vo screendump

Trading Tips for Newbies

Welcome to the world of profit, Trader! You have chosen a noble profession. The Guild of Free Traders wishes you well in your pursuit of riches and offers the following advice in the hopes that you will join us among the wealthiest of the wealthy in Vendetta-Online (VO).

VO allows players to buy and sell ships, weapons and other add-ons, commodities and ore. All of these transactions occur while docked at stations. The buy and sell prices of items vary from one station to another, and the basic concept is to buy low and sell high.

Price Discovery

If you knew the buy and sell price of every item at every station, profitable trading would be simple. However, when beginning the game, you do not know any prices at all. Therefore, a new trader's work is primarily price discovery. The more you know about prices throughout the VO universe, the greater your profitability. Accordingly, the trader's greatest asset is the ability to compile clear, detailed price data.

Let us begin by supposing that you have already run a few missions, can buy an Atlas, have a modest bank account, and are docked at Dau L-10 (the UIT Capitol). You wish to buy something that is for sale at that station, load up your Atlas with it (32-cu capacity) and sell it at a higher price somewhere else, perhaps another station in Dau.

To simplify the discussion, let us suppose you wish to trade commodities. (The principles are the same if you are trading anything else.) You go to Commerce/Commodities/Buy in your PDA and are presented with a bewildering list of 34 items. What to buy and where to go with it?

Let us assume that, in most cases, items with high purchase prices are likely to have commensurately high sale prices and therefore earn the most profit. While this is not always true, the tendency is in this direction, and it is as good a rule as any for narrowing down your selections and starting on the road to price discovery.

Let us load 1 unit each of as many items as we can into our Atlas and go shopping with it. If we don't have enough cash to fill it up, a partial load will do, although the price discovery process will then take longer. We're not going to sell this load, just fly it around and see what prices we can obtain at other stations. We can call this type of price discovery load a "price Atlas."

So we buy the following items at Dau L-10:

vo screendump
  • 1 unit (1 cu) Rare Book
  • 1 unit (5 cu) Fine furniture
  • 1 unit (3 cu) Phase Array
  • 1 unit (1 cu) Luxury Goods
  • 1 unit (1 cu) Organic Solvents
  • 1 unit (1 cu) Dau Spices
  • 1 unit (3 cu) Stabilizing Systems
  • 1 unit (1 cu) Civilian Textiles
  • 1 unit (1 cu) Dau Wine
  • 1 unit (1 cu) Corrosive Chemicals
  • 1 unit (3 cu) Oxygen Recycling System
  • 1 unit (1 cu) NanoPigments
  • 1 unit (3 cu) Cooling Systems
  • 1 unit (1 cu) Synth Wood
  • 1 unit (1 cu) Vismetal
  • 1 unit (3 cu) Basic Targeting Systems
  • 1 unit (1 cu) XiRite Alloy
  • 1 unit (1 cu) Simple PLastics
  • 1 unit (1 cu) Volatile Chemicals

Now that we are loaded up, we launch into space, but stop immediately upon leaving the station, without jumping to another sector. Now hit the "j" key, rgw one used to jettison cargo. We are not going to actually jettison anything, we just want to examine the list that the jettison display presents to us.

The Jettison Cargo display shows us, not only what items we are carrying, but the best sale price available for each item within the present system (Dau). For example, we could learn that our 4 units of Fine Furniture will sell for a profit of 412 cr per cu at Dau G-11, should we decide to go there. We write down each of the "Best price" values, and we have now created the beginning of a master price database, without even docking at another station.

Perhaps there are even better prices available outside Dau so let's investigate this possibility. The adjoining systems are Arta Caelestis, Nyrius and Azek. It will require only a few minutes to fly our price Atlas into each of these systems and write down the same data for each one. We don't have to dock anywhere, just fly through the wormhole into the next system. While we are at it, we might as well take a few more minutes and fly into Verasi also, completing the tour of UIT space with our price Atlas load of Dau L-10 items.

At this point, we have made much progress. We now have a matrix of best prices for 19 items in 5 systems, i.e. 95 possible trades from Dau L-10, most of them profitable. Now we select one that we like, unload our price Atlas cargo to storage at Dau L-10, buy a full load of the item that we have selected, fly to the indicated station, sell it all there, and collect our profit. I mean, what could be easier?

