Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New Year's Eve PLEX

Some recent sales data I should have put in the last post showing not only is the price of PLEX still going down but PLEX can be bought for quite a bit less than Eve's modified market "history" would have us believe.

The subtle pun in the title was not intentional, it just happened.

And here are the rest of my PLEX transactions on the 29th as mentioned in comments below. None of these transactions are listed in the screenshot above, they are in addition to the ones in the first shot.

In case anyone is wondering why I referred to a comment below as a troll, this is why.

And before he deletes that Disqus account, heres a screenshot of his comment history.

Exactly 2 comments, both very recent, both in reply to me, one here and one on another blog. How nice, my biggest, craziest fan is following me around to other blogs now.

Happy New Year!

T'was the day before New Years and PLEX prices were falling...

PLEX prices are still dropping with today's Jita prices at 787 million in sell orders and 777 million in buy orders. That's only a 10 million ISK spread, less than the minimum possible combined taxes + broker fees to buy and sell one PLEX at those prices, which is an indication of a market still trending downwards.

Some others insist it's just a temporary effect caused by a bursting bubble, Christsmas PLEX sales or the recent influx of new players on trail accounts and prices will soon go back up again.

I disagree, I fully expect the downward to trend to continue. If the existing trend continues at the same rate PLEX will be selling for around 650 million each in another month.

But nobody knows for sure what's going to happen next, we're all just going to have to wait and see.

Starting tomorrow (Jan 1st, New Year's Day) the new multi-boxing input policy goes into effect and that's the main factor behind the drop in PLEX prices since around Nov 24.

Depending on how various holders of PLEX stockpiles react, the price might just continue going down slowly until it eventually stabilizes at a new lower level or it could crash hard.

If CCP isn't very strict about enforcing the new policy  prices will start going back up again before long. The multi-boxers certainly will test how effective CCP is in enforcing it.

Have a Happy New Year!

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Immortal Bot

The Malma bot is still there, undercutting within seconds or minutes like always. Today I logged in and immediately updated a buy order for PLEX. 30 seconds later the bot had cut my order again.

Yeah, yeah I know, his defenders are going to swear it's just a coincidence. He just happened to be online updating orders when I logged in. For the umpteenth consecutive time over the last several months since I've been watching him more closely and much longer than that before I started paying closer attention to market bot activity in Genesis.

Reporting him for botting once didn't do anything so I started reporting him about once a week for a while.

That didn't work either, CCP remained blissfully oblivious to the most blatantly obvious bot I've ever run across in Eve. So I started reporting him once per day when possible and of course always waiting for him to cut me first (usually within 1-2 minutes).

That didn't do anything either (what does it take for CCP to wake up and ban a bot?), so the last few days I've just been reporting him every time he cuts even if it means multiple reports just 5 minutes apart on the same day.

That probably won't help either, in fact I wouldn't be surprised if it gets *ME a warning. But WTH, maybe eventually someone at CCP who actually gives a damn about stopping even just the most blatantly obvious cheaters will finally notice and do something about it.

I also noticed something in buy orders today. Notice the name below?

It's not the bot character, nor is it in the same corps as the bot but the first name is the same as a blog troll who repeatedly spammed aggressive, argumentative, abusive and overly defensive comments here insisting ad nauseam the bot is not a bot.

It seems likely Belgarion the troll is Belgarion the Genesis resident. I have to wonder whether or not he's connected to the bot in any way. Is he an alt, friend, family, business partner or w/e or is he just some random player who reads my blog and for some reason thought I was talking about him?

Addendum: So the next day I log in and to my amazement the bot is not online. But not for long, within 3 minute he's online and already starting to cut the orders I've updated. In my WoW days when a bot started doing that it usually meant he was starting to feel pressure and beginning to worry about getting caught so he started logging off whenever his competitors weren't online to make it seem like he isn't botting. Monitor the market from another character with known competitors watchlisted, if a watchlist competitor logins it either automatically logs the bot in to start cutting or sets off an audible alarm alerting the botter to login manually.

The most obsessive botters are often no-lifers making a fulltime job of botting. They run literal armies of bots on dozens or even hundreds of accounts. Those guys are usually nearby monitoring the bots and ready to respond to alarms within a few minutes 16+ hours a day. Log the correct character in, turn on the bot and walk away laughing about how "smart" they are.

A bit later (more than 5 minutes) I cut again. It only took him 16 seconds to cut me again.

Ten minutes after that it only took him 10 seconds to respond. He'll keep that up all day long until I log off. Even if I go afk for hours without logging out, he'll be there waiting with machine like patience to immediately respond whenever I modify an order.

Anyone who thinks that isn't a bot is dreaming... Or bots themselves.

It doesn't matter what time of the day, night, week, month or year it is. No matter when it is or how long it's been since the last time he'll cut within a few minutes at the most.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Christmas PLEX - part II

Just a little addition to what's happening in the PLEX market over the holidays. It's not quite Christmas yet, but here's a screenshot of prices in Dodixie as of right now.

Dodixie is one of the major hubs, the 3rd largest in fact. PLEX there right now are about 810 million each in sell orders and only 771 million each in buy orders. Prices are down around the same levels in many other regions too.

And here's a screenshot of the PLEX I've bought over just the last few days.

That's 41 more PLEX, nearly doubling my existing stock. If prices continue falling, I'll burn 100+ on subscriptions and wind up with all 12 of my accounts subbed for at least a full year.

Note those purchases were all guard orders priced well under the then going price of 1-3 weeks ago and for the most part just left to sit without modification until they got filled. The orders were in many different regions, most of them were for either 2 or 5 and have been completely filled.

Of course the real market rush is going to start on Christmas Day and probably last for 2-3 days. Then on Jan 1 we'll start seeing the effects of the new multi-boxing policy.

Things are about to get very interesting.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Christmas PLEX

Christmas is nearly upon us. The holidays always have an effect on gaming, I'm going to make a few simple predictions on what's going to happen in Eve Online over the holiday season and on into the new year.

First as we all know (or should know by now) a new policy is coming into effect on Jan 1st regarding input multiplication, duplication, broadcasting or w/e you want to call it. What it boils down to is most of what multiboxers do now will become a bannable offence on Jan 1.

We've already seen shifts in markets due to speculation on what's going to happen when the new policy goes into effect. The easiest place to see this is in the PLEX market where prices have been trending downward ever since the policy change was announced (even slightly before).

As can easily be seen in the graph above, PLEX prices spiked sharply down immediately after the announcement (in fact it actually started a day or so prior to the announcement). The price then recovered somewhat before again trending down at a lower rate. That trend is still continuing today.

However it's all speculative at this point, we won't know for sure what the real and lasting effects of the policy change will be until after it comes into effect on Jan 1. Even then it'll probably be at least a month or two until things start settling down and we can predict what will happen in the PLEX market over the long term with much confidence.

Those who predict (or guess) right early and back it up with their wallets could easily make a fortune. Then again those who guess wrong could easily lose a fortune.

But I'm not making long term predictions here, other than that there will market chaos on Jan 1. I'm just going to predict the following.

1. There will be increased demand for PLEX over the Christmas Holidays. Expect to see a moderate rise in price. I'm sitting on 40 or 50 PLEX in anticipation of that, expecting to sell them for enough more in a few days to make it worth holding on to them for now.

2. That will be followed by a continuation of the existing downward trend in PLEX prices.

3. On or shortly after Jan 1 there will be chaos in the markets. Massive chaos. The PLEX and ore/minerals markets will be affected first. Most other markets will follow ore and minerals.

I'm expecting ore and mineral prices to go up while PLEX prices continue going down. Depending on exactly how things work out (in particular how strict CCP is about enforcing the new policy) we could be in for a big crash in the PLEX market.

Then again if CCP isn't very strict or is ineffectual about enforcing the new policy things will soon be back to business as usual for multiboxers and market manipulators. PLEX prices will start going up again and ore/mineral prices will come down.

So make your predictions, open your wallets and take your chances, there are fortunes to be made and lost during chaotic times like this. Or you can just play it safe, stand pat and wait to see what happens before acting. The choice is your's.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Christmas Gifts!

Eve Hermit reported it first but this is worth repeating. The 2014 Christmas Gifts are here!

Time to login to all your accounts and check the Redeeming systems, there are a pile of gifts there.

