Dog Builds an Empire: X3 Albion Prelude Chapter 2

This is the second part of my X3 Albion Prelude Humble Merchant playthrough. See the first part here.

“Glad you could join us,” says the voice on the other end of my comms link.

The commander explains I’m supposed to help them attack the Terran sectors nearby. I don’t really have anything that would be even a bit effective againts a Terran fleet, so I use my Trading System Extension and Universe Map to see if there’s any possible good trade routes near here that I know about. Nope.

I turn the War Reports and Mission Guidance off. I dock at a shipyard, and max out the engine tuning on my ship. There’s some mission at a station nearby. I comm it, and a person there offers me a Mercury Hauler for 150k. There’s fourty-four seconds left to accept the offer. I initially think to reject it. The clock ticks down. I guess it could help me a lot with trading, and this could become my first sector trader. I decide to accept it.

The Mercury Hauler I acquire has some minor damage, and I have under 170k now. I have my new ship pull up next to me. Ejecting from my current ship, I use my spacesuit’s repair laser to fix the Hauler up somewhat, and then I jump in it. As this will be the slowest ship, even at full engine tuning and hull, this would be the best ship to be in, as with all of these dangerous sectors around, I want my ships to stay together.

I take off back for Argon Core Space, at one-thirty A.M., with my auto pilot set for President’s End. I stop at a Trading Station on the way back to save, and then continue my journey back through the fifteen-sectors-or-more journey. Backtracking through sector after sector, I’m two-thirds of the way back. In a red, cloudy asteroid field, a lot more than a few pirates pop up on my radar. They’re sitting just behind an asteroid, and it looks like they’re firing on a convoy of merchants. I turn my own small convoy around and head for the nearest ore mine.

They turn their small convoy around and head for the nearest me.

I’m about to dock with the station, and they fire more than a few missiles. More than a few missiles whack me. This disrupts my autopilot, and I try to comm the station. I probably should’ve just manually docked the first time, as it could’ve been faster. I repetitively spin my Hauler around in circles, making a missile fly past me, and then start to orbit around me. The pirate’s lasers are not going past me nor are they orbiting around me. They’re whacking me head-on. (Apply directly to your forhead.)

My shield read-out hops on a bullet train and speeds to the left. My hull read-out hops on an F-16 and breaks the sound barrier, warping to the left. The “Game Over” screen doesn’t wait to tell me the good news. I also should mention I haven’t docked with a station since the Trading Station, back near Argon Sector M148, which means I haven’t saved since the Trading Station, back near — yeah.

I reload the save. It’s now two in the morning. I make Wookie-like sounds of aggrevation. I have to do that all over again. I set my autopilot again for President’s End, and press “J”. I use my phone to read about X3. I save at a station, as I figure it’s possible for the game engine to simulate that sector the same way, with the pirates still there, or at any other sector for that matter. I take a bathroom break, then come back, reactivate SETA as I’ve gone through a few gates now; and read EgoSoft forum posts. I get a drink, reactivate SETA, and read the Argonopedia. Then I save.

I come back through that same sector. If those pirates are here that’d just be stupid, and I’d just go to sleep. They aren’t, though, and so I continue on.


There are lasers over there. You can probably maybe see that.

Back in the sector where the battle between Southwest Airlines and the Colossus happened, there’s a battle between pirates and a convoy of merchants and their escorts. I just SETA my way through there, with my Discoverer and Mercury bobbling around behind me. I get a cool screenshot of what’s going on:

I finally make it through Split Fire, past the military outpost in Elena’s Fortune, and arrive at President’s End. Time to start trading again.


I head into Ore Belt, fly straight towards one mine while my Mercury flys straight for another. I have him buy up all the ore he can, which is at minimum (fifty) price, and I load my ship up with ore, again for fifty. I then instruct him to fly through the North gate, and I do likewise. I beat him to the gate by a fair ways, and head for the first Quantum Tube Fab. He comes in, and I tell him to go to the Ammunition Factory, after I’ve remotely price-checked all of the ore-dependent stations in the sector.

I sell my ore for two-hundred-and-two, and he sells it for one-eighty. I then have him do trade runs between the Large Cahoona Bakery and the tech factories. Meanwhile, I grab ore from Ore Belt and haul it back, making a considerable amount of credits. (Please, feel free to try these routes if you’d like. Another good place to get ore would be from Herron’s Nebula, which is the starting sector if you pick the Humble Merchant start. If you trade ore and silicon between Herron’s Nebula and Argon Prime, or further South the Home of Light, you’ll be able to trade stocks in Argon Prime while you’re there. You have to own a station in Argon space to gain access to the Stock Exchange, though.)

After I’ve acquired 700k from single- and multi-sector trading with both my freighters, I switch ships and take my Mercury Hauler to the TerraCorp HQ. I have the Hauler purchase Trade Command Software MK3, and acquire my first Sector Trader. He will eventually (pretty fast actually) become a Universe Trader, seeking and grabbing profit in the all corners of the universe. Mainly the Argon Corners, at least initially.


The TerraCorp Headquarters. They look cool.

His name is Jo Springer. Assistan Jo Springer. Someday to be known across the galaxy as Trader Jo’s, first salesperson of Rio Yeti Conglomerate. (Cool company name, huh?)

