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Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion

 
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Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/7/2013 1:18:15 AM   
xNECROx

 

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I find myself not really keeping up with technology of rivals or pirates - so my question is, how do I keep up? Do you build tons of research stations as upkeep allows it?

In early stages - What is a good way to improve income? I know there are ways to cut costs(maintenance) but how do I improve my income? Does colonizing other planets improve income?

When I expand, I've been trying to figure out good ways to make it work. Should I be expanding to bordering systems for mining/colonies? Should I rush colonies as soon as I find places or not? What is the pros/cons of colonizing(if any?)

Loving the game - thinking about restarting though. Pirates made my life a living hell lol
Post #: 1
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/7/2013 1:49:55 AM   
FerretStyle

 

Posts: 155
Joined: 3/30/2010
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quote:


I find myself not really keeping up with technology of rivals or pirates - so my question is, how do I keep up? Do you build tons of research stations as upkeep allows it?


You should build as many as it takes to reach your research cap shown in your research stations tab in the research screen (but keep in mind that bonuses from special research locations and scientists can put you over the cap).

quote:

In early stages - What is a good way to improve income? I know there are ways to cut costs(maintenance) but how do I improve my income? Does colonizing other planets improve income?


Crank up taxes. I like to put the tax rate exactly where the compliance rate is 100%, but it's okay to take it even higher than that. Just try not to piss off your colony. Colonizing other planets does improve income once the new colony has developed (at first you'll want to keep taxes very low or at zero to encourage growth, so you may not be making more right away).

quote:

When I expand, I've been trying to figure out good ways to make it work. Should I be expanding to bordering systems for mining/colonies? Should I rush colonies as soon as I find places or not? What is the pros/cons of colonizing(if any?)


You should expand to anything you can early, as long as the quality is good. Anything you don't claim will just be taken up by the AI and you'll need to fight for it later.

(in reply to xNECROx)
Post #: 2
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/7/2013 5:36:03 AM   
invaderzim

 

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I'm assuming you're playing a normal Shadows empire. If you're having a hard time, pick a research oriented race, Ackdarian or Zenox and turtle on your homeworld for the first 10 years or so. You can upgrade your starbase to large and then manually upgrade it to make the defenses even stronger if you wish. You can even get away without building much of a fleet until you have a strong economy since you are unlikely to be attacked. Use the opportunity to keep your taxes low until you need to, this should keep your population growth higher and boost your long term GDP at the cost of short term income which you won't need.

Rushing high-tech (build extra high-tech labs and less weapons and energy labs) can also help. Go straight for Open Trade Network if you do this and build the Bazaar. Then get Enhanced Research and other two research structures while you're at it.

Keep your weapons research lineup lean to start with. I'd recommend going Beams and then Impact Blasters and Titan Beams if you can get there, with one or two levels of missiles for when you want to standoff against enemy bases and pelt them from range.

Basically this strategy focuses on getting a strong economy (high population growth and high GDP) and strong research quickly and then quickly building a high tech fleet when you want to expand. The main thing you'll need for expansion are more strategic resources, get at least one of each and plenty of steel and anything else that your ships require before you build very large fleets. You should be fine to start pushing out in force around 2110-2115 depending on galaxy size and density without too many problems.

< Message edited by invaderzim -- 6/7/2013 5:40:17 AM >

(in reply to FerretStyle)
Post #: 3
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/7/2013 12:59:53 PM   
henri51


Posts: 1079
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I am no expert, but some of the advice I see does not correspond to my experience. For example, if you research hell-bent and have upgrades set to automatic, you can not only bankrupt yourself but have most of your fleets frozen at upgrade ports because you do not have the necessary resources to upgrade the ships.

The same goes for colonization: if you colonize too many planets, not only will you be unable to protect them and leave them easy prey for pirates and enemies, but early on new colonies lose money and can bankrupt you.

As for income, I find that by far most of my income comes from trade and not taxes.

All this has happened to me (on easy to boot!), and in all the videos I have watched, the experts go slow but sure. So expand fast and learn the hard way - and if it works, good for you...