Now we look at the Buy list at our new station, and we see that a completely different set of items is offered, some of which were unavailable at Dau L-10. We load up a price Atlas based on this new list of items, fly it around as before, select a trade, and fly to yet another station, writing down the price data as we go. This process can be repeated ad infinitum, or at least until we have exhausted all of the trade possibilities in UIT space, which is a great number of trades.

By now, we have learned a great deal. We have researched a quite voluminous compendium of price data, so much, in fact, that organizing it intelligently is becoming an issue. And we have only visited UIT space! UIT space has 5 systems, and there are 30 systems in the entire VO universe. Clearly, if we are going to become an intrepid trader, we have a great amount of work still to do.

How much profit can you reasonably expect to make? By the time you have a reasonably complete data set for three systems or more, you should seldom make less than 500 cr per cu profit. The better nation-space trades range between about 700 and 1100 cr per cu. There are a few exceptional trades above 3000 cr per cu.

At this point, it is obvious how advantageous it would be to have a buddy to share the load of data gathering and organizing. In fact, three buddies would be really helpful. With four players working cooperatively and sharing data, one could be assigned to work each of UIT, Itani, Serco and grey space. The combined data resources of these players would become truly awesome. Such a group of buddies could even form themselves into a guild and ... ah ... errm ... well, you get the idea.

Trade Assistant

How nice it would be to have a tool that would organize all of our data! That is where TGFT's Trade Assistant (TA) plug-in comes in handy. The current version of TA, created by the inimitable Moda Messolus, can be downloaded here. TA automatically acquires price data at every station you dock at and records it in a database on your local disk. It complements the VO game engine's "j" tool.

TA has two tabs, "Trade Goods" and "Stations," both displaying data based on where you have been and what you have carried there. TA stores prices for all items that you have on board your ship or in storage at a station every time you dock. The plug-in performs this operation in background, with no action required on your part.

Under "Trade Goods," TA displays buy and sell prices for each item at each station. This list can be used to pick a station at which to buy or sell an item. The "Stations" tab allows you to choose pairs of stations and select profitable trades between those two locations. Persistent rumors that TA is the basis of an in-house trade tool used by TGFT are ... umm ... rumors.

The above suggestions should form the basis for you to became a very profitable trader. If you stop reading here, you will have much of the foundation information that a good trader needs. However, there are a few more things that are worth knowing, so kindly read on a little further.

Station Types

When considering two stations to trade between, it is worth paying attention to the station types. VO has five station types: Capitol, Commercial, Mining, Research and Barracks. Although there are exceptions, it is usually unprofitable to trade between stations of the same type, e.g. Barracks to Barracks. Furthermore, Capitol stations tend to be less profitable then the other types. Trading between dissimilar station types and avoiding Capitol stations, as a general rule, will yield the most profitable results.

Another factor in choosing station pairs is distance. Clearly, the profit is in buying and selling, not motoring through space. Your game time will be used more efficiently if you choose station pairs close together.

Price Dynamics

Buy prices (i.e. you buy, the station sells) in general vary for each item at each station. These prices are static. However, sell prices (you sell, the station buys), in addition to being variable, are also dynamic. This means that the sell price of a given item at a given station drops after every sale and slowly drifts back up if sale activity ceases. As a result of this dynamic behavior, the sell price of an item at a particular station can "tank" if there is too much sale activity on it, by all traders combined, within a short period of time. As a general rule of thumb, it is usually unprofitable to sell more than 500 units of a given item at once.

Because of VO's dynamic pricing system, it is possible to set up what appears to be a dynamite trade, arrive at the destination, and discover that your competitors have tanked the sell price, resulting in a meager profit or even a loss for you. In this situation, your options are to look for another station to sell at, or store your cargo and come back in a couple weeks, hoping for a better price then.

Weapon Trades

This leads us to some points about weapon trades. These trades are not optimum for the newbie trader. First, you do not have access to very many weapons at first, whereas you do have access to all ores and commodities. Second, weapon sell prices, with a few exceptions, tank rapidly, making weapon trades in practice far less profitable than they appear on paper. Third, weapon trades do not give trade XP, whereas commodity trades do. Fourth, weapons are heavy. If you have not yet experienced the delight of docking a Behemoth XC fully loaded with Gatling Turrets, you are in for a real treat the first time you try this.

Static Trades

As has already been implied above, some items at some stations are static, i.e. they do not tank. There are both commodity and weapon static items. Discovery of them is by trial and error. Players who know of such items often keep this knowledge closely held. Discovering a static items can be richly rewarding in the long run, but count on losing money searching for them. Good luck.

