Thursday, 31 October 2013

Choosing a Trading Station

One of my readers recently left the following comment:
Hey man logged in just to say thanks your blog has helped me immensely with my own trading ventures. 
One thing I was still curious about and hopefully you can do a blog on, is HOW you choose what regions to trade in, apart from the big trading hubs I've never been able to figure out what would be a good region to place buy orders in and whatnot. 
Thanks once again 
Jerex Deka

This is a great question. One of the problems I have writing articles for the blog is there's so much I could write about with so many complex permutations, qualifiers, circumstantial / situational subtleties, and related subjects to get sidetracked on that it's often difficult to cover a topic well without straying into too many other things and practically writing a book in the end.

The trick is finding topics that are focused on something specific without being too simple and Jerex' question is a good one for that. Today's topic is about how to find good places to trade from.

Though Jerex asked specifically about how to find good regions, pretty much any high sec region is good to trade in. I'm in 19 high sec regions now and they're all good. IMO picking a station to trade from is more important than choosing a region to trade in.

Once you have a good station picked out you need to figure out what to buy and how much to pay for it as well as what to sell and how much to ask for it, at that location.

Like they say in real estate it's all about 3 things. Location, Location and Location.

The 5 main trade hubs (Jita, Amarr, Dodixie, Rens and Hek) are obvious choices. However, the main trade hubs are infested with bots and no-lifers which can make it difficult for anyone else to do business on them. Depending on your business model and how much time and effort you want to spend working at it, you might be better off avoiding the main hubs and sticking to smaller hubs.

There are many things that can help you identify good locations to trade from, including in game information, websites and offline utilities/tools.

For websites and offline tools I really like:

EVE Marketdata for their Station Rank Lists
Ombey's 2D EVE Maps (or Dotlan if you prefer)

Some of things I look for are:

Map Statistics "docked and active"
Level 3 and 4 mission agents (the more the better)
Sisters of Eve
Facilities, especially Clone, Repair and Manufacturing
Starter systems
Number of asteroid belts
Proximity to ice fields
Travel choke points
Regional gates
High to low/null gates

Generally speaking the more of the above a particular station has the better it is for trading. Unless it's infested by bots (Oursulaert for example), then you're often better off on another station. In that case I particularly like stations only a jump or two away and straddling the main traffic route(s) to either the rest of the region or to other (preferably more populous) regions.

Knowing as much as you can about the above factors should tell you a fair bit about the players in the area, giving you an idea of what they're likely to sell cheaply and what they might pay dearly for.

I've used a few different methods to find stations to trade on in the past but right now I pretty much just use information from EveMarketData and Ombey's maps leavened with my own personal experience in the area.

I check EveMarketData ranked lists of trade hubs within a region to find out the size of the market on all the different stations. I look at Ombey's maps to get an idea of likely traffic routes, chokepoints, proximity to ice / asteroids / facilities and the like. Finally I consider my own experience in the area, things like "I pass through this system a lot on the way to other places" or "There always seems to be a lot of players in this system".

Then I choose a system after considering all of the above. I don't always choose the largest market, in fact a few of my best (favorite) locations are far from being the largest hub in the region.

Map "docked and active" used to be my primary method of finding new stations to trade at. But that isn't nearly as useful now as it was before Dust was released. The problem is now Dust players show in the "docked and active" list too. Pre-Dust, you could count on it any system that normally had 30-50 players docked and active was a good sized secondary hub and any system with more than 50 was a big secondary hub. But now players on the docked and active list could just as easily be a bunch of dust bunnies and a ghost town as far as Eve players are concerned.

Stations with mission agents, especially level 3 and 4 agents, make good trading stations too. Generally speaking, the more agents and the higher level those agents are the better.

Sisters of Eve agents are particularly good. They have the best missions for repairing faction standings and they have some very desirable items in the faction LP store too. Any sisters station is good for trading and if they have level 3 or better yet level 4 sisters agents (Osmon for example) they're very good. Having a sisters station nearby (within 5 jumps or so) is pretty good for business on other trading stations too.

Facilities attract players to particular stations too. I find clone, repair and manufacturing facilities are more important than labs. Most of the better trading systems have at least 2 of those 3 facilities though there are exceptions. Some of the best have only 1 or even none. Manufacturing often means competition from manufacturers, depending on what you sell and just how much competition there is, that competition could be a good thing or a bad thing.

Starter systems are pretty much guaranteed to have good numbers of players around and not all of them are newbies either. The regions around them are generally fairly well populated too. One big advantage of starter systems is the no-lifers and bots don't seem to be very active on most of them (or at least not in my markets).

