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Archive for May, 2008

Master Trader – Part II

May 31st, 2008 by Bahama

So you’ve decided to be a trader rather than a collector of schematics.  You’ve started stocking your vendor with all the items you can make, done your research, experimented on the bazaar with various items and prices and you’ve got a price list started.  Perhaps you’ve even made a few credits selling already! You’re off to a great start.  Now’s the time to aquire the other things you need to run your business.

  • Factories.  Sooner or later you’ll want to own your own factory.  Many items require crated components and these can be costly to purchase from others.  All things considered, factories are a good investment.  In addition to being able to make the components you need, factories are a great place to store extra materials. 
  • Crafting tools.  Be sure you make or buy at least 3 quality crafting tools for your area of expertise.  It’s also good to have a generic on hand as well.  Having 3 will allow you craft continuously with little or no wait time between items.  This is also the time to experiment with where you keep your tools and materials.  Be sure you’ve got things set up for maximum speed and efficiency.
  • Personal crafting station or droid.  You’ll need one or both of these to craft higher level and higher quality goods.  I highly recommend droids with crafting stations installed but they may not be the best choice for you.  Do your research before you buy.
  • Brand name.  Depending on which trade you’re in and what type of business you plan to run, you may want to put some effort into developing a brand name to set your products apart from your competition. 
  • Suppliers.  If you’ll be harvesting all your own materials, you’ll need to obtain harvesters and survey tools.  If you’ll be purchasing materials or components it’s a good idea to see if there’s someone in your neighborhood you can get a deal from.
  • Storage.  Trading for a living requires that you have a lot of materials and components available.  Which means that you’ll need to find storage solutions.  I already mentioned that factories can be a great place to store excess materials but then you have to go to the factory to retrieve them.  Another possibility is to create a personal storage vendor.  These days vendors can be packed up into your datapad and carried around for convenience.  This is a good solution if you’re careful to attend to the stockroom, maintenance fees and always double check to make sure you’re packing, not removing, the vendor and everything in it.

Even with all this taken care of there’s still one more thing you need to be a master trader.  Can you guess what it is?  :)

Master Trader – Part I

May 30th, 2008 by Bahama

I’ve seen a lot more traders around lately.  You see them surveying for materials outside Mos Eisley or at the bazaar, presumably selling their wares.  Many I’ve met are concerned about one thing – becoming a master of their trade. They set their crafting tools to practice mode put it on auto and expect to come back a few hours later a master trader.

But from where I’m sitting, I think they’re missing the point.  You’re not a master trader until you’ve mastered trading, or the buying and selling of commodities.  Otherwise you’re just a collector of schematics.

So, what’s my advice to new traders seeking fame and fortune?  For starters, take your tool off practice mode.  Actually make, by hand, several units of every item you have a schematic for. 

  • Record what materials are needed for each. You’ll need this information later to know which materials and how much of each you’ll need to harvest or purchase. 
  • Take the time to figure out how much each item costs you to produce.  Now’s the time to start developing your price list and step one in doing that is figuring out how much you need to pay just to make it.
  • Do some market research.  Head to the bazaar and see what comparable items are going for across the galaxy.  How many are up for sale already?  Who’s your competetion? Is there a niche that’s been overlooked that perhaps you can fill?
  • Get a vendor.  Place a shop, set up a vendor and begin to sell the items you can make.  You’re going to have to experiment a bit to see which items will sell best and at which price.   Don’t assume that because an item is lower level there isn’t a demand for it.  It’s also ok to sell things for less than they cost you to make.  You’re paying for your education here!
  • List on the bazaar.  It’s a whole different game.  Items tend to sell for much more on the bazaar in Mos Eisley than on vendors.  Folks will pay more for the convenience.  You’ll also find that demand is different.  Those who are new to the galaxy have different needs and wants than those that have been around a while.  So experiment and find out what you can make that they want.

That should keep all you traders busy for a bit 😉  Next up: What you need to run your business.

Mysterious Meeting

May 26th, 2008 by Bahama

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the guild hall.  Besides decorating my new office and setting up offices for others, I’ve been cleaning out and reorganizing supplies.  While working, I noticed our supply of guild uniforms was depleted.  Not surprising as we’ve had several wonderful new members join in the last couple of weeks.

I was busy replenishing the uniform closet when I received a tell from a gentleman.  He said he enjoyed my clothing and wondered if I’d be able to meet him in person.  Usually that means they need some clothing made and so I asked right away what I could make for him. 

His response was a bit perplexing.  He replied that he didn’t want me to make him anything, only that he wanted the chance to meet me in person and thank me for the wonderful clothing.

At this point the whole thing sounded a bit odd.  I receive hundreds of sale emails from my vendors in a week and while a few unique names might stick with me, for the most part, I don’t make a habit out of memorizing each customer’s name.  I do keep a list of customers I service in person as they usually return and it’s helpful for me to remember which wanted all black items and which favored electric purple.  He didn’t appear on that list.

