Saturday, 11 April 2015

Elite Dangerous Rules of acquisition - Trade Wings

Hey space cadets, what is going on?
I'm CMDR TwingTwang and welcome to the Rules of Acquisition!

In this article we'll be talking about Trade Wings, and trying to break them down.  Formation flying has always been slower than jumping alone, and while the wings update really helped streamline the process there will always be a fleet management overhead.

The Wings update allows you to fly (up to four) ships together in a wing, and provide trade bonds as an incentive to trade together. When somebody in your wing makes a profitable sale, you get a trade bond worth 5% or that profit - the bonds can be cashed in for credits at the station.

However the reality of trade bonds is that they aren't the free money you'd think... 

I've flown a couple of trade wings to try and get an impression, and one thing that strikes me is coordination is key. For example, with my regular fleet, The XO is pretty slick at calling launch, charge, jump, etc... so we can trade with minimum delay.

However I  managed to fly in a pug wing with some other Type-9 Pilots. With three Fat-9 ships you'll be earning a free income of 5% from 1000T. While your exact results may vary, I'm going to run the numbers on 2000Cr/T at four trips an hour and say that each pilot is going to earn an extra 400,000 credits per hour just for being part of the wing. 
With a fourth T9 that would be about 600KCr/H, or on the other hand if that fourth ship were a fighter escort it'd earn 400K/Hour as a salary on top of any bounties it collected from blasting bad guys. Not a bad incentive.

I didn't stopwatch the run, which I will do next time. Its 10% extra income (up to 15% with four ships) but its slower to manage, especially with multiple jumps, and I'm not sure if it took more or less than 10% extra time to complete.  While my back-of-envelope calculations assume fifteen minutes for a long trip and twelve minutes for a short, fast run, leading to either exactly four or five trips an hour the reality is that a Type-9 Transport is going to be making well over a thousand credits per second and asking me to slow down - even by a little - is going to cost real amounts of money.

Like a Sixer or T7, the Fat-9 is going to benefit from the highest tonnage you have the courage for and running four 532T ships on the same route also risks rocking the market, driving the prices away from profitability and eating into your own profits as a victim of your own success.  To counter this, you'd have to have several routes and commodities planned, and either rotate evenly between them or run one until the margins drop and then switch.  Route planning is all the responsibility of the XO, but the entire wing have an interest in the best route.

So the crux of the matter for me is that trade bonds aren't a free money cash bonus,I don't know how many minutes per hour were lost to the wing, but between zero and six minutes the trade bond is a salary for coordinating a wing.  Above six minutes its a compensation for lost earnings.

Flying a wing is a lot of fun, you get great banter and a pug wing is a way to meet new pilots. Anything greater than five percent would probably be crazy, but wings probably benefit fighters more than they benefit traders at the moment.

I'm CMDR TwingTwang, if you've had some experience in a trade wing or want to get started playing with others, leave a comment, let me know and share your success, advice or thoughts. Please Like, +1, share, and let me know what you think of Wings.

Fly in a Casual wing.