Wednesday 2 January 2013

Trading for New Players

New players start out nearly broke and often have trouble making ISK at first. One million ISK is next to nothing once you've been playing for a while but it can seem like an awful lot to new players. Trading is the best way for new players to turn a little ISK into a lot of ISK.

Experienced players usually tell new players to mine, rat, salvage or grind missions to make ISK. The problem with those methods is they all scale mostly with time. You need time for skills training and rep grinding before you start making decent ISK. You need better ships, weapons, fittings, etc., which not only take time but cost more ISK.

If they do mention Trading, about all they say is "Buy low, sell high" or "undercut by 0.01 ISK to maximize profits".

Most players seem to think buy low sell high means insanely low buy prices and ridiculously high buy prices. It even works if you don't mind babysitting your orders for hours at a time and updating them every 5 minutes like a machine... The perfect strat for no-lifers and bots.

For the rest of us who don't want to spend all our game time camping the market about all 0.01 undercuts do is ensure our stuff doesn't sell. Using 0.01 cuts just plays into the hands of the no-lifers and bots. If you only undercut them by 0.01 they'll gladly undercut you right back by 0.01 ISK  (usually within seconds) and keep doing it forever. What works best for me is updating orders once or twice a day with cuts around 10% of the difference between the highest buy order and the lowest sell order.

The no-lifers and bots will sometimes leave large cuts be especially if your orders are only for singles or doubles and not large stacks. Even if they keep undercutting for a while yet, after a few days of big cuts profit margins will usually be slim enough most of the bots drop out and go looking for bigger profits elsewhere.

Trade mostly scales with how much ISK you invest in the market. The more you invest, the more you make. If you make 10% a day, your money doubles every 7-8 days. You'll make more ISK (a LOT more) selling several per day at 5-10% profit than selling 1 a month at 100% profit.

My own personal experience was it took me less than a week to make my first 500 million from scratch. After that my money doubled every 10 days (very consistently) until I hit about 25 billion. Then it slowed down, mostly because it was starting to take too much time updating all orders on all characters every day.

For a little while I just updated about half my orders every day but that was taking too much time too so I switched from regional trading to straight station trading on most characters. Not long after that most of my traders got Wholesale V and Tycoon IV, more than doubling the number of orders. Between all my traders I had over 2000 orders and updating all of them was taking too much time too so I changed my routine again.

Now I run 2 regional (10 jump buy order) traders and 6 station traders with 2 inactive traders (my main and the least trained trade alt). On average I'll update sell orders on about half the characters most days. Buy orders get updated more sporadically, anything I have in stock gets updated at the same time as sell orders, the rest only gets updated once or twice a week.

My next time saving step will probably be to go back to lowball lower priced regional (only 10 or 20 jump though) buy orders on most characters. A lot less work on a daily basis and less total profit but far larger profit margins per item.

Contracting (other than using contracts to move items between characters) is beyond the scope of this article.

Skill Mapping

Your basic attributes (Charisma, Intelligence, Memory, Willpower, Perception) can be remapped taking points out of some areas and putting them into other areas to optimize training time for specific skill sets. Attribute remaps shouldn't be done lightly, you only get one per year, plus two bonus remaps.

IMO you should only remap if either:

1) It's the main character on the account, you have a long term plan and will be staying in the remap for at least 6 months (preferably even longer), or

2) It's an alt (not the main character on the account), you'll be in the remap for a few months to get a specific set of skills trained (Trade skills for example) and won't be doing any further training that'll require another remap for a long time (ideally not until after the yearly remap cooldown resets).

For accounts with 3 alts that all share training queue time roughly equally there is no real main character. In that case I spend 4 months on each alt training skills. By the time they all finish training a year has passed and they all have another yearly remap.

For brand new players on their very first eve online characters I recommend you DO NOT REMAP until you've been playing for at least 3 months. You'll probably wind up training a lot of different things in the first few months so a remap really won't help very much anyhow. It's more likely blowing remaps early will actually slow down your training over the long run because later you won't have a remap available when you could really use one. Also, while you might think you want to train one way at first, by the time you're 3 months in and know more about the game, you'll probably have completely different plans than you had in the beginning.

Save those remaps until you're certain you'll make good use of them!

It's always a good idea to train Cybernetics before anything else so you can use attribute implants to speed up the rest of your training a bit more. If the remap has fewer combined points in Intelligence and Memory than your current attributes then train Cybernetics before remapping, otherwise remap first and then train Cybernetics to save a little more time. Cybernetics I allows you to use +3 attribute implants, IV is necessary for +4 implants and V for +5 implants. For most characters I or IV is all you want, V takes a long time to train and probably isn't worth it for most alts.

Since we're talking about trade skills here we'll be remapping Charisma/Memory. That's marginally better for training Cybernetics than the default attributes new characters start out with so you'll want to remap first and then train Cybernetics.

For trade skills the attributes used are Charisma, Memory and Willpower. The best remap is Charisma/Memory so that's what we'll use here.

