Market madness

As plenty of people have already observed, Jita 4-4 is a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Yet it’s pretty amusing sometimes to see what goes on in the biggest trading hub in the EVE universe. You can see lots of things that really make me go like this…

That is, if I were playing Star Trek: Online instead of EVE. Ahem.

One thing that I see pretty often is complete fail buy/sell orders. By this I mean orders that don’t make any sense whatsoever. One example is the market for Iteron IIIs. There are a couple of people there that are selling Iteron IIIs for 600 million ISK, when the going price is about 800,000. I mean, I can imagine someone trying to pull the old WoW Auctioneer trick of manipulating the average, but in EVE you get charged a broker fee based on the total value of the order, and this fee cannot be totally removed even with max skills. At the default 1%, this makes it 3 million ISK just to put up that order, which will never ever be filled because there’s a heck of a lot of zeros in 600 million.

Another kind of complete fail would be people who seem to forget whether they are buying or selling. At least, that’s the only explanation I can come up with when I see orders such as the one in the screenshot below.

Note the buy order set up with a price that’s 0.01 ISK lower than the dominant sell order. I mean, wow, either this guy REALLY wanted to save that 0.01 ISK per implant, or he put up a buy order when he was intending to put up a sell order. Which is quite hard to do, given that you go through a completely different process for each (click “Place buy order” vs right-clicking on item and selecting “Sell this item”). One possibility is that he started making a buy order, got distracted by “ooo pizza is here” and came back and thought he was putting up a sell order. In either case, he made me very happy. His order was originally for 12 implants, I had 6 up for sale near that price so I just modified my order to match his and -CHACHING- instant sale for me.

There’s also been some pretty weird pricing strategies that certain people like to use. There’s a certain trader who likes to trade in some of the same items that I do. Initially I thought that he was just undercutting/overbidding by random amounts, compared to the more common 0.01/1/1000/nice round number folks. One day, however, it struck me in a flash.

This guy, known as Mr 1111 among me and my wife, likes to beat other orders by 111111.11 or some such. He always puts up orders for 10 items, and adds a 1 to every digit of the dominant order. Sometimes he doesn’t add to every digit, e.g. he only starts from the 3rd or 4th instead of the 1st. So if your buy order is 6,524,921.13 ISK, he will change his order to be 6,635,032.24 ISK.

Now this is pretty painstaking effort, especially when you have to do it for every single buy/sell order for many items. Granted it’s not exactly hard arithmetic, but it’s a hell of a lot harder than just changing the last digit. At first I thought he might be using a bot and didn’t want to look too obvious, but then I noticed that sometimes he made math errors >.<

Now, he has to somehow believe that he's at an advantage by doing this. There are only 2 possible advantages to undercutting/overbidding by more than 0.01 ISK.

First, they think it prevents other people from undercutting/overbidding your own order. I've previously mentioned how misguided this is, since obviously if a profit of X amount is acceptable to them it's likely that someone else out there will happily take X-0.01. This is going to hold true until the margins are so small that it's not worth the 100 ISK to modify the order. In any case, attempting to prevent people from undercutting is like attempting to stop aging by not breathing. Mr 1111 should know, since I and many others happily undercut him instantly whenever we happen to check our orders. You'd think he'd realise this by now, but nope he still happily continues 11111ing. "It works, I swear!"

The second part is that people often think that better price = larger volume. Often they cite Walmart's success. However, they don't quite seem to get that it doesn't work that way for everything. Consider a skillbook selling at 7,500,000 ISK. Now someone sets a sell order for 7,450,000 ISK. For this order to sell better than the original 7,500,000 ISK, that must mean that someone out there, who is looking for this skill book, will see the original price and go "Hmm I've been training up to get this skill for about 6 months, but I'm not going to buy it for 7.5M ISK. If it was 7.45M, I'd buy it like a shot. As it is, I'll go train Diplomacy V instead!" Yeah, I don't think so. Especially not for something like a skillbook, which is pretty much a one-time purchase. A good price isn't going to entice me to buy Large Autocannon Specialization if I have no intention to use battleship-class T2 autocannons.

Sadly, now I’m seeing a few other people try to use his 1111 strategy. Proof that idiocy is contagious.

There are also the people who put absolutely HUMONGOUS orders. Like for 200 of an item that has a daily region-wide volume of 50. This would be ok if they intend to just leave the order for a couple of weeks, but nope. These people check their order like once every hour. Here’s a tip: if you’re going to be checking your order all the time, you can make do with a smaller one. That way, you retain some flexibility in case the market changes drastically, without being tied to the broker fee for that humongous order. A gigantic order also tells everyone in the market “Hey guys, you better undercut me if you want your own orders to be filled anytime before Christmas”.

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One thought on “Market madness

  1. Just thought I’d tell you, I have a corp mate who paid 800mio for a bestower and another with cap rechargers he bought for 300mio each… ppl are stupid 😉

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