Travel choke points both between regions and within a single region. If you notice you seem to be passing through a particular system more often than most it's a travel choke point. As long as there's a station in the system, travel choke points often make great trading locations even if they don't have any of the other indicators of a good trading station. Just watch out for gankers they like travel choke points too! Be particularly wary of gankers in 0.5 security choke points, especially if it's a choke point on the route to low/null. Ombey's or Dotlan maps are great for finding travel choke points. Dotlan is more up to date but I prefer Ombey's because I find it easier to read and it shows trade hubs too (I double check trade hub status on EveMarketData).

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Trade Hub Clusters

Everyone either already knows what the 5 main trade hubs are (Jita, Amarr, Dodixie, Rens and Hek) or can find out quickly with a simple question in chat or a quick google search.

Beyond the main hubs there are a multitude of secondary hubs of varying size. Most regions have several fairly large secondary hubs and many smaller hubs.

What isn't immediately obvious is there are clusters of secondary hubs associated with the main hubs. Several large secondary hubs, spread across multiple regions, all within a few jumps of each other and with one of the main hubs more or less central to the cluster.

For example there's what I think of as the "Minmatar Cluster" covering the regions of Metropolis, Heimatar, Molden Heath and Derelik.

Hek (Metropolis)
Rens  (Heimatar)
Teonusude (Molden Heath)
Tanoo (Derelik)

This cluster is rather unique because not only does it contain 2 main trade hubs (the others only have 1 main hub) but it also encompasses regions in both Minmatar (3 regions) and Amarr space (1 region). In the other 3 trade clusters (1 for each of the other 3 main hubs) the regions are all of one faction.

Heimatar is a large region and Metropolis is huge, Rens and Hek are the main trade hubs in those regions. Or you could argue Rens being central to the cluster is the main hub of the cluster while Hek is merely a super secondary hub in the cluster that just happens to be much larger than any other secondary hub (anywhere) and nearly as large as Rens.

Molden Heath is a small region with Teonusude being by far the largest of the small handful of secondary hubs there and one of the few high sec systems in the region. There's an active PvP community in the region which drives a small but thriving market that's surprisingly good for such a small region.

Derelik is a large region in Amarr space that's very close to Rens. Seven of the other secondary hubs in Derelik are larger than Tanoo, but I like Tanoo because it's closer to Rens than any of the larger hubs, directly straddles the route to Rens and is a bit of a chokepoint between large parts of the region.

Travelling from Rens (the central hub of the cluster) the distances involved are:

Rens to Hek 6 jumps
Rens to Teon 5 jumps
Rens to Tanoo 4 jumps

All distances are using high sec jumps only (no low/null shortcuts if there are any).

As a trader you can simply send big loads to Rens or Hek and supply the rest of the cluster with a series of short trips from there.

I generally courier a big load from one of the other main hubs to Hek and post anything that has good prices there. Then I load the rest up plus any excess stock that was sitting on Hek into a blockade runner (gotta love that unscannable cargo hold!) and fly to Rens. I contract everything to the Rens trader, he posts everything worth posting there, then contracts everything back to the Hek Trader (including any excess stock that was just sitting on Rens).

Rinse and repeat for Teon and Tanoo. Anything that was gathered up along the way and not posted anywhere goes back to Hek. Some of the gathered up stuff gets posted on Hek, if there's at least a billion or so worth left over that I don't think I'll be able to sell soon in the cluster, it all gets shipped out (usually via courier) to one of the other main hubs.

I tend to do this about once a week (a different cluster each time) or about once a month for each of the 4 clusters I work.

Monday, 28 October 2013

PLEX Market Update II

48 hours after the experiment began (1 day after the first update) I've bought a total of 6 PLEX in 3 different regions. I've sold 3 for 40 - 65 mil profit each, used 1 to sub an account and have 2 more up for sale. I have buy orders up in 4 or 5 regions now.

From what I've seen so far, I figure at least 10 day should be possible with that kind of profit.

As many as 20 a day might be attainable with profits in the same range but even that many might be pushing it a bit. Any more than that is probably only possible with lower profit margins around 20-25 million which won't leave much after taxes and fees.

I need to move PLEX purchases quickly because I expect prices to begin going down now. It's that time of year when prices have historically gone down anyhow and the Amazon pricing snafu yesterday will only help push things along.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

PLEX Market Venture Update

Regarding my little PLEX market venture which began yesterday so far it's going good

Nearly 65 million (roughly 11%) profit before taxes and fees (roughly 2%) isn't bad. The second one I used to resub an account that was expiring in 6 days. I also bought another PLEX for even less in another region and posted it for resale there.

In less than 24 hours I've bought 3 and sold one at a pretty decent profit with hardly any effort involved. The plan is working, now I just need to find out how well it scales.

