Friday, December 11, 2009
First step after any big patch in any MMO is to revisit whatever spreadsheet, cheat sheet and formulas you use to be successful. EVE being a more spreadsheet intensive game than most is even more susceptible to this. To that end, I have adjusted the values in the "Starter" Reprocessing spreadsheet that I shared back in September. These values are based on what is happening in Essence tonight. Your mileage may vary, and you can change them on your copy. It only has a few items on it, but as you start adding mission loot to the list, you will start to find amazing opportunities.
I still spend a lot of time missioning and took the new NPC corp tax as an opportunity to start my own vanity corp, Small Time Trading (STTCO). This allows me to take advantage of the one thing I always liked about EVE corporations, the hangers. I know that with the ability to see into containers that was added recently, I could work without hangers, but I like them. The corp wallet also allows to me experiment and keep the results separate. With some help from @stmistaken of the #tweetfleet, I was able to use the cluster map to find some cheap ($10k per month) office space in Essence that suits me just fine. I would be totally thrilled, except I have to pay rent to a Caldari corp (boo!). But then I look at my fleet of tricked out Badger II's and the Caldari shuttle I am sitting in and pipe down.
I have been enjoying a lot of the fan fiction, especially well written accounts of wormhole activity. The lack of "local chat" and the suddenness of the action is very gripping. Keep up the good work, folks.
Final trading tip -- I mentioned using your mission loot as a starting point for things to buy to reprocess. I have recently been placing buy orders for rigs with some success. It requires a bit more up front money, but most don't have any buy orders up at all. I am getting these for 1/3 (or less) of what they cost to make. Now the manufacturers aren't going to be selling these so cheap, but filthy dirty pirates will. And, lately, I am loving those PvPing scalliwags. When they pop a ship and scoop up the remains, rigs are often found. Like any other loot, if they have no direct need for it, it just gets sold. Take a look at your local market and see if putting a few million out there can net you big returns. (Thanks to @casiella of the #tweetfleet for reminding me that T2 gear can also be acquired in this way!)
Buy low, sell high and fly safe!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Now, I grew up in a household where my Dad read Star Trek novels, had the Enterprise Blueprints, etc. I had the Star Wars (original series, please) toys and trading cards/stickers and the first set of comics, but didn't read the books that built on the story. I loved reading Alan Dean Foster, but wouldn't read Splinter of the Mind's Eye. The whole Expanded Universe thing just didn't do anything for me.
The closest I came to extending my fandom beyond the original source material was for The Matrix. I got the extended box set DVD, watched all the documentary material, Animatrix, and have all the games on several platforms. Even beta-tested MXO. I started to draw the line at the graphic novels and wouldn't touch the fan fiction.
Upon finishing the Eve book, though, I felt differently about what I was willing to read. What really got to me was not just at the views and motivations of the different factions, but the reminders of the behind the scenes stuff that takes place. The fact that there are non-immortal people crewing our ships and living in the stations is something that I have been glossing over while playing Eve. Hell, the description of the reborn capsuleers fresh from the vat with smooth skin and regrowing hair made me wonder if people RP that experience. Do they take a day off and play on an alt when they get podded? I have actually never been podded, so I wonder what I will do. Ok, I will cry a lot and probably lose a ship or two trying to get revenge. But I will also think about the mechanics of the process. After reading the book, it just seems another level deeper than other MMO's where I get to do a corpse run and everything is just as it was.
What I think makes the Eve fiction community different from some of the other fanfic is that if the story is based on something that happened in game, then it is essentially canon. I have been reading some of your stories and retelling of battles since I started playing again, but now I am seeing this "unofficial" material from a different view.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
To top it all off, I am seeing that I have been only logging in to either change skills, check some orders or do a quick mission or six. I am seeing a risk of getting bored just doing those things and start drifting away.
I am thinking that something too rigid like MINING MONDAY!!!!! is a little much, but maybe I should give it a shot before I dismiss the idea.
