Originally written by Biohack (u/Biohack), who generously published a Trading Guide in “Trading and Crate Workshop FAQ“. This helpful guide has been formatted by me and I added a few pictures. It’s now kept current on GrumpyG, with Biohack’s permission. Thanks Biohack! ! I will update this Trading Guide with any new BDO patches/changes or updates from the money maker himself. 🙂 (Biohack is a Master Trader in Black Desert Online. You can see for yourself, by following him on Twitch and Reddit.

Biohack’s BDO Trading Guide

Hey All,

Biohack here. I recently made a video about AFK processing and in that video I discussed how making trade crates is one way to improve the money you can make doing AFK processing. I was originally planning on making a video and guide for it but I wasn’t really happy with how it came out. Instead I’m going to write a simple FAQ to answer the most popular questions. This way I can update it easily when changes to the game occur and it should be more accessible than a long video. Let’s begin.

Should I get Master 2 Artisan 2 trade? As of Dec. 20th 2017 the desert trade buff was required to only require artisan 2. Any previous mentions of m2 should refer to this instead.

Before thinking about trade start by reading this so you understand how the material market works and what place you want to have in it.

That being said the first thing you should understand about trading is that by itself it is essentially worthless. NPC->NPC trading is absolutely terrible in terms of money per hour, and it isn’t until master 5 (but really master 10) when you unlock margoria trade items that trading alone is a viable form of income. Instead trade is used to improve the value of other things. In particular those are pirate grinding, active fishing, and of course AFK processing. If you aren’t doing any of these three activities getting artisan 2 trade will be a major waste of time and money and you will be able to get very little, if any, value out of it.

BDO Processing Profitability ChartUpdate as of June 2017 Processing and making trade crates have an inverse relationship with respect to profit. I.e. the more you can sell your processed materials for on the market the less valuable it is to make trade crates from them. Since the price of processed materials are at record highs and will likely only continue to go up, unless you are doing trade crates with absolute efficiency it may not be worth your time, effort. and CP. If you are looking for a brainless easy way to make money stick to setting up a worker empire and doing AFK processing focused on making the most valuable items (which depends on the market conditions but you can find up to date prices here. I would encourage every player interested in making trade crates, or doing anything else with trade for that matter, to run a cost benefit analysis before investing in it. You should know exactly how much money you make per hour doing activity x, how much better it will be with a2, and how many hours you need to do that thing to pay off the trading investment before you start leveling trading (of course this assumes your goal is monetary efficiency, by all means if you find this part of the game fun go ahead and do it)

I’m a new player. How do I know if it’s a good idea for me to level trading?

Obviously that’s a personal decision based on how you like to play the game. However if you are looking to be efficient and make money so that you can compete in end game PvP and PvE I wouldn’t suggest prioritizing trading until all your weapons and armor are at least TRI and you have best in slot accessories to duo/pri (or the lower tier accessory equivalent). It’s far more important for you to improve your grind efficiency than it is for you to min/max with trading. I would also highly encourage you prioritize getting up to the soft cap of ~255 CP and investing in as many timber, and ore nodes as you can get, especially the fir, acacia tin, zinc, and coal nodes as without good workers on these nodes you won’t have the resources you need to make crates (they are also valuable in general processing).

If you are intending to use trading for crate workshops I would also suggest you have enough money that you can comfortably float 500M-1B in crates without gimping your character. This is because moving trade crates efficiently requires that you operate in bulk and if you don’t have the resources to to do that you are probably better off selling your materials on the market instead of spending a bunch of time moving crates around in small stacks.

Only about 20% of the profit you make from trade crates is actually from the crates, the bulk of it comes from the worker empire and the processing so if you don’t have the back end to support crate workshops there is little reason to go for trading until you do.

BDO Quest: To the Wild Desert!What is so important about artisan 2 trading?

The reason artisan 2 trading is so important is that at artisan 2, after completing “To the Wild Desert!” quest, and its prerequisites, you will be able to talk to an NPC at the Pilgrim’s Sanctum: Sharing node in Valencia. For 100 energy, this NPC will give you a buff that lasts 1 hour and provides a 1.5x multiplier for trade items brought from outside the desert and sold in valencia city. However since the distance, bargain, supply, and desert bonus stack multiplicatively this effect is actually much greater than just the 50% bonus. To see how much items will sell for with and without this buff check out famme’s excellent calculator.