Doing a little simple math, with 20 traders if on average I can buy and sell just 1 PLEX a day per character for an average 50 million profit each that works out to

20 traders x 50 mil ISK x 30 days = 30 Billion ISK profits

That's pretty close to my current total monthly income. From just a single item.

If I can average 2 per day per character it'd be 60 billion, or close to double my current monthly income!

3 PLEX for $4.98 What?!

In breaking news live from Dodixe local chat, Amazon has 3 PLEX listed as on sale for just $4.98 (90% off)

It looks like a legitimate link, not a scam.

Not sure what's going here, a pricing mistake maybe? The seller is CCP Games. Something strange going on since they have single PLEX priced at $19.95 and 6 packs at $99.99

Several people in Dodixie local claim to have bought and received their PLEX in game already. If these sales are actually going through at that price and it lasts for very long it could have a huge impact on the market price of PLEX in ISK.

Update: Less than an hour later the offer has been pulled and the 3 pack is no longer available.

It didn't last long enough to affect the price of PLEX in ISK.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Moving into the PLEX market

A PLEX is a fairly valuable item that (for such an expensive item) moves in high volume. PLEX are currently going for over 600 million ISK with around 3,000 a day being sold in Jita alone.

No doubt many of those sales were actually the same PLEX sold twice (bought and resold on station at a profit) but even if we assume half were bought for resale (I doubt it's that many) that'd still leave 1,500 a day moving on Jita.

What is PLEX?

A Pilot License Extension (PLEX) is an item that adds 30 days of game time to your EVE Online account. PLEX can be purchased with real money from CCP's website here. PLEX can be converted from any game time code and can be traded on the EVE market in game.

Players can also use PLEX to:

Perform a Character Transfer.
Perform a Character Resculpt.
Convert PLEX to Aurum and use Aurum to purchase apparel and cosmetic accessories for characters from the Noble Exchange.
Enable Dual Character Training for 30 days.

Of course PLEX are often used to trade real money for ISK. Many players will buy a PLEX for real money, then sell it on the market for ISK.

It's great for players with plenty of real cash because it saves them time grinding ISK in game and it's great for those with plenty of playing time (and ISK) because they don't have to spend any real money to pay for their subscription(s).

That's a win win situation for everyone involved. It's something anyone can do without breaking any rules and risking getting banned like they would with RMT (Real Money Trading) transactions.

The PLEX market

On the main hubs and many secondary hubs the PLEX market is heavily camped by no-lifers and bots constantly posting and updating buy/sell orders. Combined with a high price this makes it a tough market to break into, especially on the busier stations.

In the past I avoided trading PLEX because they're so heavily camped and tie up a fairly significant amount of ISK. I bought PLEX one at a time and only when necessary to pay for account subscriptions or dual training.

I never bought PLEX for resale. Lately, with 12 accounts and usually at least 3 dual training I've been buying a PLEX about every 2 days on average and getting to know the PLEX market in many different regions better.

My Strategy

I can buy PLEX at good prices in several regions fairly reliably so I'm going to buy a few extra for resale and see if I can resell them in a reasonable timeframe. I've already bought two in about half an hour, posted 1 for resale at an 11% profit and posted a 3rd buy order.

So far I seem to be buying them faster than I can resell them on station but it's too early to be certain of that. If it turns out I can't resell them quickly enough that's no big deal, I got them at a good price and I'll use them to sub accounts in a few days anyhow. Or alternately, my buy price is good enough I could always transport to Jita and sell to buy orders there at a small profit.

I'm going to leave that character logged in for the rest of the day and semi-camp PLEX.

Semi-camping meaning I'm not going to just sit there obsessively checking for cuts every 5 minutes but I'll check it several times throughout the night and cut when necessary. For example, every half hour or so while writing this post and doing other things on the computer, or later tonight during commercial breaks while watching football (Go Riders!).

Assuming it works out well I plan to start buying and selling PLEX in multiple regions. I'd drop a whole bunch of lower end, less valuable items and increase my presence in the PLEX market. That should take far less time and effort on my part than working hundreds of less valuable items does and hopefully it'll increase my ISK per hour too.

Note: October is traditionally when PLEX prices are at their highest. This is when you want to buy PLEX for quick resale. Sitting on them in speculation of even higher prices later would probably be an expensive mistake.

Selling Baggies $100.00 each!

Here's a real life business plan following the brilliant business model of a certain well known Eve Online real money trading gambling business.

1. Buy a box of baggies for a couple bucks.
2. Add some weed (or parsley if you're a scammer) to each bag.
3. Sell the bags for $100.00 each and rake in the profits.

You can't get busted for selling drugs because you aren't selling weed. You're just selling baggies (which is perfectly legal) and giving the weed away as a free bonus reward for your valued baggie customers.

