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Spaceception

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MORE IDEAS IN THE REPLIES (Threadmarked)

I like the trade system in the game, and I would really like if it were expanded to become a decent strategy, not just a filler job. I don't know how many of these are workable ideas, and I think I've mentioned some of these in other threads, but here's all of it in one post.

Jobs/Internal
  • The first one I do remember making a post about, not just a comment: Giving Ecumenopolii "specialist" clerk jobs. https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/index.php?threads/new-clerk-job-on-ecumenopolii.1247474/
  • Someone mentioned it could still be useful to have worker tier jobs, so instead, city districts (on Ecumenopolii) could be split half and half between workers and specialists. And, the upgrade for commercial zones could instead add a couple more clerks, a few "specialist" tier jobs, and a merchant job.
  • Boost clerk jobs by some amount.
  • Galactic stock exchange should be buildable on capitals (both core, and sectors), and (if possible) Ecumenopolii. They only boost trade value in that sector (or planet in the last case). And instead of 2 merchants, it could be 1, plus a couple specialist clerk jobs.
  • There should be a trade planet designation, that among what other designations typically do, should boost planetary trade value by 5%
  • There should be more trade policies and each sector should be able to have its own policy. The ones I was thinking about would be for food (0.5 energy - 0.75 food), rare resources (either all 3, or individually - 0.5 energy - 0.02/03 resources), and research (0.5 energy - 0.25/35 in all)
Other Empires
  • Commercial pacts should open a trade route between you and another Empire (if you're neighbors). No bonus to trade value if it's a couple normal Empires, small if a megacorp, and moderate if a Federation. For the last two, these would take whatever your core policies were respectively, or just do the pure energy one (and boost value across your empires for whatever policies you have)
Dealing with routes
  • Right now, I'm at the stage of the game where you need a decent fleet to keep piracy suppression under control. Now, I'm also at the point where no pirate fleet is anywhere close to a threat, but it is eating into my trade value. So if I ever go to war, or when the crisis arrives (which requires more ships for my main fleets, which my piracy fleets would be busy biting into), it's just going to get annoying. Especially if any of these changes makes it into the game - raising your routes trade value, and making it harder to manage.
  • So, I'm proposing two new ship classes: Merchant frigates, and Merchant cruisers. Merchant frigates are unlocked by a tech between corvettes and destroyers, and the Merchant cruisers are unlocked between destroyers and cruisers. These have fewer weapon slots than their regular counterparts, can only be within an Empire's borders (or another Empire so long as its within a route), and has lowered upkeep/naval cap (cap can be 1/2 the cap of corvettes and destroyers). And they have 2 and 4 times the piracy suppression of corvettes respectively, requiring a smaller, less resource intensive fleet for the same suppression.
  • Hanger bays should get 3 level bonuses, lining up with each strike craft tech. Hanger bays automatically "level up" when you get a new strike craft tech, but the piracy suppression stays the same. Now, tier 1 does 10 like now, tier 2 raises it to 20, and tier 3 raises it to 30/40 + a range of 2.
EDIT 2: Furthering my (personal) ideas for Merchant ships
  • You should have the ship designer open to them, so you can make specific designs that can double for piracy, and defense (not whatever the auto is). Because while they can't exit your empire outside of a route, they still have weapons, and hence, could be useful in a pinch.
  • Frigates could have 2 small slots, and Cruisers could have 3 medium slots, and (maybe) one special (PD/Strike/G), or small slot. There could be an Aux slot for both too.
  • In the outliner UI, I could see this getting its own section between fleets and civilian ships. This way they don't clutter your normal fleets or anything.
Other
  • Merchant guilds gives added base protection
  • There could be more bite with piracy later, especially if you (with other empires), or the mercenaries can meddle with it.
  • There could be events while your fleets enter a system with high piracy, usually where you can get free resources, capture an Admiral, or gain mercenary ships (if you get them involved as above), even the chance to force spawn a pirate fleet to reset things.
  • Let us draw up our own trade routes, which could be helpful. EDIT 2 As for drawing your own routes, auto ones are still fine, but you should be able to change if it isn't ideal for you.
  • Allow us to upgrade/repair Merchant fleets without canceling the automatic patrolling at the same time (this is a small but mighty annoyance, especially when you have a lot of stuff going on, and forget)
  • Add more interactions with caravaneers regarding trade.
Anyway, that's all I have. I'll edit if I have more ideas. EDIT 1/3 - changed the effects of the research/rare resource policy to be viable. Added the note to repair fleets w/o canceling patrolling
 
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G S Palmer

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Spaceception

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This is a great idea. I had a similar, less fleshed out one, but you've put a lot more thought into it than I did.
Thanks! Funnily enough, I thought it didn't have enough depth.