Mining on Monday
Play the Alt on Tuesday and Wednesday
Pick up that weeks' buy orders Thursday
Work the Spreadsheets and place orders Friday
Do fun stuff on the weekends - Play with some BP's, Find Wormholes, Mission/Salvage
Anyone else following some sort of schedule in order to enjoy all the parts of EVE that you want?
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Since my combat guy in Rens is not a full-on, full-time trader, I don't care about .01 isk wars or keeping the market stable. I want my money and I want it now. I don't want to spend an hour one upping your price. For the item today, the market looked like this:
My Reprocess value: 2,400-3,000
"Good" Reprocessing value: 4300-4800
I put up a buy order at 1,500 and am buying hundreds per day. I put up a sell order at for a few hundred at 4,500. This caused others to put up sell orders undercutting mine by .01 isk at a time.
There is no real downside here for me. As long as I buy for under the reprocess value (less fees) I am good. And if someone buys from the sell order, I make even more. The best part about seriously undercutting the market is that someone with good reprocessing skills can come and buy you out and still make money on the spread. I certainly don't mind being a middleman.
It brings in some income and takes almost no time. I get loot, I have to do something with it. I sell most of it, except I take the time to learn whether I can make more by taking care of the item myself. This "reprocess buy" didn't make me a ton of money, but free money is free money. And it freed up another order. I just put up another stack. Let's see if he buys it again.
And he probably will.
This reprocessor found an opportunity to make some easy money buying things at below mineral value, but they didn't take the next step and put up a corresponding buy order. If he/she is willing to accept a small margin buying from a sell order, why not trump my buy order at 2,000 or even more?
If this works, it shows that you don't have to spend a lot of time training skills to reprocess things - just put up sell orders at a little less than perfect reprocessing and wait for the experts to buy your stuff.
(Originally written on 9/27/09)
Update: The same person bought three more stacks on separate days before figuring out that maybe their own buy order would be a better idea. And then they .01'ed me. Silly reprocessor. I upped the price by a hundred. They did it again and I increased by 200. I still own the best buy order and, being Saturday night, business is good.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
I haven't spent much time in the trade hubs, as I find I can make enough money with casual trading in the hinterlands, so some of the ways things work on the market here are puzzling.
I am making use of my 5 orders to put up some buy orders for things I use. There are very few items with a decent buy/sell spread (as you would expect in a hub), but I have found a couple of items that I can melt down (even with very little skills) at a 50-70% profit. Not great profits in total, but it being Rens, I am buying 100s of items a day with about 20 seconds worth of effort.
I am noticing that there are some traders who appear to have lost their minds. Their buy order prices are for exactly (or within 1%) of the sell prices/mineral values on some items. And these are common as dirt items, nothing rare at all.
I can see only 3 reasons to buy something and why I think this kind of order makes no sense:
1) You are going to use the item.
If you can buy it now from a sell order for (literally) 100 isk more, even at a large volume, I can't see why a buy order that is filled over time can save you enough money to justify the use of an order slot and the broker fees. Maybe these are restocking orders for a lowsec/nullsec corp? Goonfleet?
2) You are going to resell the item.
There is a point where the spread gets so close that reselling doesn't make any sense. Granted, there are some items where the regional arbitrage can still be taken advantage of (like my favorite little item, the Type-D Altered SS Expanded Cargo). But I can't see the advantage in doing this with an item that costs 12k. The sheer volume and cost to move is crazy. which leads us to...
3) You are going to melt down the item and use/resell the minerals.
The big traders all have many tools at their disposal, including their spreadsheets, Eve Central, etc. They can not only see the x-region possibilities, but the exact amount of minerals they can get from an item and what those minerals are worth. Maybe it's a small/new trader who is reading their sheets wrong? Bidding the final sell price?
Maybe there is an opportunity on some items with a high mineral count that are worth buying at "market" because they are easier to move as the item and are then melted down at another site. I mentioned this in an earlier post, but in the context of buy low/sell high, not as buy the item instead of the minerals and have never really seen it in action with the kind of volume I am seeing.