You could cut another 5 days off this plan by using 2 remaps (more on this later) but IMO it's not worth blowing a bonus remap just to save 5 more days on a relatively short skill plan. If you do so you'll probably regret it later when you need to train something else and could really use another remap. Saving that remap for later can easily save you 40 or 50 days per year on long skill plans.

Skill Training Plan

Based on my own experience training trade skills on 10 characters this is what I feel is the best training plan for trade skills.

You could shave another 5 days off the plan by using 2 remaps, Willpower/Charisma  to train all the skills with willpower as the primary attribute to V first and then Charisma/Memory for all the rest, but there are a couple problems with that. First, I don't think it's worth blowing a remap just to save 5 days and second, the character becomes a useful trader with a well rounded basic skill set quite a bit sooner following this plan.

Remap Charisma 27, Memory 21 and start training:

Cybernetics I

plug in +3 Charisma, Memory and Willpower implants. On a brand new character you might want to consider a Cerebral Accelerator too (+3 to all 5 attributes for 35 days) if you can afford it.

Train in the following order:

Social I
Contracting I (requires Social I)
Trade I - IV
Retail I - IV (requires Trade II)
Accounting I - IV (requires Trade IV)
Margin Trading I - IV (requires Accounting IV)
Broker Relations I - IV (requires Trade II)

Retail V
Marketing I - II (requires Trade II)
Wholesale I - IV (requires Marketing II and Retail V)

Margin Trading V

Marketing III - IV
Wholesale V
Tycoon I - IV (requires Wholesale V and Marketing IV)

Acounting V
Broker Relations V

That'll give you 269 active orders with all money skills maxed. If you don't need or want the entire plan  I've put breaks in the list at the most sensible points to stop training at. If you want the maximum possible number of active orders (305) then train:

Tycoon V
Trade V

If you want/need remote order skills too then train the following (anytime after Margin Trading IV):

Daytrading I - IV (requires Trade IV)
Marketing I - IV (requires Trade II)
Procurement I - IV (requires Marketing II)
Visibility I - IV (requires Procurement IV)

That'll give you 20 jump range on all remote order skills. If you want/need full regional range on remote skills then train your remote skills to V (preferably after Tycoon IV):

Daytrading V
Marketing V
Procurement V
Visibility V

TLDR version: Trading is one of the most profitable professions in Eve with low entry requirements making it ideal for new players. 0.01 ISK cuts are for no-lifers and bots. If you're not a no-lifer or bot don't play their game, all that'll do is ensure your stuff sells very poorly if at all.


  1. Mox,
    I just started an account using my brother's power of two. He was kind enough to give me 100 mil isk half of which went to +3 implants.
    So I have about 50 mil isk and am training up per your recommended way above (LOVE the write up by the way. Thank you!

    I was planning on regional trading till I was able to get enough capital to start station trading.

    I'm in Lonetrek right now - I threw about 30 million into buy orders for a few things, some of which are working and some are not.
    Should I stay in one Region?
    Is Lonetrek a good one?
    Is 20 jump buy orders too large? (starting to realize that mistake now).
    What are some good items for a trader with low capital?
    Are there any 'beginner' items you'd recommend?

  2. Good to hear you found the article helpful. To answer your questions.

    With one character you should stick to one region. As you get more characters put them in different regions. However since the region you're in does not contain a major trade hub, as you get bigger you might want to start selling some of it on the nearest hub (Jita in your case).

    I might regret answering this one but yes Lonetrek is a good region. In fact IMO it's the best region that doesn't have a major hub and in many ways the best region period.

    That really depends on how much travelling you want to do picking things up. For someone new to trading even full regional is fine. The larger your range the more low priced things you'll buy and the more profit you'll make but you'll have to spend more time travelling. The other important thing to be aware of is how much you're getting in low and null, particularly how much of it is in or behind major gatecamps at EC-P8R and Auenenen. Personally I'd recommend a new trader go with full regional to start and adjust things to suit as he gets bigger.

    I had a lot of success in the beginning with tourists (which were ridiculously high priced on jita at the time) and soil (usually small but very consistent profits). Those 2 particular items pretty much require a big slow industrial to haul them around with though.

    With 50 mil to play with already I would't bother with soil and tourists unless they're extremely high priced right now. Good items for you would be best named mods and lower end skill books. Things you buy often for your own use chances are others do too so try buying a few of them cheap and resell them at reasonable prices. I say buy low, sell reasonable because you want to move things fast and reinvest the isk, not sit on it for days, weeks or months trying to squeeze a little more profit out of it.

    For books, I'd stick to books worth under 1 mil each at first. Get the hang of it on the cheap stuff and move into the expensive stuff later.

    High Speed Maneuvering was one I had a lot of success with early on. I bought them for 75k - 150k and sold them for 350k-500k.

    Also if your running low on cash and still have some buy orders left put up a bunch of lowball orders for expensive stuff. Think of them as sort of like lottery tickets, they don't always hit but when one does hit it's nice! Several of my alts started on shoe string budgets of 5 or 10 mil and really got going when lowball orders for Tycoon books came in. I bought at least 5 or 6 Tycoon books for 1 million or less each that way.

  3. oh yeah and put in a lowball order for Margin Trading now... it's the most expensive of the early books so get it cheap if you can.