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Thread: Merchants and frustrations

  1. #1

    Default Merchants and frustrations

    Merchants are a nice add to the game but rather frustrating in some ways. I see what happens when another merchant buys them out. That's fine, I can understand that and the game shows me what happens. But sometimes they just disappear. But this seems to happen after I hear a scream as the turn is processing just before they seem to disappear. Are they being killed by assassins? If so, it would be nice to see this, or get some sort of notification. Instead I have to hunt each turn to see what happens with them.

    Also, if they are being assassinated is there some way to protect them? I've lost some very powerful merchants that were just about impossible to be bought out, but disappear without any notice. That's kind of frustrating when there's nothing you can do about, nor any explanation as to what happened given by the game.

    Can somone help here? Anyone know what is going on? Thanks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    They often just died from ageing. I don't think you get a message then.

  3. #3
    Member Member Musashi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    You get a message if they die from old age. The only time you don't get a message for an agent death is if an enemy assassinates them.
    Fear nothing except in the certainty that you are your enemy's begetter and its only hope of healing. For everything that does evil is in pain.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    I noticed on an enemies traits a few that earns more merchant skill also reduces his personal security.

    I get frustrated with them too but the lkey seems to be moving them way away. I finally found a spot where I was netting 25 floring for a lvl 2 merchant and now he's lvl 6 and rakin in the cash. The home items seem to raise it way too slowly. Altho most of my merchant missions are for rival merchants on home turf so its hard to get another back in time.

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    Member Member Wallas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    1. If you see a higher level enemy merchant zooming to your merchant move him off the resource. The AI won't attack merchants that are off an resource.

    2. Allways try to make agressive merchant war. You will get alot of experience and money by taking over AI merchants.

    3. Try to assassinate high level enemy merchants that you cannot by out. They will build new low level ones that you can buy out. Normally they come out from the capitals.

  6. #6
    Sacrelicious Member Rameusb5's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    Maybe it's just me, but I'm having a hard time understanding merchant buyouts. Sometimes I'll have a VERY high mercantile merchant try to buy out a lesser merchant and he'll have a very low percentage to do so. On the other hand, sometimes I'll have a lower level merchant "attack" a higher level one and get a very good percentage (and he won't have any traits that appear to help him in this department).

    Personally, I think that MOST of the time, the buyouts should be a "tie." It seems like the "ties" are extremely rare though.
    Rameus

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    Member Member Sir SillyDuck's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    My Merchants lose 80-90% of the time. If I dont keep them in a back alley and watch them every turn, I lose all of em within 2-3 turns.

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    Member Member Barry Fitzgerald's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    I did play about with merchants, but came to the conclusion in their present form..they are realy not worth bothering with a whole lot. So currently I have ingnored them 100%...just not enough incentives to get me interested. I am sure if they get a tweak...then it may be worth looking at in the future. But for now...not a lot of interest.

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    "'elp! I'm bein' repressed!" Senior Member Aenlic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    It seems that the engine compares agent skill to agent skill when considering assassinations. This makes assassinating a high skill merchant almost impossible, even with a well-skilled assassin. The answer is to take out enemy merchants before they get highly skilled. If you see a relatively low-level enemy merchant sitting on a resource, take him out. Make it a priority, either with assassins or your own merchants. If you don't, he's going to show up later on much higher skilled and take out your better merchants that were generating nice income.

    The lesson here is not to allow enemy merchants to get skilled enough to become a problem. Deal with them early and often.

    As for merchants disappearing. Check your faction announcements and disaster events. Earthquakes and floods often take out nearby merchants, as do deaths. You'll often find them listed as deaths via "acts of God" in the announcements and it's easy to miss. If they're assassinated they also might not be seen, just heard, unless you have your "show enemy moves" option turned on.
    "Dee dee dee!" - Annoymous (the "differently challenged" and much funnier twin of Anonymous)

  10. #10

    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry Fitzgerald
    I did play about with merchants, but came to the conclusion in their present form..they are realy not worth bothering with a whole lot. So currently I have ingnored them 100%...just not enough incentives to get me interested. I am sure if they get a tweak...then it may be worth looking at in the future. But for now...not a lot of interest.
    They can interesting however if you sent them down to Timbuktu and have them trade gold and ivory.I hade 2 guys trading gold there at 470 florins per merchant per turn. This however went down after I saved and later loaded a game to 50... So dont save & load too much if you want to cash in at the beginning.

    Z.

