Newbie Corner pt 1: Basics

Part 1 – Bare Bones Basics, Merchant Level 1 – 40

Welcome to Shop Titans and to ST Central! I’m ArchonMal, one of the major contributing members to this site.

Shop Titans is a deceptively complicated game. When you download it on the appstore or see ads in other games it looks like a silly idle shopkeeper game about selling fantasy items to an endless conga line of mindless NPCs in the name of capitalism. This is true, but it doesn’t convey how deep and complex the game can be. Once you finish the tutorial, it can feel like Wallace just tossed you into the pool and told you to swim. How do you start?!

Just Starting

“I just started like an hour ago, what are some general beginner tips?”

First things first – take a breath.

The absolute most important thing to do when you’ve just started is to complete the tutorial. This is likely something you’ll have already completed by the time you see this guide, but it’s a big enough deal that it needs to be mentioned. The tutorial teaches you the bare bones basics of how to play and unlocks a few core things.

You’ll end up joining a guild at the end of the tutorial and the second most important thing to do when you’ve just started is to leave that guild and find one that’s actually active. It’s unfortunate, but there’s a vast graveyard of guilds full of inactive players and the game tends to try to push you towards these. There are a lot of places you can look and guilds are always looking for newer people. Some good places are our STC Discord server, the official ST Discord server, the subreddit, the Facebook fan page, or world chat in-game. Being part of a guild is critical for three main reasons:

  • Town buildings are easily the biggest one. These are upgraded by everybody investing in them, so you’ll get the benefit of higher level buildings without needing to drain your own pockets. They increase the level cap of your workers & heroes, boost the resources you gain through quests, and improve your crafting resource generation rate. For example, I have 1,065 ticks in my guild’s Tavern right now. My ticks alone only get the building up to level 12 (level 13 requires 1,080). But, with the guild’s powers combined, those individual tick values go a very long way.
  • A guild also lets you gain much more rewards from three out of the four recurring Events. King’s Caprice, Dragon Invasion, and the Lost City of Gold all have a reward track that the whole guild feeds into. You get rewards based on how well the guild as a whole is doing, so you’ll get a lot more stuff than you would normally have access to. My first guild was pretty dead so I was basically running these by myself. Trust me, it’s night and day.
  • Finally, a guild offers a sense of community. Do you have a question about the game or need some help? Your guildmates are there for you.

Huge note: Your investments are personal and not tied to the guild. If you change guilds, your investments will follow you and will be immediately applied to the new guild.

The second most important thing to always remember is that this game is a marathon, not a sprint. Try to minimize downtime as much as possible.

  • Always have something in your shop upgrading. It takes multiple days to upgrade one piece of furniture at higher levels and these are the most direct way of improving your shop.
    • There isn’t a single right or wrong answer of WHAT to upgrade – this will be variable depending on your own playstyle and current situation. Are you struggling to keep your crafting queue full? Maybe upgrade your bins so you have more resources to throw around. Are you struggling to Surcharge higher tier items comfortably? Upgrade your racks to get more energy. Are questing resources or inventory space in general feeling a bit tight? Upgrade your trunks.
    • The exception is the Counter. Try to get this upgraded to level 6 and then 11 as soon as possible. These levels are important because the Counter expands in size, which allows more customers to hang out at it. Ranks 16 – 20 (which require Dragonmarks) also provide a percentage bonus to your total Energy amount.
  • Upgrade / expand your shop itself as soon as possible. A larger shop allows you to hold more furniture, but it also determines the average customer level. A larger shop attracts higher level customers, meaning you can sell them higher tier items to make more gold.
  • If your heroes / Champions aren’t out actively questing, they should be resting from a previous quest. The only reason you should have heroes ready to go but sitting idle is if all your quest slots are currently in use and not completed yet.
  • Make sure your crafting queue is always full and try to check in often enough so completed crafts aren’t sitting there for too long.

The Trifecta

There are three main parts of Shop Titans that make up the game: Crafting, Questing, and Bartering (or Selling). You don’t need to choose one, you can (and should!) aim to focus on all three of them. You should however, ideally prioritize one over the others.

Crafting Basics

The crafting side of ST is primarily focused around making things yourself (or more accurately, having your worker NPCs make things for you). The tutorial covers how to craft stuff fairly well so I won’t touch on that here since this guide is long enough without it. There’s two critical things to keep in mind when you’re crafting things: managing your crafting rotation and keeping your item lines fairly equal.

“Crafting rotation” is a fairly basic but extremely important concept. In simplest terms, you want to use as many different bin resources as possible to fill all of your crafting slots. Say for example that you have eight crafting slots. A good rotation would be something like:

  • Two Iron / Steel / Jewel items
  • Two Wood / Ironwood / Ether items
  • Two Leather / Silk / Ether items
  • Two Herb / Oil / Jewel items

The exact count and what specific items used are going to vary depending on a lot of factors, mainly what BPs you specifically have unlocked and your max resource cap for all materials. You may need to change up the rotation if you’re crafting for daily tasks / bounties – these can require you to craft specific items that you might not normally make. In this case, you would shuffle around other items to make sure you’re still using as much of your resources as you can.

