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)