500 trit = 5cm cargo
2000 trit = 20cm cargo
item that melts for 2000 trit = 5cm cargo
2000 trit @ 2.80 = item that melts for 2000 trit buy order at 5600 each
At that point, you can move 4 times as much trit in the same space and as long as the costs are the same, it would make sense. And I guess it is a good way to put up the equivalent of a buy order for trit at 2.80 if someone else already has that price taken.
The reason I called this post "Unclear on the concept" is that either these folks are not doing it right (tm) or I am just not understanding what they are doing. Are there any good reasons why someone would do this? Is it #3? Is this just my "Welcome to how the big boys/girls do it?" moment?
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
"This medal is given to distinguish this pilot's excellence in quitting the game in a rash of anger over losing ships, pods, bookmarks, overview settings, or even drones."
Best part: It has been awarded to this guy 7 times.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Now you can see from the Market screen that 3 jumps away someone is buying trit for 3.00 each. That's over 10% more, but you have to move those minerals to the buyer. Like items, minerals take up space, just a lot less of it. But they do add up. Unless you have bought a hauler, you probably only have 300-400cm of cargo space free. Let's use 300cm for our example, so you can haul 30,000 trit at a time.
We melted a whole bunch of mission junk and have 25000 tritanium.
Sell Local: 25,000 @ 2.70 = 67,500isk (0 jumps - no time spent)
Sell Away: 25,000 @ 3.00 = 75,000isk (3 jumps - 10 minutes spent)
You have spent 10 minutes to make 7,500 isk. Not a good return on your time.
But what if the spread is more pronounced?
Sell Local: 25,000 @ 2.00 = 50,000isk (0 jumps - no time spent)
Sell Away: 25,000 @ 3.25 = 81,250isk (3 jumps - 10 minutes spent)
You have now spent 10 minutes to make 31,250 isk. Better, but not great.
But can't I make it up in volume by saving up my trit and selling 90,000?
Sell Local: 90,000 @ 2.00 = 180,000isk (0 jumps - no time spent)
Sell Away: 90,000 @ 3.25 = 292,500isk (3 jumps x 3 trips- 30 minutes spent)
You have now spent 30 minutes to make 112,500 isk. You had to make three trips since you could only move 30,000 trit at a time, due to your cargo hold. Now you might have other minerals or items you want to move, so those trips might be worth it. The thing to realize is that even a large difference in price could end up not being worth your time.
Traders can move huge loads easily, but even they have issues with larger volumes:
...have rigged my Mammoth with cargo rigs so it now holds 27,129.3 cubic meters. That's 2.7 million trit per full load. And the end is still nowhere in sight.
A full load of trit takes about half an hour to haul and is making me a million isk. That's not really worth the time.
That's a quote from Stabbed Up, describing how even with the ability to have an insanely large hauler, it just doesn't pay to move large amount of minerals around.
You aren't a trader, you're just trying to make a little more isk. Use the spreadsheet from my last post and put the expected market value in there. If 2.1 for trit is what you can sell each time at your station, then use that number. If the buy orders at your station are actually higher than that mineral value, sell the item. Let the other guy deal with the melting and hauling.
A hauling tip for those of you who just need to sell your minerals in another station:
Look at the number of minerals you will get for an item - if the item takes up 5cm of cargo space and the total number of minerals is over 500, it is better to move the item and melt it down when you get there. For a 10cm item, use 1000. You might end up being able to move a lot more and maybe even sell those 90,000 trit in 2 round trips instead of 3.
Sure, it is a little math, but c'mon, we're playing EVE, we all love math! If you can figure out transversal velocity and falloff ranges, you can learn how not to get fleeced when selling stuff.
Disclaimer: I know I am leaving out things like fees and standings again, but this is theorycraft and I can do what I want.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Every pilot in EVE can use the market; you used it almost immediately. You took some of that mission loot that dropped, put it in your hanger and right-clicked sell. Easy. That "Monopropellant I Hydrazine Boosters" got you 777 Isk. That "Ship Scanner I" got you 200.
