23 April 2013

X3:TC X-TREME Trader

I am finding the X-treme Trading achievement to be the worst one so far. It's basically holding me up from starting on the Dead is Dead playthroughs. What follows are my spoilers for getting through that achievement.

Firstly, I tried stations + CAGs and some CLS routes. These are very profitable, and this got me up to Tycoon at a slow but reasonable clip. Then I hit Tycoon, and everything slowed down drastically. As in 5-6 hrs of game time (about a half hour total in SETA) to get 1%. This is far too slow. The big problem with CAGs is that increasing profitability means expanding your stations, which is a pain to me, and it causes you to drop out of SETA a lot. CLSs also require a bit of fiddling to get just right (for me). So UTs ended up coming to the rescue. Setup is a bit quicker and easier. Every once in a while, they turn stupid and stop working, but not too often.

The other key to this is to build, build, build... for the Yaki. Repair your rep with them to the point where you can take missions. Then go to Senator's Badlands or Weaver's Tempest and look for build missions, green plus icon. (In my game, there were no stations in Ocracoke's Storm by the time I went there.) Start doing a SETA cycle -- see previous post about using a timer and SETA to avoid rank loss -- with the local map open and keep an eye out for more build missions. If you have bad rep with any of the races, make sure you can buy the factory they are requesting. :) Do this continually as you train up UTs. (more on UTs below). Over time, you will end up building lots of stations in Yaki space... and you are the only one who can trade with them!

For training UTs (one at a time), I typically start the ship as a Local Trader in Ore Belt. This has been a pretty consistent training ground for me. It seems to get the trader up to UT-capable in 5 or so cycles. After the trader hits level 8 or higher, I'll send them to one of two places. If Yaki space is not very built up with stations, I send them to Power Circle. They will gradually level up and eventually won't return to Power Circle much. However, after Yaki space is populated with stations, I send the Level 8s to Empire's Edge. From there they are in range of the Yaki sectors and they train up to max quickly. With about 30 UTs, it's taking about 2 SETA cycles to get 1%. Up from 5 or 6 cycles with just the CAGs (for food and secondaries) and CLSs.

As for which ships to use for UTs, I have mainly been using Split Caiman SF XLs (10k cargo, 89 m/s). Mistrals are bigger, but are also a lot slower. In case I need to retask them to do something else, I prefer the caimans. I buy them 10 at a time, and send them through the outfitting gauntlet.
  1. Purchase Large versions from Zyarth's Dominion
    I have the hub connected to the neighboring system, so it's convenient to buy from there.
    I purchase the L version with shields already equipped if possible.
    Caution must be exercised because there are frequent Xenon attacks in Zyarth's
  2. Send to Terracorp HQ in Home of Light for Jump drive (and all other upgrades)
  3. One at a time, set all ships to Autojump: Yes, Minimum jumps: 0, Refuel amount: 50 jumps
  4. Send them to the nearest SPP or one of my factories to get fueled
  5. Send them to an equipment dock, and get all upgrades (Split if you want ALL the upgrades, including turbo, carrier command, spacefly collector, but not needed)
  6. Send them to OTAS HQ in Legend's Home for Docking Computer and Triplex
  7. Park them in a protected system until they are needed
Last time, I bought 80 of them and did this all in a row. Since 80 is too many to put in a station, I parked them in space in my home system. Then I would send them 5 at a time to Ore Belt so I always had some in place to start the Local Trader command when the trainee graduated to UT.

This takes a while, and it would be nice to find faster ways to train UTs. But it works, and the UTs + Yaki station building has drastically upped my trade rank earnings. I don't claim this is the best way to do it, but it's working for me.

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