Saturday, September 26, 2009

Unclear on the concept

I have taken a short break from my trader main to get my Minmatar alt up to speed. Training a real long skill on Alex so I can concentrate on life in Rens.

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

The Ribbon of Ragequit Excellence

Noticed this on one of the buddies of my recently reactivated Minmatar guy:

"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

Reprocessing for mission runners

Reprocessing produces minerals. They are used to build everything we use in EVE. Right now, there is probably someone at your very station trying to build something and they need minerals. Lots of minerals. So they put up a buy order for 5,000,000 tritanium at 2.70 each. They will basically buy all the tritanium you can melt down and you don't have to even leave the station.

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

My Spreadsheets, Let Me Show You Them

This is going to be a very basic tutorial in how to use the market and reprocessing. This can be used by the beginning trader or by anyone who wants some extra ISK for the cost of a little bit of time.

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


Putting together a new blog is certainly a lot of work, but it is a lot of fun. I will be adding all the EVE blogs that I read to the blogroll and continue the Market PvP series I started a couple of weeks ago.

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.

Fly safe!