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.

Tuesday 16 September 2014

More Market History Shenanigans

Just the other day I posted this screenshot, showing market history for PLEX in the Forge.

While that post was about history numbers for the 14th, the screenshot also shows numbers for the 15th early in the day. Note the low price for the 15th was 755.6 million ISK and change. I checked market history several more times throughout the day and the low number didn't change.

Then the next day (today, the 16th) I checked prices again only to find this

The low number for the 15th had changed. Now it's higher, at 783 million and change.

Also note the low price for today (the 16th) is only 497 million. That had to be due to the way CCP's brain-dead order filling code works when someone makes a mistake entering a sell order otherwise it never would have sold that low with so many full regional range buy orders up at much higher prices (including my own full regional buy order).

No doubt that number will disappear after maintenance on the 17th and the edited low price for the day will magically wind up around 780 mil yet again.

Sure removing extreme outliers makes sense or better yet fix the brain-dead order filling code and most of those extreme outliers will go away. But 755 mil is not an extreme outlier, in fact it's within 5% of the reported average price of well under 793 mil.

I'll say it again. Fix the order filling code and most of the extreme outliers will disappear like magic, especially for high volume items in busy markets like The Forge.

One more time because it's fundamental, it's important and it would be extremely easy to do. Fix the brain-dead order filling code!

Sunday 14 September 2014

Market History Lies

As I've said before, market history does NOT always reflect what really happens in the market.

Here's some more proof.

PLEX prices in The Forge (screenshot taken at Jita 4-4)

First off, according to market history there were 0 PLEX sold in The Forge on 2014-09-14. I know that for a fact that's completely out to lunch since I logged in several times throughout the day for the sole purpose of checking the price of PLEX on Jita.

Second, as recorded in my wallet transactions, I bought 5 PLEX myself on 2014-09-14. I'm also certain a bunch more sold to a large blocking order even lower than my own buy order since the stack size of that blocking order (which I've been watching quite closely) went down by at least 16 since earlier on the same day.

Third, I paid 33 million (and change) less for each of those 5 than market history says was the lowest price for the day. Yet history reports the low price for the very next day (the 15th) is even lower (by just 3 ISK). No, this isn't due to GMT time differences since both times are in game time (in fact it's still the 14th here in Canada as I'm writing this).

Fourth, how do you get non-zero low, high and avg numbers if there were no sales? That's something I see often with rare, low volume items that sell maybe 1 a week, month, or even less frequently. On those kind of items you'll see a whole bunch of 0 sales to 0 orders days with the occasional sale of 1 or 2 usually at a much lower price than the so called low, high and average prices.

I'd guess there was some kind of server error leading to the loss or corruption of market data for yesterday's PLEX sales and when that happens it defaults to numbers for the last day or average numbers for the last week/month or whatever. Not a big deal with high volume items like PLEX but a bad practice for more rare items that don't usually sell even 1 a week far less every day.

Obviously when there are no sales CCP must be substituting high/low/avg numbers derived from history in leiu of actual real data. In some cases it even looks like they might be using listed prices of items priced so high they are not selling and just sit there not selling for months. If they are using listed prices they should stop because not only is that very misleading, it's also highly subject to manipulation.

BTW, during the hour after I started writing this post, I sold 4 PLEX at 791 million each and bought another 3. After taxes and broker fees that's a little under 20 million profit per PLEX or about 2.5% profit at roughly 4.7% margin. Typical numbers for me in PLEX markets on the main hubs though I usually make at least 4-5%, sometimes as much as 10% or even a bit more in other places.

Considering I made nearly 80 million in an hour from PLEX alone on just one trader *without camping I have to wonder just how much ISK I could make per hour camping PLEX + a few other items on Jita during weekend prime time. Especially if I ground faction standings to chop another 1% off combined taxes and fees. It'd be interesting to find out but I hate camping and grinding.

Edit: After a short unscheduled server downtime now there is market history data for the 14th.

But the low price is still 27 million higher than I paid.

PLEX Price

For quite some time I've been saying the price of PLEX is bound to drop eventually. It's a bubble being pushed higher and higher by speculation and manipulation but that can't go on forever. Eventually it will drop and the higher it goes before dropping the further it will drop.

It might even crash hard, maybe even comparable to the real life gold crash of 1980.

The pundits keep telling me I'm wrong, the price of PLEX will always go up, any downswings are temporary and caused by the latest PLEX sale.

Yet I continue to see indications PLEX prices are on the way down.

The screenshot above shows the history graph of PLEX prices for the last 6 months on the Jita market. It's obvious the price has plateaued and dropped somewhat since early July. There have been a few price rallies but each rally has soon been followed by another drop. The price keeps going down.

I've also noticed particular orders that seemed to be there strictly for the purpose of price manipulation (keeping the buy price high that is) have been slowly disappearing. If they ever all disappear, particularly on Jita and the other main hubs, the price of PLEX will start dropping faster.

As an example, here are my PLEX purchases over a 6 hour period last night.

Both buy orders were completely filled (one for 6, the other for 5). I just wish I'd made them larger, particularly the one at 704 mil.

