HardWar - Getting Exotic Moths

Getting Exotic Moths

Death's Heads, Police Moths, and Swallows

Updated 17 July 2001


Prison Oubliette


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Getting Exotic Moths is one of the most satisfying accomplishments Hardwar has to offer. The basic idea is to supply a Moth Dealer, generally Downtown Moths, with the items they need. In return, they begin to produce Moths. If properly supplied, they'll produce a Death's Head and eventually a Police Moth. If supplied in a slightly different manner, they'll make a Swallow (patched game only).

Today we take this process for granted, but this wasn't always so. For two years the general Hardwar community thought that you couldn't get a Police Moth in the offline game. In fact, trading to get any business to produce exotic items was unknown. We owe a great debt of gratitude to the many pilots who discovered and developed the trading methods we so commonly use today. At the top of this list are Nayjay123, Nar Sluke, Xaffax, dyar1, OUCH, and BIGMike.

Several Loyal and Greedy pilots are to credit for the discovery and development of a reliable trading pattern that produces desired Moths. It was dyar1 that discovered that Police Moths could be made at all. Nayjay123 was the first to discover that trading with Downtown Moths was the key to getting them to produce exotic Moths. He was sort of the father of it all.

Xaffax refined this with the first good trading list and discovered that limiting the type of Cell traded affected the type of Moth produced. Cell #3s encouraged the production of Death's Heads and Police Moths. The Cell is the only difference between the Moths at the production level.

Finally, DeathDad found that Swallows could be produced by supplying Downtown Moths with Cell #1s instead of #3s. Since then Nar Sluke, King of Titanic Trading, has highly refined the list and amounts of items to be traded.

Downtown Moths

Click the image above to see a full-size picture of Downtown Moths. You'll be doing a lot of business here if you are planning to get exotic Moths. It's located in the Downtown Crater between Police HQ and the entrance to the Highrise Tunnel.

The above screenshot was taken from a Police Moth I'd purchased a couple of days prior. It's a good idea to target Downtown Moths and lock it into your Buildings Menu.


Getting Downtown Moths to produce a Death's Head is the first step to getting a Police Moth, too. The trading is the same, you just have to do more of it. The same trading principles apply to the production of the Swallow and all other exotic items as well.

-- Basic Concepts --

The goal here is to get an exotic Moth, like a Death's Head, through legitimate trade and purchase. To do this, you will have to supply a Moth Dealer with the goods it needs to produce Moths.

It is better to trade with Downtown Moths over Highrise Motors or Bargain Moths. Downtown Moths has more cash and does not run out of money for needed supplies as easily. It is a proven producer of exotic Moths. I've still not gotten more than a Death's Head from Highrise Motors and Bargain Moths seems stuck in the production of Silver-Ys. Downtown Moths is also centrally located in Downtown where faction problems won't hinder your trade. It's also easy to get to from just about anywhere and easy to enter (except for that damn strut to your right as you face the hangar door).

You must supply enough of the various items needed for production before a Moth is made. You can't cut corners. Make sure you've got plenty of cash (at least $40,000) before beginning trade.

You must supply a balance of goods needed for production. If you overstock the Moth dealer on any item, they will run out of money before they have enough of all items to begin production. This is the greatest challenge you face and we all have Nar Sluke and Xaffax to thank for ironing out several details.

Most problems you come across have a solution. Be patient your first few attempts. Don't be afraid to experiment after you've learned the basics. Please e-mail me with any updates to this page you can provide.

-- Getting Started --

Make sure you're ready to start trading before you begin supplying Downtown Moths. Get a good Moth and arm it appropriately for Trading. Consider Holograms and an Afterburner. Get plenty of Chaff and/or Flares. You will attract pirates.

Find and target Downtown Moths with the "t" key and lock into you Buildings Menu. The Buildings Menu is under your main Nav Menu. Learn how to access these menus here. You might want to target some major suppliers, like Downtown Recycling, while you're at it.

Most importantly, make sure you've got enough money to begin trading. You make a very modest profit on most of your sales to Downtown Moths. Don't count on this profit. Have an absolute minimum of $40,000 before you begin trading. This will insure that you can afford to buy expensive goods like CompComp as well as a Moth once it's produced. I like to get a full $100,000 in cash and trade goods before I begin to trade.

It is also very convenient to buy a hangar near Downtown Moths. Downtown 05 is almost a straight shot across from Downtown Moths. Vacant 006 is another nearby hangar.

-- The Goods To Trade --

The table below lists the goods that Downtown Moths requires to make Moths. The number in parentheses is the amount you should carry per run. To the right are some businesses that carry the goods you'll need to sell to Downtown Moths.

I refer to selling the set of items in the specified amounts below as one "run". It will take several trips between suppliers and Downtown Moths to complete one "run". Keep up with the number of full runs you've made. Don't start another run until a full run is made. Otherwise, overstocking will probably occur.

You would want to trade Cell #1s instead of #3s for Swallow production. Cell #3s are required for Death's Head and Police Moth production. Restricting Cell trading encourages the production of a particular type of Moth.

