In every Tradelands server, there are always people asking basic questions about how to play. As the game currently has no in game explanation, this article will address many basics of starting out on Tradelands.
In the beginning, there are three resources you need to worry about: Doubloons, Wood, and Iron. Wood and Iron can be acquired by gathering them or trading, while you start the game with 1000 doubloons and can either trade for them or earn them for various things.
Wood is needed to make most tools and weapons, and all ships. It is acquired by using an ax to chop at trees on land, or by trading with other players. IT comes in many different forms, all of which are interchangeable in crafting.
Iron is, like wood, essential to most crafting and to building boats. In crafting, it can be replaced by rarer metals. Once you get to higher crafting skill, you can turn iron into cast iron or steel. Get it by mining rocks with your pickax or trading with other players.
Doubloons (abbreviated db) are the in game currency of Tradelands. Every player begins with 1000 db. While not needed for crafting, Doubloons are required to buy resources from the merchant and for building boats, as well as being useful for trading. Doubloons can be gotten a number of ways-selling your other resources to other players and sinking enemy ships, but mostly come through transporting cargo from between islands.
The most common way to gain doubloons in Tradelands is to transport cargo between islands. To do so, you generally need a boat (though swimming while carrying a crate will work). Go up to the trader on the dock, and buy cargo from him with doubloons. Then, carry it to your ship and press B to set it down. Each ship can hold a certain amount of cargo, and each person on the ship can hold one more. Then, steer the ship to a different isle, and pick up each crate in turn by pressing B, then drop it on the black pad on the dock to earn doubloons. Doubloons earned are shared across the entire crew.
As a Captain
As captain, it is important to figure out reliable routes and be able to navigate them easily. Try to park the ship directly next to the dock to make transferring cargo easier. Invest earned doubloons in ships that can carry more cargo and go faster. Be sure to buy cannons to defend yourself from pirates, and train your crew to efficiently unload and reload your ship.
As a Crew member
Crew members should keep from falling off the boat by either sitting at a cannon or pressing z to lock to the deck. Learn to hop up onto docks out of water quickly, and drop of excess doubloons and other materials in a warehouse to be sure you are not slowed down by a heavy inventory.
Basics of Ships
While it may seem fun to become a crew member every time you log on, every Tradelands player should invest in their own boat.
The entry level boats available from the start both carry one cargo and have a speed of 6. They cost 500 db and 16 wood of one type to make, which must be deposited in your warehouse before going to your island's shipwright to build. As you gain levels (through trading, crafting, fighting, or mining), more boats become available, being larger, faster, able to carry more cargo, and able to hold cannons for defense. These boats generally cost more and more wood, iron, and doubloons to make, with some later boats needing other materials. Using different woods changes the appearance of the boat.
After you buy your first ship, go to the dockmaster on any dock and spawn your ship in. You or your crew can sit at (walk to) your steering wheel and press v to take the ship's viewpoint, then W to move, A and D to turn left and right, and S to stop. Skill at piloting boats takes time to grow, so don't get frustrated when you run into docks your first few tries. Always stay oriented so you know where you are on your map, and if you get lost use the "reset" button in the bottom left corner of the screen to return to your home. Your boat can be respawned, but you will loose any cargo it was transporting. Cannons can be aimed with wasd, and shot with f if you have round shot in your inventory.
To edit your boat, go on it and either press 6 or the boat editor button on your screen. You can then add cannons if they are in your hand, change sail color if you have dye, add a figurehead, and swap out your steering wheel for another. Aside from cannons, none of these things are major concerns for beginning players.
Now that you know all the basics of Tradelands, here are some ways to start out.
1. Crewing a Ship
Probably the easiest way to start out is to find someone who has some experience and a boat, and ask them if they want to take you on to join their crew. Do this by typing in the chat box in the top left side of your screen. Know that many people will already have or not want crews, and so it may take some time to find one to join. As a crewmember, you will either help in combat by firing cannons and dueling foes, or more likely help in trade by loading and unloading cargo. This will both help you level up and gain doubloons, and give you an experienced player (your captain) to ask for tips from.
2. Sail your own Ship
Eventually you are going to strike off on your own, and already having knowledge of many of the basics provided by this excellent wiki, you decide to build your own boat and set sail. As you go, try to upgrade your ship every few levels to take advantages of the improvements in cargo, speed, and protection available. Collect resources through gathering or trade, and find trade routes that you can navigate and rely on. Perhaps take on a crew member to help speed up the process and add variety. this trajectory of improving ships is the most common trend of Tradelands, and you can always ask on the chat box for advice.
3. Resource Supplier
Despite being in a game that is centered around ships and voyages, you decide for whatever reasons (maybe you get seasick?) to leave all that sailing to the sailors. What is there for you to do on your island? Resources! mine every tree and rock as soon as they spawn, and you will have the materials most sailors only collect because they absolutely have to to build their new super ship. You will level up your mining and woodcutting skills, gaining stamina and finding more rares, and you will be able to sell all of your produce for doubloons from those sea dogs. Build your tools out of the top metals to find better things and have less time before you have to craft another. Another variant is a high level crafter who trades finished products like flintlock ammunition for their base components such as coal and steel.
Of course, Tradelands is an incredibly varied game and these are just a few of countless ways to play. This introduction didn't even cover pirate life, as that is generally considered too challenging for beginners, nor did it cover the rarer materials and crafted products. Always remember that help is just a post on the chat or a search on this wiki away, and may the wind ever blow in your sails!