Even more importantly log into each account on CCP's account management site and use this link to claim 20 days free multiple training.

Nice! 20 days multi training is a very useful gift! Especially if you have a lot of accounts.

These gifts expire on Jan 11 so make sure you claim them before then!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Malma Bot - Part III

Just a quick update regarding the behavior of the bot operating out of Malma in Genesis. This is speculation on my part but it looks to me like Rhea may have broken his bot.

Though he's still online virtually all the time, he's not updating with his usual metronome like precision anymore. Now it often takes him an hour or more to respond which is more in line with a no-lifer doing it manually than a bot.

To me this implies one of 2 things.

1. CCP has communicated with him, worrying him he's being investigated for botting so he's being more careful and putting on his best "But I'm just a regular player who leaves his character logged in 23.5/7. Really!" act.

2. Rhea UI changes to transparency settings, blink notifications and so on have confused and broken his bot. Or maybe the cache format changed too, that'd break a lot of bots. Whatever, something changed and broke the bot.

Considering the behavioral change started with Rhea's release, I don't think that's just a coincidence. I'm inclined to believe it's a sign Rhea broke his bot rather than an indication he's worried about getting caught.

It's very likely he runs many more bots in multiple other regions at the same time. When a patch changes something that breaks the bot he has to do everything manually until the bot gets fixed. Genesis isn't exactly the busiest region around, it's probably low on his priority list so he doesn't spend much time updating orders there.

CCP should do that on purpose from time to time. It'd be a great tool to help catch bots. Change something that breaks the bots but isn't a problem for honest players doing it manually and see which suspicious players suddenly can't do the same things with the same precision and uninterrupted frequency they've somehow manged to keep up for months or even years on end.

Edit: I'm not crazy, Nosygamer has since posted proof (in the form of the botter's own comments and complaints) many bots were broken by Rhea CCP's War On Bots: Rhea Breaks Bots

Friday, 12 December 2014

High Sec Militia

I ran across an interesting site today while checking Referring URLS in Blogger traffic sources.

High Sec Militia and How the Grinch Stole Gankmas

I don't know much about them yet but the project caught my interest. It looks like it might be a worthy project so I figured I'd give it a plug here.

Now they just need to provide some statistical data showing how well the project is working. Then add goons to the target list, put up a donation board and they might be onto something big.

And no, I'm not one of the mysterious "sponsors" mentioned on their site, though I have a hunch a certain other space-rich blogger might be. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it turns out to be one of his projects and he's the primary source of funds.

PLEX Report 12-12-2014

As regular readers here must know by now, I've been monitoring and dabbling in the PLEX market for a long time. The last few months and especially since the announcement of the forthcoming multiboxing policy changes coming on 01 Jan 2015 I've been watching it a bit closer than usual.

IMO everything we've seen so far since that announcement is entirely based on speculation, the real and lasting effects of the policy changes won't be seen until after Jan 1st when the new policy actually goes into effect. Then there will be chaos in the markets (not just PLEX) and it'll probably take at least a month or two before things settle down enough that we can predict future PLEX demand and pricing with much confidence.

When news of the forthcoming changes first went public (or even slightly before) there was a sudden sharp drop in the price of PLEX. Some panicked and dumped PLEX, others tried to buy it all up while the price was down. Since then the price recovered somewhat and seemed to be slowly rising up again. Margins tightened up, there wasn't much profit in buying and reselling PLEX.

Figuring that was just the start with plenty of action left in the PLEX market before this is done yet, I put up guard orders on PLEX in 21 regions, sat back and waited to see what would happen next. Then today several guard orders in the high 700 mil to low 800 mil range got filled.

For example on Jita...

I did some checking on EveMarketData and found the buy price had dropped back into the low 800s just about everywhere, even lower in some places.

Here's a graph of PLEX prices on Jita over the last 3 months. You can see the big drop after the announcement of the policy change, a small recovery after that, followed by the start of another drop.

I still say we're due for a lot more chaos in the markets before this all done. In the end this is going to affect everything from PLEX, to mining and minerals, industry and trade. Nobody knows for sure exactly what's going to happen. We'll have to wait for Jan 1st to see what happens and even longer to know how it's all going to shake out in the end.

This is not bad news for traders, quite the opposite in fact, it's great news! Times of change are when ISK making opportunities abound and the more chaos there is the greater the opportunities are. Those who expect and anticipate chaos, are ready and willing to take action when it happens, stand to make fortunes.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Skill Queue Changes Affect on Hours Playing Eve

The 24 hour limit on the skill queue was removed recently, allowing us to set up much longer skill queues and ending the game of "skill queue online". We can now set up queues containing many short skills that take months to train them all and no longer have to log in every day or every few days to add another skill to the queue.

Once the queue is set up on a particular character you can forget about it and not log that character in at all until the training is all completed.

The question is has this training queue change affected the amount of time you spend playing Eve?

IOW, are you logging in less often and/or spending less time playing Eve after the change than before?

If not, is it about the same as before or are you spending *more time now?

Myself, I find I'm spending significantly less time playing Eve now than before. Before I'd check daily to make sure I didn't lose any training time. Most days there were several characters that needed their queues updated. That'd get me logging in and once I was logged in I'd usually decide to do some other things too and wind up spending an hour or two playing Eve.

Now, I don't worry much about skill queues, I check every few days and rarely need to do anything. Not only do I spend far less time playing "skill queue online" but I log in far less often and spend far less time playing the rest of the game too.

How about you? What's your story?

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Sugar for Chairman

The politics for CSM X have begun. Sugar Kyle, who's done a truly excellent job during her first term on CSM 9, has announced her intention to run again for CSM X.

Last year I almost posted a prediction that she as a brand new, relatively unknown first time CSM candidate would finish in 3rd place on the ballots and might even take 2nd. I actually wrote an article predicting that but never posted it.

This time I'll go out on a limb with a bold prediction and make it early. I predict Sugar upsets the well oiled, previously unbeatable goon election machine and takes the number 1 spot away from them.

Now don't make me look silly, make sure you all turn out for the vote and put her in the number 1 slot on all of your ballots!

Good luck Sugar!

Wednesday, 3 December 2014


A few screenshots of what I've been working on lately.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Manipulation Holds PLEX Price Over 850 Million per Unit

Yesterday I mentioned noticing all the PLEX blocking orders on Jita had suddenly disappeared.

When I say "Blocking Order" I mean large volume (typically for 100 units) full regional range buy orders that don't seem to be intended to actually buy any PLEX but rather are there simply to prop the price up and ensure it doesn't drop below a certain value.

There were multiple such orders I've been keeping an eye on for close to a year now. They were always there, everyone else overcut those orders which meant the price of PLEX was always higher than in those orders. Very occasionally they'd bump the price up another notch or two, continually forcing the market higher and higher.

Then after CCP Falcon's announcement on 24 Nov 2014 that as of 01 Jan 2015 input multiplying and broadcasting will become bannable offences (IOW, byebye ISBoxers) the price of PLEX started dropping fast and practically every singe one of those large blocking orders disappeared (most of them before the price dropped to the level they were at).

On the 25th the closest thing left to a blocking order was a station range only buy order for 50 at 770 mil each which was more than 100 million less than the blocking orders had been at the day before and for only half the volume.

Then today (the very next day Nov 26th) I found this.

A new full regional buy order for 100 units has appeared at 850 million per unit. It seems someone has decided to try to keep prices over 850 mil. That's pretty much where prices were a month ago before a recent push to raise them to 1 billion.

Chances are pretty good it'll work too. At least for now. The real effect the new policy is going have on the demand for PLEX won't be known until after Jan 1st when the policy actually comes into effect. Any effect the news about it is having on prices right now is purely based on speculation. After some initial panic and knee jerk reactions from speculators, hoarders and price manipulators things are likely to settle down again...

Until the 1st of Jan anyhow, when the real (and lasting) effects of all this will finally be seen.

This is going to affect the entire economy, not just PLEX prices. Ore and mineral prices are already rising in response to the expectation that all those ISBoxed mining fleets are going to be out of business on Jan 1st. Heck I'm even tempted to buy ore now and I never play the bulk materials markets.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

PLEX Bubble Explodes

Spotted some interesting comments in Jita local today.

Not sure I agree, there's been a big spike in PLEX prices recently and big spikes are almost always followed by a downward correction soon after. Not enough of a correction to call it a bubble explosion or crash yet though.

