The end game:
I've stopped playing the game now, having reached level 786. It's been a while since I played so I've forgotten a lot of stuff I was going to write, but at least I can pass along my thoughts about the Thug. He is the most important worker for you if you want money.
1) Hire the highest level thug that shows up, up to level 100. No thug past level 100 will show up for hire.
2) Use your thug every single moment, but don't log off if he's out on a mission. If he's not at home, he won't be able to protect you. So send him out at the break of dawn and he should be back at the end of the day. And make sure he's protecting you when you're logged off.
3) Spy on, vandalize, intimidate or burgle the highest rank opponent you can. You won't get a lot of experience by going against low level opponents. Even failed missions will give you experience. Always spy on your opponent first. You should only vandalize, intimidate or burgle your enemy if the spy mission is successful, otherwise your spy has a higher chance of getting jailed. But keep your spy busy so he can level up quickly.
4) Once your spy has reached a high level, you can start spying and then burglarizing people. As far as I'm concerned, this is the only way to make money. You can easily steal 10M to 45M from people who have a lot of money. The most I ever stole was about $50M. It would take weeks or months of play to get that amount.
5) Join a good guild. You'll probably need to be above level 200 before a good guild will accept you. Hang out in chat to find out who the top guild leaders are and ask them to take you. You can also find a list of the top guilds in the rankings. The top guilds will have a list of rich folks who have a lot of money to steal!
6) You can also find the richest people in the top 10 rankings and most of them appear to be the same people I stole from. Once your thug is at about level 200, you will be able to steal millions from them. Good luck!
Original guide here:
My strategy guide is mostly concerned with suggestions since I see that most items are often not available and others have to be suggested in place. My guide will try and guide you to offer the most acceptable replacement and get the most bang for your buck.
First, a few comments:
1) At times, it appears that you won't have about half of the items requested so the Silver-tongued skill is one of the most important skills to have. (It appears that 1 point adds 1% to the success rate.)
2) Most of the time, customers will ask for the item you don't have, and once you've researched and crafted it, they will ask for something else.
3) Most customers will accept items above or below the items in the same research cycle so it's very important to acquaint yourself with the different research cycles. With some exceptions (see #4 and #5 below), offers of items outside of the same research cycle will return with a 0% acceptance rate.
4) The exception to the rule is that items made with the special raw materials: Gems, Mithril, Dragon's blood and Mythic feathers, will generally be accepted in lieu of each other. In my opinion, because these special raw materials cannot be bought and can only be obtained as rewards, items crafted with these raw materials should never be sold at below market prices.
5) Things that the sorceress makes, such as potions or dust, can be suggested to anything but have a low acceptance rate. I will often offer the Lucky amulet as a cheap alternative to many of the sorcerer items that require one of the special raw materials.
1) Items in the same research cycle.
2) Items that look the same, except in a different color scheme.
3) Items that have the same name, i.e. potions for potions, axes for axes, etc.
4) Customer class based suggestions (see below).
5) Rare items for other rare items in the same class or use the same raw materials for manufacture.
6) Higher priced items or items higher in the research cycle seem to have a higher chance of success.
As usual, use the item page for helpful hints.
Once in a while an adventurer will appear. Instead of buying or selling an item, an adventurer will ask you to give him an item for free for a quest. If the quest is successful, the adventurer will share his loot with you, if unsuccessful, you will get nothing and lose your item! However, if successful, you will get a much bigger return with the adventurer than from regular selling.''
Many times, the item will be an expensive item, and/or one that you cannot craft yet. If you don't have the item, you can suggest an item.
If the item is deemed worthy, the adventure will go on his merry quest, if not, an unhappy bubble will appear when the adventurer leaves.
I have found it very worth my while to give the free item. Most of the time, if I gave the adventurer the item he wanted, he would be successful. The chances of success will decrease if you suggest other items and if he goes away angry. He will return the next day. If he is unsuccessful, he will come back with an unhappy bubble, which will be replaced with an exclamation mark when he stops. if he is successful, he will simply have an exclamation mark when he stops!
Before level 100, I often found the successful adventurer returned with a few rare resources (such as gems, mithril, etc.) and a rare item. With the rare resources, I would be able to craft more rare items which I would sell at high prices. The rare items, I would either sell at high prices or give to other adventurers who wold repeat this cycle, so it was very profitable, in fact I made my first million this way. After level 100, I found that the adventurers returned with only money 99% of the time. And after level 100, I would often suggest very low priced items just to get rid of them, such as toy swords for Guards, and I was often surprised with very large returns from $50-100K when he was successful.
Customer specific suggestions:
Sometimes there are items which are difficult to suggest to, for example, scrolls, therefore you can give the buyer certain items specific to their class which has a reasonable chance of acceptance:
Archer: bows or crossbows
My rule of thumb: If the offered price is under market price and is about 50% of profit, then usually haggling will be successful. If the offered price in red is less than 50% of the profit, then haggling will usually not be successful.
If it doesn't make you bankrupt, go for it. Especially in the intermediate stages when you are not cash strapped, buy the recipe even if you can't use them yet (due to level requirements), it will save you a lot of time. If you're researching a recipe that takes even 50 hours, you lost that time when you could be crafting, trading, or improving, so it's a great deal.
Occasionally a customer will offer you an item. If the item is below market price I will go for it, if the item is above market price, I will haggle and buy it if it is re-offered at below market price. I will always try to buy the offered item because 99% of the time, it is an item which I can't make myself. And if I get it at below market price I can make a profit when I sell it above market price. And many times, it will be an item that an adventurer will request.