Every pilot in EVE can also Reprocess. This is another option on the right-click menu for an item. When you reprocess an item, you reduce it to minerals. These minerals, such as Tritanium and Pyerite, are the building blocks for almost every item in the game. Remember that "Monopropellant I Hydrazine Boosters" that you sold for 700? Let's see what would happen if you reprocessed it instead:
You would get 91 Pyerite, 7 Isogen and 1 Zydrine. Now we get to do some math. Pyerite commonly sells for around 3.75 each, Isogen for about 50 and Zydrine for at least 1900.
Did you catch that?
The thing you sold for 777 can be reprocessed for over 2500 in minerals. These are minerals you can use to have someone make you something or that you can sell.
Of course, if you need the ISK now, by all means sell the item directly. But it is important to be educated about the true value of an item. With reprocessing, like everything else, skills and standings can impact how many minerals you can get from an item. The above example is for someone with no skills or standings, so that is the minimum that can be obtained. The "WE TAKE" column is based on standing, the unrecoverable is based on skills.
Now we know two things about this item - Someone will pay us 777 for it and that we could "melt it" for around 2500 worth of materials. But, of course, there is a third thing that we can do with it - put it up on the market ourselves and hope someone else buys it.
It looks like this item sells for around 4000. This means you could put up a sell order of your own (you have 5 "buy/sell" slots.) and try to get full market value for the item.
You are now armed with enough information to make a decision - 777 now, 2500 via reprocessing and selling the materials or possibly make 4000 by putting up your own sell order.
In this case, the difference between the mineral value and the market value isn't enough to make me want to try for 4000. I would reprocess and sell the minerals. Even if the mineral market is a little soft, 3.50 for pyerite instead of 3.75, it is still a much better deal. For the PvP inclined, it also deprives that trader of easy cash. The good ones do have the skills and standing and never waste anything reprocessing.
To look at this another way - if you can sell your mission loot, that means some trader is buying it. They are buying it for only two reasons, to resell at a profit or reprocess at a profit. Sometimes their offers are good - maybe so close to that mineral value that it doesn't matter what you do. But there are items that you can reprocess to make more ISK. To that end, I have prepared a spreadsheet you can use to keep track of some of these items and what you get for reprocessing them. The other thing that it does is allow you to see if it is worth placing a buy order of your own. Remember, even without training Trade skills, you have 5 orders to play with. Maybe it is worth it to you to bid 900 for those Boosters. You will at least double your money for every one that someone sells to you.
Eve Online Materials - Google Docs Spreadsheet
You don't need to be logged into Google. You can select "file" and Download it as an Excel or Open Doc Spreadsheet and work with it. If you are logged into Google, you will have the option to make a copy. Then just work from the copy.
There are two sheets within the spreadsheet - "Items" and "Values"
Items holds the names of the items and allows you to enter the amount of each mineral you get from reprocessing. Since this is different for each pilot, you should fill in the values yourself whenever you reprocess a new item. The last two columns are formula fields - do not type anything there - the sheet will figure it out for you.
Market Estimate is based on the number of each mineral multiplied by the market value for each mineral. The Market Values are kept on the Values Sheet in the Market column.
Max Bid is also based on the number and value of each mineral, but based on the Willing to Pay column.
The Values sheet holds the market values (you have to enter these) and what you are willing to pay for each mineral. This Willing to Pay value is helpful in determining whether you might want to put up a buy order of your own. Everyone needs minerals. Buying them at a huge discount is never a bad thing.
I believe all the formulas used are correct and the prices are based on Verge Vendor. Your mileage may vary. If you see any errors or something I should fix/add, please let me know. I know this is very rudimentary and there are likely dozens of trading spreadsheets already out there that use the API and practically do all the work for you. If trading is your full time business, you should probably be using one of those. I think, though, that this could help a beginner make some good decisions.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
My recent return to the EVE community after a three year detour in Azeroth has been very busy, learning about all the changes CCP has added and flying all over the place picking up stuff from over a hundred stations. I apparently left a lot of region wide buy orders when I left!
I have received a lot of support on Twitter from a lot of really smart and friendly folks. The "Eve Tweeters" list maintained by @00sage00 is an invaluable resource.
