and the trade value received from the other starbases further "downstream" towards the capital system. The length of a trade route has no direct effect on its trade value, and overlapping individual trade routes are equivalent to consolidated routes, thus the primary use of manually setting routes is to reduce piracy risk. 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 converted into tangible resources.
Trade routes have their own map filter showing routes, protection, and piracy.
- See also: FTL#Bypasses
Trade value can be collected and routed through wormholes, gateways, and L-gates. Starbases with trade hub modules will collect trade value from the other side of a bypass, treating it as one hyperlane jump, as well as systems neighboring the other end within collection range. Trade routes will also be formed through a bypass if the path is shorter that way, even via the controlled space of another empire if borders are open.
Lucrative trade always risks attracting piracy. Every trade route that goes through a system without an upgraded starbase attracts piracy in that system, slowly growing for 10 years until it reaches 25% of the trade value going through the system. Piracy is countered in three ways:
- All starbases bigger than outposts as well as mercenary enclaves eliminate piracy in their systems.
- Piracy suppression: Fleets automatically decrease piracy for the systems in which they are located when max piracy is less than piracy suppression. As soon as all fleets leave a system, piracy will start rising again. The total piracy suppression of a fleet equals the sum of piracy suppression of individual ships in the fleet. The amount of piracy suppression per ship depends only on the ship's hull size, with corvettes being the best and titans being the worst.
Any fleet can be given the patrol command in order to facilitate player's piracy suppression across their trade routes. A fleet under patrol command will travel from the starting waypoint, through intermediate ones, reaching an ending waypoint, then re-trace the route back and repeat indefinitely. (Starting and ending waypoints can coincide.) In order to set a patrol waypoint on a system, select one or more fleets, left-click Patrol or press P, and then left-click on a system; press Shift + left-click on another system in order to set additional waypoints.
- Trade protection: Starbases give a trade protection value representing secure transports and 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 to the system in which the starbase is located, but can be extended by 1 hyperlane per weapon module. Trade protection also does not extend outside of the territory of the empire to which the starbase belongs. A starbase's protection coverage can be seen in trade routes mapmode as the highlighted trade protection icons. Trade protection is lost immediately if a weapon module is queued for replacement; however, trade protection gained with new modules and upgrades is only shown upon monthly refresh. Trade protection is generated by the following:
- +2 Base protection for having a starbase
- +8 for each additional starbase level
- +5 for each gun and missile battery module
- +10 for each hangar bay module
- Adopting the Mercantile tradition tree adds an additional +5 trade protection in all owned systems.
- The president of a level 3 or higher Trade League gains +5 trade protection in all owned systems.
- Level 2 or 3 of Galactic Commerce resolution adds +10 trade protection for all galactic community members' systems.
- Level 4 or 5 of Galactic Commerce resolution adds +25 trade protection for all galactic community members' systems.
- The Anti-Piracy Initiative Custodian resolution adds +5 trade protection for all galactic community members' systems.
If piracy is left unchecked in a system and rises too high, a pirate fleet may spawn and attack the system, representing a situation where the pirates have become so emboldened that they decide directly attack a system to pillage it. The pirate fleet will attack stations, destroying them, as well as the starbase itself. If the pirates succeed in disabling the system's starbase, then the system will succumb to the pirate attack and be occupied by a pirate station. Pirate ships scale in number with the amount of pirated trade value, but their ship modules will never advance beyond tier 3. Destroying a pirate station awards 200 minerals and 100 energy credits from its strongroom module, scaled by the empire's monthly income.
|Trade value lost||Corvettes||Destroyers||Cruisers||Battleships|
As the piracy suppression of individual ships stacks, when max piracy is high along a trade route, it is more effective to consolidate patrolling ships into one big fleet in order for fleet piracy suppression to approach or match max piracy and to reduce current piracy in one system towards a minimal amount at a time - ideally, current piracy in that system will not bounce back too much by the time the patrolling fleet returns; meanwhile, when max piracy is low, vice versa.
Since it is usually more effective have few fleets and each covering a number of systems, high fleet speed facilities suppression of piracy in player's empire, which in turn makes corvettes with their high speed on top of per ship piracy suppression extra effective at suppressing piracy.