Henri

(in reply to invaderzim)
Post #: 4
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/7/2013 2:02:33 PM   
invaderzim

 

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Everyone has a different way of playing. But yeah auto-retrofit isn't smart. Instead of focusing on inexpensive upgrades (adding Damage Control or a new hyperdrive), it likes to make drastic upgrades like upgrading all the weapons and shields which costs a lot more. I usually prefer manual upgrades for this reason. If I really research rush hard, I won't even have much of a fleet except explorers, so the starbase is easy to upgrade manually. I just have one massive starbase that costs like 7-10k in upkeep and should keep most fleets away.

As for expansion, I have never been able to make much money from colonies in Shadows for the 20-30 years. Even when I set taxes to 0 to encourage growth, they never seem to produce much money compared to a strong homeworld, so it seems like they are mainly useful for refueling points and resources.

(in reply to henri51)
Post #: 5
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/7/2013 2:10:16 PM   
Tree Dog


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Tax your homeworld, hard.
As in, having its colony happiness between 0 and -10. You'll have loads of cash, and it'll drive people away from your homeworld and to your colonies, or so I heard, not so sure on that bit, but I read it here.

(in reply to invaderzim)
Post #: 6
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/7/2013 2:44:01 PM   
desiriel

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: henri51

I am no expert, but some of the advice I see does not correspond to my experience. For example, if you research hell-bent and have upgrades set to automatic, you can not only bankrupt yourself but have most of your fleets frozen at upgrade ports because you do not have the necessary resources to upgrade the ships.

The same goes for colonization: if you colonize too many planets, not only will you be unable to protect them and leave them easy prey for pirates and enemies, but early on new colonies lose money and can bankrupt you.

As for income, I find that by far most of my income comes from trade and not taxes.

All this has happened to me (on easy to boot!), and in all the videos I have watched, the experts go slow but sure. So expand fast and learn the hard way - and if it works, good for you...

Henri


I'm also having difficulties with the economics of Shadows. I read that the economy was "tweaked" but wasn't expecting this. I've been playing the game at hard difficulty so far (Legends and precedents) and welcome challenges but I'm really at odds with what's happening. I can't even understand where my abyssal deficits come (and grow) from. I have absorbed two indipendent colonies and founded another three, two small spaceports, a large one on my homeworld, one research station of each type within my cap, and a pitiful fleet and I've - (minus) 16K / cycle and mounting.
I've read the suggestions in these thread but I'm still a bit confused

Edit: Current game is with a standard State at normal difficulty.


< Message edited by desiriel -- 6/7/2013 2:50:12 PM >

(in reply to henri51)
Post #: 7
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/7/2013 3:03:11 PM   
Gargoil

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: desiriel
I can't even understand where my abyssal deficits come (and grow) from.


Things that can cause a "depression" in your economy:

1) You lose, or have a shortage, of luxury resources that you were supplying to colonies earlier on, but cannot anymore. Your colonies will become less happy, hence less taxes.

2) Your building more ships/bases/troops - maintanence is getting to high. And remember, if you are just upgrading what you have, the maintanence of more advanced ships will be more than it was when you first built them.

3) Some resourse are bought off freighters from other empires/independents to fill your needs - if you need more of these than you did in the past, or if the prices have skyrocketed of what you do need (which since you need them, they are getting scarce, so prices will rise). This causes higher expenses.

4) Your private sector is suffering from one or more of the above, causing them to not build (hense no bonus income for you from their purchases from you)c

5) Private sector simply is satisified with number of ships it has, so same effect as 4) above.



< Message edited by Gargoil -- 6/7/2013 3:04:07 PM >

(in reply to desiriel)
Post #: 8
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/7/2013 3:23:42 PM   
turtlefang

 

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Prior to this expansion, the rule was to expand as quickly as possible.

In the recent expansion, my experience with pre-warp starts is that slower expasion is required. Money is very tight, you have to watch how much you build and develop some economy before starting to expand. New colonies are a cash drain initially - it takes time for them to start producing money and much longer time to produce a payback.

Even within your home system, I don't colonize until after post warp. You can't defend the colony and it is a cost drain. If the pirates are raiding, then your initial investment in a colony or spaceport can be destroyed in a raid. So I end up sending a transport with six ground units to land right after the colony ship to provide immediate defense, put a fleet of six to eight ships around it until the spaceport is build. Also, in the prior expansion, small spaceports were built with minimal structure - in this one, they have to be relatively strong to fend off pirate raiders. All of this increases the case initial cash outflow.

I'm not saying this is the best approach, but is what is currently working for me.