Downtown Moths



Sheet Metal (7-8)

Ore Processing
Ore Processing 2
Downtown Recycling

Plastics (10)

Downtown Chemicals
AgroChem, Alpha

MachParts (10)

CompComp (6-7)

Cell #3 (2)

Downtown Components
Craven Components, Alpha
Riverside Parts, Riverside
TechParts, Downtown (CompComp only)

Ore (8)

Trade Central
Alpha Trading Post

Laser (2)

Psycho Bob's 1 & 2, Downtown

Note: You do not have to sell Food to Downtown Moths to get them to produce exotic Moths. It was once believed that Food was necessary and this was unfortunately begun by yours truly. It is now established fact that Food is not necessary for the production of any item, and will only lead to a business running out of cash sooner than usual. As a rule, sell Food somewhere else to conserve Downtown Moths money so they can buy production goods.

-- Order Of Supplying Items --

The table above lists items roughly in the order you need to trade them and by the supplier of the item. Below is the order in which you should trade each item. It is arranged from most-needed to least-needed to produce a Moth.

Following this order in making each run will help insure that a good balance of items is maintained. When Downtown Moths runs out of money it will now be far more likely to have the materials it needs to begin producing exotic Moths.

1) Sheet Metal -- 10 units

2) Plastics -- 10 units

4) MachParts -- 10 units

5) CompComp -- 10 units

6) Ore -- 8 units

7) Laser -- 2

8) Cell -- 1

-- Trading Tips --

The most important thing to keep in mind is to not overstock Downtown Moths on any particular item. This leads them to running out of money before they have the proper balance of items to start production. Follow the guide lines above. Both understocking and overstocking can lead to problems. Workarounds for Downtown Moths running out of money are discussed later.

Keep an eye out for when the price of a certain item drops. Downtown Moths will pay less for an item it has a fair stock of like any other business. You'll see this as a sudden drop in price while you're selling a batch of something. Click the Sell button slowly and watch the price offered. If it drops, move on to other items for that particular run. Store your overstock in you hangar for use during the next run. It's generally safe to ignore this for the first two full runs, but keep a close eye on it later.

The above might seem silly since you're already there and they're still offering to buy, but this technique helps to to maintain the balance of goods Downtown Moths needs to produce exotic Moths. Remember that other traders are selling them stuff as well. Shorting them on an item they've dropped the price on helps offeset this and maintain a proper balance of goods. We've Nar Sluke to thank for developing this.

Keep up with your runs. Don't neglect any item on a run. Make the full run unless Downtown Moths posts that they are no longer interested in an item. You can neglect those items until a Moth is produced. Finish one full run before starting another. Don't try to overlap runs. Every caution should be taken not to overstock Downtown Moths on any single item.

Begin a stock in your hangar. Stock Ore particularly. I do this from the start of the game. Keep up to 40 or more. This will save you a lot of running to the Mines for Ore when you're trading with Downtown Moths. Word of caution, however, if you stock up several runs in your hangar and make these runs quickly, Downtown Moths will run out of money quicker as they have less time between your runs to make money themselves. This isn't too big of a problem and will be discussed later under the general heading of "Beyond Budget".

Don't worry about overstock in your own hangar. You can always sell it after you've gotten your Moth.

-- Getting Your Death's Head --

Now that you know the basics, it's time to get to work. Start supplying the items Downtown Moths needs in the order presented in the list above. It helps to have a pad and pen at hand to quickly check off items and keep up with runs. Eventually this will become second nature to you.

Sell a full two runs regardless of price drops. Keep selling full runs, in order, until production is started or you get the "Beyond Our Budget" message. Pay attention to price drops only after two drops or Downtown Moths runs out of cash.

It will take at least two full runs to get Downtown Moths to make a Death's Head. Generally, the Death's Head will appear in Downtown Moth's "Bay #3" somewhere between the second and third runs. As soon as you enter Downtown Moths and spot the Death's Head in Bay #3, quit selling stuff to Downtown Moths. Take whatever you've got to sell to your hangar and taxi over to buy your Death's Head.

Now you've got your Death's Head. Keep reading to see how to get a Police Moth from this point.

Getting A Police L-2000 Moth

You begin getting a Police Moth by having Downtown Moths produce a Death's Head as described in the previous section. You will keep supplying Downtown Moths and buying the new Moths they make (generally located in Bay #3) to eventually get a Police Moth.

Begin by immediately starting a fresh trade run to Downtown Moths. Forget about past trading. Producing the Death's Head and your purchase of it have changed things. Just start with Sheet Metal and begin your trade runs from scratch. The pace of production is quicker once the first Death's Head is made. Expect to see a new Moth made every full run or so.

You will have to buy whatever new Moths Downtown Moths produces to keep them producing. These will almost always be in Bay #3. It doesn't really matter what bay they're in as long as you consistently buy the new Moths. This doesn't include the stock Moths: Hawks, Neo-Tigers, and Moon Moths. Only buy the Death's Heads and occassional Silver-Ys produced as a result of your trading.

They'll eventually produce a Police Moth. It's not like you have to wait forever. Usually I have to buy the initial Death's Head and one more Death's Head before Downtown Moths makes a Police Moth. Sometimes a couple of Silver-Ys are thrown in.

