Friday, November 23, 2012

[STO] Contraband for Z:D or EC?

Contraband is a wonderful item that is a common reward for Marauding Duty Officer assignments with the Klingons Defense Force. When combined with my favorite Duty Officer assignment – Turn Over Confiscated Contraband – it’s a very steady way to earn Dilithium in game, and thus Zen. In turn Zen can be used to buy things in the Zen Store that can be sold for Energy Credits.

I’ve got a very small and decently run operation set up with three characters; 1 Federation and 2 Klingon. The two Klingons earn virtually all my Contraband, and all three characters turn it in. But, given the market changes recently, would turning in Contraband for Dilithium then Zen be the best way to buy Energy Credits? Or would it be better to sell the Contraband itself? What offers the better return right now?

Excel to the rescue!
 Z:D Rate   Z:D Rate   Z:D Rate 
                                      160                                       142                                       142
 Contraband   Contraband   Contraband 
                                40,000                                 49,000                                 40,000
 5 Contra   5 Contra   5 Contra 
 Dilithium   Dilithium   Dilithium 
 Zen   Zen   Zen 
 EC cost per Zen   EC cost per Zen   EC cost per Zen 
                                16,667                                 17,500                                 14,286
 Million EC = Zen   Million EC = Zen   Million EC = Zen 

You might remember a similar chart when I explored buying Zen with Energy Credits. The first column are my original numbers. The second column is what I observed today – Contraband selling for 49,000 EC, and the Z:D Exchange rate being 1:142. The third column is a hypothetical situation where Contraband prices were back at 40,000 as before.

Now, you’ll notice the bottom rows are 1 Million = Zen. Basically, if you spend 1 million EC, you can expect to get x-Zen in return. Right now the buying power of Energy Credits has gone down a bit for this route by 4 Zen. So, if you want to buy Zen with Energy Credits, it’s a little worse than it used to be. Why does this matter? Because you will want to get a return on your Contraband, and will need to decide whether its more worthwhile to earn it or buy it. If you’re aiming for Energy Credits, this is especially important.

So, at current rates, it’ll take 21 Contraband at 49k each to earn 1 million EC if you sell them on the Exchange. If prices go down to 40k again, make that 25 of them to earn 1 million EC.

If you were to turn those Contraband in for Dilithium to turn into Zen? Well, that can only be done in lots of 5, but for the sake of comparison: 21 Contraband at 1:42 will earn you 295 Zen. 25 Contraband will earn you 352 Zen at the same Z:D rate. Either way, you’ll get enough Zen to buy 2 Master Keys, which can sell for 1.4 million each, getting you 2.8 million EC. That’s almost 3 times as much as selling the Contraband itself.

Obviously, redeeming the Contraband is a slower process, or at least a more time sensitive one. With my 3 characters, doing the DOFF once a day, it would take me 2 days to get everything. Selling the Contraband could be faster, depending on supply, demand, and the return will vary depending on pricing. Too much at once could result in a glut, and lower prices, after all.

You should also consider what you’re trying to get as well. Dilithium and Zen are far more flexible as currencies! There are things that can be bought with only one or the other, but they can be exchanged one for the other. Trying to turn Energy Credits into Dilithium or Zen is far more unfavorable (remember that chart above?).

Thus, at least for now, I think that any Contraband you obtain is best turned into Dilithium, and from there either into Zen or used for Dilithium-only things like Unreplicatable Materials, Duty Officer Cadres, etc. Selling the Contraband for Energy Credits doesn’t really give much of a return right now, but keep an eye on things! You never know :)

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