For now, I'd just call it a downward correction. The price would have to drop back into the 800-850 mil range before I'd even start thinking maybe it might be the start of a crash and a lot lower than that before I'd say it definitely is crashing.

Then again maybe they are right. There does seem to be some momentum building. I've bought quite a few PLEX today without even really trying. It all depends on what happens over the next day or so. If speculators, hoarders and manipulators begin to panic and start dumping stock we could have a crash of epic proportions comparable to the real life gold crash of 1980.

Another Jita local comment found shortly after posting this article.

Here's a link to a thread on the official forums about multiboxing which probably has a lot to do with the drop in PLEX prices.

Update regarding Multiboxing and input automation

In a nutshell, for those who can't be bothered to follow the link and read it, on Jan 1st, 2015 controlling multiple accounts with ISBoxer or with any other method of multiplying and/or broadcasting input to multiple accounts will be a bannable offence (for 30 days the first time and permanently the second time).

Monday, 24 November 2014

800 Billion

I haven't posted a financial report in a couple months because I haven't really been doing much lately. It took nearly two months to make what I usually make in one but I finally broke 800 billion over the weekend... Blew it away in fact!

Normally I spend an hour or two a day (on average) working the market for 30-40 total hours a month. When I do that fairly consistently (without skipping too many days) I make around 50 billion per month after expenses (with expenses of 10-12 billion per month).

Lately however, expenses have been up a fair bit due to grinding standings for lower broker fees. I've been spending billions buying pirate tags for Data Center mission turn-ins for faction standings and paying TSCA to grind specific corporation standings for me. That costs 600 mil - 1 bil per character depending on tag prices for faction standing and 2.75 bil per character for 0-8 corp standing. Lower broker fees will pay off over the long term but for the short term it's a one time sunk cost reducing short term profits.

More recently PLEX prices have gone up significantly but the increased cost there has been more than offset by the fact that I'm using fewer PLEX (none at all right now) for dual training than I used to. I used to pretty much always have at least 2-4 accounts dual training and sometimes more.

Most importantly though, I've been far less active on the market, spending only 10 or 15 hours at it in Oct and another 10 or so in the first half of Nov. Last weekend though I was almost back to normal and it shows in my bottom line. Total net worth went up by more than 25 billion over the weekend.

Of course that doesn't mean I made 25 billion in profit in just a few days, a lot of that sudden increase was due to stock that had been purchased weeks ago but I didn't get around to transporting and posting for resale until last weekend.

I probably won't continue spending an hour or two a day working the market for much longer though. Unless and until that changes I won't be making 50 billion a month and I won't be posting regular monthly financial reports either.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Malma Bot - Part II

Shortly after posting my Market Bots article last week I received the following eve-mail from another player.
about your Market Bots article
From: Name withheld at sender's request
Sent: 2014.11.03 09:24
To: Moxnix Induli,
I just read your "market bots" blog entry, smiled really big, and wanted to share some private words of encouragement.
I petitioned that activity in Genesis, on 2012.08.21
It was closed with the standard "thank you - we'll investigate."
I wish you good luck with your petition.

All I do now is keep a few token buy orders active in Genesis, to cramp his profit. And watch with fading hope, for the day the next highest orders disappear.
I had too much time on my hands, and pressed hard on several orders at all hours.
In my original petition, i noted:  A real player is monitoring the activity.
Frequent buy order increases result in this player raising his usual increase amount, sometimes significantly.
This player will reduce market buy order amount if I "give up" and back down by a significant amount, and there is no other competition.

(not in the old petition, conjecture:)
One of my ship buy orders while "playing" with this... character... went over a threshold, and I was rapidly sold a ship.
I didn't name the name in my original petition, *because* it felt unprovable by me... I just listed a few orders and prices they could reference.
Then some time later, I got this, lol. Same character that sold a ship. Frequently seen in Malma ;)
Bounty placed on you
Sent: 2012.12.14 23:13
Name Withheld placed 50,000,000 ISK in bounty on your head.
I'm active nearly every day... and have lost only ONE ship since this bounty was placed ;)

That was about 2 years ago. I'm quite certain he's talking about the same bot I am since the one I ran across uses exactly the same methods described in this mail.

In other words, the Malma character has been obsessively guarding his business with near instant responses at all hours for at least 2 years. Sure sounds like a bot to me and I have a lot of experience fighting back against bots from back when I played that other game that's even more infested with auction bots than Eve is with market bots.

Though I didn't mention it in my original article (it's always a good idea to keep a few details secret in any investigation) I'm certain there's a real player monitoring the bot too. That's easy to tell when he suddenly raises his prices significantly, cutting by much larger amounts than usual, then goes right back to the usual near instant 0.01 ISK response on most items. Most items that is except the ones where I've already forced him over the bot's usual high price threshold settings.

Oddly enough (that's sarcasm btw) on those items his response is no longer near instant.

Having a few billion sitting in escrow doing basically nothing for the next 3 months (or 3 years if that's what it takes) forcing the bot to buy at, near or over Jita prices really isn't a big deal to me. Now let's see how long the bot can keep it up with his even larger buy orders. If he's bluffing, as they often are with high priced orders for large(ish) volume, it's going cost him a fair bit in lost broker fees when he finally realizes I'm not going away any time soon and cancels his orders.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

The End of Skill Queue Online

Oceanus Phoebe is now live and with the patch comes something I've really been looking forward to, the changes to skills training, in particular the removal of the 24 hour limit to the skill queue.

I've been arguing for longer skill queues for some time but was only hoping for something like allowing 5 skills regardless of the time required to train them all, or maybe being able to add 1 more skill after the 24 hour limit was passed.

Needless to say I was very surprised (pleasantly so) when CCP unexpectedly announced they were removing the time limit for subscribed accounts entirely.

Finally, with a few limitations, I can set up long training queues taking weeks or months to complete without having to check and update the queue on a daily basis!

With 29 characters on 12 accounts (30 if I count a junk gathering character with almost no training) this is going to make training skills a whole lot less hassle for me. In fact it's an encouragement to start filling up the 6 empty character slots.

Trail accounts are still limited to 24 hours, subscribed accounts are not. The only limitations for subscribed accounts now are a maximum of 50 skills total allowed in the queue and the need to have any prerequisites trained before you can put a skill into the queue.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Market Bots

Something I've not mentioned much in the past because it's so hard to prove anything conclusively but Eve markets are thoroughly infested with bots. Cheaters using automated market posting software to constantly, perpetually undercut your sell orders and overcut your buy orders.

It's very difficult for us non-cheaters to prove anything especially since we don't know who's posting which orders unless we play into their hands by buying and selling to their orders just to get a name. Even then in a busy market with multiple orders around the same size it's nearly impossible to keep track of specific orders to figure out which ones are being updated too quickly/frequently and therefore must be bots.

Sometime it's a bit more obvious though. Like very large orders on the main hubs that continually get updated like clockwork all day, week, month, year long. But those are mostly big botters, the experienced "pros" who've been doing it for years. They aren't stupid enough to update too quickly, too frequently or leave any one bot logged in for too long so it's nearly impossible to prove they're bots.

Or even more obvious the obsessive cutter on some backwater station far off the beaten track in one of the less populous regions who's always there cutting your prices within seconds. You can log off for hours, days or even weeks but as soon as you log back in and modify a few prices he'll already be cutting the first ones before you finish the last ones. He'll easily go through 305 orders much faster than humanly possible.

Many of the bots are set so if they cut 3 times in row 5 minutes apart they'll take a break for 3 hours before cutting again. At least one of the Eve bot sellers mentions a feature where it "can tell when someone is screwing with it" and stop cutting for a while (default 3 hours no doubt).

Today I found a very obvious bot working out of Malma I - TransStellar Shipping Storage in Genesis region. I've been wondering for a while why I hardly get any ships from my buy orders on Apanake and Tar, especially since it's mostly just me and one other player buying them... I guess he ran all the rest of the competition off with obsessive, perpetual cuts.

I did have some minor problems with an obsessive cutter on other items in Genesis for a while until he finally realized he wasn't running me off that easy... Especially not on core items I've been working for a long time and know the markets for extremely well. Ships are a bit of a different story, my business in ships is very sporadic, so I didn't realize I was dealing with such an extremely persistent obsessive undercutter in the ship markets.