I start him trading in Ore Belt, and he starts making some good profit trading cells with the ore mines and ore with the newly-constructed Cluster Flak Array Forge.

Ore Belt is now a very lively sector, with tons of shipping, it’s high-yield mines and the Free Argon Trading Station and the new weapons forge.

But with all of these newfound trading oppurtunities, occasionally, there are also pirates.

I hope you enjoyed my playthrough and getting-pirated-of! Be sure to check back next week, as I’ll have another chapter ready for you, when I build my first station and take the first steps in building my corporate empire. Give me some feedback on good trading routes, your tips on trading, pirating, or running an empire. I will be doing many assorted guides for different aspects of X3, and I’d much appreciate any insight you have. Also, if you really liked it, I’d appreciate if you “liked” it. 😉


18 responses to “Dog Builds an Empire: X3 Albion Prelude Chapter 2

  1. Great guide! I’ve only been playing AP for around a couple of weeks. I have around 80,000,000 credits after playing the stock exchange. While I have plenty of moolas I don’t have the rep to buy Centaurs or much else worth having. ( I’ m currently in a Teladi Kite)
    My question is what’s the quickest way for me to gain rep other than trading which I’m finding quite dull? As I want to start the campaign but won’t last two seconds in my current ship


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  3. Hey man, love the merchant guides, finally getting the hang of X3. However, my economy doesn’t seem nearly as stable as yours. After just two round trips of ore from Ore Belt to Home of Light, ore costs more than it sells for! Is there anything I can do to stabilize this? I’m only able to get ~300k, not the millions you seem to pull in.

    • The problem is the supply is low on the ore, meaning it will be more expensive.

      Possibly why my Ore Belt was so stable was because I traded lots of solar to the ore mines, so they could start production, meaning the price would gradually go down for ore.

      I’d recommend trading some solar to the ore mines in Ore Belt, all within the sector. You’ll also be able to make some profit this way, although maybe not quite as big as the ore trading, but this will indirectly net you a bunch of profit.

      Hope that helps!

      • Thanks for the quick reply! The other thing was that the solar seemed to be selling for less than what I bought for it, but if that helped production then I could probably take a bit of a loss to get to the bigger gains. Your guide has been super helpful though, thanks a bunch! X3 is a tough game to get into, but it’s the kind of game I’ve wanted to play for a long time.

      • There’s not too much of a need to take a loss, as if there’s enough that it’s low in price to sell means that the ore mines most likely have a good amount.

        Taking a loss to supply them more won’t affect the speed they produce out, but instead, the minimum amount that they’ll produce over time, assuming no other merchants also help supply it (hence the “minimum”).

        It takes time for the ore to actually be mined, so I’d recommend just plopping an advanced satellite (available from Argon Prime) in Ore Belt and going to trade something else/trade stocks (I have a guide on that too) while watching the price.

        Once it is starting to near a reasonable level, travel back and by the time you’re there, you should be able to grab it at a good deal before anyone else does.

        Again, hope that helps, and thank you for reading my guides! I’m glad you like X3, it’s definitely a fantastic game, and I’m really looking forward to X: Rebirth. Hope we’ll see you there as well!

      • It’s a pretty fun game for sure, I’m excited for Rebirth. I’m also checking out Star Citizen, seems like a cool alternative to EVE.

  4. How does the Trader MK3 system work? I got the software but have no idea how to do it at all.. 🙂

    And how can I get my ships to automagically keep my stations full of resources/selling products?


    • To use Mk III, you need to go to properties menu, highlight the desired ship, and press C. Then, go to “Trading” and select “Start Sector Trader”. You should pick a reliable sector for trading, as your pilot has to make profit to gain experience.

      Once your pilot has gotten to… level 12 maybe…? You can then go to the same menu, and select “Start Universe Trader”. He will now trade over multiple sectors.

      Eventually, at around maybe level 21 — sorry I haven’t levelled UTs in a while — your UT will acquire fighter drones and start using jumpdrives to REALLY make moolas.

      Also, your traders have to be in their own ships, meaning you can’t have them trade if you’re in the Mk III ship.

      For automating station supplying, you can use multiple ships with the two lower level trading computers. You’ll need to homebase them at the desired station, and then have each one either buy or sell the supplies/products for best price. (All commands found in command console, mainly the trading tab)

      Later, you can use CAGs and CLS if you have the bonus pack installed. I’ve only used CAGs, but you should probably look up guides on both, as I’ve only used one CAG ever 😉

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  11. About buying that Mercury Hauler for 150K:
    sometimes there are these awesome deals, a Mercury Hauler can be sold for at least 250 in shipyards at 75% hull.
    i once bought a Nova Vanguard for 100K in Herron’s Nebula, sold it for 1.000.000 Credits profit.

    • Awesome! I just bought a Heavy Centuar, and started doing the plot while my 10 brand new Mercury Haulers start training to become UTs.

      I’m expecting to have these events in my journal in a couple of weeks, though I may “compress” the next couple parts or just make them longer. I’ve also been playing Planetside 2 on the side, but now I have a Heavy Centuar armed to the teeth, I’m having way too much fun shooting Terrans.

      Although I kind of want to befriend them, shooting them is really fun (they disagree, but I don’t understand why ;D) and I’m planning on also playing a Terran Defender character anyways.

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