Okay- I did a search before starting this and nothing came up, so if you have seen or written a guide similar to this then please just post a link and tell me, don't hate. I have never played Age 2 for longer than a few minutes so I labeled this an Age 1 guide, as I have no clue whether it would work the same there.
DeadKnight's Market Exploitation Guide
Disclaimer: This trick is not a glitch or anything as 'exploitation' might suggest. It is a normal part of the game that can be used by anyone who wants to use it.
This is about how to play the markets and have all the resources you need.
The market is the building you click on to buy and sell resources. You are buying from players who are actively selling their own resources, so the price fluctuates all throughout the day. Anything you buy from the market is bought with gold, and when you sell resources you receive gold for them.
On a matured server, Lumber tops the prices most of the time. On server 148 at the moment, Lumber ranges from high 20's to high 40's. The prices for iron and lumber take time to rise and fall- sometimes it will stay for hours then suddenly spike higher and fall right back down again. Sometimes it does the opposite. Iron is usually next- on our server it's anywhere from 22 or so up to the mid-30's. Food next- a very needed resource but usually WAY cheaper than iron or lumber. Food is around 5-10 gold a piece right now and that's a big shift from how it was two weeks ago at 2-4. Stone is next- the least valuable resource on a matured server, after everyone has finished their buildings and walls. By this time the biggest thing people use stone for is to make huge piles of it (there's explanation behind this in many other threads) or for making instant Defensive Trebuchets for hero experience. So stone can range from .1 to 5 or 6 at times. On our server it lingers at around 2 because of a certain annoying alliance that is buying it up and using for the hero experience trick. Before they started doing that it would spike from .5 to 4 or 5.
1) The Beginning- Observe
So you want to jump right to action- most of us do. But, first you have to learn your server's markets. Just look every few minutes for a week or so- watch the patterns. What's the lowest it gets to, and the highest? Does it fluctuate very quickly or does it take a while? What is the general range for each resource type from high price to low price?
If one resource jumps 10 to 20 or 30 in price that's a good thing- doesn't happen too often but you can make HUGE profits off of this. When you have good understanding of the markets on your specific server, you're ready to commence Step 2.
During this time make sure you get your market to at least level 5 or higher. Seems like a waste of time, but believe me, it suck to only be able to have one or two orders going especially when buying Lumber or Iron- they don't always buy and sell right away so several running orders is pretty much a must.
2) Start Trading
Have you ever heard the saying 'Buy low, Sell high'? That's exactly what you want to do here.
Choose what resource you want to start with- I never use food. For lumber or iron, either save up enough gold for 9,999,999 of either one, or find someone to farm it off of, or ask an alliance member to send you some. The last option. is not as good as the first two cuz it can get you suspect as a spy unless you have been in the alliance a long time, and is just kinda selfish.
For stone- unless you are one with a mega pile of stone, simply sell a few million lumber or iron and buy as much stone as you can when it is at a lower point (if you followed step 1, you should have an understanding of the low and high points). Find your own style of marketing- some do more often with smaller profits, some do less often with huge profits, and some do a mix of both.
3) Sealing the Deal
Here comes the step to make your loot- when the resource you bought reaches a high price and you sell it. If you have plenty of time to be on and watch the markets, you may like to buy low and then sell a few units up- thus making a good chunk of profit more often, but not as huge as if you wait longer for the real high price. 2-3 units of price difference yields a good profit on lumber or iron on our server, but it can be up to 10 or 12 units difference sometimes, depending on the resource.
Basically, wait for your decided sell point and then release all of your goods onto the market.
4) The End- Restart the Cycle
You can stick to one resource or you can switch around. Stone and Food rise and fall in price quickly, while Lumber and Iron yield better profits but take longer. I switch sometimes from Lumber to Iron and occasionally do stone- look at what is at a low when after you sell. See something really low? Buy it up and make that your next trade. The more often you trade, the more gold you accumulate.
So what's the point of this?
With lots of gold, you have a lot of advantages. Gold on a server that has had time to run is often worth less than stone. A gold pile is easier to accumulate than a stone pile, but does the same thing as stone does when you get raided. Also, with the huge gold pile you can buy food and lumber and iron easily when needed.
1 billion gold isn't hard. Try for 15, 20 billion. It takes time but when you get it down you can get several billion rather quickly.
'Holding Trick': Before bed at night, put in one high bid (realistically high, not astronomically) and one low buy for 9,999,999 each. If you have a higher level market place, put more- maybe half and half. The prices change all the time so you may very well get lucky.
What to put in the fields: Lumber generally tops the price tags- but do you like to trade with lumber or iron more? Some of both? Well then build your fields to produce all of what you want- whether that's half lumber and half iron, or all of one.
'Price Alerter': Put in a small order- maybe a million or so- at the price you want to buy or sell at (low price for the first, high price for the second), while you are online. When you get a report, the prices are where you want them and you can go and sell/buy all you want.
This concludes my Marketing Guide!
Thanks Lucas for the improvement ideas! If anyone has any improvements please let me know.