I finally got around to checking what was going on with my ship buy orders there today. I logged in and updated buy orders for 22 different ships (Mostly T2 and T3) then immediately double checked those same orders. It only took a minute or so to update them all, yet the first ones had already been cut again before I even finished. Long before the 5 minutes when I could modify my orders again was up, every single one of my orders had been cut.

I modified again as soon as possible. Once again the competition had most of them cut by the time I finished. I continued doing this 4 or 5 more times just to see if he'd stop after a few. No such luck, the cycle repeated multiple times over the rest of the day. After the first 5 or 6 times I didn't cut every 5 minutes, I mixed up my timing quite a bit, but I did cut 30 or 40 times in total throughout the day. Every single time, the bot had already cut the first orders before I finished and all of them within a minute or two.

At one point I logged out for 1.5 hours, logged back in, redid the same orders again and got the exact same too quick, too efficient response from the competition again... 3 times in a row 5 minutes apart. It's just not humanly possible to update orders as quickly as he does or to respond as consistently, efficiently and immediately as he does, especially not over long periods of time the way this guy does.

I've no doubt there's a market bot on Malma and he's so obvious about it even CCP should be able to recognize it this time. Hopefully he'll be gone shortly after CCP finally gets around to reading my ticket about it!

Monday, 27 October 2014

PLEX Report - Black Rise in October 2014

Following up on yesterday's post about PLEX breaking the 800 million ISK barrier recently here's an example of the business I've done so far this month on PLEX in just one region, Black Rise.

Business is hot and cold in Black Rise but I find it to be one of the better regions for my dabbling in the PLEX market. There isn't enough volume to attract the really obsessive bots so margins are often much better than on the main hubs.

So far in Oct I've bought 23 PLEX, sold 18 and I just put number 19 up for sale a few minutes ago. The other 4 were used to resubscribe accounts. I made good profits on all of them too with markups ranging from about 32 million up to about 74 million.

I wasn't using 0.01 ISK cuts either. Most of my cuts, especially on the higher priced sales, were in the millions of ISK. Many were cuts of 10 - 20 million and in some cases (like the ones that sold for 840 mil each) I cut by 40 or 50 million.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

PLEX Prices Break the 800 Million Barrier

I've been watching the PLEX market fairly closely since it hit about 750 million. There's plenty of speculation, hoarding and manipulation distorting the picture but the main thing I noticed was there seemed to be a point of resistance at just under 800 million. Call it a barrier, plateau or whatever, but we reached that price point around July of this year.

Speculators, hoarders and manipulators kept trying to push the price over 800 million but whenever it got much over 790 million daily volume would drop and the price would come right back down again. Then suddenly around the middle of October, some of those large blocking orders (big time manipulation) I've mentioned before got raised to 800 mil plus.

Since then the price has gone well over 800 million and so far it's stayed there, however volume has gone down too. It'll be interesting to see what happens next.

Will whoever's responsible for the blocking orders (I suspect the new Somer clone gambling/RMT sites) run out of cash to keep the price propped up?

Will real demand (consumers actually buying PLEX to use rather than for resale, hoarding or speculation) go down as long as prices remain high?

If prices remain high will demand remain down or will there be a resurgence in demand with prices continuing to rise until they hit the next point of resistance?

Edit: fixed some typos, PLEX prices are in the millions, not billions.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Emergent Gamplay - CCP's Rule of Thumb

So it was a slow night in local chat. Somehow the topic had turned to how some things were inexplicably considered "emergent gameplay" while other similar things were considered exploits.

Me, being kind of bored, I just had to throw my 2 cents into the conversation. I said
CCP has a rule of thumb for that. If doing it means you're being an asshole then it's emergent gameplay and that's ok, but if not then it's an exploit and you'll get banned for it.
The funny thing is, even though I was being sarcastic and I doubt it's intentional on CCP's part, there is a lot of truth to that statement.

Bump a miner... Emergent gameplay
Bump a hauler... Emergent gameplay


Sunday, 12 October 2014

Grinding Eve Standings - The Standing Correction Agency

I've been doing a lot of standings grinding lately to lower broker fees.

For faction standings like Caldari State I've been doing Data Center missions (mostly pirate tag turn-ins) which give some fairly substantial standings increases.

For corporation standings (Caldari Navy for example) the usual way is to do missions for the corporation in question. However, unlike with faction standings, corporation standings can be shared with anyone in the same fleet. You don't have to help them do the mission. You don't even have to be in the same system or region. You can be sitting in a station while AFK, all you have to do is be in fleet with them, which means you can hire someone else to the grinding for you.

I did some searching and quickly found a service that specializes in grinding corporation standings. TSCA (The Standing Correction Agency)  has a very good reputation so I decided to give them a try.

The Standing Correction Agency is a business which provides personal standing increases via fleet mechanics for clients. Their normal service is for standings up to 8.0 with corporations only, for example with Caldari Navy, Home Guard, or Ministry of War, but not faction standings like Caldari State or Amarr Empire.

Beyond that, if you want faction standings or corporation standings beyond 8.0 you can always try talking to them about it. They might agree to do it but only on an individually negotiated basis.

After having TSCA grind standings for me on 2 different characters, Republic Security Services 1.5 to 3.0 on one character and Caldari Navy 1.52 to 8.0 on another, I'm very pleased with the service. Everyone involved was courteous, professional and efficient, right from the initial contact with Imiarr Timshae all the way through to the end with the two pilots who did the actual grinding.

I was particularly happy with the Caldari Navy grind. I expected it to take at least a week and probably longer but it only took 3 days. It did help that they had two pilots with 2 characters each working on it for me. Many thanks to Tovar and Drake for getting that done so quickly and for being so friendly during the entire process.

I will almost certainly be using TSCA again in the future and very highly recommend them to anyone else looking for help grinding standings!

BTW, are machs FoTM now? I've been seeing them all over the place lately.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Multisell coming soon

Just a short post to point out a new beta feature: Multisell thread that's up for discussion on the official forums. There isn't a whole lot of information in the thread about exactly what it does yet but I'm crossing my fingers and hoping they'll finally fix the braindead way orders are filled now.

If not they might as well just call it multiripoff instead.

To reiterate what they need to do is change the way the system fills orders so you get the best price of the price you typed in or the price in existing orders.

IOW, if you type in a buy order for 100 at 1 mil each and there are lower priced sell orders, your order will be filled from the lower priced orders at the prices in the sell orders until either your order is completely filled or there are no remaining sell orders equal to or lower than your price. At that point any remaining orders would be listed in a buy order at 1 mil each.

And just the opposite for selling. If you type in a sell order for 10 at 100 mil each, there is a buy order up for 5 at 110 mil each and all other buy orders are under 100 mil, you'd immediately sell 5 for 110 mil each while the remaining 5 would be listed as a sell order at 100 mil each.

Fair to everyone, less susceptible to getting screwed by lag and less favorable for botters who usually have the lowest sell orders and highest buy orders and reap most of the windfall profits with the existing system.

CCP Nerfs Stealth Bombers for Null Babies

Apparently on the test server CCP has nerfed the one thing that works well against the null sec cartels and their overpowered ezmode teleporting, fleet-warping blobs. Stealth Bombers. They've changed Stealth Bombers to decloak when within 2km of each other again.

The null babies cried for stealth bombers to be nerfed and once again CCP is obediently complying with their demands.

The null babies cry that ISBoxing bombers is too easy (and yes it is) but then again ISBoxing anything is too easy. Including capital ships in the null cartel blobs. Why not fix the real problem, the use of ISBoxer, rather than nerfing the one thing that's actually effective for smaller groups trying to fight cartel blobs?

Oh but that wouldn't be fair because all the cartel pilots boxing multiple accounts in those blobs wouldn't be able to do that anymore. And we certainly can't nerf anything the null badies like to (ab)use can we? We just have to make sure it isn't very useful *against* them.

Why not remove fleet-warp since it's just an ezmode way for the cartels to ensure perfect blob drops with everyone landing on target at the exact same moment?

Why not make it so orbiting the Fleet Commander is detrimental rather than optimal? How about making it so having living, breathing, *thinking* pilots behind the keyboard confers some slight advantage over the mindless F1 mashing blob monkeys of the cartels? And how many of those F1 monkeys are using an autoit or ahk script to do the incredibly simple button mashing for them? Why not require a modicum of personal skill from and coordination between individual pilots rather than making everything so damned easy one person can control everything?

