Pre-plot Privateer Money Making...my most recent path

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
Two weeks ago, I fired up my GOG copy of Privateer for another playthrough. The Star Citizen excitement called for me to do something to get a fix. I wanted to try a path I'd never taken before in Privateer. I wanted to smuggle Brilliance, and lots of it. Before I could do that, I needed to get my Tarsus into the best shape the Tarsus can get into. Using the mission computer and commodity exchange, I took on patrols, defend base, and attacks missions along with having a full cargo hold of products for the opposite base in Troy. Once the Tarsus had respectable armament and upgrades, I consulted the map of the Gemini Sector. I knew the hazards of the Pentonville - New Detroit route.. I wasn't looking forward to running from pirates in asteroids. As much as I wanted to smuggle Brilliance, I also didn't want to befriend pirates or angry the authorities. I wanted to be a real drug runner and flee at every opportunity.

I've played Privateer countless times since I got my first copy in 1995. I've never done smuggling outside of the plot missions. I'm not really sure why. I'd just never done it. So when I looked at the map and consulted the systems I saw a run that looked damn good. It could be either used one way or part of a circular route I used a few times. New Detroit is the ultimate destination in the route. The pirate base I used was located in KM-252. There are no asteroids in the system or in the systems on the way to it. You can easily outrun pirates and the authorities and get to New Detroit ready to make money.

Starting in KM-252 in a Tarsus with cargo expansion, I'd load up on Brilliance (taking off and landing again if necessary to get a full pure load) and consult the mission computer. If I could get a defend base and attack mission while leaving the system I might stack an extra 9-10k credits. If I could also find a mission in a system on the way, I'd take that too. The path I used the most was: KM-252 - Nexus - Junction - New Constantinople - New Detroit. Patrols aren't too bad and you can easily afterburn away from them in most instances. Pirates aren't too bad starting in KM-252 especially if you get missions in system. I'd also take the KM-252 - Nexus - Tingerhoff - Perry - New Detroit path if missions presented themselves in that path. You run into more patrols in those systems, but if you are very friendly with the authorities you'll often get away without a contraband scan.

After a number of runs, I'd made a considerable amount of money and was ready to upgrade to large scale smuggler. With several hundred thousand credits in my account, I went to the ship dealer and purchased a Galaxy. Fully upgrading the ship, I was ready to move huge amounts of Brilliance along my smuggling route.

It's pretty amazing how much money you can make smuggling that much Brilliance and other contraband. In perhaps 10-12 runs (I'm not even sure about that. I wasn't keeping track, but it wasn't too many before I had a good sum) I'd made more than 550k credits. The authorities were still happy with me. The pirates still hated me. When I upgraded to my plot missions Centurion, I actually made money. I sold my fully loaded Galaxy and purchased the heavy fighter and before upgrade my account went from 550k to 630k! After fully upgrading it, I still had several hundred thousand credits in my account and headed to the bar for my meeting with Sandoval.The plot is pretty fun when you can completely ignore the money situation because you've always got money for the light repairs and ImRecs you need.

I've since beaten the plot, saved up 790k and moved my pilot to Righteous Fire. I should have stayed in Privateer and saved up 1.1 million. Those damn RF upgrades are expensive. But, I've already completed the basic Masterson and Lynn Murphy missions and just started Captain Goodin's.

Both are such great games!
 
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Whistler

Commodore
Thanks for the routes, I'll have to try them sometime.

Also, as opposed to taking off/landing to change the commodity list...you can save on base, buy if necessary, obstain if no deal. If no deal, reload your on-base save and look again, if not reload again. If you do see something (I prefer to smuggle Ultimate) buy it, then save. Now load the save you JUST made and you should get a brand new commodity set. I just keep reloading my latest base save till I get a product+cost that I want. After I get a full hold of choice contraband (I won't do slaves, personal choice) save again and then run the route.

I finished the plots of Privateer and Righteous Fire but I'm going to trade out for a super-powered Galaxy just to see the sites. Centurion made everyday flights too easy, but made the plot fights great furballs.
 

capi3101

Rear Admiral
If you're in RF already you might consider forking 200K over to Lynch at Basque to get you a clean slate with the pirates. I don't know if that would help you out much since it'd get you on neutral terms with the Feds, but there's still something nice about not getting shot at by pirates all the damn time. On the other hand, it does make the game pretty damn boring awful fast...

Let's see... KM-252. That would be Smallville. 100% chance of hostiles at both nav points.
Nexus - 50% chance of hostiles coming out of the jump point from KM-252, 75% at the Junction point.
Junction - Safe jump coming from Nexus, 25% chance at the jump to New Constantinople.
New Constantinople - Clean if you haven't hacked off the bounty hunters.
New Detroit - 30% chance of hostiles at the jump point with the base itself clean.