If you put parsley in your baggies instead of weed your customers have no legal recourse to do anything about it since all they paid for was a baggie. Even if they wanted to do something illegal about it they couldn't because you're hiding behind a compu... er wait...nm.

<note for the humor impaired - this is satire>

Thursday, 24 October 2013

RMT or Gambling?

Somerblink has been in a bit of hot water over their RMT (Real Money Trading) business lately. I didn't feel it was worth posting about before. However Somer's defenders have been making some incredibly stupid claims. In particular the claim that Somer isn't involved in RMT at all, it's just gambling.

just gambling? Really?

In most countries illegal gambling is a federal crime if done as a business. Federal crimes are serious crimes with big fines and long jail sentences.

There's no doubt Somerblink is a business and does make money. If they're making their money from gambling rather than from RMT that would make it illegal gambling.

You can't have it both ways. They're either an RMT operation or an illegal gambling operation. If they're an RMT operation they're just breaking the rules of the game and risking being banned from the game. However if they're an unlicensed gambling operation they're subject to real life law with big fines and long jail sentences.

It's not very bright defending something that's merely against the rules of a game by claiming it's actually a serious crime in real life.

Another question that's not being asked and should be is why was an infamous "illegal" (not quite the right word but close enough) Real Money Trader like Markee Dragon ever even allowed to be in involved in the GTC program in the first place?

It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that Markee Dragon and anyone affiliated with him (Somerblink for one) are involved in shady business.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Blockade Runners Revisited

I've totally loved Blockade Runners ever since getting My First Blockade Runner a few months back. Since then the more I get the more I like them. A month ago I had 6 Prowler pilots, in the 30 days since I've trained up another 7 for a grand total of 13 Blockade Runner pilots in Prowler Fleet now (they all fly Prowlers). Number 14 is a month away and after that I'll have more coming at a rate of about 1 every 2 weeks for (at least) several months yet.

The thing I like best about BRs is how incredibly safe they are to fly. For the most part high sec gankers seem to completely ignore BRs and even in low/null they're quick and agile enough I haven't had any trouble yet.

In the entire time I've been flying BRs (over 3 months now) I think someone tried to gank one of them in high sec once. I was AFK on auto-pilot at the time, but when I came back I noticed I had an aggression timer so someone must've taken a pot shot at me. I doubt he did much more than scratch me though (if that even) since shields, armor and hull were all at full.

I assume that means gankers really don't like attacking anything they can't cargo scan first, especially not if it's something they can't pop with a single volley from a cheap ship. In other words, yeah sure being immune to cargo scans sounds good, but the reality is it's even better (much better) than it sounds.

I do expect I'll eventually run into some crazy suicide ganker who just doesn't care and goes for it anyhow. Or I'll get caught in low/null eventually. It hasn't happened yet though. When it finally does I'll just consider it a cost of doing business. Even if he gets extremely lucky and nails me with a big load worth billions.

Another thing that's great about BRs is the Covert Ops Cloaking Device. The ability to warp while cloaked is huge especially when travelling in low and null.

I also really like BRs for the low alignment time, high warp speed (which is going to get even faster in the next patch) and decent tank (7k - 15k depending on skills and active hardeners). The warp speed greatly reduces travel time (especially when flown manually) while the alignment time and tank make you harder to kill.

The good sized cargo hold (4.06k m3) is nice too. That's more than enough to ensure I can almost always pickup everything in a region in a single run without having to drop anything off to make room for more. Once (and only once) I had a capital remote repper in cargo taking up 4k m3 all by itself, that's the only time I had to drop something off before I could finish doing pickups in a BR. I've since stopped buying capital remote reppers altogether (for several reasons but mainly for that one).

[Prowler fit - 4 second Align]

Nanofiber Internal Structure II
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Experimental 10MN Microwarpdrive I
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II

Covert Ops Cloaking Device II
Festival Launcher

Medium Polycarbon Engine Housing I
Medium Polycarbon Engine Housing I

That's the fit my Prowler pilots start out with. With mediocre IIIs and IVs in applicable tank, navigation and agility skills it's stats are:

Tank: around 10k with invulns on, 7k with invulns off
Alignment time: under 4 seconds with MWD off (under 6 seconds with MWD on)
Cargo capacity: 4.06 m3
speed: 2300 - 2400 m/s
warp speed: 9 AU

The nanos and polycarbons get alignment time under 4 seconds with mediocre agility skills. With Evasive Maneuvering V you can drop one of the Nanos for a DC-II increasing tank by nearly 50% while still keeping alignment time under 4 seconds. With both Evasive Maneuvering and Spaceship Command at V, you can drop one of the polycarbons for another rig too.

In that case I like replacing 1 Polycarbon with a Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer (increases warp speed) but with the warp speed changes coming in the next patch a Warp Core Optimizer (reduces cap usage for initiating warp) might be better. That'll depend on just how much cap usage goes up due to the shorter warp times.