OMG, CCP might lose a few null sec F1 blob monkey subscriptions if they can't ISBox all their accounts, teleport and fleet-warp perfectly into fights. But damned if anyone should have an effective countermeasure vs blob drops, nerf the hell out of that!

And while we're at it, lets remove jump capability from capital ships too and put them back into the role extremely large and powerful ships belong in.

Really CCP get your heads out of the sand, stop pandering to the guys that broke null sec in the first place and start listening to the rest of your player base before you lose it entirely and have nothing left besides a few thousand assholes from those awful forums chasing away any new players dumb enough to try the game.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

No Characters in Training!

I dropped the ball playing skill queue online for the first time today. Something that's never happened to me before happened on not just one but two accounts!

So I put social to V in the queue on both accounts. After that the two characters on each account are pretty much done with phases 1 (trade skills) and 2 (int/mem support skills + Prowlers) of my usual training plan. It's almost time to either start training a 3rd character on each account or start training one on each account into bombers and missile skills.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

How to Block a User on Blogspot

Got a problem user who just won't shut up and keeps spamming garbage comments on your Blogger blog?

If he's "following" your blog you can block him and be rid of him.

Bye Lucas, have a nice life. If you show up on another account maybe I'll do what everyone else does to rid their blog's of your presence and go with moderated comments.

Edit: Unlike he claims on his blog (no I'm not going to link it) this isn't about me banning him for not agreeing. It's about him acting like a child, always insisting his opinions are right and everyone who disagrees is stupid.

When someone repeatedly spams comments here calling me stupid, idiot, retarded and autistic because I don't agree with him he's going to wear out his welcome here quickly. That's all there is to it.

Monday, 6 October 2014


I mostly dabble in the PLEX market, moving in when markups are at 30 million plus and dropping out when they're under 20 million. That usually works out to 3-7 days of good business before margins drop under 20 million again.

Usually I wind up buying and selling around 100 PLEX per month at an average profit of about 15 million per unit or about 1.5 billion per month. I want to increase my presence in the PLEX market and start playing the low margin segment of the market (particularly on Jita) more.

My goal is to buy and sell 100 PLEX per day with 0.50% (1/2 of one percent) profit or 5 million profit per unit which works out to 500 million a day or 15 billion a month.

The problem is markups (especially on Jita) are often around 15 million which would be a loss of 3 million per unit with an 0.75% broker fee. I need to get my broker fee down to 0.25% to really make trading PLEX in greater volume viable on Jita. I'm working on that (already have it down to 0.50% and expect to hit the target 0.25% in another 1-2 weeks.

Lately I've been playing the PLEX market more than usual. The last week or so I've been buying and selling 20-30 PLEX per day, mostly at a markup of 30 million plus. For example here are my PLEX sales and purchases since yesterday.

That's 30 PLEX sold and 15 PLEX purchased. But none of them were on Jita where the real volume market is. In fact margins on Jita have been pretty consistently under 20 million for the last month or two so I've hardly done any business in PLEX on Jita lately. It's not much better on the other main hubs either, most of this business was done somewhere other than Jita, Amarr, Dodixie, Rens or Hek.

In the last week, I've bought about 200 PLEX for an average of less than 760 million each and sold them for an average of at least 795 million each. With an average markup of about 35 million and average profit close to 20 million each, that's nearly 4 billion in profits. That's a pretty high markup though, I don't expect to be able to do that all the time. Not even away from the main hubs where virtually all of this business was done. In fact margins are already getting tighter, they'll probably soon be around 20 million again in most places.

The PLEX market seems to have reached a point of resistance in July. People keep trying to drive the price over 800 million and occasionally succeed for a few days before it drops back down again. About once a month there's a big drop and it seems to drop a little lower each time that happens too.

The Forge (Jita) 6 month history
I tend to be a stabilizing influence in the Eve markets. Whenever I make a serious move to capture volume in a given market profit margins tend to drop quickly, spike up and down for a while and finally stabilize at a lower (often much lower) level. Depending on the particular market involved overall price levels might go down significantly too (sometimes so low others call it a crash).

I'll be making a big push into the volume PLEX market soon. It'll be interesting to see how my push and the existing downward price trend interact. Maybe that crash I keep saying could happen will happen.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

PLEX Blunder

Someone made a big mistake today.

5.7 million to buy a PLEX. Not bad, I wish I could get them for that price!

It's too bad CCP won't fix the brain dead order filling code. Things like this should never happen, especially not on Jita.

Support Ticket for Broken Kudi Data Center Agents

So, after waiting a full week for a response my ticket about the broken data center agents in Kudi finally received a response.

CCP has this ridiculous policy against quoting any communications they have with you so I won't do that.

In a nutshell the response said I could not access level 3 data center agents in Kudi because I need 3.0 default standings to access them. That's default, as in unmodified by connections.

Yet every single other data center agent works off standings modified by connections. All the agents at all the other data centers for all 4 major factions. That includes the level 3 agents at the other Amarr data center.

So I added another message and got a prompt response (within a few minutes) thanking me for pointing this out to them and asking me to submit a bug report about it.

I submitted a bug report, hopefully this is the kind of thing that can be fixed easily. It should be a simple matter of changing a variable (the amount of standing required) or flag (whether it's modified or unmodified standing) for each of the agents in question.

It seems like it will be fixed, the only question is how long will it be before they get around to fixing it?

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Hek Standings

Since my Caldari standings grind on the main Jita trader is stuck on broken data center missions I decided to do the opposite faction data center grind on another trader. My Hek trader was the next one to finish training Social V and Connections IV so I did him next.

The standings that matter for Hek broker fees are Minmatar Repulic faction and Boundless Creation corporation. Starting from standings of 0 / 0 I did all of the Minmatar and Gallente Data Center missions and wound up with the following standings.

I was stuck briefly on the last 3 Minmatar missions. I had 3.12 unmodified with Republic Security Services and needed about 4.05 unmodified to get the 5.0 modified I needed to access the last 3 agents.

I contacted TSCA (The Standings Correction Agency) and arranged to have them grind me to 4.05+ for 281.5 million ISK. It took about 2.5 hours (with me AFK the whole time). Then I turned in the last 3 DC missions.

I'm extremely happy with the service TSCA provided and will almost certainly use them extensively in the future. They were prompt, courteous and professional, it was a pleasure dealing with them.

Now with 4.11 unmodified Minmatar Republic standing I have a 0.5% broker fee on Hek, cutting my total cost to buy and sell an item to 1.75% or 0.50% lower than the 2.25% I had with 0 / 0 standings.

I still have 0 standing with Boundless Creation so there's plenty of room for improvement there. I'll probably pay TSCA to grind Boundless Creation to 8.0 for me next.

After that I might run some distribution missions or run some Cosmos missions and/or the SoE epic arc. The combat missions would require bringing along a dps alt or paying someone to dps for me.

Other than the minor hitch with RSS standing I had no problems with the Minmatar/Gallente grind. I was able to complete all of the missions. The actual Data Center missions themselves took about an hour to complete, including travel time, time spent doing the courier missions and buying tags.

It's interesting to note I gained a lot of derived SoE faction too. In fact SoE standing wound up the highest of all, more than with Minmatar or Gallente. For anyone looking to grind SoE standings this is a great way to get over 5.0 modified very quickly. Provided you're willing to shell out around 600 million for all the tags and don't mind the corresponding drop in Caldari/Amarr standings.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Jump Changes

I'm not going to say a whole lot here. The proposed jump changes are a start I guess but they don't go far enough.

The largest, toughest, most powerful ships in the game will still be fast reaction "blob" forces and that's just wrong! The only difference is they'll only be able to react faster than just about anything else within a shorter range, but within that range they'll still reign supreme.

Just like in real life, the drawbacks to really big ships  (besides expense and manning requirements) should be that they're slow, ungainly, difficult to maneuver and highly dependent on consorts and logistics (support and supply lines that is, not magic healing ships).

They're great for defense because they don't have to move very much or very far and it's much easier to support them close to home.

They can be good on offense too, provided they have time to get where the fight is with the necessary consorts along and with proper (hopefully secure) support and supply lines in place. They work well against more or less stationary targets that can't move (or at least can't move quickly) and against other large fleets also containing very large ships.

