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?

6 Answers 6


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 two 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 you're 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 maneuverability 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 a couple more factories that use ore. So now you have three potential systems to trade ore to.

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 :)

  • 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? Apr 3, 2012 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. Apr 3, 2012 at 19:14
  • I just managed to buy the trading software MK3. Now how can I automatize trading? Apr 6, 2012 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)
    – l I
    Dec 12, 2012 at 14:15

This is an old thread, but DON'T USE THE STOCK MARKET..... It's just too easy and will ruin the game early on for you. Most of the fun of these games is to build something from nothing. The stock market is almost as bad as just editing the .ini file and giving yourself millions of dollars..... you've been warned....don't do it.

  • No "thread" (also known as questions here) is too old to answer. As long as you got something new to add, it will always be welcomed :)
    – aman207
    Jan 7, 2016 at 3:18

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.

  • 1
    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. Apr 3, 2012 at 18:31

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.


Selling the mercury is a viable (possibly the best) option, as it allows you to jump on the stock market immediately where you can quite easily make millions in under an hour.


If I remember correctly, Humble Merchant in Albion Prelude still starts you in or around Argon Prime. One sector north there are Space Fuel Distilleries. I like to start out ferrying some contraband and scouting out the local stations. Use the Discoverer, as the Mercury is way too slow to avoid police.

The problem with Humble Merchant is that the player starts with so little cash. Selling some crates of Space Fuel is a quick return until you can scout out a good buying Ore Mine and a under stocked factory needing Ore.

One of the first upgrades you should get for the Discoverer is Trading System Extension. Use this ship to scout out a sector for but/sell targets for your Mercury.

Random missions will spawn quickly enough to get you some reputation and a little cash. Early station defense missions spam M5 scouts which will splat against the station in short order. M4 and larger generally need to be shot down.


  • Keep both ships.
  • Space Fuel can be quick cash very early on.
  • Keep an eye out for full stations.
  • When you run out of buyers for Fuel, look to full stations for very cheap goods.
  • Stick to local foods, or generic stuff like Ore.

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