WTF

Back from reservist

So a lot of WTF has happened in the 2 weeks where I was gone for reservist training. The biggest WTF was that this in-camp training was actually pretty slack. Now for most people this seems to be the norm for their army lives but you have to know about our retarded unit to understand what a shock this is. It’s the first time I’ve actually not had to lug some heavy load all over the place like a bloody donkey. I even got to play basketball on Saturday for some Sports Day event. Does it strike anyone else as stupid that the officers organise a Sports Day, which pits each company against the rest, in order to promote unit cohesion? I mean, nothing makes a unit feel more cohesive than competing against each of its constituent parts right? Then again what do I know, I’m just a donkey. Anyhow I got to have fun at the expense of the legions of psychomotor deprived riflemen in the infantry companies, so I’m not complaining.

I is noob

As mentioned in my previous post, I’d set up shop in Kakalela to run missions with the Caldari Navy. The main reason I chose Kakalela was that there was a station with a Command and Internal Security agent from Caldari Navy there, which have a very high chance of giving combat missions which are infinitely more fun than courier or manufacturing missions. It was also 2 jumps from Jita, which made it easier to periodically ship the mission loot over to sell or to pick up supplies.

Except that like a total noob I didn’t really understand about agent quality. The 2 agents I was working for had quality rankings of -5 and -7. In EVE, agent quality is a ranking from -20 to +20, so I figured that -5 and -7 wasn’t too bad to start with. I was drawing missions which rewarded roughly 50k + 40k time bonus awards, with loyalty points at about 20-30, which seemed pretty good to me.

However, after a while I was starting to feel a bit perplexed by the fact that my Caldari Navy faction standings weren’t really moving at all. After doing so many missions my standings were only at 1.08. I have no idea how much I need to start doing level 2 or level 3 missions but I had the impression that it wasn’t supposed to be THIS hard to raise standings. And standings was the primary reason I was doing missions, since trading gives much higher monetary rewards and it’s not like there’s experience points or skill-ups in EVE.

So, after coming back on Thursday I decided to try doing a few missions for a higher quality agent to see how much of a difference there was. I found another station with a Command and Internal Security agent, but this time their quality levels were 18 and 17. Unfortunately the system was 5 jumps away from Jita, so it took a while for me to move my stuff from Kakalela to Jita and then my Vexor to the new station. After doing the first mission… wtf. I was getting 100k + 100k time bonus + 100 loyalty points for warping somewhere and killing 3 ships. And my standings rose by 0.02 from that 1 mission. Geez, I wasted so much time at Kakalela on those crap noobie agents, if only I could blow their bloody station up… At least now I know to always search for high quality agents. Guess there has to be some reason for people to be further from 1.0 space or everyone would be living out of Jita.

Rags to riches

While I was away for reservist training, I’d asked my wife to help me keep my skill training queue full since I wouldn’t be home to put new skills up for training. The first week she didn’t have much to do since I managed to come home a couple of nights and also finished training Drones V, which took something like 4 days. The second week however, she had to log in once a day since most of the skills I wanted had training times of slightly more than a day, which is highly annoying since the training queue has a 24 hour cap (you can’t queue multiple skills because of the cap so you have to keep adding them one at a time every day). Since she had to log on anyway, she messaged me saying that she logged on to my trading alt to help me check my orders.

And a monster was born.

If you’ve read any of her past posts on WoW economics, she’s like the Warren Buffet of the auction house. That was one reason why I thought she’d like EVE, spreadsheets in space and all. But we never got into the trading element in our previous foray and frankly I had no clue what was going on anyway.

I had sent 14 million ISK to my trading alt in Jita as startup capital, with which he had worked up to about 60-70 million by the time I went off for my 2 week “vacation”. Over the weekend and the various nights that I was able to come back, this went up to about 80 million. By this time I was feeling quite pleased with my trading progress, since 80 million is almost enough to buy a battleship and the Vexor I was using cost only slightly more than 3 million. At least I would be able to have a few replacement ships when I met my inevitable flaming death in space.

That’s now up to 270 million ISK as of last night in buy/sell orders and sellable assets, thanks to my wife’s relentless Jita camping. Since she’s staying at home to look after our son, she doesn’t have much time to really play anymore, but she does have plenty of opportunity to check market prices every once in a while. With the constant adjustment and monitoring, she was able to maintain market dominance in a whole plethora of goods and put that 80 million capital to good use. Not bad for a trading alt that’s 20 days old. I could even use the ISK to buy a PLEX, but I don’t really think that’s a good deal and it’d take away from the fun of making more money since I’d have to start from scratch again. Maybe next time when I have established income streams and 300 million ISK is chump change…

On the other hand, it boggles my mind too that players such as Gordon who have been playing for much longer are struggling to make money. He’s saving up for a Gallente cruiser, which costs only 5-6 million max. I’m scratching my head wondering how he can’t have 6 million… To be fair, if you don’t have much time to even log on then trading may not be as lucrative since your orders will likely be undercut/overcut quite quickly. But surely even running missions will give you at least that much… my main has 20 million and he recently spent 18 million on skill books.

