- For more information on fruit spawning basics, see the article on fruit.
Fruit running is the practice of transporting fruit, either in large or small quantities, from their spawn island to a market. Fruit running can either be done as a solo enterprise or group effort. The following sections will address all possible ways of successfully running fruit.
Foraging is the process of finding fruit directly from the spawn island. It is a way to gather fruit without the need to purchase it from an island.
- The more people you have foraging, the more fruit you can gather. One pirate with a standard labor badge 24 items in a day and the ones with subscriptions can forage 48 hours a day, so that means you can forage at most 24/48 respectively fruits in a day. Pirates with a deluxe labor badge can forage 72 items per day.
- Larger ships may be necessary for profitable fruit running, depending on the number of pirates helping. The ships can be discussed later.
- When transporting larger quantities of fruit, make sure you have a decent crew aboard - so as to be prepared for the monkey boat.
- When planning your routes, remember that fruit is sold at a higher profit if sailed to another archipelago. This will mean longer routes, so plan ahead.
- Become adept at either the sailing puzzle, rigging puzzle, or the navigation puzzle for easy soloing.
- Always try for the disengage. Brigands will not generate many sail tokens to catch you when soloing and on a fully-staffed ship even moderately skilled players should generate enough moves to successfully avoid getting grappled.
- Make sure you read the section below on economics to understand the costs that go into a successful foraging operation.
- Lastly, you can save PoE if you float your ships back to your foraging spot, rather that autofloating them. There's no use in spending PoE or rum in sailing them back. Float your ships home and let them reset.
Choosing an Island On Which To Forage
The best islands for foraging are uninhabited islands located on inter-archipelago routes between archipelagos that spawn different fruits.
Ideally, you will forage at an uninhabited island, and at the other end of the inter-archipelago will be an island with a market where you can sell your fruit. Not all oceans have such routes, though, so look for the uninhabited island that is as few leagues as possible from a market that buys the fruits you'll find. You may also want to consider route difficulty (try to avoid red routes if possible) and the purchase price of gold at the destination island when you choose your route.
Solo Fruit Running
Running fruit solo can be more profitable since there are no partners with whom one must share the profits. This does however increase the risk when moving the fruit as it requires soloing a ship with only bots to help, making the ship vulnerable to attack from the monkey boat. Ships as large as a merchant brig may be used if the pirate can staff it well.
Solo running should never be done on ships larger than merchant brigs, since the bilge and damage will fill up too quickly. Since fruit generally requires a large quantity to be profitable, a pirate will likely not want to use a small ship to move fruit. A cutter or larger will yield much better profits for the same work sailing compared to a sloop. If you are nonetheless interested in small fruit runs, please see the article on gem running.
Your Friend, the Alt Account
Some pirates find it more profitable to have several alts to forage with, since this allows for more fruit to be gathered in a day. A player can generally create three accounts, and each account has 3 pirates, a single foraging player on a doubloon ocean can have 9 pirates foraging every day. A subscription account only gets 24 hours of labor per account, and accounts must be subscribed to forage.
The foraging puzzle yields more exotic items with more practice, so you may need to spend some time on each alt to get them up to speed.
Cooperative Group Fruit Running
Cooperative fruit running is very similar to solo fruit running in many respects. Its principal differences are that when working with other people, traditionally the profits are split between all involved in proportion to how much foraging each person did. The main benefit to cooperative foraging is that moving the fruit is easier and less risky with other players on board.
Foragers and Helpers
The largest time commitment in a successful foraging operation is the actual foraging. Each pirate must puzzle to forage items, and occasionally items may become tricky to clear from the board.
The most difficult part of foraging, though, is transporting the fruit to a market. This transport typically goes better with multiple people helping to sail the ship. If you are starting a larger operation, you should get used to finding a group of hearties that you can call on to help you move the larger ships in order to sell the fruit. Merchant ships were built for this, so use those rather than war ships.
The monkey boat may attack, in search of your cargo of fruit! Because of this added risk, it's advisable to take a decent crew with you when sailing foraged goods. The alternative is to ship it in smaller quantities, but this adds to time and cost and reduces profit.