Nothing on Titan can prove your trading prowess like getting a legit Police Moth. It's well worth the effort as its combination of speed and sharp turning make it arguably the best dogfighter on Titan. And, yes, that includes Swallows with their wider turning radius.

Getting A Swallow

The general idea is to trade just like above except substitute Cell #1 for Cell #3 in your trading. You may have to buy a Silver-Y or two before the Swallow is made. Overall, getting a Swallow built is easier than the Police Moth.

Layal and Greedy pilot bedwine has developed a pretty exact "recipe" for making a Swallow:

16 Sheetmetal
20 Plastics
20 Mech Parts
14 CompComp
16 Ore
10 Laser
8 #1 Cells

-- bedwine

Swallows come very underequipped. Make sure to upgrade the Cell quickly.


Trading with a Moth dealer for exotic Moths, particularly a Police Moth, has its problems. The biggest problem is that the dealer runs out of cash before the desired Moth is produced. There are other problems, too. The above sections explain how to avoid problems, but you'll still have to work around them occassionally despite your best efforts.

-- Beyond Our Budget --

This message means the dealer has run out of cash. If you've followed the order and amounts prescribed above, this may be a good signal. They're ready to produce. Otherwise, it's the worst thing that can happen. Not to worry, there are workarounds.

The first thing to do is to take whatever your trying to sell them back to your hangar and immediately fly back to see if they've made a new Moth. If you've supplied them according to the order and amounts described above, they will probably make a new Moth pretty soon (within 12 Hardwar hours).

If a new Moth hasn't been produced in one Hardwar day, try selling them items you suspect them to be short on. You'll be able to suspect these items from your previous trade runs. Did you sell them one or two less of a "hard to find" item? Try reinitiating trade. If they're still out of cash, my recommendation is to wait a couple of Hardwar days and try again. Waiting the cash shortage out has been the most reliable method I've found. Other pilots disagree.

You can buy a Moth to get money back into Downtown Moths coffers and get them buying production goods again. If you do this, begin at the top of the trade order. Remember they've got to replace the Moth you've bought, too.

There are varying opinions, but no real study, done on this yet. My trading has shown that Downtown Moths is very hesitant to build an exotic Moth unitl their regular stock of Hawk, Neo-Tiger, and Moon Moth are replaced. Others have had exotic Moths produced in place of purchased standard Moths.

Either way, it's best to start at the top of the trading order and begin trading immediately. Remember that if things get really screwed up and Downtown Moths isn't producing even the stock Moths, you can just leave them alone for two or three days and the AI pilots will help them get back on an even keel.

Best advice: Wait it out for a day and try to restart trade. If this fails, buy a Moth if you can and want to and restart trade immediately.

-- Item Of No Intrest To Us --

When Downtown Moths is fully stocked on an item, it displays this message when you try to sell them some of that item. This is a mixed blessing. On one hand, you won't need to supply them with any more of the fully stocked item until a Moth is made. On the other hand, they're almost certainly overstocked on the item and will run out of cash long before they have the balance of items neccessary to begin Moth production.

The best you can do is to supply them with the other items they need until they run out of cash and then follow the "Beyond Our Budget" advice above.

-- Suppliers Run Out Of Goods --

For starters, this rarely occurs when going for a Death's Head or Swallow when only three or four total runs are needed. There are resources out there, you've just got to find them. The only trouble you may have in finding anything is CompComp. It gets low pretty fast. More on that later.

You can always use the Trading Post "Sales" menu to find the neares and cheapest supplier of any item. You'll find that Misplaced Optimism rarely runs completely out of the things you need to build a Moth. There are some areas that are particularly rich in needed resources:

Downtown -- If you're having trouble finding goods, you've probably already tapped out the stuff at Downtown Components, Downtown Chemicals, and Ore Processing 2. Try Downtown Recycling for Sheet Metal. More Sheet Metal can be found near Light Well #3 at Ore Processing. CompComp can be bought at TechParts (below Lightwell #3) off and on.

Alpha Crater -- AgroChem on the lake has Plastics. Craven Components way behind Alpha Trading Post has MachParts, CompComp, and Cells.

Riverside -- Just over the river past Klamp-G Weapons are Riverside Parts and Riverside Chemicals. They'll provide Plastics, MachParts, CompComp, and Cells. The Ore House, across the river from Klamp-G Weapons and behind Software Refinery, sells Sheet Metal.

You'll have to do a lot of trading to bleed these places dry. The only problem most come across is that CompComp can't be found. If a Sales Menu states that there is none for sale, then you will have to trade with a component shop just like you would if you wanted a Fusion Cell. They'll produce CompComp in a small supply along with other goods.

A better bet is to trade with TechParts, Downtown. They require lots of Chemicals and Plastics to make CompComp. Check Trade Central's "Needs Menu" to find out what they need at the time. It can vary widely as to item and amount. Do not sell them Food. Food is not required for CompComp production. TechParts will make a dozen or so units of CompComp at a time and do so with fewer resources than the component shops.

Undying Gratitude To:





And Especially,

Nar Sluke

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