If the player has only used the trade hub module in a starbase for trade value collection in early game in order to conserve the starbase's building slots, in the late game, as more building slots become available, it can be more efficient to construct a hyperlane register building and swap a trade hub module for a weapons module in order to extend piracy protection while maintaining collection coverage. This also coincides with higher amounts of trade value that requires piracy protection in late game.
Since trade protection extends over bypasses, the player can prioritize weapon modules in starbases near bypasses in order to overlap trade protection coverage. This synergizes with the need for defense at or near bypasses.
Another approach in the early to mid game is to build chains of starbases in adjacent systems toward more remote parts of your empire (outside the collection range of the capital) with a dedicated trade collecting station at the end of each such chain and then to route the collected trade via these chains from starbase to starbase back to your capital preventing piracy entirely.
Connecting all trade hubs to the capital using gateways can eliminate piracy by removing unprotected systems from the trade routes. Additionally, as trade collected range extends through gateways it is possible to reduce the number of collecting starbases to reduce the number of trade routes.
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. The price can go as low as 20% and as high as 500% of the base price, further subject to market fee. Resources can be purchased either in bulk or by setting up a monthly trade and then setting a minimum sale/maximum purchase price. The market base prices are the following:
The galactic market is created by passing the ‘Form the Galactic Market’ galactic priorities resolution in the Galactic Community. Once the resolution is passed, the ‘Galactic Market Nomination’ event will begin. For 5 years, eligible empires may boost their chances of being selected as the market nexus by nominating one of their planets and further by boosting their nomination bid.
The host for the galactic market is chosen through two random rolls. The first happens when the 'Galactic Market Hub Nomination' decision is enacted on a planet (at a cost of 1000 energy and 150 influence). This randomly assigns a rating ranging from weak to strong to the planet according to the weightings listed below, under Nomination rating chance. Thus, improving trade value of the planet later on will not retroactively improve the rating of the planet, however the nomination can be revoked (for 10 influence) then reenacted to reroll the weighting. Additionally, this rating can be improved to the next higher rating by passing the ‘Boost Nomination Bid’ decision up to two times (costing 2000 energy and 300 influence each time). Each empire can only nominate a single planet.
Once 5 years have passed, the second random roll happens, determining the empire to host the galactic market. In this roll, each empire is weighted according to the Winning weight listed below, corresponding to the rating of their nominated planet. If they did not nominate a planet, their Winning weight will be 0.5.
Winning weight is effectively the chance of your planet succeeding in the bid. Your chance of winning is calculated using
If the winning empire did not nominate a planet, then one of their planets will be randomly chosen as the host of the galactic market. If they did nominate a planet, then one of their planets will be chosen randomly where the nominated planet has weight 9999 and all other unnominated planets have weight 1.
The lottery weights are:
|Rating||Nomination rating chance||Winning weight||Requirements (any of)|
|None||–||0.5||No nomination, all eligible empires|
Weak rating and boosted once
Adequate rating and boosted once
Weak rating and boosted twice
|Exceptional||–||51||Strong rating and boosted once|
Adequate rating and boosted twice
|Perfect||–||76||Strong rating and boosted twice|
Empires may only access and trade on the galactic market if they are a member of the Galactic Community. The owner of the galactic market system enjoys 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 at least one empire has them in stock.
If the empire hosting the galactic market leaves the galactic community the nomination process will start again to choose a new host. If the hosting empire loses ownership of the system with the galactic market, the market system will be relocated if that system has no owner or is now held by a genocidal empire or another member of the galactic community, with the galactic market station relocating to a weighted random galactic community member's capital system.
|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 1000 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. This can be useful for diversifying the empire or expanding colonial holdings by purchasing species with different habitability preferences, provided that a compatible planet or habitat is available for the purchased pop. Pre-sapient pops can also be bought on the slave market.
The slave market can be closed first for organic species and then for all species via Galactic Community resolutions.
Empires will be notified if there are slaves of their primary 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 altered by the following:
- Trader Proxy Office starbase buildings: −5% each
- Import / Export agenda: −5%
- Insider Trading tradition: −10%
- Adaptive Programming tradition: −10%
- Hosting the Galactic Market: −10%
- The Economic Sanctions Galactic Community resolution will increase the market fee by +10% per level of the sanctions (max +30%).
- This appears to be a bug, where the trigger should be not a member of the galactic community