My friend told me he makes 200M a week doing crate workshops. Is this true?

There are very few people in the world that can bring in something like 200M purely from trade. What you friend is almost certainly doing is running a worker empire, processing materials, turning them into trade crates, and then making the classic mistake of labeling this entire system as “trading”. The reality is they probably make something like 50M a week from worker empires, 130M a week from AFK processing, and 20M a week from trading. Don’t feel like you have to do all three. It’s perfectly fine to stick to only worker empire, or processing. The only benefit of doing all 3 is not having to pay the tax when you sell your goods to the NPC instead listing them on the market. Treat them each independently. By the way the tax comes out to 15.5% with a value pack.

BDO Trading without Artisan 2 Trade SkillCan I make crates for money without artisan 2 trade?

Absolutely not. I realize there are so called “guides” that suggest you do this however this is absolutely awful advice. What was a bad guide 9 months ago utterly terrible today. Just to give you an example you can sell the materials to make a calpheon crate for ~190K silver on the market. After tax that is ~160.5K. If you make a calpheon crate in trent and sell it in arehaza with professional 5 trade you will get ~130K for it after you take out the BSP and beer. Meaning at the end of the day you have 30,000 less silver in your bank for every crate you make instead of selling the plywood. Following the information in those “guides” will lose you billions of silver before you hit artisan 2 trade and require thousands of hours of AFK processing to get enough crates for a2. Anyone who tells you to sell crates without a2 has no idea how the economy in this game works.

So if I shouldn’t sell valuable crates without artisan 2 how do I level trading?

There is no magic secret to leveling trade. It takes time. There are two good options for leveling trading. Active trading and making junk crates and most people do some combination of both.

Active Trading:

BDO Trading with an ElephantI generally believe active trading to be a waste of time and don’t recommend it, there is almost always something more useful you could be doing. To calculate how worthwhile active trading is you take the number of trash crates required to hit your goal, multiply it by the amount of money you lose per trash crate and divide it by the number of hours you would have to spend active trading. When I originally wrote this it took ~40 hours of container trading to hit master trade and ~50,000 trash crates at ~6k loss per. To see how many trash crates you need read this including the notification and the post it links to.

That being said for active trading there are two options. The lazy way and the faster way. The lazy way is simple. You buy a noble/merchant wagon and you just loop back and forth from the velia and heidel trade NPCS selling your trade goods to one before filling your wagon again and going back to the other. When the NPCS don’t have any more items you hop channels and keep going. This is a pseudo afk method and while it’s slower than the other methods it only wastes pseudo afk time rather than full active time.

The faster way is to get an elephant with the skills quick run and joyride (sprint and instant accel equivalents). If your elephant doesn’t learn these skills you can use a horse skill reset coupon to try and get them. The downside of this is that the elephant will move very slowly if you just use auto path so if you are using this method you will have to actively move your elephant. If you choose this option you can find a couple of good trade routes here.

Example Trading Route by Yuma (Velia) – Beginner to Apprentice:

BDO Velia Trading RouteExample Trading Route by Eminent (Velia + Heidel + W Guard Camp) – Beginner to Skilled:

BDO Trading Route to level Trading Profession

View Eminent’s Trading Guide


Rolling is a strategy where you buy as many items as you can carry on your character (up to 170% weight) and then roll to nearby farms. Trade xp is reduced if you go less than 500 meters but this method can still be used although I don’t recommend it.

Container Trading (new addition 6.17.17)
Recently a new method to leveling trade developed by the korean streamer viento has gained popularity. This is the fastest way to level trading. The method revolves around using multiple characters and warehouse in Heidel and Velia along with warehouse containers to move large quantities of NPC trade items quickly. Like other forms of active trading this generally is not recommended by most top lifeskillers. The reason being that investing your time into making money or something else more worthwhile and doing junk crates will offer better returns in the long run.

BDO Container Method Route MapContainer Method Video Guide:

BDO Number of Crates to level TradingJunk Crates:

The laziest way to get artisan 2 trading is by making so called “junk” or “trash” crates. Basically, these crates are crates made from unprocessed materials at a loss in order to get trade xp i.e. ore, timber, fruit, herbs, etc… However leveling trading this way can be a bit expensive. I recently made a second character for trading and recorded how many crates needed for each level find out here. For a full list of possible life xp buffs check out balzor’s fantastic site (click show trash crate method), please be sure to read the link at the top of the post about trash crates to learn how to turn them in properly for most xp.

