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So, I finally managed to play a few hours and begin to understand how this game works. Unfortunately I am now stuck with my Discoverer and don't make enough profit..

I am thinking about restarting, but what's the best way to begin?

a) Sell Mercury and only play with the Discoverer? (That's what I did.) b) Sell the Discoverer and keep Mercury. c) Keep both ships and try to automatize the trading stuff with the Mercury.

If you recommend me to use option c, how do I automatize the trading stuff with Mercury? Basically I wish to fly around with my Discoverer while the Mercury does trading stuff on it's own (e.g. buying and selling energy cells at best prices). Is that even possible?

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Selling Mercury is the worst way to start : Discoverer is just a Scout, so it is virtually useless in combat (i eat Scout class ships for breakfast), and Mercury is the best way to start trading and hence making money.

Here is how I started (recommend starting over as humble merchant): Get in the Mercury, and put your Discoverer in Argon Shipyard in Argon Prime. Head South Gate to Home of Light, and from there South again to Ore Belt. This is the easiest way to start up: buy Ore in one of the asteroid mines (should be 2 over there, try both to see which one has it cheaper, it all depends on how much it has in magazines (aim for C50 per ore)), and head back to Argon Prime. Now there are two factories to the left of the south gate. So as soon as you warp in, go to the factory on your left. Dock and see how much they pay for ore. If youre lucky, they will be running out pretty soon. no ore in magazines = they pay 205 per ore. Pretty good deal, you just made 400% of money invested.

Alternatively, you can try to buy and sell Cahoona stakes. Buy at the factories for cheap, sell at argon free trading station (problem is, they eventually stop buying those). As soon as you accumulate some money (say around 20k), go to Home of Light and buy trading extension in Terracorp HQ (it will allow you to check prices without having to dock in a station). Also, having any of your ships (or satellites) in system lets you access all prices from the map menu, even if you are in different sector. BUt you need the trading extension. Also, upgrade your boost, cargo space, and manuverability to maximum asap. This will allow you to trade faster and outrace competition.

You should make a pretty decent money with this ore business. From Home Of Light go East to discover the Red Light sector. there should be couple more factories that use ore. So now you have 3 potential systems to trade ore into.

Finally, to automize your Mercury, you need to first get the pilot to level 8, and buy a trading software MK3 in Home Of Light's Terracorp HQ. It costs ~520k though, so there is a good few hours of manual trading before you :)

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Thank you, this reply was really helpful! –  Valentin Apr 3 '12 at 18:30
    
I still have one question, though. Unfortunately I can not buy any ore, it is written in red.. What do I need in order to be able to transport ore? –  Valentin Apr 3 '12 at 18:32
    
Nevermind, just found out that it was red with the Discoverer. But being on board the Mercury, I can transport that stuff. –  Valentin Apr 3 '12 at 19:14
    
I just managed to buy the trading software MK3. Now how can I automatize trading? –  Valentin Apr 6 '12 at 20:54
    
@Valentin move your mercury to some safe sector, then order them to start sector trading. After a while, your pilot gains more experience and then can be expanded to a universal trader (it helps to give them a jump drive before that) –  z - Dec 12 '12 at 14:15
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First, option c) is rather out of the picture considering how much it costs to buy the level 3 software so your mercury can be automated.

The next best bet is to go with a trading system extension software on your Discoverer that allows you to manually direct your mercury from there. That will work out a little bit better. You can then follow Kris's suggestion and do ore trading for some decent profit.

Option b) is also rather bad, the mercury is slow, not powerful at all, and really boring to fly, I'd ditch this choice.

Option a) is what I would usually go with. From the profit of the mercury, you can upgrade your engine tunings, cargo bay size, and rudders as well as purchasing some equipment for your discoverer. Then you can go do some basic combat missions to start out, either that or run some high value (but illegal goods) like space fuel.

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Thank you for your efforts! This reply is interesting. But since I want to start with trading before doing combat, I will walk the path Kris is suggesting. –  Valentin Apr 3 '12 at 18:31
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My suggestion would be to follow this guide on the official Egosoft forums. It's what I used in X3:TC to start my massive space fuel and space weed empire, and it made starting out a lot less painful. The same principals should apply for X3AP, as well. Hint: You sell your Mercury right off the bat, and use your Discoverer to pick up asteroid scanning, ship recovery, and taxi missions for tidy, easy profits. You'll make enough in short order to set up your first automated trade ship, and from there start looking at other ways of making massive profits.

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