This page is dedicated to providing information on the various ships available in Tradelands.  Because we are a trading company, there will be a focus on providing information related to merchant ships rather than fighting vessels.  If you are here looking for advice for ship combat, I recommend joining one of the official navies in the game who can teach you the basics.

What Makes a Good Ship?

A good ship is one that best fits the role it was designed to do.  In Tradelands, there are three general categories of ship roles, each with their own set of key characteristics:

Pirate Ships

These are vessels are used intercept and board ship ships, while evading stronger ships.

  • Need to be highly maneuverable with good turning speeds.
  • The ability to operate in cross winds is important.
  • Need to have some storage capacity.
  • Overall speed is the least important factor.

Navy Ships

These are vessels used to attack and sink other ships.

  • Heavy armament is the single more important aspect, with gun placement a close second.
  • Upwind speed is important for patrolling trade lanes.
  • Most have no cargo capacity at all.

Merchant Ships

These are vessels used to trade cargo and are usually run by solo captains.

  • Speed and cargo capacity are the only to aspects of these ships that matter.
  • Armament and cross-wind speed is of little to no significance at all.
  • Determined pirates will find a way to board you regardless of your ship’s strengths.

Picking The Right Ship

If you understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of each ship type, the next step is picking the right ship for your level. An average trader who is following a good trade route will typically earn around 35 doubloons per minute, per crate. This is an “average” and goes up or down based on your relative navigation skill, ship speed, and dock time. The table below shows a detailed breakdown of every ship you can choose from, and the average from actual cargo runs with each ship:

The graphic above shows all of the ships in Tradelands that can carry cargo and the amount of money you can make with each ship. In short, if you want to be the best trader in Tradelands, only purchase ships that are above the “average profit line” that runs through the middle. Ideally, build the ones with higher scores if you can afford them.

What Makes a Good Merchant Ship?

Merchant ships are all about the amount of doubloons you can make over time.  This is referred to as your “Run Speed” or “Trade Velocity.”  Essentially if your run speed is higher, it means you have a fast ship with a good cargo hold. It also means you are a very rich merchant.  On the flip side, if you are trying to do trade runs in a warship, your Run Speed will be lower and you will be leveling up slower than other merchants.

The second aspect of a good trade ship is the loading speed, which is sometimes referred to as “Dock Time.”  In the past, this was determined by the number of players in your crew and how efficient they were at unloading a ship.  However, recent iterations of the game have made your ship’s navigation capability more important than crew size.  As a result, turn speed is the second most important factor in choosing your merchant ship.

The third aspect of a good ship is in the purchase cost of the boat.  Tradelands does not currently offer a leasing/trading option, which means you have to build every ship you want to have.  In turn, this means you have to collect the resources to build it, as well as spend doubloons on it.  This can slow you down as you attempt to earn your way to the top.

All other factors, including hull strength and cannon placement, don’t matter when you are picking a trade ship despite what people tell you. The number of cannons on your boat are only useful in determining how many crew mates can tag along comfortably by sitting at them. Some ships are harder to board than others, but good pirate crews train on how to board them. Stern chasers are somewhat important but shouldn’t be a major factor in your overall choice as your ability to turn a profit is more important than strength.

Best Merchant Ship (By Level)

In case the graphic is hard to read, here is a table of recommended ships to purchase at each level where a ship is available. Take into consideration that each ship has a build cost which will take away from your profitability:

LEVEL 1: Swallow (OPTIONAL)
The Swallow is the best entry-level trade ship, but is not worth building if you already have a ship available. You will quickly replace this ship.
LEVEL 2: HERON (OPTIONAL)
The Heron is an upgrade to the entry-level ships but is a poor trader overall. If you are able to get a decent Trade Velocity without it, you should skip this ship.
LEVEL 3: DART
The Dart is the best early game trading ship. It’s speed allows it to be relevant for later game as well. It doubles your starting Trade Velocity and is the best upgrade available for a while.
LEVEL 4: NONE
There are no good trade ships to buy at Level 4. It is recommended that you skip this level and save up for a better ship in the future.
LEVEL 5: PHEASANT (OPTIONAL)
The Pheasant is an upgrade to the Dart but it is generally better to save up for a Level 6 ship. If you end up building the Pheasant, you do not need to upgrade to a new ship until Level 8
LEVEL 6: MARLIN
The Marlin is the best mid-tier trading ship in the game. Unless you built the Pheasant at Level 5, you should always build the marlin if you intend to do trade runs. You will use this ship for many levels to come.
LEVEL 7: NONE
The Goose is the trade ship of Level 7 and it has the same performance as the Level 5 Pheasant but it more expensive. It is best to skip building a ship at this level unless you are a pirate.
LEVEL 8: BEAVER (OPTIONAL)
The Beaver is the trade ship at this level. If you built the Pheasant and not the Marlin at earlier levels, the Beaver is a good ship. If you have a Marlin already, you will may want to save up for a higher level ship.
LEVEL 9: NONE
There are no true trade ships at Level 9. It is recommended you skip this level and save up for a better ship in the future.
LEVEL 10: GROUSE
The Grouse is currently the best trade ship at this level and very cheap for what it can produce. It is the first end-game trade ship available and is better than the Mastiff. If you build a Grouse you do not need to buy any higher level ships as the performance is nearly the same.
LEVEL 12: NONE
The Trade Ship at Level 12 is the Mule. If you purchased the Grouse at Level 10, you do not need the Mule as it will have the same performance. It is recommended that you skip this level and save up for a better ship in the future.
LEVEL 16: CAMEL (OPTIONAL)
The Camel is the ship with the highest Trade Velocity as of now. However, it is expensive and it’s output is only 5% higher than the Grouse. At a cost of almost $1M in doubloons and materials, you would have to trade for 140 days straight before you will get your money back. This is only an option if you have nothing else to spend it on. I recommend looking through the Price Guide before you reach this conclusion.