Using this method is very expensive. The only way to get that much material is to purchase it off the market, in addition you also have to consider the cost of the black stone powder and beer. If you use lead, a popular junk crate item, you’re looking at ~6,000 silver for lead ~3,000 silver for BSP and ~600 silver for beer. At professional 5 a crate made in trent and sold in arehaza will sell for something like 4100 silver. Since you spent ~9600 silver to make each crate you are looking at losing ~5500 silver per crate. Obviously the higher you get your trade level manually the less money you need to spend. But remember, time has value and if you spend your time doing trading manually instead of making money you will probably miss out on more money than making the junk crates. It’s up to you to figure out what’s best for your own playstyle.

What Junk Crates to Make

BDO Trading Pumpkin CratesAll the junk crates are going to lose you money, some will lose you a little more than the others, but the largest loss comes from the black stone powder anyway. It’s also an market economy so what might lose you slightly less one day may be different the next. If you really care you’ll have to work out the math on any given day. However one thing you absolutely don’t want to do is use materials with a higher real value than market value. Things like fir and acacia timber would be a prime example of this. Check the market…if it’s sold out there’s a good chance that may not be a good item for junk crates.

I personally make junk crates out of all the following material:

  • elder
  • palm
  • lead
  • pumpkin
  • paprika
  • silver azalea
  • sunrise herb
  • tiger mushroom
  • fortune teller mushroom

There may be other things that can be decent as well.

Where should I make my crates?

You should make your crates as far away from valencia as possible unless turning in junk crates at port ratt*. The cities with the farthest distance in order are grana, old wisdom tree, trent, epheria, and calpheon. Max the first city on the list before expanding to the second and be aware that each time you move to a closer city you sacrifice efficiency for production speed.

Crates to Port Ratt

It’s worth mentioning that one alternative to making junk crates and taking them arehaza is making them in altinova or farther and taking them to Port Ratt. This offers the greatest distance bonus you can achieve which caps at 150%. While this method is more xp and more efficient it does require more complicated logistics to move and store your crates in port ratt where there is no stable master, you also will not be able to use bravant workers. DO NOT MAKE MONEY CRATES HERE, IF YOU AREN’T MAKING MONEY CRATES IN GRANA AND SELLING IN VALENCIA WITH THE A2 BUFF YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG. THERE ARE 0 EXCEPTIONS TO THIS

Artisan Human Worker
Stats Overview
● Workspeed: ★★☆
● Movement Speed: ★☆☆
● Luck: ★★★
● Stamina: ★★☆

Which workers should I get?

The best worker is an artisan human with 112.5 workspeed and +3 crates, however this is very difficult to get.

The second best worker is an artisan goblin with +3 crates.

If you are doing metal/ore crates the best worker, after a +3 giant, is called bravant and is the equivalent of a professional goblin however he has the unique ability that gives him +2 metal/ore crates (doesn’t stack with other crate skills). For more on bravant again refer to balzor’s website.

How can I get workers with +3 crates

With grana out now my previous comment about not needing +3 workers is no longer accurate. So what I do is typically dump all my energy into workers hiring professional+, for the pros I try and promote them at 20. If they fail I ditch them. For artisans I usually take them up to 25 and then ditch them. Sometimes for humans and giants I sell them at 20 if I have a replacement.

Worker Skill Icon Grade Worker Skill In-game Description Worker Skill Explanation
Adv. Herb Packing Skill Adv. Herb Packing Skill Artisan Additional processing (+3) when making a herb crate Makes 4 with 4x the ingredients in 1 work cycle
Adv. Mushroom Packing SKill Adv. Mushroom Packing SKill Artisan Additional processing (+3) when making a mushroom crate Makes 4 with 4x the ingredients in 1 work cycle
Adv. Ore Packing Skill Adv. Ore Packing Skill Artisan Additional processing (+3) when making an ore crate Makes 4 with 4x the ingredients in 1 work cycle
Adv. Produce Packing Skill Adv. Produce Packing Skill Artisan Additional processing (+3) when making a grain/veggie/fruit crate Makes 4 with 4x the ingredients in 1 work cycle
Adv. Timber Packing Skill Adv. Timber Packing Skill Artisan Additional processing (+3) when making a timber crate Makes 4 with 4x the ingredients in 1 work cycle

What kind of crates should I make?