Another thing though, I'm a bit iffy on the strategic resource policy - as it just seems to make them less rare, but it could be nice.

EDIT: I've been tossing around the idea for dedicated patrol ships for a while now, but I wanted more ideas for trade first.
 
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DukeLeto42

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Dealing with routes
  • Right now, I'm at the stage of the game where you need a decent fleet to keep piracy suppression under control. Now, I'm also at the point where no pirate fleet is anywhere close to a threat, but it is eating into my trade value. So if I ever go to war, or when the crisis arrives (which requires more ships for my main fleets, which my piracy fleets would be busy biting into), it's just going to get annoying. Especially if any of these changes makes it into the game - raising your routes trade value, and making it harder to manage.
  • So, I'm proposing two new ship classes: Merchant frigates, and Merchant cruisers. Merchant frigates are unlocked by a tech between corvettes and destroyers, and the Merchant cruisers are unlocked between destroyers and cruisers. These have fewer weapon slots than their regular counterparts, can only be within an Empire's borders (or another Empire so long as its within a route), and has lowered upkeep/naval cap (cap can be 1/2 the cap of corvettes and destroyers). And they have 2 and 4 times the piracy suppression of corvettes respectively, requiring a smaller, less resource intensive fleet for the same suppression.
  • Hanger bays should get 3 level bonuses, lining up with each strike craft tech. Hanger bays automatically "level up" when you get a new strike craft tech, but the piracy suppression stays the same. Now, tier 1 does 10 like now, tier 2 raises it to 20, and tier 3 raises it to 30/40 + a range of 2.
Also, I'd like patrol settings to spread piracy prevention across the entire span of the patrol (so they move back and forth, but you don't have the problems of piracy going above prevention values because it takes just a bit too long for the fleet to move 3 systems' distance).

There could be more bite with piracy later, especially if you (with other empires), or the mercenaries can meddle with it.
Perhaps an option like "fund privateers." You could boost piracy values and pirate fleet spawn rates in the empire. It could generate a small amount of local threat (mostly just annoying that empire and any of its allies). You could even have it require sending admirals to do this, rather like EUIV diplomats (for that matter, you could send generals for planetary "support dissidents" operations as another way to undermine another empire).
 

Spaceception

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Also, I'd like patrol settings to spread piracy prevention across the entire span of the patrol (so they move back and forth, but you don't have the problems of piracy going above prevention values because it takes just a bit too long for the fleet to move 3 systems' distance).
Like having different anti-piracy policies based on what you need? (That could be cool) Or that having a patrol fleet has an automatic prevention radius?

Perhaps an option like "fund privateers." You could boost piracy values and pirate fleet spawn rates in the empire. It could generate a small amount of local threat (mostly just annoying that empire and any of its allies). You could even have it require sending admirals to do this, rather like EUIV diplomats (for that matter, you could send generals for planetary "support dissidents" operations as another way to undermine another empire).
Yeah, I like that!
 

DukeLeto42

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Like having different anti-piracy policies based on what you need? (That could be cool) Or that having a patrol fleet has an automatic prevention radius?
Just that the patrol fleet spreads its prevention effect evenly over its route (so if it gives 200 prevention and a 5 system route, it gives 40 prevention in each no matter where it currently is on that route). I've had pirates pop up even on small patrol routes where my fleet is more than sufficient but the rate of piracy increase is too high for the fleet to leave the systems for more than a month or two.
 
More ideas 1

Spaceception

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A few more things

An Admiral should have some extra trade suppression dependant on their level, being a percentage so it scales. This could also be further increased by "secure shipping" on the Diplomacy tree.