It's still possible to solo sail fruit, but it has become more risky. A merchant brig can be run with as little as 2 people, if those people are highly skilled in sailing and/or duty navigation. In order to ensure a better chance of making it to port with all of your fruit intact, most pirates should have at least 6 people (yourself and 5 others) on board with the swabbies. Put one of the players on carp, one on bilge, your best dnavver on navigation, and everyone else on sails. Even though you may not need this many people, it will help your ship move faster, and help you get moves to run away during battle.
A merchant galleon requires 9 to 10 skilled people to run properly. A merchant galleon is a slow ship, and unless you have more people, it will never reach full speed. On the other hand, it holds three times as much fruit as a merchant brig. Place 1-2 players on carp, 1-2 players on bilge, your best dnavver on navigation, and everyone else on sails. Move your swabbies around so that you have a total of 3 on bilge and 3 on carp. It is essential when moving a merchant galleon to keep your bilge and damage low the entire run, or else you will slow down and be engaged much more often.
Grand frigates can be used to move vast amounts of fruit, but should only be used by players who are used to the way these ships run, not by the inexperienced forager.
If you pay your helpers well, they'll help you more often. You'll find successful foragers who pay anywhere between 50-100 PoE per league for help sailing their ships. You'll have to experiment to see how much you can afford and what amount attracts reliable jobbers on your ocean.
Advanced Fruit Operations
In order to perform a foraging operation on a crew or flag scale, you should probably have a larger ship and several smaller ships at the foraging island. The large ship is where the pirates forage the fruit. The smaller ships are used to move the fruit. An example is one Grand Frigate and 2-3 Merchant Galleons or Merchant Brigs. Some players may have several Grand Frigates and use one of them for sailing, but only do this if you are very experienced at moving Grand Frigates.
A successful foraging operation can turn a good profit in a short time, and the more skilled the foragers, the better, as they would be able to forage in more gems and gold nuggets than lesser-skilled foragers.
Because of the foraging puzzle and the ability to list a forage job on the notice board, profit calculation for a foraging operation is little different from operating a shop or stall. You have the expense of paying the foragers and the rum for transporting the fruit, gems, and gold to the destination island. Your profit is everything over and above this.
The easiest way of estimating your foraging costs is to determine how much fruit your foraging ship can hold (see the chart below) and multiplying by how much you intend to pay for the exotic fruit. For example, if you will be using a Merchant galleon as your forage vessel, which can hold 2,160 fruit, and you intend to pay 20 PoE for exotic fruit, you should have about 40,000 PoE in the hold to start. For a Grand frigate, which can hold twice as much as a galleon, you would start with between 80,000 and 85,000 PoE for jobber pay.
Now your jobbers will never forage that much exotic fruit, and you'll end up with more of the cheaper fruit than exotic (for example, more limes than passion fruit), and typically by a large margin. But using that calculation provides a safe buffer for gold nuggets and gems, which will deplete the jobber PoE from your hold much quicker. There is the possibility you will need to replenish the jobber PoE in your hold if you get more than the expected number of good foragers.
On Doubloon oceans, the price of labor badges should always be included in determining the cost of foraging. Regardless of how the doubloons are obtained, buying a labor badge has the opportunity cost of no longer being able to sell those doubloons on the exchange. While many players will rationalize away the cost by taking the money from profits elsewhere - such as pillaging - this is simply poor bookkeeping.
The cost of foraging from having to purchase a labor badge should be figured at 1/144 of the cost of doubloons, per item. For example, at a price of 1700 poe per doubloon, the price of foraging is 1700/144 = 11.8 poe per item.
Any good operation accounts for and tries to minimize risk. As such, in predicting profitability, you should account for two battles between your start and destination island. If you are rather skilled at evading potential attackers, accounting for one battle will probably be acceptable.
This means that you should account for a probability of losing approximately 19% of the fruit you bring in. Now most forage operations will price their fruit with about a 300-700% profit margin on the small fruit, and a 300-400% profit margin on the large fruit. Now losing 19% of your fruit doesn't mean you lose 19% of your profit, but 19% of your revenue.
So you need to set your prices not only so you are competitive, but also so you can minimize your losses against the risk. This also means you should never price your fruit close to what the selling price will be.