Whatever materials your workers can get you. Steel, brass, bronze, balenos, serendia, calpheon, and mediah are all viable. If you want to min max to figure out which one will bring you the most money per hour of processing you’ll have to do the math. The biggest tell of a noob trader is when they ask me how to make a “calpheon crate empire”. Just because a crate sells for the most money doesn’t mean it’s the best crate. A crate that makes 3x more profit isn’t any better than a crate who’s materials you can process 3x as fast.

How do I get blackstone powder?

Mostly crushing crystals and weapon stones. See balzor again.

Can I make crates in Trent instead of Grana?

I strongly suggest you make your crates in Grana. This is because the distance bonus between grana and trent is quite large with grana offering 113% vs trents 99%. To see why this makes such a large difference consider the profit of a calpheon crate.

Mat Cost of Calpheon Crate = 173,311
Trent Crate Profit = 25,300
Grana Crate Profit = 39,300

To understand what your profit actually is you have to compare the value of the materials in vs the value of the crate. In the case of calpheon based on the current market prices for plywood at the time of this writing you are looking at 200,250 for plywood pre tax. The post tax value of plywood is 169,211 with 3750 for BSP and ~150 for beer the cost to make the crate (compared to selling the plywood) is 173,311.

The value of a calpheon crate made in Trent is 198,607 at M2 meaning your total profit is ~25,300 silver. This is compared to grana where your crate is worth 212,579 silver for a profit of ~39,300. That’s 55% more profit per crate in Grana vs trent.

But Grana costs so much CP. Trent is much cheaper!

Assuming you process starting from timber/ore and process ~18 hours a day you are looking at making somewhere around 500 crates worth of plywood/ingots every day. That means that the grana workshops generate you about 3-7M more silver per day compared to using trent depending on what types of crates you make. Ignoring the cost of lodging Trent cost 6cp for 2 benches and grana costs 22 (you should only make the connection to valencia a few times a month at most when turning in crates so ignore it otherwise).

That’s an additional 16CP you have to pay for grana, this means that each CP will generate you between ~190-440K per day. Given that you shouldn’t be worried about crates unless you have 255 CP at a minimum it’s highly unlikely you will get a better return on your CP unless you are massively invested in farming.

I have extra mats. Should I use trent workshops or send workers from Grana to trent?

This is a bit of a tricky question to answer because it really comes down to a CP efficiency calculation and exactly what workers you have as well as how many additional crates you intend to make. You are looking at investing an additional 16CP to make crates from grana to trent in our calpheon crate example you are looking at a 14k increase in profit of grana over trent but this might be as low as only 6k for steel. If we assume average profit is around 10k per crate you would need to make at least an extra 160 crates per day to justify the CP cost, Assuming you can get 100K per CP which is a fairly decent per day profit per CP (but waaay worse than what you could get farming for example).

Should I use the t2 version of the grana workshops?

Grana introduces the concept of a tier 2 workshop. This version of the workshop makes 5 crates at a time, however the workload increases by 6x for the job. This workshop also uses double the black stone powder. In general you should not use the t2 version of the workshops. For more read on.

Detailed Explanation:
There are three major points of interest when it comes to t2 workshops. They are the speed of crate production, the double black stone powder costs, and the thrifty worker skills.

You can find charts with the exact breakdown of crate speeds but let’s assume you have an artisan papu. If that papu is on a t1 workshop it will make 1 crate every 10 minutes (or 4 crates with +3). If the papu has less than 150 workspeed this will be the same for a t2 workshop. However if that papu has 150 work speed it will be able to finish the 1350 work speed job in only 9 cycles. Since each cycle is 5 minutes that worker will make 5 crates in 45 minutes (or 20 with +3). Basically what this means is that the t2 workshop is ~10% faster than the t1. Without +3 workers over the course of 90 minutes you will make 9 crates with t1 and 10 crates with t2.

I value black stone powder at 3750 (the cost of crushing weapon stones at 300k) and you probably should to. This means to make that extra crate you end up spending an extra 37,500 silver on BSP. As we discussed earlier our profit of making the crates in grana vs trent is about 6-14K per crate meaning this BSP cost more than doubles the additional profit of the crate. Even if you buy the BSP off the market it still exceeds the additional value of the crate. In other words don’t use T2 with 1 exception.