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    Guardian of the Fleet Senior Member Shahed's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    Quote Originally Posted by Ziem
    They can interesting however if you sent them down to Timbuktu and have them trade gold and ivory.I hade 2 guys trading gold there at 470 florins per merchant per turn. This however went down after I saved and later loaded a game to 50... So dont save & load too much if you want to cash in at the beginning.

    Z.
    What does that mean "loaded a game to 50" ? and don't save and load too much ?

    And damm, 470/merchant. That's GREAT ! I'm sending someone down there asap !
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    Member Member Matty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    I've maxed out on merchants and try and feed them up but I'm getting maybe 4-500 a turn from the merchants and 19,000 from normal trade. Nice idea, but something needs to change to make them workable

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    Ricardus Insanusaum Member Bob the Insane's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    One of the fustrations I have is that at some point during the campaign some AI super-merchant will turn up and like a free-enterprize inquisitor starts to put the smack down on all ther other merchants (including all of mine)... And this super merchant is partically indestructable because his high merchant skill protects him not only from other merchants but assassins too... And you can't bribe them!

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    Badger Member foop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    Quote Originally Posted by Sinan
    What does that mean "loaded a game to 50" ? and don't save and load too much ?
    There's a bug: When you load a game, it doesn't calculate the distance to your capital for the trade resources. Their value is left at the default. Thus, one that gave 470/turn income before you saved may only give 50/turn when you load that game.

    The way around this is to move your capital to another city and then move it back again. This forces the game to calculate merchant income correctly.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    Quote Originally Posted by Sinan
    What does that mean "loaded a game to 50" ? and don't save and load too much ?

    And damm, 470/merchant. That's GREAT ! I'm sending someone down there asap !

    There is a merchant save bug, it has been mentioned before. If you save a game with a merchant let's say earning 450 on gold, exit the game then start again and load your savegame, you'll see that your merchant doesn't earn 470 anymore but only oooh let's say between 50 and 80 max. That's not only with the case gold but with all commodities. I hope they will take care of this in a future patch.


    Z.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    Lol @ foop, Just a tick quicker... :)

    By the way, interesting work around. Ill give it a try. Tx.

    Z.

  17. #17
    Sacrelicious Member Rameusb5's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob the Insane
    One of the fustrations I have is that at some point during the campaign some AI super-merchant will turn up and like a free-enterprize inquisitor starts to put the smack down on all ther other merchants (including all of mine)... And this super merchant is partically indestructable because his high merchant skill protects him not only from other merchants but assassins too... And you can't bribe them!
    Yep. I had a bunch of midlevel merchants minding their own business in northern italy. Suddenly a couple of rival merchants come along and slaughters them. I lost THOUSANDS of gold.

    IMHO, merchants aren't worth messing with AT ALL unless you want to micromanage them. And even then the concequences of losing them is disastrous (I went from having 12000 gold down to almost nothing).


    I haven't made it down to Timbuktu yet (partially because I don't know where it is!) but that seems to be the only reasonable place to put them.
    Rameus

  18. #18
    Praeparet bellum Member Quillan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    It's deep in the heart of Africa. Start on the coast roughly halfway between Marrakesh and Algiers, and go due south. Most of the area is impassible. There is a road leading there if one has been built which will make it easy to follow. The road actually begins farther east, right at a river mouth, runs south through a mountain pass, turns west for a bit, before turning south and running straight down. Look all the way down on the southern edge of the map deep in Africa. You should see a semicircle river in the desert. That's Timbuktu.
    Age and treachery will defeat youth and skill every time.

  19. #19
    Inquisitor Member Quickening's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    I never bother with Merchants. I just can't be bothered moving them each turn. I only half heartedly bother with my diplomats as well. Im glad they are in the game though.
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    Member Member Musashi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    This should forever dispell all "Merchants are useless" claims. Behold!

    http://xs410.xs.to/xs410/06480/merch.png
    Fear nothing except in the certainty that you are your enemy's begetter and its only hope of healing. For everything that does evil is in pain.
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    Guardian of the Fleet Senior Member Shahed's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    THANKS for the explanation on the bug.

    Musashi, that's awesome !
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    "'elp! I'm bein' repressed!" Senior Member Aenlic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    Is that with level 2 gold mines and another merchant on the other gold source in that province, Musashi?

    How mush does a maxxed out merchant like that get on the ivory spots? An area with 4 ivory and 3 gold in two provinces which which no other merchant bothers with, unless the AI is the Moors, is a pretty sweet deal.

    I noticed your uber merchant was only 46. Nicely done. Did you need a high level merchant guild to get him started, or what process did you follow to get him that high?
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  23. #23
    Guardian of the Fleet Senior Member Shahed's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    Yeah tell us how you got him to that level please !