Static weapon trades tend to be more profitable than static commodity trades, but note the point above on the large mass of ships loaded with weapons.

TGFT is aware of a very small number of enhanced trade routes, based on extravagantly inflated sell prices for certain commodities at certain stations. As with static trades, such knowledge tends to be closely held. Again, good luck -- they are out there, and they sometimes appear in odd corners. (Hint -- look in grey space.)

Station Lists & the Daily Trade Report

In the Commerce/Welcome display of your PDA, at each station, you will see a list of items headed "Our reserves of the below items are running low. We'll pay well for deliveries of any of these items." Well, zowee, that really sounds spectacular! How kind of the devs to serve up such a handy recipe for instant wealth!

Alas, the truth is otherwise. In this case, you should apply the dictum "If it sounds too good to be true, it's too good to be true." TGFT has observed the following problems with such trades:

  • Most of the items are available at only a few stations, and you are not informed where those are. Some items, like Samoflange, cannot be purchased anywhere.
  • Acquiring the items, in many cases, requires you to take a long trip through grey space, which may be dangerous for a newbie.
  • The profit usually is not spectacular, and you can do as well or better with a well-selected trade in your immediate neighborhood, using the methods described above.

Under Your PDA/Comm/News, you will find a Daily Trade Report. This report encourages trading specific items between specific pairs of stations. TGFT has observed that, although the sell prices for these trades are indeed a little higher than normal, their profit per cu is not extraordinary. We do not recommend the Daily Trade Report as a suitable basis for a highly profitable trading program. However, many of these trades do form a suitable basis for getting shot at a lot by pirates and trolls, if that is what you are interested in.

Trade Experience Points (XP)

Trading for trade XP is a little different from trading for credits. Certain items confer high trade XP per cu, even though they do not earn much. Examples are Coolant and Bearing Grease, which give the highest at 12 trade XP per cu. So if you are trading to be able to buy your first Behemoth (trade 8, mining 4) or Behemoth XC (trade 9, mining 4) and don't care too much about credits for a while, try trading these items.

Faction Standing

TGFT recommends building your faction standing in every area of the universe where you wish to operate, because it is a useful defensive attribute. Although not all pirates behave the same, there are some who are reluctant to attack you in monitored or guarded space where you have "Admired" standing or better.

A good way to gain faction standing, as well as trade XP, is to take Trading Guild/Procurement missions ("bulk procs"). Keep in mind that bulk proc missions recycle. Therefore, it is advantageous to carry as much of the specified item as possible on your return trip. Store the excess at the destination, and wait for that mission to recur. when it does, load up your ship from your stored supply, launch and immediately redock, and you will receive credit for the proc. The bulk procs with the higher money values also give more standing points. We recommend you ignore the "time bonuses" offered on these routes, because they are too small to be important.

High faction standing is necessary to unlock certain ship and equipment items that are sold only by particular nations or factions. The highest standing you can acquire is "Pillar of Society" (POS), signified by a gold bar on your accomplishments display. The grind from 900 standing to 1000 (POS) goes slowly and requires patience and hard work. There are thirteen nations/factions.

The faction standing system works less effectively in UIT space than in Itani or Serco space (also called "nation space"). UIT standing is operative only at UIT wormholes and certain stations that are designated as guarded by UIT. Most stations in UIT space are guarded by one of the several factions sprinkled throughout UIT and grey space. For example, having high UIT standing is of no value at a Valent station in Verasi, even though it is located within UIT space.

Trades that are made on your own, apart from a mission requirement, earn trade XP but not standing.


There are various approaches to dealing with pirates, and TGFT does not officially recommend one over another. We do advise the newbie trader that it takes experience to be able to outrun or outfight a skilled pirate, and that grey space, and even UIT space, can be dangerous. It reduces your stress level to think ahead of time about your approach -- pay, run or fight -- should you meet a pirate on a trade run.

Our friends at the Viper Guild [VPR] have posted expert advice on piracy at their [VPR]pedia. TGFT recommends asking VPR for free escorts and actionable intelligence when operating in grey space. We also recommend informing VPR via PM of any pirate sightings, so they can more effectively help others. The VPR chat channel is 4357 [HELP].


Trader, we hope you have found these tips interesting and profitable. There is much more to know about safe and profitable trading, as TGFT members discuss regularly in guild chat and the member boards of our forum. If trading is your RP and you would like to be among the wealthiest and the best, please visit our recruiting page. Our members can be contacted in-game via private message (PM) or on chat channel 444 [$$$]. Give us a shout any time!