And I used to target virtually any world over 60%. Now, at least initially, I target worlds over 80% in quality unless they are in my home system.

So expansion, for me, has moved from an explosive race, to slow, controlled and deliberate pace.

In keeping with this keep cost down strategy, I don't build research stations. Instead, I add research labs to my home spaceport. Initially, I modify the small spaceport design to have 12 labs each of high tech, weapons and energy. When the economy up and going, I will retrofit this to large spaceport with 15 to 20 labs of each. And I don't build defensive bases at my home port but rather load up the home spaceport on the second or third retofit and later with lots of shield, armor and weapons to create as good a fortress as I can. Again, this keeps cost down over the long haul.

You have to control expensives in the game and plan for colonies to take about 5 to 10 years to become "cash positive" after the initial investment - which includes the colony ship, the spaceport, the home guard, and any permanetly stationed fleet to defend it. In other words, a lot of money is tied up in the colony - add in losing money to pirate rates (which will happen), and a new colony is a BIG investment.


(in reply to desiriel)
Post #: 9
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/7/2013 6:35:04 PM   
FerretStyle

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: turtlefang

Prior to this expansion, the rule was to expand as quickly as possible.

In the recent expansion, my experience with pre-warp starts is that slower expasion is required. Money is very tight, you have to watch how much you build and develop some economy before starting to expand. New colonies are a cash drain initially - it takes time for them to start producing money and much longer time to produce a payback.


I disagree with this. Pre-warp, military ships are basically pointless. You're going to be paying off the pirates one way or another, because with your pitiful tech it would take 10x the cost of the protection fees to fend off pirate attacks with your ships. Even once you research warp bubbles, you aren't going far so there's still no need to build a fleet. By the time you get Gerax hyperdrives you could potentially have hundreds of thousands of credits which gives you a lot of buffer for expansion.

That said, I expand like hell in every shadows game and have not had a single problem doing so. Even if it is a money drain initially, it's better than going to war or having resource locations blocked off because another empire took up a nearby colony that you decided not to.

(in reply to turtlefang)
Post #: 10
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/7/2013 7:09:06 PM   
invaderzim

 

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Joined: 6/3/2013
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quote:

In keeping with this keep cost down strategy, I don't build research stations. Instead, I add research labs to my home spaceport. Initially, I modify the small spaceport design to have 12 labs each of high tech, weapons and energy. When the economy up and going, I will retrofit this to large spaceport with 15 to 20 labs of each. And I don't build defensive bases at my home port but rather load up the home spaceport on the second or third retofit and later with lots of shield, armor and weapons to create as good a fortress as I can. Again, this keeps cost down over the long haul.


I use this technique as well. Retrofitting manually can save you a lot of cash. You have to pay for every new component you buy, but you don't get anything refunded for scrapping old modules. So it's best to avoid spending a lot of money on crappy weapons like Pulse Blasters and Seeking Missiles. I start with a small starport with extra labs and put Maxos Blasters, Shields, Fission Plants and Concussion it roughly in that order.

When you have some extra cash, it's very fast to upgrade your design to add 5 more Maxos or Shields to the design and retrofit it. This is cheap and it happens pretty fast. I cancel the pirate protection as soon as possible, usually when I have 1000-2000 shields and a decent amount of weapons. It's usually cheaper to pay upkeep for a stronger base than it is to pay protection money.

< Message edited by invaderzim -- 6/7/2013 7:10:54 PM >

(in reply to FerretStyle)
Post #: 11
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/7/2013 7:14:31 PM   
Plant


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Joined: 4/23/2013
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Play as Securans. You'll always have amazing amounts of cash compared with other empires. Or you can just not click on that "retrofit ship and bases" popup.
Gizureans and Shandar and Teekan make for a good second choice.

Besides which, the upkeep cost of research stations is pitifully small compared to the benefits the research provides.
You never need more than a few research stations to reach your Total Research Capacity, and some at the special research locations.
For the first 20 years, you can made do with the starting spaceport and one of each of the the research station types.

Btw Desiriel, can you post a screen shot of your homeworld tax setting and your Empire Summary Screen.
Perhaps you got a bug, or you made too many state ships.