In addition to the Market PvP stuff, I want to put forth my ideas for how someone can get easily started as a carebear trader. Every time I see a new trader hauling npc items for a tiny profit, I die a little inside. This is mostly because that was my first non-mission trade way back when -- I spent an hour making 100k isk moving water 7 jumps to .3 space. Somehow I didn't die, but I did become determined to find a better way.
Thanks for stopping by and I hope to give you reasons to come back again.
Monday, August 31, 2009
The Thank You
The impetus for my post about Market PvP was a post by Casiella Truza called “Trading: the solo profession.” It got me thinking about how trading is viewed by non-traders and wanted to explore the aspects of traditional PvP as applied to the Market. So, I wanted to thank her for the idea to explore this avenue.
The most exciting part of the article is the concept of folks trading “in a fleet,” so to speak.
Other than information exchange, traders have very little room for cooperation with anyone else. Haulers can use escorts, of course, but while these two professions (hauling and trading) frequently overlap, we can’t view them entirely the same. Station traders may never undock during their entire career, and some haulers just work on courier contracts or for agents.
Pilots who intend to fly solo for the most part and have an interest in making a lot of ISK can do quite well for themselves in trading. But they shouldn’t expect a great deal of collaboration beyond information exchange.
It can be said that the only collaboration traders have is with their alts. Thinking about applying the same kind of coordinated effort used when flying to the Market is an interesting idea and I can’t wait to see where it goes.
The detail example in the previous post was something that worked for that particular time and region. Prices vary and what is a great order in one region is suicide in another. This was in no way a serious attempt to corner any sort of market, just showing how to make some pocket change by paying attention to current conditions.
There is a great old thread on the EVE Forums about someone cornering the market on +1 implants back in 2006/2007 and there are four pages of drama, accusations and just outright lies. Just from what a trader was doing. It isn’t all spreadsheets. It is about seeing your Wallet icon blink almost non-stop. It is about getting an insane ALL CAPS eve mail berating you for moving “their” market. Anyway, it’s a fun thread that is worth reading for the emotional reactions. The trading environment for that item has changed completely, so please don’t go buying those based on that thread.(This was originally posted by me over at podlogs.com/alexvindaloo. I decided to move over to blogspot, but I didn't want to lose the original comments, which are presented below)
One Response to “A belated “Thank you” and a note”
Sunday, August 30, 2009
An introduction to PvP Trading
Hey, you, PvP capsuleer! Can I take a minute of your time?
Open your wallet and check your Orders tab. See where it says “Orders Remaining: 5 out of 5 max open orders”? To a trader, that is like flying with empty slots. You are leaving something on the table that you should be using.
“Trading is for carebears”
Yes, it certainly is. And when “Walking in Stations” is released, I hope that CCP adds an emote to have my guy roll around in a huge pile of ISK. But, in the same way I can fit a ship and do some pew pew, you can take advantage of any open orders you have to make your yarring cheaper. Most importantly, though, it is a great way to cause tears.
“Did you say tears?”
Like all other professions in EVE, traders are skill based. Right out of the box, you get a total of 5 buy and/or sell orders. A trader trains to increase their available orders. And, like everything else, they can train to expand how far their order can reach, how much they have to pay in fees, etc.
While you can certainly try to take down a fully skilled trader, as with PvP, you will find that the reasonably well trained mark is the best. They will be the ones that will drop nicer gear when they pop.
Likewise, practising in a high traffic area, like a trade hub, might lead you to become distracted. You would much rather take out a small group of miners in a remote area. The same can be done with the market.
“Um….you mentioned tears”
Alright, so let’s look at the many ways you can make a trader cry:
1) Place buy orders for things you normally buy from the market for your pirating.
Is there a ship or fittings that you know you are going to buy on a regular basis? If you have the free Isk, place a buy order for that item. I can regularly purchase million isk items for under 100k. This serves two purposes, you buy direct from a seller, depriving a trader of a sale and you will likely be outbidding the trader, who has put up a lowball order at, say, 50k. Outbidding allows you to move to step 2. At this point, you have annoyed the trader and likely cost her a small bit of money.
2) Make him waste his time and pay extra fees.