Resource silos could be upgradable, going from 2000 storage, and 2 clerks to being 4000 storage, and 5 clerks. Though whether the upgrade carries a rare resource upkeep is up to the devs.

On Pirate fleets, they just become flimsy in the late game. Why can't they be larger, and why can't their rewards scale later? Since they steal trade value, it'd be nice if you got a lot of those resources back based on your policy. And if you could salvage their fleets for a few hundred/thousand alloys. Getting a couple hundred energy/minerals is like pocket change in the mid/late-game

EDIT: Clerks typically produce 2 trade value (which is probably a bit higher than the base, since I'm xenophile right now). And if a trade policy is producing 0.15 or 0.25 food, then it isn't turning much of a profit. So it would need to raised to be viable.
 
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More ideas 2

Spaceception

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Even more things.

Trade deposits could be richer in value and/or in systems with habitable planets. This way you don't have any stray trade value doing nothing. And the +10% mining station output techs/tradition should apply to those as well.

Special buildings like the alien zoo could add a passive modifier to trade value on planets, and even a clerk job. There could also be new special modifiers for this as well.

Resort worlds should get one of these modifiers, I think it could be great for them. But it would only affect the planet, not your Empire at large.

During a war, you should be able to interrupt a trade route, and steal whatever resources they're producing. Even blocking it entirely from reaching a planet after taking the starbase. It could be a diminishing return over time, but you would get something out of it.

Hyperlane Registrars could give some sort of bonus to increase protection/suppression if they're in a system along a trade route.


And in the long-term for making these mechanics work with other systems in the game, I'm also wondering if different government types or factions could have an effect on any of this. Like what trade policy they'd prefer for the core sector, or if some policies could be stronger for some than others (a low hanging fruit would be a boost on the research policy for materialists).


I also edited the policy effects (again) for the research and food policies. I think 0.25/35 in research, for example, would let it make a decent impact even in the early game, and be strong enough to carry into the game later.
 
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DukeLeto42

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A few more things

An Admiral should have some extra trade suppression dependant on their level, being a percentage so it scales. This could also be further increased by "secure shipping" on the Diplomacy tree.

Resource silos could be upgradable, going from 2000 storage, and 2 clerks to being 4000 storage, and 5 clerks. Though whether the upgrade carries a rare resource upkeep is up to the devs.

On Pirate fleets, they just become flimsy in the late game. Why can't they be larger, and why can't their rewards scale later? Since they steal trade value, it'd be nice if you got a lot of those resources back based on your policy. And if you could salvage their fleets for a few hundred/thousand alloys. Getting a couple hundred energy/minerals is like pocket change in the mid/late-game

EDIT: Clerks typically produce 2 trade value (which is probably a bit higher than the base, since I'm xenophile right now). And if a trade policy is producing 0.15 or 0.25 food, then it isn't turning much of a profit. So it would need to raised to be viable.
Definitely a fan of the resource silos and the point on pirate fleets. Perhaps pirate fleets should grow over time to reflect the trade power they're actively stealing if unchallenged? That way a brief oversight won't result in a major threat, but as the piracy levels drain larger and larger amounts of wealth they could grow to major threats.

I'm not sure about admirals giving extra trade suppression, not because it doesn't make sense but because when you need to change admirals you might suddenly discover the fleet is woefully inadequate and need to suddenly reinforce, rather than the normal process of steadily growing trade defense fleets as trade value grows.
 

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I'm not sure about admirals giving extra trade suppression, not because it doesn't make sense but because when you need to change admirals you might suddenly discover the fleet is woefully inadequate and need to suddenly reinforce, rather than the normal process of steadily growing trade defense fleets as trade value grows.
Thats a good point. Definitely important to keep in mind.

But for regular fleets, when your really good Admiral dies, doesn't it just drop the power by a few thousand at most? Maybe it could be a similar thing. Admirals will give you a nice buff so you don't need more ships for a while, and give more suppression. But at the same time aren't strictly required, or will cripple your suppression badly if you lose them.



Oh, and should Marauder Admirals be allowed for these fleets? They're an auto level 3 admiral, but they're still mercenaries. Maybe something about getting more money out of protecting trade than otherwise? Still a funny little scenario to think about.
 