With all Vs in applicable tank, navigation and agility skills, replacing 1 nano with a DC-II and 1 Polycarbon with a Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer, the stats are:

Tank: 14.7k with invulns and DC on, 7.58k with active tank mods off.
Alignment time: 3.99 seconds with MWD off (5.99 seconds with MWD on)
Cargo capacity: 4.06 m3
speed: 2319 m/s
warp speed: 10.8 AU

If you want more tank you could replace the Polycarbon with a Medium Core Defense Field Extender. And though I wouldn't recommend it, if you want/need even heavier tank you could always replace the MWD with a Large Shield Extender II and about double the tank (28.4k with all Vs in applicable skills and an LSE II but no MCDFE).

I intentionally left one high slot empty because I don't do anything with BRs besides transport stock between stations (on autopilot more often than not). Others might find a probe launcher, salvager or something else useful but for me even if I did put something there I wouldn't use it anyhow. The only thing I'd consider is a Covert Cyno and that only in a covert fleet with Bombers, Black Ops and Recon ships.

Edit: As suggested by Noizy I put a Festival Launcher in the empty high slot.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Mailbag - Regional Pickup Question

The Question

Re: Re: Trade
From: Tubrav Sadarts
Sent: 2013.10.18 02:19
To: Moxnix Induli,

I had another quick question too; how do you deal with all the pickups? I have a large amount of 10-system buy orders in a few regions, and when I go to pick up all the accumulated items every few days, it's on the order of 70 jumps per region. Do you do this constantly?

My Reply

I only do pickups when there's stuff worth enough to make picking it up worth my time. Just how much it takes to be "worth my time" keeps getting higher as I get richer too.

Trying to pick everything up all the time would be so time consuming it'd drive me nuts!

In the very beginning 1 million was more than enough to travel across the entire region and 100k was enough to travel several jumps.

A few months later I wouldn't even undock unless I was looking at picking up at least close to 100 mil in total and I wouldn't bother picking up from any station unless it either had at least a few million worth of stuff to pickup or I was already in the system anyhow.

Now I don't usually bother undocking until a character has at least 500 million or so to pickup without having to make much more than 5 or 10 jumps. I won't do very many more jumps unless there's a billion or two that needs picking up.

I'll often use public courier contracts to help cut down on the travel time too. Anything worth much over 500 mil is usually worth couriering.

I rarely bother picking up from stations that don't have very much of value on them unless I'm already in the system either picking up from another station in system or passing through on the way to somewhere else.

Sometimes I'll spend half a day afk autopiloting to clean up a bunch of little stuff on one character. But that's mostly afk flight time with maybe 10 minutes or so in total where I'm actually at the keyboard.

Flying blockade runners helps a lot too. They're much faster than any other cargo ships, quite safe on autopilot (in high sec anyhow) and carry quite a lot more cargo than any combat ship with speed anywhere near the same ballpark.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

What's going on?

No doubt you've all seen it many times before but I get a real kick out of this little clip!

It's just freaking hilarious! Anyone know where it originated?

On another note, this has been a quiet month for me so far. I haven't done very much other than updating skills training queues and getting prowler fleet's numbers up (expect an update on prowler fleet in a few days).

My market activity has been mostly passive (for the most part I'm just letting orders sit without updating). It looks like I'll still be making a pretty decent profit for the month though (already up 16 billion now).

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Contest Prize Feedback

I've been considering organizing and sponsoring a contest for quite a while. Without giving away exactly what the contest theme would be let's just say it'd be combat oriented and held in null but open to everyone. A major issue for me is deciding what would be appropriate prizes to hand out. I'd want to give out plenty of prizes, including some nice ones.

I'd also want to encourage both newer players and PVE players to hop into combat ships, head for null and participate.

The first contest would be sort of a test of concept with a total prize budget of up to about 20 billion ISK. It would be entirely self funded with donations neither required nor requested.

Some possible prizes I'm considering include:


Raven Navy Issue
Catalyst (likely in stacks)

ISK prizes in various amounts

I'm looking for feedback from readers on what you think would be the best prizes. Please include both large and small prizes. Feedback on suggestions from others would be very useful too, especially reasons why you think a particular thing would or would not make a good prize.

Thursday, 10 October 2013


I scored another great deal on a buy order today.

Easy money. A nice big profit and a quick one too considering I only put the buy order up a day or two ago.

Core X-Type MWDs normally go for 450 - 500 mil on Jita and I've sold some in other regions for 600-700 million. So I can get ~450 mil for a quick  ~430 mil profit if I flip it on Jita or if I'm willing to be patient (and I am) I can make 500+ mil.