The general rule in business is to make the customer happy, so I agreed to meet him, despite my confusion over who this man was and which clothing he referred to.  I asked where we should meet.  He replied, “Yavin IV, for reasons unknown to me.” Huh, what does that mean?

Now I really had a funny feeling about the whole thing.  I sent a quick message over the guild chat that I was going to meet some strange man on Yavin IV and could someone please come look for me if they didn’t hear from me soon.  I tried to keep it light hearted.  After all, it wasn’t likely I’d really be in any danger.  I carry a decent weapon on me at all times and while I’ve got a slow trigger finger, I’m not afraid to shoot if I need to.

A smuggler friend answered back right away. “Wait!  Don’t go.”  I was a bit alarmed at his alarm.  “You don’t have a bounty out on you, do you?”, he asked.  Who on earth would be out to get me? I’m just a tailor!

Immediately my friend sent me a group invite and I joined.  “Group with him first.”, he told me.  I gave him the name of the gentleman and he joined.  I arrived on Yavin IV to find my friend had been interrogating this stranger, assuring him he’d be in danger if any harm came to me.  The man assured both of us that he only wanted to thank me.

The gentleman did thank me. And it turned out he did have some items he wanted made.  Surprise, surprise. He was a pleasant man, an easy customer and paid very well. 

Even though it turned out there was no danger at all, I’m grateful to my smuggler friend.  When Bermuda left, I didn’t really have anyone to call if I got into trouble.  It’s nice to know that now I’ve got someone to watch my back. :)

A Tricky One

May 24th, 2008 by Bahama

I wrote before about my fear of flying and how I was feeling a bit better about space travel.

Forget what I said.

Last night Captain Jaegen Fenris requested my help aboard the Beowulf for a little space hunting.  He assured me my job would be easy and so I agreed to go along.  After all, he’s fully aware of my fear and would never put me in a position where I’d be sitting on a bridge surrounded by windows and ask me to be the only one in charge of making sure the shields held up to protect the ship and everyone aboard.  Right??!!!

Wrong!  As soon as I arrived on board I made my way to the back… away from the windows and that long skinny walkway into the cockpit.  Imagine my surprise when he told me I’d have to walk across it and sit in that chair next to him.  I knew right then I was in trouble… big trouble. 

Some of my guildmates know about my fear.  But most don’t understand the severity of it.  I don’t really talk about it in front of them.  After all, I don’t want to be known as the psycho tailor who can’t handle being in space.  With so many of them on board I figured it wasn’t a good time for a total breakdown. 

I stood there frozen for a minute or so then carefully made my way to the seat.  Being securely strapped in did nothing to stop me from shaking.  I blocked out everything except for the controls and listened intently as my duties were described to me.  Three buttons.  Few enough that I could spend most of my time concentrating on breathing.

My body was tense, my stomach was queasy and my head was spinning.  I didn’t feel well at all.  I sat wringing my hands and avoided looking at the vast space I knew existed just a inches from where I sat.  I reminded myself that Captain Fenris had brought me home safely before.  He was a good, experienced pilot.  He would keep me from harm….  Or I’d kill him.

As we engaged enemies I kept my eyes fixed on the display panel.  Those shields had to stay up.  I held on to the seat cushion tightly and waited for the rocking to stop.  It felt as though a long time had passed.  This was taking forever.  I kept catching myself holding my breath and digging my fingernails into the upholstery.  Then I would suddenly realize I was spacing out thinking about how overwhelmed I was and tried desperately to refocus myself on that display.  Shields.  Shields.  Watch the shields!

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Though I can’t understand how, everyone else on board seemed calm and relaxed.  They traded insults with our enemies.  Joked with one another… and with me.  I was glad at that point to be sitting so far forward.  While I normally handle teasing with ease, I was so emotionally overwhelmed at that point I struggled to hold back the tears.

Once again all was quiet and Captain Fenris announced, “Home we go!”  I sat back in my seat a bit and closed my eyes.  My body was still shaking and I felt tears of relief swelling up.  Then all the sudden I heard Captain Fenris say, “This is going to be a tricky.”   I sat upright, my heart pounding.  WHAT?!  One of my guildmates asked, We aren’t doing anything stupid like trying to take out the corvette are we?”  Clutching the seat, I looked over at Captain Fenris hoping to see some evidence of a misunderstanding.  “That corvette will be tricky”, he replied.

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At this point I think I officially lost it.  No longer fearful of appearing to be the psycho tailor, I started to mutter insanities.  Not happy… not happy… not happy….I had such a pretty house, why didn’t I just stay in my pretty house?  We’re gonna die….