(in reply to FerretStyle)
Post #: 12
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/7/2013 9:13:10 PM   
desiriel

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Plant

Btw Desiriel, can you post a screen shot of your homeworld tax setting and your Empire Summary Screen.
Perhaps you got a bug, or you made too many state ships.


Here it is.






Attachment (1)

(in reply to Plant)
Post #: 13
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/7/2013 9:47:26 PM   
FerretStyle

 

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Your private sector looks fine... could have better cash flow but they have a ton of money on hand.

I'd get rid of one constructor ship, all military ships and possibly downgrade the large space port to a medium (my rule of thumb is medium for populations of 10000m+ and large for 15000m+). Incorporate some research labs into your space port for the time being and destroy your research stations (this usually isn't necessary for me but you have an emergency), only keep enough research labs to reach your cap. Then crank up taxes on your homeworld. That should get you some positive cash flow.

Trade with other empires if you need some cash to be able to afford to do this.

Get rid of troops if you don't need them, too.

< Message edited by FerretStyle -- 6/7/2013 10:42:14 PM >

(in reply to desiriel)
Post #: 14
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/7/2013 10:27:04 PM   
gheed123

 

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raise some tax maybe

(in reply to FerretStyle)
Post #: 15
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/7/2013 10:49:30 PM   
sinbuster

 

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I'm no pro but I find by mid game I can be rolling in money if I follow the same general method as I did in Legends. I prefer humans by the way, normal settings.

Build a medium space port on home planet. Build an extra research station of each type so as to keep up with the others. Turtle for a while, which for Shadows means paying off pirates and cancelling payment if the pirate faction becomes weak, which is something to do during prewarp.

My priority techs are Accelerated Construction, Colonization, and Hyperdrive (for Shadows). As it's impossible to pursue Hyperdrive at the same time as Construction techs, you can either hope for research breakthroughs or steal techs from one of the pirate factions. If you're lucky you can get a few spys stealing like crazy. It would be bad luck if you don't get breakthroughs or the odd good spy.

Being the first to explore systems and to colonize have their obvious benefits. I prefer high quality planets at first (above 80%). Keep the tax low or none and gradually increase as they develop. Build the Highspeed Shipyards on your main planet, which boosts the Colony Development and increases income, not to mention gives you a strong military advantage for the whole game. After that, aim for the Open Trade Network so you can build the Traders Bazaar, which means even more development and boatloads of income. Keep in mind, pursuing Open Trade and Colonization at the same time is impossible without stealing or trading techs. Build small spaceports at your colonies to accelerate trade and watch the money roll in.

I should note that I micromanage everything at first, but eventually switch explorers and construction ships to automatic. That way I keep my fleet and troop costs to a minimum. Once I bridge the tech gap with the pirates, I turn the economy fully towards war.

(in reply to FerretStyle)
Post #: 16
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/7/2013 11:43:12 PM   
FerretStyle

 

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Joined: 3/30/2010
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Tree Dog

Tax your homeworld, hard.
As in, having its colony happiness between 0 and -10. You'll have loads of cash, and it'll drive people away from your homeworld and to your colonies, or so I heard, not so sure on that bit, but I read it here.


After thinking about this suggestion, I wondered if this could actually be detrimental to the economy. The more people on your planet, the more will be generated since the growth rate applies to the entire population right? If that's the case then shuttling people off of that planet will cause a loss of total empire population, and if that is the case then how could doing this be beneficial (that is, if the colony isn't at MAX or close to it already)?

(in reply to Tree Dog)
Post #: 17
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/8/2013 12:25:08 AM   
invaderzim

 

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Yep, raising taxes trades short-term profits in exchange for long-term income. Since my homeworld delivers the majority of my GDP, I tax as little as possible early game while making enough money to upgrade the starbase. The goal is to encourage population growth which leads to more taxable income in the future.

Sometimes it's a good idea to jack up taxes for a while to pay for that Trade Bazaar or some other wonder, but I bring them right back down after I pay for it.

(in reply to FerretStyle)
Post #: 18
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/8/2013 4:14:16 AM   
turtlefang

 

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I agree with you than any ships prior to Gerax drives is fairly useless. And I pay off any pirates that show up.

But my experience with expansion without protection is very different. As soon as I expand to another colony, pirates appear out of the woodwork. Only the first pirate group that made a "protection pack" keeps it, all the others break it and raid the new colonies.