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DukeLeto42

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But for regular fleets, when your really good Admiral dies, doesn't it just drop the power by a few thousand at most? Maybe it could be a similar thing. Admirals will give you a nice buff so you don't need more ships for a while, and give more suppression. But at the same time aren't strictly required, or will cripple your suppression badly if you lose them.
Sure, but I don't need active admirals all the time, so chances are they don't die when I'm actually at war (unless of course I'm a genocidal empire, but that's another matter).

It would be nice to take some ships off-duty, but it would probably be much better if we could mothball vessels so having a more efficient admiral felt like we were really reducing our military overhead.
 
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Definitely a fan of the resource silos and the point on pirate fleets. Perhaps pirate fleets should grow over time to reflect the trade power they're actively stealing if unchallenged? That way a brief oversight won't result in a major threat, but as the piracy levels drain larger and larger amounts of wealth they could grow to major threats.

I'm not sure about admirals giving extra trade suppression, not because it doesn't make sense but because when you need to change admirals you might suddenly discover the fleet is woefully inadequate and need to suddenly reinforce, rather than the normal process of steadily growing trade defense fleets as trade value grows.
This is a quote from a thread about pirate republics.
This suggestion would first need the addition of a ship section to the galactic market, where you could sell ships. Price automatically determined by strength and such.

When you have pirates in your trade lanes, they keep track of how much TV they have stolen. Once they reach a certain point, they start buying ships off of the GM. When they finally pop up as a hostile fleet, they get an extra amount of current pirate style vessels equal to the amount of ships they were able to buy, effectively doubling their fleet.

Once the pirates are in system, they get ALL the trade value passing through. This amount, plus a base value from their home base(~10), can be used to buy more ships from the market. The ships would stay in orbit of the home base until enough had been bought to form a fleet, and then it could move out and take another system.

There should also be a mechanic for the pirate base to 'level up' as it reaches certain thresholds for trade value captured after it has spawned. 200, 1000, 5000, say. Every upgrade would be a significant upgrade in health, firepower, and passive income generation for the pirates. Higher level pirate bases would also be able to build pirate-class ships.
 

Spaceception

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That could be VERY interesting for this. The idea in general is very nice. And perhaps the cooldown could decrease, as you get later in the game - since you could expect pirates to pick up the pace in the wake of a much more powerful Empire they're trying to take from.

EDIT: And as talked about earlier, where you, or the marauders can pay these pirates - it could also help speed up this process.

And the problem of figuring out their fleet power may lead to solutions to the AI uprising too.
 
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Trade Value policy effects

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EDITs to some values.

Alright, some numbers on what I'm thinking. I don't know if it's well balanced (probably not), but I wanted to add some values here, some changed. Along with how much total they produce now, and what I propose.

All will be base amounts, not affected by modifiers. So this could get decently higher if you're Thrifty, Xenophilic, or what have you.

Clerks: 4 trade value, 3 amenities EDIT: Maybe 3 TV, 3 amenities

  • Wealth creation: 3.2 energy (which is almost as much as a technician). 0.8 energy per trade value here. EDIT Or 1 ec per TV for 3 TV.
  • Consumer benefits: 2.6 energy, 1.4 CG (workers would make a profit here) 0.65 energy/0.35 CG EDIT or 1.95 ec, 1.05 CG
  • Marketplace of ideas: 2.6 energy, 1.4 Unity, EDIT or 1.95 ec, 1.05 Unity
Proposed
  • Food: 1.4 energy, 2.6 food (workers would make almost half the food as a farmer) 0.35 energy/0.65 food
  • Research: 2.6 energy, 1 research (all fields). 0.65 energy/0.25 research
  • Strategic resources (a maybe policy, and should be for individual resources, with the others locked if it happens): 1.4 energy, 0.04 resources. 0.35 energy/0.01 resources

Specialty clerk (don't have a name): 6 trade value, 4 amenitie EDIT Maybe 5 TV, 4 amenities

  • Wealth creation: 4.8 energy EDIT or 5 ec
  • Consumer benefits: 3.9 energy, 2.1 CG, EDIT or 3.25 ec, and 1.75 CG
  • Marketplace of ideas: 3.9 energy, 2.1 Unity EDIT, or 3.25 ec, and 1.75 Unity
Proposed
  • Food: 2.1 energy, 3.9 food
  • Research: 3.9 energy, 1.5 research per field
  • Strategic resources: 2.1 energy, 0.06 resources

Merchants, no change: 8 trade value, 5 amenities

  • Wealth creation: 5.6 energy
  • Consumer benefits: 5.2 energy, 2.8 CG
  • Marketplace of ideas: 5.2 energy, 2.8 Unity
Proposed
  • Food: 2.8 energy, 6.4 food
  • Research: 5/2 energy, 2 research
  • Strategic resources, 2.8 energy, 0.08 resources

The passive gain could be changed too, but I'm not going to touch on that.

