View Full Version : Meaningful Trade

03-02-2018, 10:24 PM
I think that trade has lost a lot of its meaning in later Anno games, especially since 2070. Back in 1602, I recall trading manually with my ships frequently as one of the pillars of my economy. This was possible largely because the AI usually had a ton of money (probably from cheating), well-developed cities and lacking goods production. This created openings where if you quickly developed production of a valuable and essential product like liquor, tobacco or spices, and intentionally overproduced those goods, you could make a killing selling the surplus to your neighbours who had yet to start their own production, or whose production was insufficient.
Another thing that made such trade possible was how weak the NPC trading fleet was. Waiting to receive important goods from the free traders was really bad, as they traded infrequently and in small quantities. Because of this selling them your surplus was basically not an option.

Now, this is certainly not an ideal model, relying on weak AI creating trading opportunities in a rather forced manner. But compare it to what trade had become by 1404.

In Anno 1404, at least from my personal experience, trade between the players hardly ever happens, and when it does it's the AI buying from you in small quantities because you have a trade agreement and the code forces them to. This is because there is usually space enough for four players (AI or human) to produce all they need by themselves all the way into noblemen. And contrary to 1602, in 1404 the NPC traders buy a TON of goods, regardless of whether there is demand among other players for those products, presumably shipping all of it to the mainland. So it's okay to overproduce quite a lot without penalty, since NPC's gladly handle the surplus for you, and since you can easily produce everything yourself there is just little incentive to trade between players. So all you end up doing is auto-selling to the NPC fleet and buying nothing unless you desperately need tools in the early game. Seems to me like any nation would drool at the prospect of such a trade balance, and IMO it damages the immersion a bit.

I'd like to see at least the option to include the things that give rise to trade naturally in the game. So in other words, scarcity of space and resources, willingness from the AI to buy and sell large amounts of goods and thus create an actual balance of trade, and also the ability for the AI to cope with scarcity without spiraling into economic collapse or resorting to threats and war. Imagine if you would snatch an important island, and Giovanni di Mercante actually offered you a trade agreement as a way to access its resources? After he claims that island has been in his family for generations of course, penalising the player for their greed.

I don't know quite how it would be implemented in practice, no doubt it would demand a lot of coding and testing to properly balance, but I'm confident it would bring the game to another level.

Is this just me or can someone relate to all this? Does trade need to be improved, and if so how might it be done? Is the game already complex enough without piling on even more micromanagement? I would very much like to hear the community's opinion on this, as it has been on my mind for a long time.

03-02-2018, 10:49 PM
I think I would prefer trade to stay similar to how it already is.

I am currently re-doing the Venice scenarios in Anno 1404 (just have Barren Lands remaining), and they have the similar conditions to what you are describing above. 2 of them - Noblesse Oblige and Barren Lands - force you to trade for goods. The point that I am trying to make with this is that, while I would prefer the trading system itself to remain relatively unchanged, I would enjoy the difficulty and challenge of a scenario that forces you to trade a lot. I don't feel like I would want to do this all the time, however.

03-04-2018, 01:34 PM
I see what you mean, but I wish things would be re-balanced so that substantial trade between players was at least an option. Right now there is hardly any incentive to trade between humans and trading on a large scale with the AI isn't even possible whether you wish to or not. AI is difficult to get right, but I think pulling it off would bring the game to next-gen status.

03-04-2018, 06:59 PM
Thank you!
I have mentioned this in many many topics.
We need more player interaction also in peace time and trade is the best way to do it.

I am going to fall in repeat mode for some guys who have been following this forum longer but here is what i think:
More goods wich can be made but you do not need all the goods to advance.
(think of the factions of 2070 away but have all the goods in one big population)
This way players can make a tax profit by buying goods they do not produce themselfs but do not find themselfs in trouble when a trade route get's broken or there are not enough goods being delivered.

in the example of anno 2070 if one player would produce junk food and another produces health food. If the first player would go and buy the health food he can get a bonus in tax.
(tax bonus because you provide both goods but both goods would deplete only half as fast because well you supply both...)
the people could advance wether the health food was supplied or not.
Should the trade agreement break in later game you would lose your tax bonus but wuld furthermore stay unafflicted.

This mechanic would drasticly promote trading amongst players and can create a much more co-op (multiplayer) experience.
in 1404 you could get a gold and honour bonus when the free traders traded at your warehouse this needs to be dropped because the game should better reward those who engage in more risky trading. p.s. the free traders should still be there i do not want them gone.

And if you are really an empire builder there is absolutly nothing wich stops you from producing all the goods there are in the game eventough your population would not require them all to advance.
(or perhaps one final last civilazation level of the absolute rich rich aristocrats wich do require everything the game has to offer).