    I've read you merchant guide btw, it's excellent. So far my Merchants just get eaten up, usually. Occasionally there's a lucky one or two who get rich. I've been very aggressive as you suggested in your guide.

    Is there a threshold percentage after which you go aggressive ? Like 30% chance ?
    Last edited by Shahed; 12-03-2006 at 02:15.
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  24. #24
    Member Member SirGrotius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    Do merchants cost upkeep?

    I find them expensive to buy, often out competed and generally pulling in low revenue. I barely break even with my merchants, and I'd be running at a loss if there's an upkeep fee.

    I should read some of these guides people are clamoring about.
    Last edited by SirGrotius; 12-03-2006 at 02:45.
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  25. #25
    Guardian of the Fleet Senior Member Shahed's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    They have no upkeep.

    The stickies are useful.
    Check the FAQ sticky, the merchant guide is linked in there.

    EDIT 1: BTW Musashi (or anyone else) how do you knwo they have no upkeep ? Would'nt it be part of wages ?

    EDIT2: Here's a copy paste for Grotius.

    Merchants:

    Q: How I make money with merchants?

    A: Some discussion here:

    https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showthread.php?t=71833

    Note - they have no upkeep. Returns increase with distance from lands; with having a monopoly on resources and with having trade rights with the owner of the land on which the resource is sited:

    A nice heads-up:


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Vlad the Impaler
    Around timbouktu in Africa are some very good resources; 2 ivory and 1 gold. i play as the Moors and the region isnt mine yet. the merchant that trade gold make 237 / turn and the two other that trade ivory make aroun 120 /turn almost 500 gold/turn only with merchants until now, almost 40 turns, nobody tried to assasinate or buy them.


    And advice on using merchants aggressively:


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BigTex
    Merchants pay for themselves. But not by standing on a resource. Standing on a resource is only useful to get them up a few levels so they can start eliminating the competition. You can get an easy 1-2k florins from buying out a rival merchant alot of times. You've also denyed the computer the income from him and made them lose the 550 investment.


    More here (how to get 20,000 florins a turn):

    https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showpo...2&postcount=38

    And a lot of information, building up to a case for using merchants here:

    https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showpo...2&postcount=51

    Daveybaby and therother have compiled lists of the resources in each province and the value of resources respectively in this thread:
    https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showthread.php?t=72609

    Timbucktu sounds like a profitable place, at least for the English:

    https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showpo...5&postcount=73


    Q: How can I raise my merchants' acumen?

    A: A master merchants guild usually allows them to start off with 3-4 acumen.


    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rothe
    So far I have found 3 ways to do it:

    - Monopoly in a region: Just make sure that one resource type in one region is manned by your merchants only. For English, wine works ok, but you have to use two merchants to tackle the 2 wine resources per region. This seems to get you some positive virtues over time.

    - Travel: By traveling a lot and stopping on some foreign resources for a turn on two, I seem to develop the "Knowledge of customs" chain of virtues.

    - Acquisitions: Whenever you defeat another factions merchant, you are almost surely going to get more of the finance rating.


    https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showthread.php?t=72880
    Last edited by Shahed; 12-03-2006 at 03:08.
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  26. #26
    Member Member Musashi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    Quote Originally Posted by Aenlic
    Is that with level 2 gold mines and another merchant on the other gold source in that province, Musashi?
    Actually those are just level 1 gold mines. Note that the merchant revenue jumped significantly when I actually took Timbuktu... So you actually make more if the province belongs to you.

    I do have a merchant on the other gold mine in Timbuktu. In fact, I have merchants on both the gold mines in Timbuktu, the mine in Arguin, and all four Ivory deposits in Timbuktu and Arguin, and I even have one on the slaves in Timbuktu. All told I'm dragging in almost 5000 florins per turn in merchant trade, which is, ironically, more than my cities make in normal trade.

    Also, this is with my Capital in Cordoba... If you were playing the Russkies and had your capital up in say, Moscow, I'd shudder to think what you could be bringing down with merchants in Timbuktu.

    How mush does a maxxed out merchant like that get on the ivory spots? An area with 4 ivory and 3 gold in two provinces which which no other merchant bothers with, unless the AI is the Moors, is a pretty sweet deal.
    The Ivory deposits are only slightly less lucrative... I forget the exact numbers but they're good.

    And yes, owning Timbuktu and Arguin is VERY sweet.

    I noticed your uber merchant was only 46. Nicely done. Did you need a high level merchant guild to get him started, or what process did you follow to get him that high?
    Well, remember I'm on the 0.5 timescale, so even though that screen was from 1104, I've been playing for 48 turns. So my merchants gain skill faster compared to their rate of aging than in a standard timescale 2.0 game.