Not bad for a 20 mil investment.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Bot or Not

Going through my log today I found someone had sold 8 individual Caldari Navy Missile Launchers to me. The interesting part was they were sold individually, one at a time, yet all 8 were sold at the exact same time.

It's also noteworthy that a similarly named character (same last name, different first name) had purchased 6 from me 4 days earlier for just over 9 million more per launcher. Assuming that's another alt of the same player it would seem he or his bot isn't smart enough to sell things for more than he paid for them.

Note the time-stamp in the log, it's exactly the same for all of them. That's 8 individual sell orders he entered, all in less than 1 second (somehow I missed one line while cropping the screen capture). And no I didn't post individual buy orders myself either, they were all sold to the same order.

So the question I put to you is this: Bot or not?

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Market Cycles and PLEX purchases

As traders we notice many different market cycles. Being aware of cycles and adapting market strategy to take advantage of different cycles can increase profits greatly. Some of the different cycles commonly seen in online games include daily, weekly, monthly, holiday, seasonal, patch and expansion cycles.

One thing that always puzzled me in Eve because I couldn't figure out what was behind it was an odd monthly cycle.  I noticed that I always seem to make more profits (both larger margins and higher overall profits) during the first and last weeks of each month. It always seems like the competition gets fiercer, margins tighter and sales harder to come by during the middle 2 weeks of every month.

In fact I often felt like I was just spinning my wheels during the middle two weeks and not making very much no matter how much time I spent working the market.

Conversely it often seems like I make half my profits in the first week of the month.

Last month to test that and make sure I wasn't just imagining things I hardly did anything during the middle 2 weeks of the month. I still made over 34 billion. Roughly 20 billion in the first week, 10 billion in the last week and only about 4 billion the 2 weeks in between.

For the longest time I couldn't figure out what could possibly be behind this strange market behavior. Then suddenly it hit me.

Real Life pay cycles and PLEX purchases must be behind it. A lot of working people get paid around the end of the month. Players are more likely to pay for their gaming habits when they have the most money and for most people that's around the end of the month. They buy PLEX from CCP with real money, sell the PLEX for ISK and use the ISK to purchase in game items. That drives market sales volume up for a while. The lowest priced sell orders and highest priced buy orders get filled quickly which in turn increases profit margins.

Furthermore, higher prices encourage faction grinders, mission / incursion runners, manufacturers, etc., to cash out therefore increasing sales competition and bringing prices back down again.

Finally it makes sense!

Friday, 4 October 2013

Warp Speed and Acceleration

We knew changes were coming to warp speed and warp acceleration in Rubicon but we didn't have any details until recently.

Here's a link to CCP Fozzie's official post with details on the warp changes

I like it! A lot!

Here's the meat of Fozzie's post, links to charts showing how long warps of different distances will take before and after the changes.

How long it takes for different ships to make warps of different lengths now.
And how long it'll take with the current design for Rubicon.

Note, "current design" obviously implies it's still subject to change.

I believe these changes are going to be a good thing, it all seems to be extremely well thought out and perfectly balanced to me. Of course with all the Blockade Runner pilots I have I particularly like how it's going to affect them. Blockade Runners are already one of the fastest warping ships but they're going to get a whole lot faster in Rubicon. In fact Blockade Runners (along with Interdictors) will have the second best warp times of any ships in the game (only Interceptors and Covert Ops will warp faster).

These changes are going to be awesome, they get a big thumbs up from me!

Something for market speculators to keep an eye on, with these changes Gravitational Capacitors may become a more popular choice on T3 cruisers. If so they'll almost certainly go up in price.

Then again, maybe not. I'll almost certainly still prefer the lower alignment times I get with Intercalated Nanofibers, Interdiction Nullifiers are pretty much a must have for many pilots in null and the normal space speed bonus from Fuel Catalysts is really nice for AB fits too.

It'll be interesting to see how much of an affect Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizers will have on the new warp times too. Currently a pair of them increases warp speed on a Prowler from 9 to 13 AU per second or nearly 45%. For T1 ships with 3 of them fit it's closer to 70%. That might be an even better item for speculators to watch.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Training Report - October 2013

Training report for 02 Oct 2013

First some numbers:

12 Accounts
23 Characters

21 Traders (17 finished training trade skills, 4 in various stages of training)
18 (out of 23 total) Empire regions covered by traders

5 Covert Ops pilots
6 Blockade Runner pilots (7 more coming in under 3 weeks)
2 Tengu pilots
1 Recon pilot
1 Rattlesnake pilot
23 Vigil pilots =)

16 PLEX/mo (4 accounts dual training)

I work a mix of regional and station trading with a fair bit of hauling and courier contracts between regions. I've dropped nearly everything worth under 5 million and most under 10 million on all but one of my traders though there are a few cheap items I still buy on some characters (mostly high volume items I use myself).