I froze at one point and the ship took damage.  The fighting was endless.  My efforts were barely keeping the shields up.  My heart sank and my brain tried to grasp the reality that I was going to die. 

But suddenly our enemy disappeared.  Vanished.  Gone.  We finally headed for home.  But having been deceived once already I refused to let down my guard until we were safely back on the ground. 

When we landed I sat down and let go.  I cried and cried.  I couldn’t stop shaking.  It was quite a while before I could even walk again.  Later that night I tried to shake off the lingering tension and contemplated my experience. 

I’ve decided I am definitely NOT feeling better about flying.

A New Beginning

May 10th, 2008 by Bahama

With Mayor Jaegen Fenris back in office, decisions have been made about the fate of Journey’s End and her citizens….

Beowulf Squadron is here to stay along with Captain Jaegen Fenris. 

Mayor Jaegen Fenris

In fact, we’ve already attracted some talented new members! 

New Beowulf Squadron Entertainers

Journey’s End will also remain nestled right outside Doaba Guerfel.  To celebrate, a new cantina has been constructed.  Mayor Fenris put his finishing touches on it and summoned all available members for a photo shoot.

Beowulf Squadron

Afterwards we enjoyed the talents of our magnificent entertainers.  Let it never be said of our esteemed Mayor that he’s too stuffy to pull out his dance moves when the situation calls for it…

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I’m happy with the way things have turned out.  I love living in Journey’s End.  Let the adventures of the Beowulf Squadron continue….

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(If you’re up for some fun with some nice folks and you live on the Ahazi server of SWG, don’t hesitate to contact Mayor Jaegen Fenris or myself in-game)

Confession

May 9th, 2008 by Bahama

Ok, I’m ready to go public with my big secret.

I am afraid to fly. 

No, I mean really, really scared.

Space travel completely freaks me out. 

There.  I said it.  So how do I survive in a society that relies so heavily on traveling through space?  Not easily. For starters I only ever fly on my yacht…. piloted by a droid.  I strap myself in tight, say a prayer, close my eyes and anxiously wait till it’s over.  I am never more relived than when I finally find myself safely landed at my destination.

It’s interesting to note that for some reason I find public transportation easier to handle.  Perhaps it’s because I can convince myself that professional pilots are less likely to have a mishap.  Or maybe I just take comfort in the thought that at least I won’t die alone…

Despite the fact that I’ve always had this fear, I’ve been able to avoid acknowledging it…. until recently.   It started one day when my pilot droid malfunctioned leaving me stranded up in space.  It was my worst nightmare come true.  There I was, stuck floating some 3000m from a space station and a safe landing.  One minute I was in despair and certain I would die.  The next I’d be looking at the controls and trying to convince myself that I could do it, I just had to do it.  It was the longest half hour of my life. 

That incident is probably what made me agree to a flying lesson when Mayor Fenris offered.   I was shaking before we even got off the ground.  I don’t know how many times I almost backed out.  I wanted desperately to conquer my fear, to at least know I could live if my pilot ever malfunctioned again…. but the thought of going up there alone, even with him flying nearby, was almost more than I could handle.

He walked me through some basics and then flew with me to the site of what was to be my first and last training mission.  They started shooting at me and I just completely froze.  All I could see were visions of my lifeless body floating among the debris.   He finally yelled at me to move it and I did, somehow.  Safely back on the ground, I decided that it might be better just to get a spare pilot droid. 

I’ve gone up to tour some of Mayor Fenris’ ships and once even got in a gun turret.   I’ve learned that with an accomplished pilot at the helm, spaceships don’t have to be my worst enemy.  I’m still freaked out… but I’m feeling more in control of my fear.

I still can’t fathom ever piloting a ship alone.  I just don’t think that’s ever gonna happen.  But with a spare droid and folks to call if I get into trouble (perks to being in a pilot guild), I think I’m better equipped to handle the fear of flying day to day.

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The Cost of Integrity

May 5th, 2008 by Bahama

Our mayor is back and I’ve finally been voted out of office as temporary mayor of Journey’s End.  Thank goodness!  I’m glad to have the weight of that responsibility off my shoulders.

But it’s come to light that shortly after I took over, a fellow citizen and guild member stole things out of the guild hall.  I feel awful about the theft since it happened on my watch.  Still, I’m not sure what I could have done to prevent it.  I had been nothing but kind and accommodating to the perpetrator and had thought she returned the friendship. 

It seems odd to me that anyone would do such a thing.  There are enough credits to go around in the universe and plenty of ways to earn them honestly.  Why steal from friend or foe?  It diminishes your credibility and integrity.  Aren’t those more valuable than credits? 

I’m looking at my finances and trying to figure out how I can help replace some of what was taken.  The value far exceeds what I’ve got in my bank account.  But I’d rather have integrity than credits.