How much profit you wish to make will depend greatly on two factors: how large your operation is, and how good you are at running fruit. The fact that you can hire jobbers to forage on your ship, on top of foraging your characters (including alts), means that determining revenue and profit potential will depend greatly not only on the size of your operation, but also the skill of your jobbers. As such, your profit potential should be calculated on an ongoing basis.
The Market Purchase Method
In addition to foraging the fruit yourself, you can purchase the fruit at some islands, usually from the fort or palace, and transport it to another market at a significant profit.
Since the highest profits tend to be found at faraway markets, this is best done in large quantities, which require larger ships, such as Merchant Galleons and Grand Frigates. As a result, hiring more jobbers is an absolute necessity.
The Do's and Don'ts
- Check the prices of fruit at the market at which you are selling. Fruit prices change every day. After watching the prices for a few days, you can see what a high price is, and what a low price is. Waiting for high days will make you a lot more than if you sell on a low day.
- Always stock enough grog/swill/rum for the trip. Running out of rum will slow you down, just like any other voyage. The difference is that now you're holding all of your investment on board, and you don't want to lose it.
- Attempt to avoid brigand battles. They both slow your sailing progress down and risk your fruit investment. Once at full speed, brigands will only spawn ahead of you heading in the same direction and will target and engage you as you approach them from behind. A quick turn about and then another one when out of range will easily remedy this.
- If you are foraging, forage every day. You pay for a day of labor (either as a badge, or in your subscription) whether or not you forage. Therefore, if you don't forage, you lose income. In case you don't have time on a given day, you may want to take a job somewhere to cover you, but you're going to probably make more using your labor to forage than at a Shoppe job.
- Don't put the bots on stations and then laze. No group of bots is good enough to get to max speed without player help before being engaged. A player must sail or navigate to effectively move their ship. Although many Officers solo-sail by getting the sloop up to speed using 2 bots and themselves, and go laze in the nest to watch out for brigands when the ship is at full speed. The Bots can keep full speed, they just have hard time getting to full speed themselves.
- Don't try and take the brigands solo. Whatever might be won from them during an engagement is not worth the possible loss of the fruit investment. Disengage is the fruit runner's ally.
- Don't worry about carrying a lot of cannonballs. This is a merchant run. You should be avoiding battles at every chance. When you are engaged, run away or grapple as fast as you can. Don't get involved in a long fight.
Here is a list of the amounts of fruit each mercantile ship can hold if full, although remember that a successful run will require other supplies (such as rum). You should never move a ship with only fruit in your hold.
|Ship Name||Units of fruit||Notes|
|Grand Frigate||4,320||15 excellent jobbers can move it. Normally it requires a minimum of 30 jobbers to transport safely, but the voyage can begin with 21. Alternatively, Grand Frigates make excellent warehouses, and this appears to be their typical role in larger operations with Merchant Galleons being used for transporting.|
|Merchant Galleon||2,160||Can be transported with a minimum of 6 excellent jobbers, however 9 should be the minimum of average pirates to transport safely, with 10 being ideal.|
|Merchant Brig||720||Can be run solo, but 2 should be the minimum to help avoid a first-league pursuit, with one being an excellent duty navigator and the other being an excellent sailor. Having more aboard will help even more.|
|Cutter||324||Can be run solo.|
|Sloop||108||Can be run solo, and it is safe to laze in the nest once at top speed. In larger operations, this is typically used for transporting gems and gold nuggets.|
The other ships
Other ships can be used but their relatively small holds make them inferior choices when shipping fruit. These ships can also be used to warehouse fruit until they can be loaded on another ship. Because these ships are also ships of war, not merchant ships, they require more pirates aboard when the ship is being moved than similar-sized merchant ships -- e.g. more jobbers are required to move a War Frigate than a Merchant Galleon.
|Ship Name||Units of fruit||Notes|
|War Frigate||1,728||Requires more people to job.|
|Xebec||972||Requires many people to job and barely bigger than a Merchant Brig.|
|War Brig||432||Can be run with 1-2 people, merchant brig is preferable.|
|Baghlah||144||Can be run solo, cutter is preferable.|
|Dhow||108||Can be run solo, sloop is preferable.|