Crazy undercutters

Another wtf relates to the behaviour of certain traders. I’m not sure if there’s some hidden method to their madness, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what it is.

First of all, daytrading in EVE’s market works primarily on market dominance. You set buy and sell orders for items, and profit from the margin between them. As long as your buy order is the highest, even if only by 0.01 ISK, you will get any items sold that satisfy your specified requirements. Similarly, as long as your sell order is the lowest, your item will always sell first. It is physically impossible in the game engine to intentionally buy an item that is priced higher, or sell an item to a lower bidder. This is very different from WoW’s auction house, which simply lists all items up for sale. In this sense, all that matters in EVE is that your orders are the highest/lowest of all the buy/sell orders respectively. Second place gets absolutely nothing. It doesn’t matter how your price looks compared to the rest of the orders in the market, all that matters is how it looks compared to the highest/lowest order.

So… consider an item that has a buy order up for, say, 2 million, and sell orders up for 3 million. So that’s a 1 million ISK profit for a 2 million investment, which is pretty good. I would simply put up a buy order for 2,000,000.01 ISK and a sell order for 2,999,999.99 ISK which gives me market dominance for both buy and sell orders. If anyone overcuts/undercuts, I simply raise/lower my price by 0.01 ISK again and reestablish dominance.

Now, deep undercutting is an established strategy in WoW, even though I never used it. Basically the aim is to drive out other competitors, after which you raise the prices again to get higher margins. In WoW, undercutting by more than 1 copper has positive effects and gives you greater market visibility. In EVE, people sell hundreds and thousands of items in a single order. As long as your order is dominant, it doesn’t matter how much higher it is from the next one. Which is why most people overcut/undercut by 0.01 ISK.

However, some people seem to like typing random numbers when changing their order prices. In the aforementioned example, often people will come in and put a buy order up for 2,000,100.00 instead of 2,000,000.02 to beat my order. This has me completely befuddled at what is going on in their heads. Do they think that a 100 ISK differential is going to make or break the deal for me, or any other trader? Of course not. I’ll instantly overbid him to 2,000,100.01. His market dominance lasts just as long as if he’d put 2,000,000.02 in the first place. Increasing their bid by a higher but still insignificant amount does absolutely nothing. The same thing goes for people who undercut by 50,000 ISK. Go right ahead, I’ll just change my sell order to be 0.01 below yours, and you’ll accomplish squat. Is adding a 1 in the middle of the price much easier than adding a 1 at the end? I don’t know, apparently for some people it is.

I could understand if they priced their orders with deep undercuts, because at some point people are going to walk away when the margins are too low. But 50k on a 1 million profit item? Seriously? That’s like a rounding error in my wallet. It’s 10 minutes of mission running, even with level 1 missions.

Of course I love deep undercutters as well, such as the guy who put up a sell order for 5 Exequrors at 3.5 million ISK when they were selling for 4.5 million. I just bought him out and immediately placed all 5 up at 4,499,999.99 and sold all 5 for a easy 5 million profit. Shrug. Guess he’s happy for a quick sale and I’m happy for free money.

There’s the wannabe monopolists as well, such as the guy who tried to corner the market on Medium Salubrity Wards. They were previously selling for about 700-800k, with buy orders around 500k. But they had good volume which made them ok investments. However, overnight all the other sell orders disappeared and some guy put up some for 1.99 million. I don’t know if he bought out the other sell orders or they just happened to run out (as unlikely as that seems) but his fate was that of every other wannabe monopolist. We undercut him by 0.01 a few times and made a few sales, and very quickly the prices were back down to their usual. You can’t monopolise a market that has no barriers to entry… Maybe he works for an oil company in real life.

2 thoughts on “WTF

  1. I do indeed seem to be having a tough time making cash for some reason. I’m finding that the level 1 missions in Caldari space only give about 500k ISK after selling the salvage which is practically nothing. Sure, I could just grind dozens of them in order to save up for a better ship and move onto T2 missions but there must be a quicker way?

    I’m not doing any trading or mining though which is where I’m probably going wrong. I think that’s where the real cash is.

    Nice article btw!

  2. Hi Gordon,

    I think I’m getting around the same rewards as you, which is why I’m basically only doing missions to increase standing :) I read some of the comments on your blog which say that higher level missions give much more in bounties and salvage. I sure hope they’re right… I only just got the standings to access the -18 quality level 2 agents last night so I haven’t tried them out yet.

    And yeah, trading is definitely by far the best money making method I’ve found so far. Mining I’m not so hot on, both because it’s boring and also because at the rate my wife makes money the income from mining would be another rounding error :P

    You should definitely look at getting into trading, it’s pretty easy and doesn’t really involve all that much effort. Of course the more you put in the more you get, but it beats mission running for income any time. As a rough indication, she’s now up to 340 million this morning from 300 million last night.

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