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.