Seems simple enough if your ship is worth its salt. Not sure I'd like to tackle this in a Tarsus...

I need to have a talk with whoever added the tables to the Quadrant pages of the Gemini Sector at WCPedia. They're a nice touch but they're missing some entries.
 

Dundradal

Frog Blast the Vent Core!
That run is a real bitch in the Tarsus. It's doable, but you do need a little luck as well. In a Galaxy, the run is great. You can easily outrun enemies and with a full load of Brilliance you are making credits hand over fist.

You can see who added them through the article history tab. If there missing some data, by all means please add it! WCPedia has fallen a little by the wayside lately. We definitely need to get some more activity on it.
 

Red Baron

Rear Admiral
Call me superstitious, but when going solely for cargoruns, i always make sure to spent my last creds on some piece of equipment that doesn't lose value too much (and sell it when i'm done). That may just be my imagination, but i get the feeling enemy harassment is proportional to the amount on my bank account.
Of course if it is, you might call that cheating.
 

-danr-

Vice Admiral
Not much to add here, other than to say thanks for the great Privateer thread (they're rather few and far between given how epic the game is) - and also, I'm certain the markup is higher if you smuggle Ultimate rather than Brilliance.

I don't know if it's considered cheating, but with the Galaxy, once you've 'bought out' all of the station's supply of Ultimate, simply save your game without taking off, load up again, and you'll find the commodity exchange is re-stocked with Gemini's most expensive contraband. Startup costs are expensive but bigger bucks for Ultimate at New Detroit. I too got Privateer in 1995, and at least once a year I start a new campaign. It is still a superb game, an absolute gem for Wing Commander fans.
 

Ijuin

Admiral
It really shows just how open Privateer is, that it is completely viable to be a drug runner or a pirate as well as a mercenary or above-the-board merchant.
 

-danr-

Vice Admiral
It really shows just how open Privateer is, that it is completely viable to be a drug runner or a pirate as well as a mercenary or above-the-board merchant.
Indeed, and there really is no Space Sim like it - even Elite can't touch it IMO, I think the only thing that might come close is the forthcoming RSI project, but we'll see.
 

dabalciunas

Spaceman
How to make lots of money in Wing Commander Privateer - no cheat

Well my strategy since the 90's was to never shoot at pirates and kilrathis. If you want to figure it out yourself, just don't read this, really. But if you already had a lot of fun with the game, then just go on.

First, I just make some cargo runs in Troy system, undocking and docking again from the station for buying / selling cargo until my cargohold was full. If you prefer to go the easy way, just saving and loading the game again was a kind of cheat which provided new market prices and new missions, so you could theoretically make money buying and selling goods without ever undocking from the initial station - buy cheap sell when expensive - but that's no fun at all.

As soon as I get enough money for a afterburner and an additional missile launcher loaded with IR missiles, I start with defend base, attack, scout and patrol missions from mission computer against RETRO ships only. You may die sometimes, it is normal, don't get angry, it is part of the game experience.

Your standing with Retros will stay hostile forever, but standing with pirates, mercenaries, merchants, confed, and militias will slowly start to rise. As soon as your standing with merchants is friendly, kill one of them to quickly raise your standing with pirates - they will become friendly to you afterwards. Until then, do NOT shoot them, try to communicate with EVERY pirate ship attacking you, sending them the message at the number (3) position repeatedly - this will make them temporarily blue to you. This doesn't work if you get missions against pirates, so DON'T do it!

The missions against Retros are quite easy: just fire 2 consecutive missiles at each ship until they are all finished. You can also slowly improve your shooting skills fighting the last remaining ship with guns only. For the Tarsus ship, an engine upgrade is essential before everything else. Upgrade your Tarsus in the following sequence:

- Sell your map, since you don't have a jump drive anyway
--- DO CARGO RUNS INSIDE TROY SYSTEM ---
- Buy 1 afterburner
- Buy 1 additional missile launcher + missiles (IR or FF only)
--- START WITH RETRO KILL MISSIONS ---
- Buy the engine upgrade
- Buy 1 additional laser
- Sell plasteel armor, buy tungsten armor
- Get missions from Mercenaries' Guild - they pay more
- Sell 2 lasers, buy 2 meson blasters
- Buy ECM mk 2 - or - ECM mk 3 - depending on your patience and skills
- Sell your Iris Mk II radar, buy a Hunter AW 6i radar to get some colors
- But the 4 maps + a jump drive

Now your ship doesn't look so much like a pile of junk anymore!

But now you must be very very patient, and run the same missions over and over...

