Wednesday 24 April 2013

Sheep and Lemmings

Sheep and lemmings are herd animals and herd animals follow the leader. Sheep do have self preservation instincts but lemmings will blindly follow the leader right off a cliff!

Many traders / auctioneers in MMOs behave like sheep and lemmings. I've written on this topic before on my old blog for that other game I played before Eve. This is a re-write of that old post.


Sheep like to play it safe. They don't come up with any ideas of their own. They just follow someone else's lead, whether it's the lead of a rich trader, some blog author or just following to the letter some old guide full of outdated ideas and information.

Some sheep follow the  lead of other players, others just dive right into whatever the latest post on their favorite blog says will make them "lots of ISK"... Without knowing a thing about the market, doing any research or testing first.

They can't understand why it never seems as profitable as for them as the player / blog author says.

It doesn't work as well because whenever a popular blog posts about something a whole lot of new people dive into it headfirst. Also keep in mind anyone offering unsolicited friendly advice out of the blue probably has ulterior motives and may not have your best interests in mind.


It might take a while but sheep usually do notice if they're losing ISK and will eventually leave unprofitable or low profit markets.

Lemmings on the other hand don't even seem to realize when they're losing ISK hand over fist. They'll just keep on going right over the cliff. You can take advantage of lemmings simply by using large undercuts and squeezing sell prices down further and further. Lemmings just keep on undercutting (by 0.01 ISK of course) until you drive prices low enough to buy them out and reset the price.

Other Points

Sheep and Lemmings mostly bleat the camper's "buy low, sell high" mantra, mindlessly droning on about how "0.01 ISK undercuts keep prices high so we all make more" while ridiculing better, more advanced, less time intensive strategies.

There's a reason that rich trader friend keeps telling you (and everyone else) to undercut by 0.01 ISK... Most likely it's because he's a no-lifer, botter, or both and everyone blindly following that advice makes him richer, not you or anyone else who doesn't camp the market perpetually like he does.

Market leaders are trend setters, not followers. They increase profits by thinking for themselves, identifying trends early and jumping on them before the herd notices and blindly follows. Leaders research, speculate, make plans and take calculated risks. They even <gasp> lose ISK at times but the speculation and risk taking pays off for them more often than not. They aren't afraid to experiment with new/different strategies or cut their losses and bail out when a particular investment isn't working out either.

The way I see it is if I don't get stuck with the occasional loss from time to time then I'm not taking enough risk and not making as much as I could be.

If after playing the market for a while you still can't spot the sheep and lemmings then you probably are one. Stop following the herd, lead instead of following and start making more ISK!


  1. To be fair I usually tell people just starting out in trading to 0.01 isk if I don't think they're ready for the long-winded market velocity lecture.

    1. I'd ask if you're a sheep or a lemming but some readers might not get the joke.

      You bring up a good point though. I was referring more to the ones that argue 0.01 cuts are the only way to go. The ones that insist anything else is stupid and "hurts profits" or "kills the market".

  2. Though I can agree with the sentiment, I think you are painting with a broad brush here.

    There are an infinite number of possibilities to play the market as you see fit. Personally, I prey on the 0.01 ISK game and the larger trends with T2 MFG. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

    Also, I don't think you HAVE to set trends to make ungodly amounts of money. I've made my personal fortunes on sucking out as much ISK while bubbles are high. It does require stronger tools to play my way though.

    The art is leaving the herd before they run off the cliff. But MFG is a totally different set of goals/paradigms compared to pure trading.

    1. Sounds to me like you're identifying trends early and jumping on them before the herd.

    2. You know, MoxNix? I did notice that about trends. But now I'm past childhood, I no longer follow trends because it seems many other folks want to cling to them like there's no tomorrow. And so, I adhere to individualism instead of collectivism from now on.

  3. Dude don't compare things to a subject you KNOW NOTHING ABOUT, Lemmings do not blindly follow each other off cliffs and to their death. The problem is you're an idiot and you know less than zero about this animal except the staged Disney story of lemmings.... you may as well be talking about the physics equations that explain the point of singularity because you know the same about both. NADA.

    1. He or she - most likely, he - was using metaphors, you numbskull! It's ironic that you called him an idiot when you're the one here.

      You see? MoxNix is right about sheep and lemmings, which he based on stereotypes and not real live animals!

      So shut the hell up if you can't stand this blog, dumb-ass!

    2. Another thing that I want to you, dipshit, is that there are metaphorical sheep and lemmings in the world. I should know as I observed them, especially in extroverts. It's as if all those outgoing and judgmental asswipes want everyone to conform mindlessly to their standards 'cause they act like they rule the world. And that especially happens in school for teenagers.

    3. Oh shut the hell up, you lyin' troll. If you hate what MoxNix posted, then get the hell off o' here.

  4. Let's see now.

    I do know it's a metaphor based on an on Norwegian folklore that's been around for centuries... A lot longer than Disney's existed.