Tuesday 27 August 2013

Mindlink Price Crash Reminder

It's official now, Odyssey 1.1 will be released on Tuesday September 3rd.

That's only 1 week away from today.

This is a reminder that in Odyssey 1.1 Mindlinks will be available from Concord LP stores. Expect a flood of mindlinks on the market and a resultant price crash

Mining Foreman Mindlinks in particular will crash hard. They're currently priced over a billion and are expected to go for around 75 mil after the patch. It wouldn't surprise me if they go for even less than that for the first few weeks after the patch.

If you were planning on buying a Mining Foreman Mindlink in the near future hold off for a week or so and save yourself over a billion ISK.

If you're sitting on a stockpile of Mining Foreman Mindlinks start dumping them now and get what you can for them before they crash hard.

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Secrets of Lonetrek

Maybe it's not exactly a secret but it isn't common knowledge either. Lonetrek Region is one of the best trading regions in the game.

It was the region I started my first character in, it's been very good to me, without a doubt my most consistently reliable and probably my most profitable region. I still work it to this day and continue to make good profits there.

Lonetrek is where early in my trading career I purchased a titan book for 4.49 million and made over 4 billion profit flipping it to a Jita buy order. That one deal increased my net worth at the time by half (from 8 to 12 billion).

Similar to Jita you can buy and sell just about anything here with the big difference being the market is spread out all over the entire region rather than being concentrated mostly on a single station. There aren't anywhere near as many no-lifers and bots working Lonetrek as there are on Jita either which can make it easier to move items even though the overall market isn't nearly as large as Jita's.

Lonetrek doesn't have a main hub but shouldn't be overlooked because of that. It's a big region, a starter region and one of the most populous regions in the entire game, all of which make it a terrific place for trading.

Though Lonetrek doesn't have a main hub it does have more secondary and small hubs than any other region in the game (even including The Forge).

Sobaseki, the largest trade hub in the region, is only 1 jump from Jita. There are actually several stations traders use in Sobaseki, the big one is Sobaseki VII Caldari Navy Logistic Support. Sobaseki being only 1 jump from Jita catches most of the through traffic heading to and from Jita. Several of the other hubs tend to have more pilots docked and active, they can be good strategic locations for intercepting traffic and relieving travelers of loot before they get to Sobaseki (or ultimately Jita).

To name some of the other good trading systems in the region, Umokka, Funtanainen, Kakakela, Lidoken,Torrinos, Nonni, Tunttaris, Nourvukaiken. There are many other small hubs, the region is so populous you can buy and sell from practically any station successfully, you'll just be more successful in the systems where players congregate in greater numbers than in others... The travel chokepoints, regional gates, level 3/4 mission systems, systems containing deadspace complexes, starter systems, systems with plenty of asteroids and so on.

There's a bit of everything in Lonetrek for everyone from day 1 newbies to bitter vets flying expensive faction fit battleships, T2 and T3 ships. As such it's terrific for new players looking to get into trading. You can trade almost anything profitably in Lonetrek. Anything from dirt cheap starter items like Soil and Tourists all the way up to ships, mods and implants costing hundreds of millions or even billions.

Gatecamps and other dangerous places.

EC-P8R and Aunenen are the major gatecamps in the area. If you haven't already done so, add them to your avoidance list now. While you're at it you might as well add Amamake and Rancer too (2 of the most dangerous low sec camps in other areas).

Aunenen is a lowsec system in Lonetrek that's on the default route to a big chunk of low sec. Going around Aunenen usually means making the trip a lot longer.

EC-P8R (often referred to as easypater) isn't actually in Lonetrek (it's in null) but it's on the shortest path to a part of Lonetrek. The Torrinos to EC-P8R gate is a high to null gate. The EC side is the most notorious gate camp in the entire game. It's nearly always camped by large gangs.

Both camps often contain instalockers and smartbomb spamming battleships. If they're alert it can be very difficult to run the camp even in small, fast ships. Cloaked Covert Ops frigates aren't a get out of jail free card when there's smartbomb spam on the gate. In EC-P8R you have to worry about bubbles too, usually there are a bunch of bubbles there.

