Subscribed… or did I…
As my trial account was due to expire in about 5 days, and me still being quite enthusiastic about EVE, I decided to subscribe to the game. I also learned that I would keep the 5 days on the trial after subscribing, so there wasn’t any reason to hold off since the trial restrictions would also be lifted (no training certain skills, not able to send money to my trader alt as starting capital).
So I followed their link to the account management page and decided to subscribe for 3 months, since there’s a discout compared to paying 14.95 USD per month. I’ve been quite happy with the game so far, so I don’t think I’ll be bored before 3 months especially given the limited playtime I have available. Entered account name, credit card info, done. I then tried to log in to see if the change had gone through.
Hmm. Nope, still tells me to upgrade from trial. Ok, maybe it takes a while. Might as well check on the settings in the account management page. This is also where I first found out that EVE has a “refer a friend” kind of deal where the friend gets a 21-day trial instead of the usual 14-day and if they subscribe the referer gets 30 days free gametime. Damn, I should have asked Wilhelm for a referral… but too late for that, unless by some freak of nature my wife actually decides to play as well.
Suddenly I got this vague feeling that something was wrong… I looked at the page, which listed my username, and under characters was listed… Ruffruf. This was the character name I had tried to create when I started this trial, only to be told the name was already taken. I even jokingly told my wife that I couldn’t believe someone else was using this name. Turns out I had completely forgotten about my first trial account from August 2009, and I had picked Ruffruf for my character name. This time, when subscribing I had unthinkingly put in the account name that I usually use, which I had used for that first trial…
Damn I had just signed up for 3 months with an old character that had screwy skills and a fraction of the money my new trial characters had!
I immediately sent an email to EVE Online support asking them to switch the subscription over, but only got an automated response saying they had received my petition. Ok, given that they’re probably not in GMT +8 timezone this isn’t unexpected but its giving me any peace of mind. My wife suggested that I call the bank, which has a 24-hour hotline, to cancel or block the payment first and I could resubscribe to the correct account once CCP cancels my original subscription. But I encountered a clueless customer support officer who cheerfully told me that the bank can’t block credit card payments, the merchant has to initiate the block. WTF. Isn’t that the whole purpose of a dispute, a way for the customer to protect themselves? What kind of idiot merchant would go “I’m sorry we don’t want your money, here take it back”. Obviously it’s the customer who puts in the request. But I couldn’t do anything about it and had to hang up. However, a couple of hours later my wife insisted that the guy was an idiot and I should call again, and this time I got a much more helpful officer who helped me check up on things and told me that they could block it only if the payment had not gone through yet. Unfortunately, by that time the payment had already been confirmed and there was nothing they could do…. Damn that original idiot.
So besides cursing myself the only thing I could do was wait for EVE Online’s support staff to respond and hope that they wouldn’t take like 3 weeks and then not refund me for that time or something equally stupid.
Things turned out fine in the end as by Monday evening I received an email stating that the transfer had been done. I logged in and yup, everything was great. Great response from the folks at CCP. I should just delete that old trial account so that I don’t do something stupid like that again… and at least free up the name and some space in their database.
Part of my plan to make money in EVE was to take part in trading. EVE has a nice economic system where players can put up both sell orders, which are what other MMOs like WoW has, and buy orders, which are the opposite. A sell order states that you want to sell X amount of something for a certain price. A buy order states that you want to buy X amount of something for a certain price. If a sell order and buy order overlaps, a transaction takes place.
I started a little trade in skill books, putting buy orders up in the newbie system and sell orders up in the nearest trade hub 3 jumps away. There is an incredible margin for some of these books, with profits being in excess of 300%. However, the volume isn’t that fantastic, which might be expected from something like skill books since every character only ever buys a certain skill book once. I’m not quite sure who actually buys the books I’m selling, since they are mostly books that are given out by the tutorial missions. I’m guessing that newbies who don’t intend to learn these skills sell them for cheap in the newbie system (that or they’re desperate for cash for some strange reason), but who would buy them? One possibility would be the usual type of people who start the game, can’t be bothered to do tutorials because “OMGZ IT HAS WURDZ” and spam rookie help for “how I mine asteroid!!!1!!1”. Shrug. Not my problem, I see a demand and provide for it. Anyway, it wouldn’t be the first game in which I’ve profited from stupidity.
So far the profits have been modest, maybe around 4-5 million ISK? Pretty decent considering I have total liquid assets of about 13 million ISK, with around 7 million tied up in buy orders. My trading has more than paid for my shiny new cruiser plus fittings, and it didn’t require me to actually be online other than to periodically adjust my buy and sell orders. I’ve started trying out other commodities, both high margin items like ship modules (buy order of 1.5 million, sell order for 2.6 million) and low margin, hopefully high volume items like ammo. I’m not too sure about the ammo… for a margin of 4-5 ISK per unit, even if I sold 100,000 units I’d still only be looking at a profit of 500k ISK… which isn’t all that much. And I doubt I can sell that many units in a short period of time. But no harm trying and it all adds up while I get a feel for what sells and what doesn’t.