What they are not is a quick, fast reaction force. They *aren't at all good at catching small, fast forces which can simply evade and stay out of range, though a component of the support fleet consorts may be.

Stop messing around with half measures CCP and do the right thing. Remove jump capability from everything larger than a Black Ops battleship and put capital ships into the role they belong in.

Edit: Found a comment over at Mabricks Mumblings by Druur Monakh who says it better than I did.
In RL, battleships have fallen out of active duty because they are big, lumbering hunks which take ages to get to their destinations, and then easily fall prey to superior numbers of smaller, lighter vessels. Aircraft carriers are big and lumbering as well, but at least they can bring numbers of smaller, lighter vessels with them. But even aircraft carriers are not sent from one end of the globe to the other willy-nilly – the travel takes time, they can be intercepted en-route, and if the carrier is sent over-there, something else has to step in to do the carrier’s former job here.
Druur gets it!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Grinding Broker Fees and Broken Missions

My original intention was to post this after finishing all of the Caldari and Amarr data center missions but I ran into a problem with some of the Amarr missions. I've been waiting several days for a response to a ticket about that. Since I've no idea when I'll get a response, if they'll fix the problem or just say "too bad, HTFU", I figured I might as well post my progress so far.

First I did the Caldari Data Center missions. When I started I only had Connections III and I needed Connections IV for modified standings to access the last 3 agents. I had 4.88 with Home Guard but needed 5.0+, so I waited a couple days for Connections IV to train first.

I could have just done some courier missions for Home Guard instead of waiting but I wanted to see exactly what my standings and broker fees would be after doing nothing but the Caldari Data Center missions.

With Broker Relations V that's standings of 2.21 with Caldari State and 1.52 with Caldari Navy, good for a 0.57% broker fee (0.18 less than with 0 standings). Not bad considering all it takes is about 300 million ISK to buy the tags and 10 minutes to do the missions.

Then I did the Amarr Data Center missions which have more missions covering 3 factions, Amarr Empire, Ammatar Mandate and Khanid Kingdom, all of which give derived Caldari State faction too.

Then I ran into some weirdness at the data center in Kudi system. I got stuck on the 6th mission in Kudi (with Timafa Esihiz for blood raider palladium tags) because I only had 2.73 standing with Ministry of War corporation but needed 3.0. I didn't have any problem with Ammatar Fleet standing in Ferira, in fact I had 4.71 with Ammatar Fleet when I got to palladium tags there, way more than the required 3.0.

Consequently I had to grind 9 level 3 distribution missions with Ministry of War before I could finish. Making matters worse, the main Jita trader is my only trader that doesn't fly Prowlers yet (didn't need to since he never flies transport and hadn't even undocked in over a year) so I was forced to buy a wreathe and fly it for an hour.

I hate flying T1 Industrials, they're SO SLOW!

There were 3 Ministry of War level 3 distribution agents in nearby Andrub (5 jumps from Amarr) so at least finding agents to do the grind with wasn't bad.

The first agent gave a mission with a low sec destination which I declined but the other 2 gave all hi sec destinations. I like how they added a warning if you try to undock without moving the cargo into your ship first. That saved me from myself a couple times.

With that finally done, I returned to Kudi to turn in the rest of my Blood Raider tags. And it still wouldn't let me turn them in! WTH?

So I did a tenth mission to bump my MoW standing to 3.03 just in case it actually needs to be over 3.0 and tried again. Still no joy.

My current standings are:

Assuming I get a useful answer to my ticket (one that allows me to do the rest of the Blood Raider tag turn-ins) my standings will go up a bit further yet. I figure I'll wind up somewhere around 3.5 with Caldari State. Then it'll be time for the Caldari Navy grind which I'll pay someone to do for me.

Cost to buy all the necessary tags for Amarr standing (twice as many as for Caldari) was about the same as for the Caldari missions, around 300 million. Time taken to finish the Amarr turnins (the ones I *could finish) was well over an hour, mostly due to the snafu with Ministry of War standings.

Total cost to buy tags for all the Data Center missions with both Caldari and Ammar, about 600 million ISK. Total time about 3 hours but I could easily cut that to less than an hour.

I entered a ticket about the broken Amarr missions a few days ago, it got actioned today but I'm still waiting for an answer.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Financial Report - September 2014

Financial report for the month of September 2014 (last month).

I make virtually all of my ISK buying and reselling faction/deadspace mods, ships, skill-books and implants with an army of 24 traders covering 19 regions in most of empire space (everywhere except Aridia and Solitude). All my traders are also Blockade Runner pilots, capable of doing their own transport (mostly on autopilot).

This month was my lowest profit in over a year. I only made 16 billion in September.

But I hardly spent any time trading this month, only about 6 hours in total and most of that on one weekend. Expenses were a bit higher than usual this month too. In addition to regular monthly expenses of about 12 billion I donated 5 billion to Mordus Angels and spent roughly 1.5 billion on pirate tags for data center turnins.

Current net worth is 754 billion with roughly half in cash and market escrow. Most of the rest is in sell orders and recently acquired assets I haven't gotten around to posting for sale yet. Very little is in assets I don't intend to sell soon, maybe 5 billion worth of ships and fittings I keep for my own use.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Faction and Corporation Standings Affect on Broker Fees

When working with high volume low margin items a small difference in broker fees can make a large difference in profits. The theoretical lowest possible broker fee is 0.1875% which requires standings of 10 with both the faction and the corporation that owns the station. On Jita (by far the largest market hub in the game) which I'm going to use as an example that's Caldari State (faction) and Caldari Navy (corporation).

But how many players actually have 10 and 10 (or even close) standings? Probably not very many. It's probably better to consider 0.25% (which requires 9 and 9 standings) as the lowest possible broker fee.

Paying the broker fee twice (once for the buy order and once for the sell order) it costs 0.50% in broker fees + 0.75% tax = 1.25% total cost to buy and resell anything. Actually a bit less than that assuming you buy for a bit less than you sell for.

The vast majority of competitors aren't going to have anywhere near those standings or quite that low a broker fee anyhow. A somewhat higher and far more realistically achievable broker fee of 0.30% is possible with standings of 3 Caldari State and 8 Caldari Navy.

That comes out to 0.75% tax + 2 x 0.30% broker fees for a total cost of 1.35%. Only 0.10% higher than with the much harder to get 9 and 9 standings.

With no standings (0 and 0) you pay 0.75% tax + 2 x 0.75% broker fees for a total cost of 2.25%.

I'm going to use those total cost numbers, 1.25%, 1.35% and 2.25%, throughout the rest of this article.

The following is a current real example of how broker fees affect profits on a high priced, high volume, low margin item (PLEX) on the busy Jita market.

The above screenshot was taken just after 7:00 am server time on the 24th of Sept 2014.

The lowest sell order at the time was 785 million and the highest buy order 781 million. Obviously there's no profit to be made buying and reselling PLEX with only 4 million markup. In fact you'd be taking a loss of over 5 million even with perfect standings (10 and 10) for the lowest theoretically possible taxes and fees.

However there are only 6 PLEX in the lowest sell order. The next lowest is 10 million higher and there are plenty more available incrementally higher. It's more realistic to consider the sell price to be 795 million. That's a markup of 14 million which is still unprofitable with 2.25% taxes and fees but is profitable with reduced broker fees lowering the total cost.

Working with a 14 mil markup on a 781 mil buy price for a 795 mil sell price

At 2.25%  you'd pay 17.8875 mil taxes and fees and lose 3.8875 mil
At 1.35% you'd pay 10.7325 mil taxes and fees and make 3.2675 mil
At 1.25% you'd pay 9.9375 mil taxes fees and make 4.0625 mil

That's a 24% increase in profit going from 3.2675 mil at 1.35% to 4.0675 mil at 1.25%.

However, even at 1.25% cost it's still a very slim profit margin of less than half of 1 percent. You'd have to sell a lot of PLEX to make very much total profit at such a low margin. But it still is profitable so you don't have to back off when someone tries to dominate a market and bully everyone else out with low margins.

Then again, PLEX are a high priced (currently in the 750-800 million range), high volume (moving 2500+ per day on Jita) item. If you can buy and sell 100 a day (4% of Jita daily volume) for a profit of 4 million each that'd be 400 million a day and far more than that when margins are higher.

That's with a very small markup though and a really tight margin even for PLEX.