When you got tired of shooting the poor Retros, got some 100k credits left, and want to do some cargo runs, just fill your Tarsus with lots of plutonium, gems and uranium using a cargo expansion. When leaving Troy to New Detroit, get yourself 3 cargo missions from the merchants guild to New Detroit. Buy a cargo expansion when you got credits left and your cargohold is full.

Then from New Detroit you may buy medical equip and holograms to sell at the mining base in the Rikel system. There you buy Uranium, Plutonium, and Gems again.

If you instead want to go for bounty missions, try to get 3 of them at once from Troy system, where the enemy ships are weak. Again, just against RETROS!

Do this until you can buy the Galaxy class ship, and remain with at least 250k credits. You may even sell your Hunter AW 6i radar for 37,5k for achieving this number, that's not a problem at all. You should be friendly towards most factions (except Retros and Kilrathis), so if you see any of these, just fly away.

Now you will play as a "pirate bunny". Equip a Galaxy ship with:
- 1 shield mk II
- 1 engine upgrade mk II
- afterburner
- tungsten armor
- jump drive
- ECM mk 2

And that's it... no guns, no radar (just maps), no launchers, no turrets, no repair robots. You are quite safe, since you are blue to all factions except Retros and Kilrathis (you probably won't find Kilrathis in you way). Unless you encounter a 4-ship party of super angry Retros, then you got really unlucky ;-)

In New Detroit, buy advanced fuels, medical equip, and holographics until the cargohold is full. Then get 3 cargo missions to Padre system from the merchants guild. Just remember: You are a fat flying duck, full of precious cargo, so don't look for any trouble ;-)

Fly to Padre, just dock there, to accomplish the 3 cargo missions, and do NOT sell your cargo there. Just undock, go to Pentonville, and dock there at the hidden station in Nav point 1. Sell all cargo bought at New Detroit there. Now buy ultimate, slaves and brilliance (preferably as most ultimate and slaves as possible). If you are very patient, try to get yourself 3 cargo missions to New Detroit from the mission computer at this base after filling your cargohold.

Remember, now you have contraband on board, and you are still piloting a slow super-fat target. Make your best to head to New Detroit, and if you get scanned in your way, just run away as quickly as possible with your afterburner to the next waypoint. The militias and confeds have bad memory: they will not remember you had tons of contraband in your last cargo runs. So NEVER shoot at them, and you will still be friends forever!

If you make it to New Detroit, sell all your glorious contraband there. Now you have some money to equip your ship with better engine, shield, and ECM, in this order! Forget about launchers and guns for a while. Missile launchers can only be bought after the Hunter AW 6i radar, in case you sold it.

Each of these contraband cargo runs make an impressive total of ~115k credits (30k from missions to Padre, 15-20k from goods sold at Pentonville, 20k from missions completed at New Detroit plus 45-55k selling contraband there). Now you can easily hit the 1 million credits mark plus a good ship with 12 of those cargo runs.

This is why the Galaxy is, in my opinion, the most powerful ship in this game. It makes you millionaire very fast. The most difficult time was with that old Tarsus from your grandpa. As a child I got myself 16 million credits, no cheating - beyond saving and loading the game for filling my ship's cargo and getting missions - which could be easily replaced by a undock-and-dock sequence. I got a cheated savegame from my friends with 15 million credits, and I wanted to reach that mark without actually cheating.

At some point I got bored and decided to destroy some confed ships - since they were friendly anyway. And the surprise - Kilrathis are now blue, and confeds still ok! Now you managed to get everything in the game, except the storyline missions. Get yourself a fully equipped Centurion, and finish those missions!

Regards,
Dan
 
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drakopedia

Spaceman
Hi everyone!

I have been playing Privateer 1 since 1995 and I always wanted to roam its universe. After some (lots of actually) experimentation, I found a nice and lucrative square route:

1. Go to KM-252 and load lots of brilliance
2. Go to Macabee, sell it, and buy gems or uranium
3. Go to New Detroid, sell again, and get home appliances or cargo missions to Perry (yes, there are some)
4. Go to Perry, sell again, and buy weapons
5. Go to KM-252 and repeat

Alternatively:
4a. Go to New Detroid, sell your cargo, buy medical equipment and go to KM-252. And repeat :)

One advantage of this route is the low risk as there will be rarely militia and even more rarely confeds from KM-252 to Macabee. You may meet Kilrathis at the "central" jump point of Nexus but you don't need to cross it in order to dock the base. Also, with these commodities you will make a fine profit. Finally, it seems that pirates have a non-decreasing interest in weapons and also gems or uranium, though expensive, also yield high profit.

I also recall reading somewhere that the level of attack depends on how much cash you have (How can pirates know that? Does the Black Rhombus inform them?), so I buy expensive commodity such as gems to keep my account balance low.

Regards,
George
 
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