If you really must run one of these camps your best bet would be in a heavily tanked T3 cruiser with covert ops cloak and interdiction nullifier.

Litiura is an 0.5 system in Lonetrek on the route to the north and is often camped by gankers looking for easy targets worth getting concorded for. You don't really need to avoid Litiura, it's not all that dangerous, but just to be safe it's best not to autopilot through it if you're carrying anything worth very much. Litiura is a chokepoint on the route to both EC-P8R and Aunenen as well as their associated hi sec trade hubs on Torrinos and Nonni respectively (expect scouts for those camps in Litiura). Dotlan doesn't show it but IIRC Litiura has a deadspace complex too.

Sunday 18 August 2013

Keeping Track of Where Your ISK Is

jEveAssets is an asset manager for Eve written in Java (hence the j). It's the tool I use to keep track of my assets, how much ISK I have, where it's invested, what it's invested in and which character(s) everything is on. In fact it's the only market tool I use unless you count EveMon as a market tool.

jEveassets has a bunch of "Tools" menu items, each of which open tabs that display a lot of information in various different formats. I mostly use 3 tool tabs, Values, Tracker and ISK.

Values gives an overall snapshot of how much ISK you have and where it is in general (wallet, escrow, assets, etc) right now. It show's Grand Totals and per character / corporation. The screenshots I post in my monthly financial reports are the top half of the Grand Totals section of the Values tab.

Tracker gives grand totals info over time in graph format. It's terrific for tracking trends like how quickly your wealth is growing and whether growth is accelerating or slowing down. I post screenshots of Tracker sometimes too. Note you can delete data points from the graph by double clicking a point.

Both Values and Tracker are handy and for a long time they're all I used but as I got bigger the ISK tab kept getting more and more useful. Now I use it all the time to help me decide which characters to log onto in what order and what to do on each of them.

The ISK tab gives a lot of useful information on a character by character basis all presented in a nice column sortable list.

Click to Enlarge

Note there is another column to the left with the characters' names, a row for each character. I didn't include that name column because I don't want the names of my characters made public. That'd be bad for business (my business that is, not ganker business).

Double clicking any of the column headers (Total, Wallet Balance, etc.) will select that column. Once selected the column can be sorted with a single click. You can sort in ascending order (lowest value at the top) or descending order (highest at the top). To toggle between ascending and descending order just click the header again.

You can also rearrange the order of the columns simply clicking and dragging the headers.

I find the Wallet Balance, Assets, Sell Orders and Escrows columns particularly useful.

Wallet Balance is great for seeing which characters have too much or too little ISK and figuring out where to shift ISK around between characters.

Assets is great for seeing which characters have a lot of stock that needs posting and depending on whether it's a station trader or a regional trader may need transport too.

Sell Orders tells me which characters have the most stock listed. That helps me decide which characters I need to update orders on to sell things faster or maybe I'm sending too much stock to a particular location.

Escrow tells me how much I have invested into buy orders on each station. A character with low escrow numbers usually means I need to post more buy orders. The ones with zero in escrow, either aren't traders or are traders in training (they don't have Margin Trading V or enough orders yet).

There are more tabs not shown in the screenshot above, the 6 that are shown are the ones I find by far the most useful.

To ensure you're working with good price data open the Options menu and check the settings under price data. I suggest setting it to use Jita prices as in the screenshot below but if you aren't on Jita and Jita isn't part of your trade empire you might be better off using data from somewhere else.

Just make sure it isn't set to something silly, like some un-populated system way out in the middle of nowhere nullsec.

The midpoint setting as far as I can tell seems to use a price midway between sell and buy prices.

Friday 16 August 2013

Brain Dead Order Entry System Strikes Again

Eves's brain dead order entry system burned me again today.

I really wish CCP would get off their butts and fix this retarded, unrealistic, ass backwards system.

