In order to start investing your money, you need to create a Company. A Company will license all its technology from a Seal Company. Seal Companies are not run by players. There are four main Seal Companies: PGI, Mariko, Dissidents and Moab.
When you create a company, you must choose the Seal you want to associate with. This will determine what you will be able to build, the technologies that will be available to you, and how your buildings will look and perform. Making good use of each Seal's advantages while minimizing their inherent drawbacks is a fine art.
It is crucial to know how to grow a company. Some players tend to go big too soon, and end up bankrupt. Others remain small for too long and end up watching other players who joined the world after them taking the lead.
In the following pages we will give you some basic company management concepts in Starpeace Online. The practical details of how these concepts are implemented, and the steps you must follow to apply them are omitted for the sake of simplicity. For a more detailed explanation about these procedures check the Tutorials chapter.
Firstly, we recommend that you join a world that is already populated. A population of around 300,000 inhabitants isn't usually too dense or sparse. Why worlds with some development are better than new worlds? In worlds were there are already significant investments, it is more likely to find market niches. New worlds are usually economically immature, so they are in a stage where they still need to attract inhabitants, and this is something you may not want to deal with when you are new at the game.
So let's imagine you found the right world and you created your first company there. Since this section is not a tutorial, we will skip steps like building company headquarters and making the initial research.
There are hundreds of ways you could structure a company. Here we will introduce you to one. This one is based on commerce, and usually allows you to later grow your company with reasonable speed and security.
There is a natural tendency for more established players to overlook some opportunities in the commerce sector. You will find these opportunities by inspecting the Town Hall. Once you have found which commerce areas you could exploit, you will proceed to build commerce outlets.
Every time you build a store, it will automatically try to buy supplies from all the warehouses in the world. The simulated people who work at your company's headquarters will decide from which warehouse to buy, based on price and transportation costs. This means that at the beginning your company will comprise only the stores and the headquarters.
This would be the first stage of the company. Its structure, if drawn, would look like the following picture:
Your company could go really far following this scheme. However, this configuration has a major flaw: In the event there is a lack of supplies, you would have to add more warehouses to the list of potential suppliers for all your stores. This is not particularly difficult since there is a button in the interface of warehouses that will do that, but it's identifying the source of the problem that could prove difficult when so many relationships are involved.
What could you do to perfect this? Build your own warehouse. Then you would connect your stores strictly to your warehouse, and make the warehouse buy from all the other warehouses. Since it will be a warehouse that will bring goods into your company, it would operate as an import warehouse. Now you only have to check the status of the warehouse to detect any problems. From that single point, you will be able to know the exact quality and price of the goods your stores are selling.
The following scheme depicts the new configuration:
This would be the second stage in your company's growth. There is a hidden benefit to this scheme. In the same way there are Import Warehouses, there are Export Warehouses. Players with lots of factories will usually build Export Warehouses to concentrate their sales to other players. Whenever a new Export Warehouse is built, it will connect automatically to all the Import Warehouses in the vicinity. As a result, the list of potential suppliers at your Import Warehouse will get updated automatically.
So let's say you consider yourself big enough to stop selling other people's production and start your own production line. That would lead you to the last configuration we will introduce here.
The major business change is that you will have factories now. How to proceed with them? Well, factories are similar to stores in the sense they need supplies. The idea is to have them supplied by your Import Warehouse as well.
What to do with the production? You could make the factories supply the stores directly, but that would be a step backwards. You simply could make the factories sell their production to your Warehouse, like the following scheme shows. In this configuration, your stores would continue working as if nothing had changed, except that now most of the supplies would actually come from within your company.
This solution has a problem, though. Should the Factory create any surplus, that is, production your stores cannot sell, you won't have a way of selling it to other players. You could simply make the Factory sell to other players' warehouses, but this would be like losing another opportunity to keep things in order. The solution is to build another warehouse, this time an Export Warehouse. All your factories would sell to this warehouse as well.
At this point your company has achieved a very good degree of independence from the world, in the sense that only the Import and Export Warehouses have relationships with outside the company. From this point on it is extremely easy to add new factories or stores. Moreover, you can easily identify events like variations in the demand of the goods you produced just by inspecting the warehouses. If your warehouses are getting full, then demand for your production has dropped. Empty warehouses could mean it's time to raise the price of your products/goods, or that there is something wrong with your factories.
The schemes shown above are only the beginning. As we said before, there are hundreds of ways to organize companies, and when alliances between players are involved, the number of schemes multiplies ten-fold.