I can't get spaceports built, many colony ships, if unescorted, are captured, colonys get raided, and pirates get bonus techs. Early unprotected expansion simply hasn't worked for me.

And without troops to defend the colonies, or spaceports to generate additional frieghters to be be build, the economy stalls, and everything grinds to a halt.

Instead, I focus on building up a cash reserve, try to gain the three research wonders, the spaceport wonder and the first trade wonder. In most cases, these will establish a long term strategic advantage in research and potentially trade. The spaceport wonder is more of a "I don't want someone else to have it".

(in reply to FerretStyle)
Post #: 19
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/8/2013 7:20:29 AM   
Tree Dog


Posts: 110
Joined: 3/27/2010
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quote:

ORIGINAL: FerretStyle

quote:

ORIGINAL: Tree Dog

Tax your homeworld, hard.
As in, having its colony happiness between 0 and -10. You'll have loads of cash, and it'll drive people away from your homeworld and to your colonies, or so I heard, not so sure on that bit, but I read it here.


After thinking about this suggestion, I wondered if this could actually be detrimental to the economy. The more people on your planet, the more will be generated since the growth rate applies to the entire population right? If that's the case then shuttling people off of that planet will cause a loss of total empire population, and if that is the case then how could doing this be beneficial (that is, if the colony isn't at MAX or close to it already)?


I said "homeworld", you know, the world that usually is at max population or close to it, and will be better developed than any other colonies for years.
This'll give you a huge income boost, and make people fly away to the colonies.
If anything, YOU are losing total empire population by having your homeworld at "max" and wasting away the constant growth I get from people leaving before it hits the limit.

(in reply to FerretStyle)
Post #: 20
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/8/2013 8:47:58 AM   
FerretStyle

 

Posts: 155
Joined: 3/30/2010
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Tree Dog

I said "homeworld", you know, the world that usually is at max population or close to it, and will be better developed than any other colonies for years.
This'll give you a huge income boost, and make people fly away to the colonies.
If anything, YOU are losing total empire population by having your homeworld at "max" and wasting away the constant growth I get from people leaving before it hits the limit.


But I said... in my post... "if the colony isn't at max". I thought I made that exception pretty clear.


Besides, I would usually keep my homeworld at +17 happiness or higher and never noticed it reach max pop in the first place. It would seem that expansion ensures immigration as long as taxes are lower at the target colony. I would assume that overtaxing would lower the amount of potential population you end up having to transfer, due to lowering the growth rate of the largest colony.

(in reply to Tree Dog)
Post #: 21
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/8/2013 8:57:50 AM   
desiriel

 

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Joined: 6/7/2013
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quote:

ORIGINAL: FerretStyle

Your private sector looks fine... could have better cash flow but they have a ton of money on hand.

I'd get rid of one constructor ship, all military ships and possibly downgrade the large space port to a medium (my rule of thumb is medium for populations of 10000m+ and large for 15000m+). Incorporate some research labs into your space port for the time being and destroy your research stations (this usually isn't necessary for me but you have an emergency), only keep enough research labs to reach your cap. Then crank up taxes on your homeworld. That should get you some positive cash flow.

Trade with other empires if you need some cash to be able to afford to do this.

Get rid of troops if you don't need them, too.


Thank you Ferret for the inputs. I'll try that.

(in reply to FerretStyle)
Post #: 22
RE: Newbie Questions on Research/Income/Expansion - 6/8/2013 5:14:53 PM   
Plant


Posts: 418
Joined: 4/23/2013
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You make 15k a year? What did you set your tax rate at ... 15%?
Would explain why you can't afford any military ships.
Did design your military ships to be mostly weapons, or did you find them? They have very high firepower ratings!
I guess you haven't met any pirates, or they don't attack you, since you seem to be living fine with 4 military ships on 5 systems.

On the other hand, you shouldn't have any problems in the supply of new colonies since you have an extraordinary amount of freighters.
I think that you don't need the small starport and the medium starport yet, the large starport alone should be enough for all your construction needs, which appears to be none at all.
Also, forget about the private sector; being able to protect yourself is much more important than having frieghters. FerretStyle says that they could have better cashflow, but what has actually hppened is that they have already spent all their money on freighters and so have to pay maintainence for it; they are already fat off your low taxrate, at the expense of your state being able to pay for anything.

(in reply to desiriel)
Post #: 23
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