CCP likes to talk about how they take such a hard line stance against bots and other forms of cheating. Yet they continue to bury their heads in the sand and ignore a poorly thought out unrealistic mechanic that only benefits bots (bots don't make typos so it never hurts them) and hurts honest players who don't cheat.

It'd be so easy to fix too.

Assuming marginally competent programmers it should be a simple matter of changing a couple simple conditional logic statements to do the opposite of what they do now. It shouldn't take anything much more complicated than changing a conditional operator or moving some variables around in a couple places (one for buy orders, another for sell orders). If it takes much more than that then not only is the code a mess but the programmers who wrote it in the first place had to be incompetent.

Thursday 15 August 2013

Public Courier Contracts

In the last week I've expanded to 6 new regions which means I'm buying a lot more stuff and it's spread out over a much larger area. Since I want to spend less time flying around picking stuff up, not more, I had to try something different to cut the time down.

In the past I rarely used public courier contracts but for the last week I've been using them a lot more, especially in the larger regions and in or near low sec PvP areas.

I'll fly around gathering up buys in a small area and dropping them off in 500 mil+ lots somewhere convenient. Then I courier the whole lot to my main base of operations in the region and continue doing pickups without having to fly back to base all the time.

I make long trips to and from base far less frequently and I can do all the long trips on autopilot without fretting since I'm always flying them empty now.

Any station that has stuff on it worth about 500 mil or more I just courier to my base in the first place without even leaving base.

Anything way out in the middle of nowhere 15 or 20 jumps away from base and far from any other pickups I'll just courier to the closest station I get a lot of stuff at. Assuming doing so is profitable, otherwise I'll just post it for sale right where it is.

For items acquired in low sec I've started using public courier contracts even if it's only a jump or two away. That's been working great too, especially in PvP areas and near gate-camps.

Public courier contracts have been working out a lot better than I expected so far, in all ways. I really didn't think there'd be many takers on public contracts paying a few million (300-500 k per jump) with 500+ mil collateral but it's been working great for me so far. I didn't think there'd be many takers on public contracts in close proximity to a major gate-camp either but it looks like I was wrong on both counts.

I set realistic collateral values 10-20% higher than I expect to sell the items for (usually that's quite a lot more than I paid for it). Even if someone does steal a load (hasn't happened yet) all he'll really be doing is providing me with a quick turnover at a better than expected profit.

So far all my public courier contracts have been delivered within 24 hours. AFAIC that's fantastic, it's as good as or better than RFF service between hubs.

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Ganked Again

I got ganked again the other day. A fairly significant loss this time, just over 2 billion, by far my biggest ever. It'll take a couple days to recoup the loss.

Lately I've been moving a bunch of secondary trade alts off the main hubs to new locations and took a chance doing something I don't normally do. I got away with it on 4 out of 6 alts and then got caught by an undock camper on the 5th.

Normally I don't fly stock out of main hubs myself and especially not in T1 frigates. I do however routinely use T1 and Covert Ops frigates to fly loads worth up to about 500 million into the hubs with no problems.

Normally I just ship stock out in billion ISK lots via Red Frog Freight. It takes longer but it's extremely safe and reliable. Between all my alts I ship a lot via RFF, they've never lost a shipment of mine yet and just in case they ever do, that's what collateral is for.

With a couple exceptions (a heavily tanked T3 cruiser and a blockade runner) I never fly with more than a billion in cargo and very rarely with more than about 500 million. That's flying regional buys into the hubs, not out of the hubs. In the past I always, without exception, sent cargo out of the hub via RFF a billion worth at a time.

The naming convention I used for many of my trade alts probably didn't help. Their very names make it obvious they're traders who might be carrying valuable cargo. When I made those particular alts I wasn't planning on ever using them to move cargo at all. They were supposed to stay on the hubs mostly station trading and never undocking but the plan changed.

It probably didn't help that it happened during peak time either with more players on than when I'm usually on. I rarely make valuable cargo runs during peak times, not only is that the least safe time but I'm usually busy with work then too.