The same way that you spend extra time and money fitting your ship to deal the most effective damage, you will have to be ready to spend some isk to make some bids. A good trader will have all of this worked out – what profit margin they want, the cost of the item, fees, the time they will spend checking orders, etc. The same way you know how to fit a covert ops ship. But, as you have found when ransoming someone, sometimes even the smartest people make dumb emotional choices.
The example earlier of placing a buy order at 100k when the trader has his at 50k can cause a trader to make a choice – either wait you out or (and it is almost always or) they start to outbid you, sometimes by a little (.01 isk) sometimes by a lot. Just to discourage you and make you go away, I have seen people outbid to 150k or 200k. They figure it is still within their profit margin (remember this is a million isk item) and they want to you go away.
You, however, are prepared for this. Keep raising, let’s say to 500k. At this point, the worst thing that happens to you is that you buy stuff you will end up using at half market price. Not bad. But we want to make this trader pay. If you managed to pick up any of those items along the way at the lower price, you could simply sell them to this (now) very high bidder. Even if he makes money on the deal eventually, it will not be what he planned on. If there are just 10 of those items in play, you have just cost this trader nearly 5 million in profit and tied up a lot of his time and money.
Granted, these are very small tears, but they are still warm and salty, just the way you like them.
These first two steps can be done solo and without training any long trade skills. This can be done with a couple of days worth of training. Remember, this is not designed to make you a “billion isk a day” or whatever the trade cheerleaders claim. You can use these first two methods to work the market to save yourself some money and begin your journey into Market PvP. The mechanics of how to actually train trading and become a trader is not the point of this. In case you think this is all “theorycraft,” I have attached some screenshots below to show how I am actually doing this right now to someone in Alentene. This is pretty small time stuff, maybe the equivalent of shaking down a solo retriever, but I hope you will be able to see the potential.
The item being played with is Type-D Altered SS Expanded Cargo. Before I got interested in it, one guy was buying them up for 45k and, apparently, reselling them for 975k. Very nice profit margin. My goal was to stop that.
You will see that I actually have two orders going – Once for 75k and one for 100k. The other two higher orders were essentially forced by me raising the price. These might actually be bids from the original 45k bidder. You can also see that the stack of 50 being offered at 975k is at the same station as the original lowball buy order. This can be an indication that the same person is buying low and selling high. Additionally, the lowest sell price of 820k is at the same station and could be the original seller trying to get some liquidity. He has nearly 50 million just sitting there because there are lower orders blocking those from being sold.The raising thing worked before, so let's do it again. I will take a quick jump over to Scolluzer and update my 75k order to 125k. Now we have almost tripled the original buy price of this item and effectively blocked that trader from acquiring these at his usual lowball price. Yes, this costs us some Isk, but it will be worth it.
We have eaten into some of the trader’s anticipated profit and, possibly, even drawn others into mix. I would have no qualms about raising my bid price to 400k, since I know I can sell them all day long for more and not lose any money. How much more? How about 700k?
I have taken an item that was being bought for 45k and could be sold easily for over 900k. I have now reduced that spread to between 125k and 700k. I have also let some go for as little as 400k, in those cases where my order bought them in lowsec. It was hard to only take a 700% profit, but I wasn’t about to fly out there and pick them up. I am, after all, just a carebear.
*Please note, my specific example used some trade skills, like visibility, that allow me to extend my purchasing range. But I hope you get the point that the Market is a valid tool for PvP. Imagine destabilizing a group of traders that help fund a POS. If you can knock those guys out of commission for just a short period of time, you can have an effect not unlike a gate camp. Driving up the cost of raw materials even by a few percent could cause a corp to have to spend more than they planned or haul from much farther away, exposing them to “real” PvP. The possibilities are endless.
Next: Neutralizing and Targeting – Move from causing random market chaos to destabilzing a specific trader or group of traders. By making it personal, you will have an even better edge. I hope to have this one up in the next week. I want to be able to provide specific examples, and, man, that takes some time.
(This was originally posted by me over at podlogs.com/alexvindaloo. I decided to move over to blogspot, but I didn't want to lose the original comments, which are presented below)