This guide contains simple steps that will help you understand how to improve your reputation in any city. If you have troubles becoming Patrician or Lord Mayor, read on.
It's not hard to become popular, all you have to do is keep the citizens happy. Sacrificing a bit of profit in order to bring prosperity to a city will pay off very soon, as more grateful people will move into your town and dramatically increase your income.
There are three classes of citizens: poor, wealthy and rich. Each of the classes has it's own opinion about you, so to improve your standing you need to please all of them.
Early in the game, people have never heard of you. You can check their average opinion about you by clicking on them. If you take care of their needs, their opinion will gradually improve as follows:
When you start to lose reputation while being at an advanced point, you may notice the people having the following opinion :
The rich citizens have doubts about you
You can also click on the Population button in upper left corner, which will show the current satisfaction levels of each class.
Satisfaction levels from lower to higher: Annoyed; Dissatisfied; Satisfied; Very Satisfied; Happy; Very Happy.
How many goods should you sell?
To keep people happy, you need to sell adequate amounts of merchandise. Adequate usually means that the town has enough goods to survive two weeks. Check the town's consumption of goods in the Market Hall.
In this example, the town consumes 244 Beer every week, while there is only 1 barrel of Beer in available in the market. Clearly this will make people angry.
To satisfy the townsfolk, you need to sell 243 Beer. Even better, sell the double of weekly amount (488) so that people will not worry about running low on Beer. Put more Beer in your warehouse, and set your manager to sell it at a price that guarantees a two-week stock in the market. Now you only have to worry about transporting enough beer into your warehouse. This has to be done with other goods as well.
Incidentally, the two-week-stock price can serve you as a guideline when you buy or sell any particular item. It can be used on auto-trade ships as well.
What goods are the most important?
Poor people are the most important to keep satisfied. They need Beer, Fish, Grain and Timber (also known as the Big Four), so the town must always have enough of these goods. They also appreciate Pottery, Whale Oil, Leather and Wool.
Wealthy people require Beer, Fish and Wool, and to a lesser extent Meat, Grain, Timber, Whale Oil and Cloth.
Rich citizens enjoy Meat, Wine and Cloth, and then Timber, Skins, Pottery and Whale Oil.
Selling luxury goods will increase your reputation among rich people, while selling "basic needs" merchandise will improve your standing among poor and wealthy classes. You need to keep supplying these goods over a long time period to reach that goal. A few months of steady supply will quickly increase your reputation to a very high level.
Tip: You can click on the Clown to see whether the town is having supply problems. If the Clown says anything other than "This is a very satisfied town", you need to adjust your goods distribution in that city. The Market will give you a hint on which goods are in short supply.
To achieve the ranks of Councillor and Patrician, all three classes must think rather highly of you. Supplying enough goods is the main way to accomplish that.
Improving the town
After you send your ships to bring some goods, check out the Roads and Wells in your town.
If the roads are not developed, place a few orders to improve them. This will lower the chances of a plague, and people will thank you for it. Generally, the roads should be developed to 80-100%.
Wells provide water supply and prevent fires from spreading. Well coverage should always be perfect.
Donating gold for church decorations, as well as organizing a celebration is a good step to take at this point. You can also announce a celebration for a date right before the elections, which could improve your chances to become Lord Mayor.
While your goods are being transferred and your city is being improved, you can hunt some pirates. Equip a crayer with weapons and a captain, and sail around the Hanse to sink or capture a few pirate ships. This will quickly increase your reputation all over the Hanse. In the Side Room of the Tavern you can sometimes find missions that guarantee an encounter with a pirate.
Create Job Opportunities and Housing
A bit later in the game, when you have accumulated enough wealth, you can start building businesses and houses. This will further improve your reputation and will make sure it stays high.
By following these guidelines and applying them to your game, becoming Patrician and even Lord Mayor can be achieved in less than a year even on hardest difficulty.