The one instance you might want to use the t2 workshop is if you have a worker with max thrifty and are making wood crates. The reason this is the case is because the thrifty skill only procs on items that use at least 10 of the resource. This means the thrifty will work fine on ingot workshops but does not work on t1 wood workshops. However with t2 this may enable thrify to actually work. With max thrifities this saves you 2.2% on your production cost which will be about ~4.4K on a calpheon crate and ~3.5k on a mediah crate. These savings may make it worthwhile to use the t2 workshop for these specific wood crates if your worker has max thrifty skills.

tl;dr don’t use t2 workshop except for calpheon and mediah crates with a max thrifty worker.

BDO Trading with a horseHow do I move my crates to valencia/arehaza?

You can over-stack a horse up to 7157 crates and then using a fast alt (preferably below 50 so it can’t be pked) like a musa and whistling the horse behind you is a good option. If you have the cash shop horse whistle you can run 500 meters away from your horse and then use the whistle to teleport your horse to your location. You can also ride your horse manually however this will be slower.

Alternatively you can over stack your horse and over stack your fishing boat and afk to ancando.

Can I use the item transport function to move my crates?

No, I highly suggest you do NOT use the transport function for trade crates. This is because each crate doesn’t stack and will cost you over 4,000 silver to ship. Just as we saw when we talked about doing crates in trenth this a massive cut into the profit of crates vs selling plywood. Another way to look at it is moving 7157 crates would cost you over 28million silver. If you are willing to run from grana->valencia/arehaza for 28 million silver you shouldn’t use the transport function.

I watched a streamer who had thousands and thousands of crates. How do they get the materials for that?

They bought processed materials on the market in order to do margin trading.

Should I buy processed materials on the market?

No. If you even have to ask that question you don’t possess the knowledge and setup to pull it off. It took me over a year, billions of silver, and hundreds if not thousands of hours to get my trade empire to the state it’s in today. I’m sure mickin and alzy spent similar amounts of time and effort on theirs. It may not have been true before the static crate change but as of today I guarantee if you try and buy materials without knowing what you’re doing you’ll just end up broke and frustrated.

Margin trading is probably the most competitive market in BDO don’t expect to make any significant amount of money off it. Doing so would require investing a huge amount of time and money into leveling trading very high and you will be in constant competition to push your trade level higher in order to stay above the curve. It’s not about how high your trade level is, it’s about how much higher your trade level is than everyone else. I’ve spent 10s of billions on trash crates to stay ahead.

Should I buy unprocessed materials off the market?

You should set up your worker empire to gather materials for you. Getting to the soft cap of 255 CP is relatively straight forward, prioritize that. For everything else you need to do the math. All the information you need to know to figure it out you can find here. The long and short of it is that you will always make money buying timber and ore as the market place literally will not sell you materials at prices where this isn’t true, however to know what’s best you’ll have to do the math.

BDO Trading with a wagonI’m a just looking for some easy passive income. Should I make trade crates?

Every player in the game should set up a worker empire to gather materials. It’s fairly easy to get up to ~255 CP and once you do it will be a good chunk of money that comes in every day with very little effort. Every player should, if at all possible, try and do something to bring in money while AFK, whether it be fishing or processing. Ultimately you can make a bit more money by combining worker gathering, processing, and crate workshops, however the difference is far smaller than most people think. It’s perfectly fine to set up a worker empire, afk fish and sell your materials, it’s also fine to take your materials, process them and sell the products on the market, and as you’ve seen here you can also make those materials into trade crates to squeeze out even more. However, at the end of the day the amount of time you spend actively playing the game will matter far more than how much you min/max this setup for passive income. I suggest you prioritize having fun. If all this trading feels like a chore to you, don’t do it, trust me there are plenty of super geared players who don’t touch life skills at all, and there are others like me who would be very happy to buy your materials. On the other hand if this sort of things appeals to you, go for it! It can be a very nice supplement to your daily income. Remember, it’s a game. Have fun. Do what you enjoy.

Where can I find you if i have more questions?

I stream at twitch.tv/biohacktv, I also hang out on reddit and am happy to answer questions here. If it’s a popular one I’ll add it to the list.