Having never been ganked at a main hub before I'd gotten rather complacent about flying in and out of them. Since I'm always flying stuff into the main hubs rather than out of them I never had any trouble with undock campers at the main hubs and forgot to consider them.

With the alt moves I'd just been cancelling their orders, loading up the stock (mostly skill books and deadspace/faction mods), heading off to the new locations and relisting everything there. Anything bulky I'd courier out but the light stuff would all go with me. Anywhere from 1 to 2 billion worth of stock went with each alt.

I knew I was taking a chance but didn't think it was all that dangerous. Besides, it was only going to be 6 trips, all in different areas, and then it'd be back to business as usual using RFF for shipments between hubs.

The 5th time I loaded up just over 2 billion in cargo, undocked, hit warp and my ship died instantly. No chance at all it happened just like that.

Instalock Thrasher. He must've shit himself when he saw what my poor little Vigil was carrying.

I might have to move away from using Vigils too. I've talked about them often enough some gankers may be on the lookout for Vigils now. Especially at the main hubs.

Anyhow, lesson learned. It won't ever happen again, I won't fly a load like that out of a major hub myself again. I'll courier it out just like I'd always done before.

Tuesday 13 August 2013

Newbie Business Plan - Trading Skill Books

The 10 million and under skill book market segment has been very good to me. I've made billions off it but I just pulled out (reluctantly) because it's the low end of my business now and my business has grown so much it became impossible to continue working this segment properly.

Over the last 3 days I've pulled out of the 10 million and under (school price) skill book market in Lonetrek region and 4 of the 5 main hubs (I'll be pulling out of the 5th soon too). Already buy prices are plummeting and sell prices skyrocketing.

Conditions are now perfect for new traders to set up in this market and make a lot of ISK.

In particular, right now would be a great time to set up in Lonetrek buying skillbooks under 10 million regionally. Full regional, 5, 10 or 20 jump buy orders will all work fine, just remember the larger your buying range the more work you'll have flying around picking them up.

Start out buying one or two of each and update prices at least once a day. As your capital builds up slowly increase your order sizes. Sell what you can on Sobeseki, Torrinos, Nonni or one of the many smaller hubs in the region and unload overstock on Jita (preferably on another alt there).

If you're short on ISK start out with just the books going for 5 million or less.

If you're a true newbie and really short on ISK, work the cheapest skill books first (under 1 million at schools) until you can move into the 1-10 mil market. High Speed Maneuvering (350k at schools) was one of my best items in my first weeks. I bought stacks of them for 75-150k and resold them for 350k+.

Best named modules (meta 4 for the most part) are great starter items for newbies too. Item's like Limited Adaptive Invulnerability Field, Local Hull Conversion Nanofibers and Eutectic Capicitor Rechargers. You can buy huge stacks of them cheaply in Lonetrek and move them to Jita for nice profits.

If you have plenty of ISK but are short on orders start out with books going for 5-10 million instead.

If you have plenty of both ISK and orders, start out using buy orders for 5, 10, 20 or more of each book. Obviously bigger orders for the cheaper books and smaller orders for the more expensive ones.

One of the best things about the skill book market is the vast majority of books are sold by schools which sets a soft cap on prices and prevents rich players from manipulating prices too much. Nobody can simply buy them all out and jack prices sky high. Even when margins are extremely tight, as long as you're paying less than school price and selling for more, you're golden.

You can make billions every month off this business alone. I did. The only drawback is it's fairly time intensive. It's great at first but the bigger you get the more time it takes.

Any book with the word "Specialization" in it trades well, "subsystems" and science books are pretty decent too. Some books do sell better than others and some sell a lot faster on a main hub than they will in Lonetrek but all books in the 1-10 million ISK range are good to trade. Weapon books (like those "specialization" books) and spaceship command books sell well just about anywhere.

The same strategy works in any empire region, I suggest Lonetrek because IMO it's the best place for a regional skill book business like this. There are plenty of customers around but the business is spread out on multiple secondary and small hubs all over the region, meaning no-lifers and bots are less of a problem than they are on the main hubs.

