When I first decided to get another account about a month back, me and my wife encountered the mysterious disappearance of a PLEX buy order. The buy order was not cancelled and was not filled, but we were out the ISK from the market escrow until the next downtime and never got our broker fee back either. Since we eventually got our ISK back, we wrote it off as an acceptable outcome even though we didn’t find out how it had occurred.
A couple of days ago, my wife suddenly noticed that she seemed to be missing a bunch of ISK again. She was pretty sure that she had easily more than 600 million in the afternoon, and now we couldn’t seem to reach 600 million even counting all the assets she was holding in inventory. Some digging through of her orders revealed that more orders had gone missing! Ordinarily this would be very hard to detect, but one of those that poofed was for an item that she specifically remembered not wanting to cancel due to the fairly high broker fees, and she wanted to leave it there to annoy some stupid random overbidder who thought that a 200k raise in prizes made him a big boy.
Sure enough, after downtime she was refunded the market escrow from 3 separate orders. Perusing through her journal also revealed that this had been happening for the past week, with some ISK being refunded after downtime every other day. And no broker fee refund either, those sodding bastards.
Armed with this knowledge she filed a petition to the GMs asking if they knew of this bug. I mean, it would be really disconcertingly bad coding for market orders to just go poof for no reason.
Let us now take a moment to consider some interesting facts about EVE’s market system, in particular the expiry date of orders.
Did you know that the expiry date of orders gets reset whenever you modify an order? This makes it not so much an expiry date, but rather more like an inactivity timer. Did you also know that when an order expires, the player does not get the escrow released until the next downtime? Coupled with the fact that the broker fee remains the same regardless of the duration set for the expiry date, there is really no reason to ever have an expiry date that is not set to the maximum of 3 months. You don’t get the broker fee refunded when an order expires, it costs the same to set up, and you get your money back faster (usually) when you cancel an order. You can even cancel an order at any time anywhere in the universe without training any additional skills! So only a doofus would ever let their orders expire.
It turned out, after perusing the helpful GM’s reply to “maybe set the expiry date longer”, that buy orders and sell orders have different default settings. She had set her sell orders to 3 months by default, but the buy orders still had expiry dates of 24 hours. This was also hidden due to her interface displaying buy orders on a longer line with the expiry date column hidden compared to the sell orders. Because she did not change all the orders at the same time every day, over time their expiry dates were extended to vary all over the place. Thus only a few orders would poof every other day, and usually those with little activity so she would not notice them disappearing.
So I guess we can now rest easy that EVE’s market code is not in fact horribly buggy, although the question still remains as to why there are even varying expiry dates in the first place since everyone should always set it to 3 months. She’s still out a couple of million from all the broker fees though, and she’ll have to replace her existing orders as they expire/get filled with 3 month orders. But we can finally close the case of the missing order once and for all.