As you craft items, you’ll gain progress towards a few Mastery milestones. One of these will be to unlock a new blueprint that’s one tier up in the same item line. You can see here that by crafting a few Training Bows (T1 Bow), you unlock the blueprint to craft Elmwood Bow, the T2 version.

Do your best to try to keep these equal across your item lines! This is because singling out one line will affect your ability to do bounties.

The way the bounty generation system works is that as soon as you research/unlock a new tier for an item type (e.g. – Helmets, Heavy Armor, Clothes blueprints etc), bounties generated for any item type can request crafts of the same tier as your highest unlocked blueprint. So, for example, if you focused on Heavy Armor and unlocked up to T9 but you only unlocked Clothes blueprints to T5, a bounty requesting Clothes can require T9 crafts, which would severely limit the bounties you can complete. It’s not too bad if most of your lines are fairly even (say everything is at T8 and you unlock T9), but if most of your lines are T5 and you unlock a T9 blueprint you’ll struggle to complete a lot of bounties.

  • The exception to the above being that unlocking Enchantment blueprints (Spirits / Elements) doesn’t affect equipment bounties and vice versa.
  • One additional note, this only applies to the base blueprints that need to be unlocked with research scrolls. Owning special / pack blueprints (through purchasing them with $$$, buying them from the Antique Store, or learning them from a chest) of a higher tier will not affect the bounty system in the same way.

This matters because bounties are extremely important. They help your guild purchase upgrades that affect and help all members. Bounty task difficulty scales with the individual player, but the rewards are static. This means that a “Craft Clothes” bounty might be five T4s for you, but it will be five T13s for someone higher level. Lower level players can plow through bounties and rack up a very high amount of trophies to help the guild – it’s a huge way for you to contribute!

Your guildmaster can spend these trophies at the end of the week on

Questing Basics

Questing is the second major piece of the puzzle. This involves sending your heroes and Champions out to beat up helpless monsters gather materials needed to keep crafting things. The hero system is exceedingly complicated (probably at least half of this very site is related to heroes and quests) so I won’t go into it too heavily right now. The early game is designed to be pretty simple so you won’t need to focus too heavily on optimizing your squad for a bit. Stick to these few key tenets and you’ll be fine for a while:

  • The absolute most important one: DO NOT aim for “perfect” or even “good” heroes. Most of the ones you hire right now will be phased out down the line – and this is OK! The heroes’ job right now is to be cheap but functional bodies that can run quests. Their skills essentially don’t matter at this stage. Seriously, DO NOT bother trying to optimize your heroes’ skills at this point. Until around Merchant level 40, literally any skills are fine. The early game is designed to be very easy so as long as your heroes exist and have gear that exists, you can usually clear most stuff at this point.
  • Second, the more bodies you have, the better. Unlock hero slots with gold as soon as they open up and fill them immediately. Prioritize the highest tier classes you can get your hands on with gold and try to keep your count of Fighter / Rogue / Spellcaster fairly equal if you can.
  • Finally, DO NOT hire higher tier heroes with gems. This is an extremely inefficient use of your gems since they can very easily turn out poorly. Additionally, you’ll want those gems down the line for other stuff.

You will eventually hit a wall where your heroes start to struggle, and that’s OK! We’ll cover how to improve your hero roster in part 2.

Bartering Basics

The third major portion of ST is Bartering, or Selling. As you quest or craft items, you’ll accumulate stuff to sell! You can turn these items into gold via two main ways, your shop and the Marketplace.

As you hang out on your shop screen, you’ll see that there are a bunch of customers wandering around and wanting nothing more than to buy the stuff you have on display for them to drool over. You absolutely want to sell items to them because you gain both gold and experience towards your Merchant level by doing so. You’ll want to set some thresholds for yourself to determine what items you should Surcharge, sell at normal value, or Discount. I recommend either doing this by either the value or the tier of the item. Try to keep this simple so you can easily know how to handle each item & easily adjust the system if needed. Say for example that you can comfortably Surcharge T5 items. Baseline crafted T5 items range from 5,900 – 15,000 gold, so a good middleground might be 10K or so.

  • Item Value Method: Surcharge items worth 11K+, normal sell items worth 9 – 10K, Discount everything below 9K
  • Tier Method: Surcharge T5, normal sell T4, Discount T3 and below

Alternatively, you can sell items on the Marketplace. This is great for offloading large amounts of stuff quickly or for selling items that are too Energy-expensive to Surcharge in your shop. However, the Marketplace can be volatile (you’ll often find someone undercutting your listing) and you receive no EXP towards your Merchant level for selling stuff here. Still, it’s a great resource and can be used to make lots of gold if you can find a niche to fill.

Closing Thoughts

As you can see, there’s a LOT that goes into this game. I’ve tried to keep this as simple as possible since I know it’s a ton of information to take in. If your head is spinning, that’s OK! Please feel free to come back to this guide to sort things out later if you need it. Additionally, please join us over on Discord if you have any questions – we’d love to see you and help out!

This post has primarily been focused on newer players and getting them up to speed. Next time, we’ll go over some FAQs and cover transitioning into the midgame. Thank you for reading this guide!

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