I almost forgot. Do not use a big, slow industrial ship for this type of business. The items aren't bulky, all you really need is a small fast T1 frigate. Fit it for speed and agility (nanofibers) and use Hyperspatial Velocity Optimizer rigs if you can. Mid slots you can either tank or use cap rechargers (very useful for low skills alts having trouble making warps all in one shot).

Even better if you can use a Covert Ops frigate or best of all a Blockade Runner, either of which makes low/null pickups a whole lot safer.

If you're in an NPC corp (no wardecs) and aren't a criminal you can autopilot most of the time as long as you realize you will get ganked eventually and lose a load. Be careful about using autopilot in 0.5 systems though, especially Litiura (assuming you're in Lonetrek) and never use autopilot in low or null.

Don't even bother passing through EC-P8R (null sec) or Aunenen (low sec), it can be done but it's just not worth the trouble. If you buy something in or behind those major gate camps it's a whole lot simpler to just put it up for resale at a good price (for the buyer) right where it is.

Lonetrek really is a great place to do business! More on that later.

Monday 12 August 2013

Low Volume Buying vs Bulk Buying

I usually advocate buying in bulk and making big total profits over big profits per item. That's what usually works best for me. Consistent, steady, reliable profits over big, flashy numbers that don't usually add up to as much in total.

But sometimes you have to consider the low volume, high margin side of the equation too.

Take for example a mod or implant that's currently selling for 150 million.

Which is better?

1. Buying 10 at 140 million each and making roughly 8 million on each for 80 milliion total profit.
2. Buying just 1 for 75 million and making roughly 73 million on it.

If you still aren't sure consider this. While you do make 7 million more in total buying 10 you need 1.4 billion to buy them in the first place. All that ISK is tied up unavailable to use to purchase anything else until you both sell the items and post a new purchase order.

On the other hand buying just one cheaply only ties up 75 million, makes nearly as much in total AND leaves the other 1325 million available to purchase other things with.

The morale of the story is while buying and selling in bulk is what I normally advocate, there certainly are situations where you're better off working with low volume instead. Work with rules of thumb, not hard, inflexible rules and know when to change things up to take advantage of current conditions.

Of course the trick is managing to buy 1 for 75 million when everyone else is paying 140 million. That's mostly about location and transport and a little bit about product selection.

Saturday 10 August 2013

New Business Plan

It took some experimentation (a lot of trial and error) but my routines, methods, quickbar lists and prices have been slowly tweaked and polished to work efficiently in smaller, less populated regions away from the main hubs too.

Naturally I started thinking about expanding to other regions further out from the heart of empire space.

After perusing Ombey's maps late one night very early one morning and taking a good look at travel routes, choke-points, hi to low/null gates, regional gates and such I found several locations that seem to have a lot of potential as spots for expansion.

Initially I was planning on starting another 3 month expansion plan for another 6 new trade alts. The first expansion is practically finished now so I was going to keep the accounts active and train up another 6 new trade alts to expand into new regions with.

I had it all planned out, I even started dual training new alts on 2 of the accounts.

Friday 9 August 2013


I don't need to say a thing, the picture says it all.

Torpedo Launchers For Dummies

Caldari Navy Torpedo Launchers are for dummies!

Don't believe it? It's true, here's why:

Recent Jita prices:

Dread Guristas: 27 million
Caldari Navy: 88 million

Jita prices a few months ago:

Dread Guristas: 35 million
Caldari Navy: 115 million

Thursday 8 August 2013

Three Month Expansion Plan - Part 1

I started a 3 month business expansion training plan a few months back. It's almost finished now and I meant to post about it sooner but somehow I never got around to finishing the post until now.

The original plan was to make 6 new accounts and train up 6 or 7 new characters for 3 months (closer to 4 months actually, but it'd only take 3 PLEX), then transfer most of characters to consolidate accounts and reduce monthly PLEX costs thereafter.