I'm also thinking that, because this is a massive boost (clerks produce 2x the trade value now), it could really unbalance the early game in terms of resource generation. Right now, a Commercial zone gives 5 jobs, 10 for the upgrade. I'm thinking it could instead produce 4 jobs instead. 6 for the upgrade + 2 specialty jobs (Or 7 + 3, giving a nicer boost). Right now, if all clerk jobs are filled at the beginning, you're going to have 10 TV (not counting passive TV, or modifiers, which I believe raises it between 25-30 at the start for non-Megacorps), which gives you 10 energy, or 5 energy and 2.5 CG/Unity.
With this as the new system, your starting trade value increases to 16, giving you 12.8 energy, or 10.4 energy and 5.6 CG/Unity. Now that I think about it, you're more encouraged to take a dual trade policy, unless you're really strapped on energy.

At 100 trade value total, you're looking at 80 energy. Or 65 energy and 35 CG/Unity. Which isn't bad I think. Not as great as your typical jobs though. But I (stress on think) this is almost at the point where you could reasonably devise a strategy where you can rely on at least 1-3 resources through trade, letting your other pops focus more on the rest.

Oh, and any ideas for Trade Leagues? I don't know how it could work with this. Can it be the optional (or automatic) policy for your core sector? Does it get boosted to 1.6 energy, and 0.35 CG/Unity, or stay the same as now? Can members choose one optional policy I propose that adds to that?
 
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Tamwin5

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Alright, some numbers on what I'm thinking. I don't know if it's well balanced (probably not), but I wanted to add some values here, some changed. Along with how much total they produce now, and what I propose.

All will be base amounts, not affected by modifiers. So this could get decently higher if you're Thrifty, Xenophilic, or what have you.

Clerks: 4 trade value, 3 amenities

  • Wealth creation: 3.2 energy (which is almost as much as a technician). 0.8 energy per trade value here.
  • Consumer benefits: 2.6 energy, 1.4 CG (workers would make a profit here) 0.65 energy/0.35 CG
  • Marketplace of ideas: 2.6 energy, 1.4 Unity
Proposed
  • Food: 1.4 energy, 2.6 food (workers would make almost half the food as a farmer) 0.35 energy/0.65 food
  • Research: 2.6 energy, 1 research (all fields). 0.65 energy/0.25 research
  • Strategic resources (a maybe policy, and should be for individual resources, with the others locked if it happens): 1.4 energy, 0.04 resources. 0.35 energy/0.01 resources

Specialty clerk (don't have a name): 6 trade value, 4 amenities

  • Wealth creation: 4.8 energy
  • Consumer benefits: 3.9 energy, 2.1 CG
  • Marketplace of ideas: 3.9 energy, 2.1 Unity
Proposed
  • Food: 2.1 energy, 3.9 food
  • Research: 3.9 energy, 1.5 research per field
  • Strategic resources: 2.1 energy, 0.06 resources

Merchants, no change: 8 trade value, 5 amenities

  • Wealth creation: 5.6 energy
  • Consumer benefits: 5.2 energy, 2.8 CG
  • Marketplace of ideas: 5.2 energy, 2.8 Unity
Proposed
  • Food: 2.8 energy, 6.4 food
  • Research: 5/2 energy, 2 research
  • Strategic resources, 2.8 energy, 0.08 resources

The passive gain could be changed too, but I'm not going to touch on that.