Assuming you aren't overpaying on buy orders you can usually buy and resell PLEX within a reasonable amount of time with a less aggressive 20 mil markup.

With a 20 mil markup on a 780 mil buy price for a 800 mil sell price

At 2.25% taxes and fees would be 18 mil for a profit of 2 mil per PLEX
At 1.35% taxes and fees would be 10.7325 mil for a profit of 9.2675 mil per PLEX
At 1.25% taxes and fees would be 9.9375 mil for a profit of 10.0625 mil per PLEX

Moving 100 a day that'd be

200 million profit
926.75 million profit
1.0625 billion profit

Note with the higher markup going from 1.35% to 1.25% only increases profit by about 8.5% rather than the 24% we saw with a 14 mil markup.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Bulk Purchasing Update

Updated the Bulk Purchasing page today.

- Raised prices on a number of items including most of the T2/T3 ships I buy.
- Lowered minimum stack sizes on many items.
- Made big changes to acceptable delivery locations.
- Added Orvolle to the delivery location list.

Of particular note is provided my minimum stack sizes are met I'll now accept delivery anywhere in contiguous hi sec. Also there's a list of 27 stations (at least one in each contiguous hi sec region) where I'll accept delivery of smaller stacks too (even singles).

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Grinding Jita Broker Fees Down

As promised in yesterday's post here's a followup post detailing how I plan on grinding standings for better broker fees on Jita.

With 0 standings I currently pay a total of 2.25% in taxes and fees (0.75% tax + 2 x 0.75% broker fee) to buy and sell every item I deal in. Taxes are already as low as they can get so the only way to lower my costs is to grind standings for lower broker fees.

Here's a link to a handy Broker Fees Chart

As can be seen in the above chart Faction Standing has a greater effect on broker fees than corporation standing.

I'd like to get total costs (taxes and fees) down to 1.5% or less. I can't lower taxes any further than 0.75% so that just leaves broker fees. Getting broker fees down to 0.55 (before skills modification) or better will do it.

With Broker Relations V that'd be 0.55 x 0.75 = 0.4125% saving me 0.75 - 0.4125 =  0.3375% on every broker fee. Since I pay the Broker Fee twice (once for the buy order and once for the sell order) that would save me a total of 2 x 0.3375 = 0.675% on every item I buy and resell.

Total cost to buy and sell an item would then be 0.75 (tax on the sale) + 0.675 (broker fees) = 1.425% or 0.825% lower than the 2.25% it costs me now with 0 standings.

On Jita 4-4 Caldari Navy Assembly Plant, the standings required to lower broker fees are the Caldari State faction and the Caldari Navy corporation.

To meet my goal of a before skills fee of 0.55 or less I'll need Caldari State at 3 and Caldari Navy at 8. That should be fairly easy to do. If I can get Caldari State 6, the before skills broker fee would be 0.40 modified by Broker Relations to 0.30 for a total cost of 1.35% in taxes and fees, saving me 0.90% and giving me increased profits, especially on low margin items.

Social skills

Several social skills are useful for the standings grind but there's only one that really matters.

Social - The only skill that really matters. Social gives 5% additional standing on every standing gain. It's applied at the time the gain is made and has no effect on prior gains. Training Social all the way to V before doing anything else means the standings grind will go faster (25% faster than without Social and 5% faster than with Social IV).

Connections - Not absolutely necessary since it has no effect on base standings but still handy to have as it modifies base standings allowing access to better agents sooner. The sooner you can talk to higher level agents the faster the grind will go.

Diplomacy - 4% Modifier per level to effective standing towards hostile Agents. Not really necessary but all that Caldari faction means you get derived negative standing with the opposing Gallente and Minmatar factions and their corporations. Diplomacy helps to alleviate that.

Distribution Connections - A moderately expensive book that does nothing to help with standings gains but does give 5% more Loyalty Points per mission. Not at all necessary but what the hey, might as well train it to IV and earn 20% extra LP while grinding.

Negotiation - Again not at all necessary but might as well train it to IV for 20% extra pay too.

The Plan

- Caldari State Standings -

1. Train Social V before doing anything else to maximize standings gains and finish the grind sooner.

2. Start training Connections IV. No need to wait for it to finish since it just modifies base standings for things like agent access and unlike Social has no effect whatsoever on actual standings gains.

3. Do the Caldari Data Center missions. I can buy the necessary Guristas tags (important distinction, that's just plain Guristas, not Dread Guristas) anytime as long as I don't trade any in until after training Social V.

Ahtulaima Data Center

Tillen Matsu and Hosiwo Onima: Courier missions.
Vaktan Sido: x3 Guristas Copper Tag.

Saikanen Data Center

Autaris Pia and Nakkito Ihadechi: Courier missions.
Rokuza Taman: x3 Guristas Copper Tag.

Kamokor Data Center

Korhonomi Oti and Pomari Maara: Courier missions.
Peeta Waikon: x3 Guristas Copper Tag.
Ollen Alulama: x20 Guristas Bronze Tag.
Ichmari Obesa: x20 Guristas Silver Tag.
Kui Hisken: x20 Guristas Brass Tag.
Tojawara Saziras: x20 Guristas Palladium Tag.
Oko Alo: x20 Guristas Gold Tag.
Isu Jokaga: x20 Guristas Electrum Tag.
Ruupas Vonni: x20 Guristas Crystal Tag.
Ozunoa Poskat: x20 Guristas Platinum Tag.
Kanouchi Hisama: x20 Guristas Diamond Tag.

Completing all of the Caldari Data Center missions requires 9 Guristas Copper Tags and 20 of each other tag.

See how high base unmodified standings are at this point. I haven't bothered figuring it out but I'm expecting somewhere between 2 and 3. Hopeful Connections IV will modify base standings enough to access the agents in order but I might have to grind some Distribution missions to help with that.

4. Maybe (strike that) for sure do the Amarr Data Center missions too. Since the Amarr are allies of the Caldari their missions give some Caldari standing too. If I'm interpreting the numbers right (more Amarr missions + larger bonuses and assuming I get half as much Caldari standing) it looks like Amarr DC missions should be worth nearly as much Caldari State standing as Caldari DC missions. I've been told derived standings cap at 7.0 so if I'll need to do Amarr missions while Caldari State standing is still well under 7.0.

5. Do distribution missions for Caldari agents like the so-called Circle Agents. Most distribution missions don't require combat and can be done while AFK.

6. Maybe do the Sisters of Eve epic arc. Though the SoE epic arc does require combat, it grants a lot of faction too and might be worth bringing a dps character along to help with it.

Grind away until Caldari State standings are high enough to make me happy. 8 would be awesome, 6 would be nice but I probably won't have the stomach for grinding that much. I would like to get at least 5 but I have a hunch I'll wind up settling for 3 or 4.

- Caldari Navy Standings -

This part is easy. Since corporation standings can be shared with anyone in fleet, I'll probably just pay a standings grinding service to do it for me. Besides paying a fee, about all I'll have to do is log in, fleet up with the grinder and go AFK.

The service I'm considering using for this is TSCA (The Standings Correction Agency). They charge 2.75 billion for 0 to 8 standing with any corporation. They have a very good reputation with anecdotal evidence suggesting they can get 0-8 done in as little as just 1 week

A bit expensive to be sure but it's a one time (per character) sunk cost I can easily afford. I've lost more than that on a typo.

Progress to date

I started buying Guristas tags with buy orders a few days ago and already have enough to complete several of the missions including the first ones.

I have about 3 days left to finish training Social V before I can start turning tags in.

I've also trained Connections III, Distribution Connections III, Negotiation III, and will train all of them to IV after the all important Social V is done.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Grinding Standings for Lower Broker Fees

In the past I've always eschewed grinding standings to lower broker fees. It's not really necessary unless you're a big player playing the low margin, high volume game on the main hubs.

The thing is in certain markets I am a big player working the high volume, low margin segment of the market.

It's always nice to log in to something like this

That's 44 Sisters Core Probe Launchers purchased at a decent price in about a day and a half. I'll probably wind up selling them for an average of around 40 million each. Or I could do a quick flip and resell them all very quickly right where they are for around 37 mil each (give or take a mil or so either way depending on how the competition reacts).

The nice part about the quick flip is while I'd be cutting the profit per item by at least half, I'd get the ISK back quickly to reinvest and I'd probably buy a whole lot more sooner. If I can buy more than twice as many in the same timeframe then that's more profitable.