3 Plex = 90 days + 21 day trial = 111 days, learning the full training plan takes about 110 days (with +4 implants and Charisma 30, Memory 24 remap).

I recently (like last night) changed my mind and decided to keep all the accounts active. I'm going to start another 3 month expansion plan with 6 more new traders instead. Look for another post about that soon.

All characters at the very least learned Margin Trading V, Retail V and had started learning Wholesale before beginning to do any trading.

Margin Trading

IMO, the most important trade skill for serious traders is Margin Trading, that's why it's the first skill my traders train to V now. I used to train Retail V and Wholesale IV before Margin Trading V when I was training my first few traders.

Margin Trading is simply amazing for buyers, it allows you to leverage your ISK to place more and bigger buy orders, enabling you to buy a lot more stuff.

It may seem counter-intuitive but I believe it's even more important for new players short on cash than it is for alts of established players who already have plenty of cash. If you have 70 mil ISK it's very well worth spending 35 mil on Margin Trading. It doesn't take very long at all to get Margin Trading high enough to more than double your buying power, so spending half (or even a bit more) of your cash to get the skill is definitely worthwhile.

Of course if you never use buy orders you don't need Margin Trading at all. But if you use buy orders much, it's huge! Train it to V ASAP!

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Training Another Trade Alt

I sent my "spare" Jita trader off to reopen shop in Clellinon with a different trading strategy a while back. That's working out extremely well especially during the recent Fountain war. Just imagine my surprise when several fairly pricey stacks of faction mods (with 10-20 mods/stack) all sold within hours of posting. =)

Then I decided I wanted to have my cake and eat it too. I missed my "spare" trader on Jita and wanted him back so I started training yet another new character to add to my growing army of trade alts.

I made a new character on the main's account and sent him 600 million, enough to buy a PLEX, a bunch of skill-books, a clone, a couple implants, and still have some left over.

I used the PLEX to activate dual training and started training.

Friday 2 August 2013

Mindlink Price Crash Coming Soon

In Odyssey 1.1 there are many changes being made to mindlinks.

The most important change from a market player's perspective is they will be available at Concord LP Stores for 20,000 Concord LP and 20m isk with an expected final product sale price of 60-80 million.

With mindlinks currently selling for more than that, we can expect the markets to be flooded with cheap mindlinks on patch day and for several weeks afterward. Prices for all mindlinks will crash from current levels.

Mining Foreman Mindlinks in particular are currently priced over 1 billion ISK each. Expect them to be flooded even more than other mindlinks and crash harder.

So for those of you with big stocks of mindlinks, expecially Mining Foreman links, start dumping them now and get what you can for them before 1.1 lands.

As the word spreads there will probably be a bit of panic among investors with stockpiles of mindlinks. Expect a mini crash before the patch as investors stop buying and start fighting to dump their stock before prices crash hard. Mining Foreman Mindlinks being so high priced will almost certainly crash harder and sooner than the others.

Lucky for me I only have 1 Mining Foreman mindlink so I should be able to dump it within a day or two without taking a loss.

There are also new Navy Mindlinks coming in 1.1 which are expected to go for around 200 mil ISK.

A big thank you to adwisdog for pointing this out to me in comments on another post here. I did know mindlinks were being changed but I'd somehow missed the fact that they were being added to loyalty point stores too!

Update: I already sold my one Mining Foreman Mindlink for 1,399,999,000.00 ISK. It only took 15 minutes of camping and 3 price cuts.

Thursday 1 August 2013

Financial Report - July 2013

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

I buy and sell skill-books, faction/deadspace/officer mods and implants covering all 5 major trade hubs (Jita, Amarr, Dodixie,  Hek and Rens) plus several regions that don't have a major trade hub. I play fairly casually and update orders infrequently, often going several days between posting/updating orders. Some characters get updated more often than others and I update sell orders more consistently than buy orders.

In July I made 22 billion after expenses (exactly the same as in June). Not bad considering the time I spent playing the market was way down, I lost 3 billion to an input lag induced typo and my expenses were up too.