I train my traders for 305 orders with the following trade skills: Trade V, Retail V, Wholesale V, Tycoon V, Accounting V, Broker Relations V, Margin Trading V, Daytrading V, Marketing V, Procurement IV, Visibility IV and Contracting IV. I consider them to be "finished" training trade skills at that point.

Some traders in smaller regions stop training Daytrading and Marketing at IV instead of V since that's all they need to cover the entire region (in fact a few of the smallest regions can be fully covered with III).

I'm cutting back on the number of accounts dual training (for a while I had 9 dual training) while slowly building up wallet balances and escrow cash on the newest traders.

Account 1

dual training active

Essence (Renyn) Regional Trader - Fully trained trader, blockade runner pilot. Not currently training.

Tash-Murkon (TM Prime) Regional Trader - Fully trained trader, currently training blockade runners.

Verge Vendor (Alentene) Regional Trader - Nearly finished training trade skills. Just needs to finish up Marketing, Daytrading, Procurement and Visibility. Currently training Marketing V.

Future plans: Finish training trade skills on Allentene, then remap Int/Mem and train Blockade Runners + support skills on Allentene too. Keep dual training active another month to finish training blockade runners + support skills on Tash-Murkon.

Account 2

The traders of Amarr, Dodixie and Rens. All characters on this account are finished training trade skills. Two are Covert Ops pilots, all three are Blockade Runner Pilots.

Amarr Station Trader - 305 orders (maxed),  Currently not training.

Dodixie Station Trader - 305 orders (maxed). Cov Ops pilot.

Rens Station Trader - 305 orders (maxed). Cov Ops pilot. Currently training Int/Mem support skills.

Future plans: Remain in the Int/Mem remap and continue training support skills on all 3 characters. In particular, Navigation, Engineering and Shield skills. Maybe train one into Industry eventually.

Account 3

Lonetrek Regional Trader - Finished training Trade skills. Covert Ops and Blockade runner pilot. Not currently training.

Jita Station Trader #2 -  Finished training skills. Does nothing but trade officer/deadspace/faction mods. Not currently training.

New Trader - Brand new trader, just started training less than a week ago. Has trained basic nav/shield/fitting skills and remapped Char/Mem. Currently training basic trade skills.

Future plans: Continue training trade skills on the new trader for the next 3 months. Once she has at least Margin Trading V, Accounting V and Wholesale IV pick a home for her and start actually trading.

Account 4

Jita Station Trader #1 - Finished training trade skills. Does nothing but station trade skill-books. This is the only character that still deals in very many items in the 1-10 million ISK range. Not currently training.

Exploration / Scout / Scanning pilot - Flies Covert Ops (Buzzard), Recon (Falcon), Tengu and is training Int/Mem support/scanning/exploration skills. Has Astrometrics V, all the rest of the astrometrics skills at IV and most shield, navigation, fitting, EW and exploration skills at IV or V. I don't plan on doing any serious trading on this character. He has 29 order slots, more than enough to buy things he needs and that's it. Currently training Jump Drive Operation V. It's a long ways off yet but eventually he'll fly Black Ops.

Future plans: Continue training Int/Mem skills on the exploration/scout/scanning character. Long term this character will eventually remap Per/Wil to train Black Ops battleships and Missile skills. Will probably eventually start a new character on this account too.

Account 5

Dual training active

My Main - Covert Ops, Tengu, Rattlesnake pilot with all racial Battlecruiser and Destroyer skills at V. All by himself on his own account and concentrating mainly on Per/Wil combat skills, with particular focus on missile skills (nearly 10 mil SP in missiles now). 125 orders, Wholesale IV, Accounting IV, Broker Relations IV, Margin Trading IV and all of the "remote order" trade skills at IV. He hasn't been involved much in trade for some time now.

Currently training Combat Drone Operation V

Orvolle Trader - Relatively new trader, not doing a whole lot yet. Currently training Wholesale V.

Future plans: My main is finally nearly finished training Missile skills now (almost 10 million SP in missiles). He can use T2 Heavy, Cruise and Torpedo launchers. I hate flying slow ships so battleships are low priority for me but Rattlesnakes interest me and I'll probably eventually get Black Ops. I might go for Recon Cruisers, HACs, Interdictors and HICs too. He'll be staying in the Per/Wil remap for a long time yet and will probably get a bunch of Gunnery skills to IV or V too. The new trader has another couple months of trade skills training to go and will likely train blockade runners after trade skills are done.

Account 6

Hek Station Trader - Finished training Trade skills. Covert Ops and Blockade Runner pilot. Not currently training.

