"No, no, no! Come on, do it properly."Following the trail of crumbs dropped by ElderProphet and Cherokee, I've begun work on cracking the TradeWars haggle algorithm. Cherokee's work gave me the clues I needed to get started, but I quickly discovered that a lot of what he wrote was not quite right.
After a few hours of experimentation and a good night's sleep, I derived the formula for a port's initial offer per unit of equipment as a function of MCIC. It's exactly correct for all MCICs from -1 to -100. There's a lot more work to do, but I have a pretty good idea about how to proceed. I'm confident that I can at least equal ElderProphet's haggle algorithms. I also noticed something about the way ports haggle that I've never seen mentioned in public. If my hunch is right, I may be able to out-haggle EP's supposedly perfect haggle algorithm.