    Also, I'm a save and reload player. I know, I know. But I like winning ;)

    He was my first merchant. I had him massacre a bunch of Spanish and Portugese merchants until his skill was maxed out, then sent him to Timbuktu ;)

    However, even if you don't use those kind of tricks, be aware that a merchant with ONE point of finance skill will draw 150 florins a turn down there.
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  27. #27
    Guardian of the Fleet Senior Member Shahed's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: Merchants and frustrations

    Musashi that explains it. Thanks.

    Tonight I got one who started at 3 and got lucky, he's now 7, and only 29 years old. I left him in friendly territoy for a few turn and then went after the nearest Byzantine merchant, then the next, then sat on the Silk next to Constantinople for a few turns. It seems they gain one point in Finance per every 5 or so turns. I haven't checked that for precision.



    Is this the same as your finding on Finance level gain per turn ?

    I'm moving him on the gold in Zagreb region, Venetian territory. I did a no fog to check the rates he would get at different locations. In Zagreb he will earn 211 Florins/Turn. In Timbuktu he will earn 317 Florins/Turn.

    Does the 106 Florins/Turn difference indicate a difference in base resource value ?

    This merchant will earn approximately 45 Florins/Turn for each Finance Skill level in Timbuktu. This does not match the 150 Florins/Turn you mentioned a Level 1 Finance Skill merchant will earn.

    How did you arrive at 150 Florins/Turn per skill level ?
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  28. #28
    Member Member Musashi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    Make sure you move your capital and move it back to get the distance to capital modifiers to kick in properly. The values you're talking about sound more like what you get in Timbuktu when you've loaded the game and not done that.

    Evil, EVIL bug that knocks my 5000 florins per turn merchant income down to like 1000 at most whenever I forget about it after a reload.

    I think skill gain is less about length of time spent on a resource and more about how many florins the merchant has processed. As in, you gain skill faster sitting on a 100 a turn resource than a 10 a turn resource.
    Last edited by Musashi; 12-03-2006 at 08:48.
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  29. #29
    Guardian of the Fleet Senior Member Shahed's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    I've done that. Now that I know of that bug I always check that if I reload.

    I think the reason for the difference is because my capital is Caesarea, and it may be because the closest resource is closer than it is to yours AND possibly the base resource value is different in Zagreb than in Timbuktu.

    Do you get different florin/turn values for Zagreb and Timbuktu with the same merchant ?
    Last edited by Shahed; 12-03-2006 at 11:08.
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  30. #30
    Member Member Musashi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Merchants and frustrations

    I just checked on it... On a fresh reload (So the distance-to-capital modifier is completely factored out) my max skill (I think he's actually several points higher than max skill actually, and they do keep counting above ten) would get 158 florins from the gold mine he's sitting on in Timbuktu, but only 79 from the mine in Zagreb, so yes, there is a difference in the base values (Timbuktu is the richest region in the game, as suspected--and it's logical enough considering it's utterly worthless in a strategic sense).

    With distance-to-capital reinitialized by moving the capital and putting it back, he makes 1088 florins per turn in Timbuktu, and would make 544 from the one in Zagreb.

    Moving the Capital to Granada or Toledo significantly nerfs the output of the merchant, but moving it to Valencia less so, which leads me to believe that it's a combination of distance-to-capital and also how built up your capital is (Since Toledo and Granada are castles in my game, and therefore poor trading facilities, whereas Valencia is a slightly smaller city than Cordoba, so I netted almost as much with my capital at Valencia as at Cordoba.

    Moving my capital to Timbuktu actually lowered the merchant's trade output below the base value (What it was after a reload) so apparently being too close to your capital incurs a negative modifier (And also Timbuktu is a hick town at the moment... I haven't had any reason to build it up and the population is rather miniscule in the first place).

    I then used the console to zero out the skill of one of my merchants and hovered it over one of my gold mines, and it showed that with 0 finance he would make 155 florins per turn on it. Upping his skill to 1, he would be able to make 233 florins per turn.

    So as you can see, Timbuktu is a wildly profitable area. I can't account for the lower values you are getting there unless the game considers Caesarea to be vastly closer to Timbuktu than Cordoba (Which would make no sense since the game appears to make all distance calculations as the crow flies), or you are maintaining your capital as a castle, or are just at a lower tech level than me.
    Fear nothing except in the certainty that you are your enemy's begetter and its only hope of healing. For everything that does evil is in pain.
    -The Maestro Sartori, Imajica by Clive Barker

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