Jita trader #4 - Almost finished training Trade skills. Handles the Jita implants market and dabbles a little in other markets. Currently training Marketing V.

Future plans: Finish training Marketing V and Daytrading V on Jita. Then start up a new trader up on this account.

Accounts 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Six accounts I started just before the news about dual training broke. They're all traders following the same training plan with the first two a day ahead of the next two and the last two roughly a week behind that.

Five of them started out as secondary traders handling lower priced items in 5 different regions but I gave up on that plan (it was just too much work for the returns involved) and moved them all to new regions. It's far less work now and the returns are much better too.

All six are finished training trade skills, have remapped Int/Mem and are training for Blockade runners now. They'll all be able to fly Blockade Runners in 3 weeks or less. Once they can fly Blockade Runners they'll each spend another 2-3 weeks training Navigation, Engineering and Shield skills up to where I want them at.

In addition I've activated dual training on two of these accounts and started up yet another two new traders. As the original characters finish training Blockade Runners + support skills I'll start up new characters on the other 4 accounts too.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Hi Sec POCOs - Dead On Arrival

There are hi sec Player Owned Customs Offices coming in Rubicon but it's not quite as simple as it sounds. It seems the special snowflakes in low and null need advantages, or more particularly additional limitations and restrictions on hi sec POCOs to remain competitive.

"The NPC tax will continue for hi sec POCOs (as we want low sec POCOs to still be competitive). The tax rate stays the same, at 10% for export and 5% for import. This is then in addition to whatever tax the player owner sets." - CCP SoniClover

There is a new skill being introduced that'll reduce the NPC portion of the tax by up to half.

"We are introducing a new trainable skill, Customs Code Expertise, which will reduce the NPC portion of the tax rate, but 10% per level (so at level 5 the NPC export tax rate will be 5% rather than 10%). Again, this skill only affects the NPC portion of the tax, not the player owner tax." - CCP SoniClover

The exact numbers might work out a little different after the patch but what it boils down to is lower output and higher costs for hi sec PI than for PI anywhere else. Just how it is now. Nothing's really changed except of course someone will have to shoot down the Interbus Customs Office and replace it with his own... Which he'll have to pay for and which in turn can be shot down by someone else.

Sounds worthwhile. NOT!

I expect hi sec POCOS will fall into 2 types. Ones with no (or very low) player tax but restricted access (mainly restricted to the corp the owner belongs to) and ones with unrestricted access but higher player taxes. High enough to make the total tax (npc tax + player tax) at least as high as it is now even with the new skill fully trained.

Anyone who thinks the big null sec alliances (goons in particular) won't be sending fleets into hi sec regularly to blow up all Customs Offices (whether Interbus or player owned) they can find and replace them with their own high tax POCOs is dreaming.

Expect all the best planets near main trade hubs to be very quickly taken over by the big alliances. It won't be cost effective for the little guys to pay exorbitant war declaration fees trying to take them back from the big guys either.

I find it ironic how low and (especially) null sec players like to claim they're the elite, yet they always seem to need "special" treatment to give them unfair advantages over hi sec players.

No doubt the self proclaimed elite would rage but why not even things out? Stop pandering to the loud minority. Take away all the special snowflake treatment, all the "meta game" BS and let the players decide for themselves for a change.

Edit: Mabrick's take on this is really good. He brings up a number of valid points, like how tying attacking POCOs to war decs squeezes out the little guys (solo players and small corps) and hands hi sec PI over to the big PvP corps and alliances.

Make no mistake this is not a buff to hi sec PI. It's a blatant resource control giveaway for the big PvP corps and alliances.

Financial Report - September 2013

Financial report for the month of September 2013 (last month). Trade oriented since trading is how I make virtually all of my ISK.

I buy and sell skill-books, faction/deadspace/officer mods and implants with traders covering all 5 major trade hubs (Jita, Amarr, Dodixie,  Hek and Rens) plus secondary hubs in most other empire regions. I have 20 traders in total, 3 on Jita, one each for mods, implants and skillbooks, the rest covering 17 different regions.

In September I made 34 billion after expenses. Down 6 billion from last month. I spent less time working the market including a 2 week period during the middle of the month where I hardly did anything.

Current net worth is 304 billion with about half in cash and market escrow. Most of the rest is in sell orders and recently acquired stock I haven't gotten around to posting for sale yet.  As I get bigger and spend less time updating individual orders I find myself carrying more and more of my net worth in sell orders. Very little is in assets I don't intend to sell soon, a few ships and some mods I keep in stock for my own use, maybe 4 billion in total.

That's my actual current total net worth, I don't pad the numbers by counting ISK I've earned but have since spent and no longer have. That'd be like calling myself a real life millionaire because I've earned over a million dollars during my life when the reality is I've never had anywhere near a million in total.