UPDATE: This post was written during the Alpha, and only applies to Humans and Elves. (I haven’t played any Eastern races yet.) As of the Western ArcheAge launch, the first trade run quest is no longer Strawberry Jam. It’s Solzreed Dried Food which requires 50 Trimmed Meat (made from e.g. butchering chickens) and 35 Grapes (made from e.g. harvesting grapevines). And the certificate, of course. The cash reward is apparently greater now, as shown below.
I was a little disappointed with my first ArcheAge trade run. I was expecting it to be a little more, I don’t know, profitable. Granted it was the very first tutorial run, but still. It didn’t really sell me on doing it a second time.
The first tutorial asks you to do a trade run of Strawberry Jam or something like that from one region to another. That’s the essence of “trade runs” in ArcheAge. You make something in one zone, and then “run” it to another zone to sell. You get rewarded depending on how far you travel and how valuable the items are at the destination.
So to do the Strawberry run, first you have to have a little Scarecrow farm, which you get in an earlier tutorial. You buy a bunch of Strawberry seeds and plant them, water them, and harvest them, until you have a whopping 100 of them. (It took me about 30 seeds to make 100 strawberries.) It’s pretty time-consuming, because it takes some three hours for strawberries to grow. The process took me three nights. Partly because I was very poor and couldn’t afford all the strawberries at once, and partly because I can’t be sitting at my computer all hours of the day and night waiting for strawberries.
Once you have the strawberries, you also have to buy a “certificate.” Then you take it all to what they call a Specialty Crafting Table. This is a special kind of crafting table which makes commerce items specific to a particular region. In the tutorial, Strawberry Jam is a specialty of the Solzreed Penninsula, so you have to run all the way over to that zone, find the commerce hub, and make the Jam. Make sure you’re ready because when the crafting is complete, you are saddled with a big Trade Pack on your back, which could also be described as a huge frickin’ ball and chain, with an anchor attached.
The tutorial asks you to take the Jam from Solzreed and sell it in Gweonid Forest, which is two zones away. That’s a pretty long way on an elk mount. It’s even farther away when you’re carrying a Trade Pack, because your movement speed is ridiculously hampered down to a not-so-brisk walk. You can still ride your elk, but it looked to me like you moved even slower on it.
Thankfully, there is a carriage line right near the Solzreed hub. A short walk away you’ll find a group of traders weighed down with packs, waiting at what looks like a bus stop. A short time later one of the blue freaky-looking dudes will drive up in a creaky carriage, and everyone can jump aboard. (It looks like the carriage is traveling at a crawl, but trust me, it’s faster than walking.) Only four people can actually sit down, though. I guess if there are more they’d have to pile on some other way. (By the way, there is collision in ArcheAge, so two people can’t occupy the same space, so no matter how you slice it, only a finite number of people could fit on the carriage.)
If you’re a social person who plays MMOs for the thrill of meeting other people, this is a perfect opportunity to strike up a conversation with your fellow travelers, because you’ll be with them for a good ten or fifteen minutes on this trade run. The carriage ride takes you to the Lilyut Hills zone, and then you’ll wait at another “bus stop” for the next carriage, which takes you to the Gweonid Forest zone. But that’s where the easy ride ends. Then you have to walk the rest of the way.
Walking is really slow. Riding the carriage was like being on a bullet train by comparison. Make sure you know where you auto-run key is, that’s all I’m saying. You can go a little faster by sprinting periodically when your mana recharges. And when I say “sprint” I mean “jog a little faster than walking.”
After the long walk, you’ll get to the commerce hub. (By the way, make sure you know where it is, because I think there is only one per zone, and you do not want to be searching for it while you’re wearing a trade pack. On the first tutorial quest it is handily highlighted on the map, but it won’t always be.)
And this is where my disappointment came from. I was fine with everything up to this point. It’s time-consuming and frankly a bit boring, but if that’s what it takes to make some serious cash in ArcheAge, I can handle it. I can watch Netflix while I’m walking around just fine. At least it’s different from endlessly grinding on mobs. So I anxiously turned in my trade pack to collect my big fat reward…
Which was a whopping 1 gold and change.
Which wasn’t quite what I expected. I mean, I spent three days putting this trade run together, did I mention that? I’m pretty sure I could have gotten 1 gold or more out of questing for the same three days.
UPDATE: After launch, the first trade run got me a bit over 3 gold. Somewhat better. (By the way, the Gilda Trader is no longer an option.)
Now it’s possible that the selling price was low because everyone was doing the same tutorial quest, and the Gweonid Forest market was completely saturated with Strawberry Jam. If it’s a “dynamic” sort of marketplace–and my understanding from the tutorials is that it is–that would make sense to me. The tutorials indicated that you might want to “shop around” to find the best prices for your wares. I’ve also since learned that your Commerce skill affects the sale price, so presumably the more you trade, the more you’ll get.
The “best” money is supposedly made by doing trade runs through PvP territory. By ship, I presume, since you have to sail across a big ocean to get to the PvP continent. I don’t think I’d try that without the help of an army of friends. I felt like a sitting duck just walking around the PvE zones with that trade pack on. If I’d walked too close to a mob, I’d have been history.
The next tutorial trade run will get me a donkey, if I read the quest correctly. That’ll be pretty cool.