I'm also thinking that, because this is a massive boost (clerks produce 2x the trade value now), it could really unbalance the early game in terms of resource generation. Right now, a Commercial zone gives 5 jobs, 10 for the upgrade. I'm thinking it could instead produce 4 jobs instead. 6 for the upgrade + 2 specialty jobs (Or 7 + 3, giving a nicer boost). Right now, if all clerk jobs are filled at the beginning, you're going to have 10 TV (not counting passive TV, or modifiers, which I believe raises it between 25-30 at the start for non-Megacorps), which gives you 10 energy, or 5 energy and 2.5 CG/Unity.
With this as the new system, your starting trade value increases to 16, giving you 12.8 energy, or 10.4 energy and 5.6 CG/Unity. Now that I think about it, you're more encouraged to take a dual trade policy, unless you're really strapped on energy.

At 100 trade value total, you're looking at 80 energy. Or 65 energy and 35 CG/Unity. Which isn't bad I think. Not as great as your typical jobs though. But I (stress on think) this is almost at the point where you could reasonably devise a strategy where you can rely on at least 1-3 resources through trade, letting your other pops focus more on the rest.

Oh, and any ideas for Trade Leagues? I don't know how it could work with this. Can it be the optional (or automatic) policy for your core sector? Does it get boosted to 1.6 energy, and 0.35 CG/Unity, or stay the same as now? Can members choose one optional policy I propose that adds to that?
I'm not sure how you are getting 3.2 energy from 4 trade value? Shouldn't the numbers just convert 1 to 1? Also CG and unity are .25 per TV, so I'm not sure how you are ending up with x.8 and x.4 values.

Trade league policy gives 1 energy, 0.25 CG, and 0.25 Unity per trade value. This is INSANELY powerful. It quite literally doubles your trade value, and stacks with all other increases to TV multiplicatively. This one bonus alone will probably make Megacorps and possibly merchant guilds top tier. Not only are you doubling the bonuses from all your jobs, but also the passive CG gained from pops (for decent conditions, it's 0.4/0.25/0.15) Let's assume you have like 20 rulers, 200 specialists, and 300 workers. 20*0.4 + 200*0.25 + 0.15*300 = 103 TV. And you get this just for joining the rich kids club. Every thrifty clerk also goes to 5 trade value, with double bonuses from stability. Any empire modifiers to trade value, such as free traders 10%, 10% from diplomacy tree, and Xenophile 10%/20%, are also effectively doubled. If you go full trade value with Fan Xenophile, free traders, and thrifty, then your clerks make 6.2 TV out of the gate (at least as soon as you found a federation). If you take gospel of the masses, then every spiritualist pop gives 0.5 TV. Given the above example of 520 pops, and if only 2/3 are spiritualist, that gives another 173 TV from jumping in a trade league ON TOP of the 103 already. And all of this is completely ignoring any trade from deposits or commercial pacts.

You wanted trade to be a viable strategy? It's going to be.

Bonus! Math for commerce Megaplex: 10 jobs at 2 TV base +1 job at 8 TV base is 28 TV over 11 jobs, or 2.54 TV average per pop. Assuming a 50% trade bonus from various sources, that gets up to 3.81 TV per pop average. Add in a Trade federation, now it's 7.62 TV average per pop. Say you were able tog et up to 100% trade value bonus though. 25% Thrifty, 20% Fan Xenophile, 10% Free traders, 10% Diplomacy Open Markets, 10% Investor, 10% Enclave Governor, Ancient Trade route 10%, and Galactic Stock Exchange 20% adds up to a Total of 115% without getting into any temporary modifiers, so it is doable. This brings the base average to 5.46 TV, and the Trade Fed value to 10.92 average per pop. Damn.
 

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It would be interesting to introduce a new cause for war - a trade war. In the case when someone does not like the prices set by the leader of the trade.
 

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I'm not sure how you are getting 3.2 energy from 4 trade value? Shouldn't the numbers just convert 1 to 1? Also CG and unity are .25 per TV, so I'm not sure how you are ending up with x.8 and x.4 values.
I thought it'd be best to nerf it a bit since, at a 1:1 ratio, Clerks would match Technicians with no bonuses. I thought that might be too much.

And I also decided to buff MoI/CB to be even better, so they're now 0.65 credits/0.35 Unity/CG (not 0.8/0.4, did I fudge a number somewhere?). The food policy I proposed flips that at 0.35 credits/0.65 food, so they run a reasonable profit.