The catch is the longer I do that, the tighter the margins become. Eventually it gets to the point it's not really worth the time it takes anymore. That's were faction and corps standings come into play.

With maxed skills in Accounting and Broker Relations but 0 faction/corp standings I pay 0.75% (3/4ths of 1 percent) tax on every sale and I pay 0.75% broker fees on both buy and sell orders (IOW, I pay the broker fee twice, once to buy and once to sell). That's a total cost of 0.75 + 0.75 + 0.75 = 2.25% or actually a bit less assuming I buy for less than I sell for. To keep the math simple I work with 2%, anything much over 2% is profitable, anything around 2% is break even (or close enough it doesn't matter) and anything under 2% is unprofitable.

Faction standings and standings with the corporation that owns the station can lower broker fees a further half a percent from 0.75% to 0.25% making the total cost 0.25 +0.25 + 0.75 = 1.25% or a full 1% lower total cost.

Now if I'm paying 35 mil (as above) and reselling for 40 mil, that's 5 mil profit before taxes and fees or about 14% profit. With roughly 750k (simple math not an exact number) in taxes and fees that leaves about 4.25 mil in profit or about 12.14% profit. Not too shabby.

Grinding standings for 1.25% costs would change that to around 500k cost or 250k more profit. for a total profit per item of about 4.5 mil or 12.8%. A total increase of about 0.64%, not a whole lot. I make 40+ billion a month and though I can't say for certain what my average profit margins are, 12% is probably pretty close. Increasing those profits by 0.64% per item across the board would result in a 0.64 / 12.8 = 5% increase in profits for about 2+ billion in additional profits. Hardly worth the effort required to grind standings considering I'd have to grind standings on 25 traders to realize the full 2 billion.

However that's with good profit margins.

If my average markup is only 5%, after taxes and fees profits work out to 5 - 2.25 = 2.75% with 0 standings and 5 - 1.25 =  3.75% with high standings. In that case profits would increase by 3.75 / 2.75 = 1.366... or roughly 36.6% higher. Now that's looking a lot better, more than 1/3 increased profits. If my average profit now was only 2.75% for 40 bil in total profits then grinding the standing for 1.25% taxes and fees would increase my profits to 40 x 1.36 = 56 bil.

That's an increase of 16 bil per month, I'd still have to grind standings on 25 characters to realize all of it. 16 bil / 25 = 640 mil per character. Still not a whole lot but some characters do more business than others. It'd probably be good for more than a billion a month on several which might make it worth grinding standings on them. Plus I could do more volume at lower markup and still make some profit, particularly on Jita.

The lower the markup the larger increase that extra 1% is going to generate. With a profit margin of 3.25% before taxes and fees that only leaves 1% profit after taxes, chopping another 1% off cost would increase profit from 1% to 2% for a 100% increase in profit. Of course volumes would have to have to be much higher than they need to be at 12% to make up for the lower profit per item.

I'm going to try it on my main Jita trader. I probably won't grind enough to reduce costs from 2.25% all the way down to 1.25% but I can probably get total costs down around 1.5% without too much grinding. If it works out well I might start grinding standings on as many as 5 or 6 other traders too.

I'll follow up soon with another post laying out just exactly how I plan to grind those faction and corporation standings.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Basic Skills Training for Blockade Runners

As you may have noticed if you follow this blog much, I really like Blockade Runners. Blockade Runners are awesome, they're small, fast, agile, can warp while cloaked and cannot be cargo scanned, all of which makes them fantastic for hauling valuable not too bulky cargo around quickly and in relative safety.

Technically speaking you can get into a BR with just under 1 month of training. But that's just to sit in it, to fit and fly it half decently you need closer to 2 months worth of skills.

The following is the basic BR training plan I follow on all my alts.

The training time near the bottom of this post is for a new character with the default attribute map, no implants and no skills pre-trained except social I and contracting I. Of course you can lower training time with implants and attribute remaps.

Minmatar Industrial I - V
Industry I - V
Transport Ships I

The above are the 3 skills you must have just to sit in a blockade runner. They take 29 days, 15 hours and 56 minutes to train. I fly Prowlers so I train Minmatar Industrial, naturally if you want to fly a different flavor of BR you'd have to train the applicable racial industrial ship skill for that ship.

Transport Ships II - III
CPU Management IV
Cloaking I - IV
Power Grid Management IV

These 4 skills are pretty much essential too. You need Cloaking IV to fit a Covert Ops Cloaking Device and if you're flying a BR without a covert cloak you need to have your head checked. CPU Management IV is a prereq for Cloaking, you'll need Transport Ships III for the 20% per level reduction to cloaking devices CPU requirement and you'll have problems fitting your BR properly unless you have Power Grid Management IV too.

The rest are what I consider bare minimum skills to fit and fly a BR half decently. While you can get by with even lower skills and you could even skip some of them altogether, I wouldn't recommend either. It only takes another 10 days to train them all anyhow.

Hull Upgrades I - II
Capacitor Management I - III
Capacitor Systems Operation I - III
Electronics Upgrades I - III
Energy Grid Upgrades I - III
Acceleration Control I - III
Evasive Maneuvering I - III
Afterburner I - III
High Speed Maneuvering I - III
Warp Drive Operation I - III
Mechanics III
Jury Rigging I - III
Astronautics Rigging I - III
Shield Management I - III
Shield Operation I - III
Shield Upgrades I - III
Tactical Shield Manipulation I - IV

23 unique skills, 68 skill levels; Total time: 49 days, 2 hours, 2 minutes, 28 seconds; Cost: 35,305,500
N.B. Skill costs are based on CCP's database and are indicative only

This is just a basic training plan. After it's finished if you're going to use your BR very much I highly recommend training every skill in the plan to at least IV and several to V. Evasive Maneuvering, Navigation (which isn't in the basic plan since you start with Navigation III anyhow) and Warp Drive Operation should be the first skills trained to V. In fact after completing the basic plan I usually train Evasive Maneuvering IV and V before anything else because it's so important for fast align times.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Crime and Punishment in Eve Online

Being a criminal is too easy. Besides being too easy, gate camping / station camping is about as lame as it gets. Conflict should be moved away from the gates and stations, out to the belts, moons and anomalies while travel between gates and stations (in hi sec anyhow) should be relatively safe.

After all you'd think the mighty empires of space would protect the trade routes that are the lifeblood of the economies that made them mighty. Gankers camping the station undock in Jita is comparable to fleets of pirates sitting right off the docks of London picking off merchant galleons in the 1700s or 1800s. Britain wouldn't tolerate it and neither should the Caldari.

There should be more meaningful consequences for ganking in hi sec. Like for starters losing docking privileges, having cargo confiscated when caught by police or in extreme cases involving the most hardened criminals (the ones with the worst security status) having other assets confiscated too.

That could all be done on a system by system and faction by faction basis based on both security status and faction standings. The lower the security status and/or faction standing the more severe and more widespread the repercussions.

It shouldn't be at all easy for gankers to repair faction standings either, especially not as more crimes have been committed and standings get lower. Once faction standing is low enough, they should be a free target for other players that increases their killer's standing with the same faction. Criminals with low standing should be kill on sight for faction police / concord who will see them (even when cloaked) if they go anywhere near a hi sec gate or station. Escaping police should be allowed but if they fire back on the police then concord comes.

The hard lines between hi, low and null should be more blurred too. For example as system security status gets lower the police (backed up by concord) would still protect the gates and stations but be less likely to respond to trouble out in the belts. Say 100% in 1.0, 80% in 0.7-0.9, 50% in 0.6 and 40% in 0.5.

As system security gets lower there'd be fewer police around too, it would take them longer to find a criminal, making it easier for criminals to evade them. And of course Concord would respond more slowly too, just like now.

It'd be nice if there was a chance (even a small one, perhaps requiring a high level of criminal activity) of concord responding to trouble on the other side of a hi to low/null gate too. And once there, they'd stick around for a while too. Setting up a camp at chokepoints like EC-P8R, Auenenen or Gondista would suddenly be just a little bit riskier.


1. This started out as a comment I made on another blog that I figured was worth fleshing out a bit more and making a post out of.

2. With one exception (the other side of hi to low/null gates) all of this would apply to hi sec and hi sec only. Low and null would be another story.