Although now that I think about it... there are no techs for boosting trade value in the same way you can for technicians, so maybe it's okay in the long run? Since technicians would eventually outpace them. And, maybe, I could see the possibility for a few techs boosting trade jobs by 5/10%.

And wow, I didn't know that trade policy would be that powerful. So yeah, I think for this, I'd leave it as is, and make it your core sector policy.
 

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I thought it'd be best to nerf it a bit since, at a 1:1 ratio, Clerks would match Technicians with no bonuses. I thought that might be too much.

And I also decided to buff MoI/CB to be even better, so they're now 0.65 credits/0.35 Unity/CG (not 0.8/0.4, did I fudge a number somewhere?). The food policy I proposed flips that at 0.35 credits/0.65 food, so they run a reasonable profit.

Although now that I think about it... there are no techs for boosting trade value in the same way you can for technicians, so maybe it's okay in the long run? Since technicians would eventually outpace them. And, maybe, I could see the possibility for a few techs boosting trade jobs by 5/10%.

And wow, I didn't know that trade policy would be that powerful. So yeah, I think for this, I'd leave it as is, and make it your core sector policy.
Consumer goods are worth 2 EC each. Consumer Benefits might actually be the best trade policy, as it lets you focus more building slots towards science or alloys, while still giving you the same value. Marketplace of ideas is a little iffy, but it might be good early/mid game to blitz through a bunch of traditions. Alloys and science tend to be more attractive as end-goals, so that's why it's oven skipped over. But they are currently balanced against each other. If a clerk was giving you more value then a technician, that's because you made clerks give an OP amount of TV, not because of imbalance with the system.

Before the Trade league federation policy was revealed, I was a proponent of giving a T3-T5 tech that gave +1 trade value to clerks. With the policy though, I don't think any buff is needed. I also actually really like the implementation of this, as it requires the empire join a trade league, rather then another federation type which would be more attractive to other empires. So you might end up with a big empire or two and a couple of federations fighting for power, and then a trade league which is generally staying out of conflicts and being opportunistic. Also considering that federations give free commercial pacts, megacorps are going to LOVE federations.
 

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MORE IDEAS IN THE REPLIES (Threadmarked)
  • Right now, I'm at the stage of the game where you need a decent fleet to keep piracy suppression under control. Now, I'm also at the point where no pirate fleet is anywhere close to a threat, but it is eating into my trade value. So if I ever go to war, or when the crisis arrives (which requires more ships for my main fleets, which my piracy fleets would be busy biting into), it's just going to get annoying. Especially if any of these changes makes it into the game - raising your routes trade value, and making it harder to manage.
The real problem here is that game empires that do not specialize in "trade" do not need to deal with this. That's not realistic though. Every empire should have trade and they should all have to contend with defending their trade routes, so the solution to this problem should be to add in proper trade representation for empires that don't specialize in "trade value."

When does trade happen? Trade happens when resources needed in one place are more efficiently produced in another place. Part of this is already represented in the game in a very abstract way through trade value generation from pops. However, the missing piece in the current game is trade generation from direct resource production. When would trade of direct resources happen? Below are some situations that come to mind that should be considered in developing a more realistic and comprehensive trade model for empires:
  • When empires have trade agreements with other empires, there would realistically need to be a trade route. To benefit from trade with other empires you should have to set up a trade route link to that empire. The extra trade value generated from a trade agreement only represents the extra value gained from the trade. It does not represent the full value of the trade that goes across the border to generate this extra value. This means that the trade route link should have more, probably much more, trade value traveling on it then the empires receive in benefits for the trade agreement. Perhaps something like 30% of the smaller empires trade value would make sense? So if the smaller empire produced 200 trade value then perhaps 60 trade value should travel on the trade link between the empires.
  • When empires trade resources between one another there should be more trade value travelling on the trade link between those two empires. Theoretically the increased trade value should be equivalent to the number of resources times their galactic market value, which is probably approximately how much a pirate would be able to sell it for. It could make some sense to also have it be worth a fraction of the amount if you imagine that some of the resources could be traced and therefore only able to be sold on the black market at a discount.
  • When empires trade resources on the galactic market trade value should be generated. A link between the empire and the galactic market should theoretically be needed. Just as above the trade value traveling that route should be equal to the number of resources traded times their market value, with a possible discount for pirates being forced to sell on the black market.
  • Given how Stellaris represents interstellar travel, trade links between the galactic market and other empires could be complicated. Stellaris says that travel has to happen on hyperlanes, and that you can't skip over systems when traveling. The practical effect of this is that having a trade route that travels through another empire, even to reach the galactic market, should require that empires permission. The easiest way to deal with this implication would be to make it so that you can only trade with empires you share a border with. I'm not really sure how this would work with the galactic market. I would be curious to hear if anyone else has an idea.
  • When a planet has a deficit in resources trade is required. This means that if a planet has a food deficit of 15 food, this should be represented on one of the trade routes. This means setting up a system for how resources travel around the empire. As above the trade value traveled on the trade route should theoretically be equal to the market value of the resources, with a possible black market discount.
If these concepts are addressed trade based empires would be much more on a level playing field with other empires. Empires who took more care to produce their resources locally where they're needed would not have to deal with as many logistical issues with trade routes. Those who reaped benefits of trade more would have to account for the increased need for protection by building more anchorages. This may mean that instead of building 10 trade hubs that you have to build 8, but that is a reasonable compromise.
 
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Spaceception

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If I'm not mistaken, it sounds like you'd like to expand trade for all resources, and to add supply lanes. I would be open to this, but it may require much more work than just adding features and mechanics to what's already here. I think the biggest things I proposed were merchant fleets and modified commercial pacts.

  • When empires have trade agreements with other empires, there would realistically need to be a trade route. To benefit from trade with other empires you should have to set up a trade route link to that empire. The extra trade value generated from a trade agreement only represents the extra value gained from the trade. It does not represent the full value of the trade that goes across the border to generate this extra value. This means that the trade route link should have more, probably much more, trade value traveling on it then the empires receive in benefits for the trade agreement. Perhaps something like 30% of the smaller empires trade value would make sense? So if the smaller empire produced 200 trade value then perhaps 60 trade value should travel on the trade link between the empires.
  • When empires trade resources between one another there should be more trade value travelling on the trade link between those two empires. Theoretically the increased trade value should be equivalent to the number of resources times their galactic market value, which is probably approximately how much a pirate would be able to sell it for. It could make some sense to also have it be worth a fraction of the amount if you imagine that some of the resources could be traced and therefore only able to be sold on the black market at a discount.
I agree, instant resource trade should be changed. This also opens other Empires up to steal those resources, which could be a source of conflict.

  • When empires trade resources on the galactic market trade value should be generated. A link between the empire and the galactic market should theoretically be needed. Just as above the trade value traveling that route should be equal to the number of resources traded times their market value, with a possible discount for pirates being forced to sell on the black market.
  • Given how Stellaris represents interstellar travel, trade links between the galactic market and other empires could be complicated. Stellaris says that travel has to happen on hyperlanes, and that you can't skip over systems when traveling. The practical effect of this is that having a trade route that travels through another empire, even to reach the galactic market, should require that empires permission. The easiest way to deal with this implication would be to make it so that you can only trade with empires you share a border with. I'm not really sure how this would work with the galactic market. I would be curious to hear if anyone else has an idea.
That's true, especially with the above point. Physical ships like I propose, could trade x amounts of resources directly, and be neutral (you could see many of these fleets flying through the galaxy being funded by Empires who need it, transporting resources), so they can enter unfriendly territory. This could be for resource dumps, while a trade lane would be for monthly trade. Other Empires could have the option to become hostile to steal these. Reducing opinion of the Empire in question, your allies, and potentially opening up some sort of economic quasi-war, or CB to enforce free trade.

When a planet has a deficit in resources trade is required. This means that if a planet has a food deficit of 15 food, this should be represented on one of the trade routes. This means setting up a system for how resources travel around the empire. As above the trade value traveled on the trade route should theoretically be equal to the market value of the resources, with a possible black market discount.
This would make resource silos important on planets, since they could store the resources you don't have a surplus of. Resource silos on starbases could provide emergency resources to planets as well. But this could also require another level of ship for trade, since you would need larger fleets to deal with this increased amount going through.