As far as I can tell someone big who was manipulating the price of PLEX to keep it high seems to be dropping out of that game. My guess is that someone is Somer.

Sure someone else could and very well might step up and start doing the same thing. The question is, is there anyone else with a big enough vested interest in keeping the price of PLEX high to sink trillions of ISK into doing it for little or no profit?

Somer undoubtedly had plenty of reason to keep the price high, *even if doing so cost them ISK. In fact the scheme that got them shut down in the end proved beyond a doubt they were perfectly willing to do that.

But who else has both the resources and the motivation to do the same?

Nobody I can think of, except maybe some of the largest corporations and alliances with huge memberships and PLEX sales affiliate links of their own. But I don't think any of them could generate anywhere near the number of affiliate link clicks and subsequent volume of PLEX sales that Somer could.

Monday 8 September 2014

Dead Goons - A Token of support for their killers

I've decided to throw a little support behind one of Gevlon's Goon killing projects. I've made a small donation to Mordus Angels in support of their rebellion against the evil empire.

Here's a link to the Mordus Angels donation board for anyone else wanting to do the same.

It's a great cause so lend your support. Maybe one of you can bounce me out of the number 1 spot on the donation board.

UT 2014 News - Gameplay Video

The original Unreal Tournament (often referred to as UT99) was the first FPS game I really liked. I'd tried Quake, Quake 2 and 3 but I didn't much care for them. The first time I played UT I was hooked.

UT99 finally gave me a reason to put my beloved old Amiga 4000 to rest and buy my first PC clone.

I played UT99 until UT2k3 came out. I never liked 2k3 for a number of reasons but by far the biggest reason was double jumping. I hated double jumping. UT2k4 promised a return to a more UT99 style of gameplay but failed to deliver. Though 2k4 was in many ways an improvement over 2k3 it still had double jumping and I still hated double jumping.

When UT3 came out I wasn't going to be fooled again. This time my mind was made up beforehand, if double jumping was in the game I wouldn't be buying it. I could have lived with it being a mod like it was in UT99, or even an option as long as the default was off and most maps were designed to be played without double jumping. But double jump was in, on by default and all the maps were made for it and so I was out.

Then earlier this year the news broke that Epic was going to start developing a new version, UT 2014, only this time in conjunction with community developers (mappers, modders, etc.) and asking for input from the public on everything. I was quite skeptical but there was a nice looking artistic concept screenshot plus they had some very interesting things to say that caught my interest in spite of my skepticism and gave me reason to think they just might get it right this time. I made a post about that here.

Since then pre-alpha builds of the game have been released periodically. These builds are available to anyone for gameplay testing. Keep in mind these are very early builds (hence the pre-alpha designation) with pretty much everything subject to change. The maps are just basic BSP layouts without any texturing, static meshes, fancy lighting, or other atmospheric touches. Right now it's all about nailing down basic gameplay mechanics, the fancy stuff will come later.

Here's a link to Epic's official thread for downloading the latest pre-alpha build

Note you do have to register with Epic's forums in order to download the pre-alpha.

A gameplay video has also been released showing legendary Quake player Fatal1ty playing a couple different maps.

After watching the video I have to say gameplay looks extremely good at this point. I was especially pleased to note that double jumping doesn't seem to be in the game at all so far (YEA!!).

I hope it stays that way, if it does I'll definitely be checking it out once development is a little further along.

But if they put double jumping back in, my interest in UT 2014 will end right then and there. I'm pretty sure most UT99 fans will feel the same way too.

Finally there's a UT Movement Mechanics Design thread over at Epic's forums. This is the place for all us UT99 fans to make our voices heard and let Epic know just how badly double jumping ruined our game.

Thursday 4 September 2014

Burn Mittanigrad

Just a quick post to link a Gevlon post that's worth reading and some commentary on the subject. In it he talks about doing virtually the same thing I've been working on myself

Good for Gevlon, it's about time he started thinking about hitting goons where it hurts them the most. In their wallets and in their own space. That should be far more effective than paying hi sec gankers to do what they'd do anyhow (ganking in hi sec).

Gevlon calls it "Burn Deklein", while my own working name has been "Burn Mittanigrad" but it's basically the same thing (Mittanigrad being the goon capital VFK-IV which is in Deklein). Get fleets (preferably covert fleets) roaming goon space, killing goons, camping, afk cloaking and doing everything possible to disrupt their day to day operations and especially their income stream.

Disrupting goon's personal income streams by killing them while they're ratting, mining and hauling should be particularly effective because of the effect it's likely to have on moral... Especially if goon leadership proves as ineffective at countering such covert fleets as I expect they will.

It doesn't have to be in VFK-IV but the closer to their capital and core production systems the better.

I'm willing and able to spend many billions towards this end every month.

I have approached a few ... groups lately about the possibility of sponsoring them to do so. While there seems to be plenty of interest in slaughtering goons nobody has stepped up to the plate and taken me up on it yet.

I'm still negotiating with one such group. If those negotiations don't work out I have one more group in mind to talk to but I'm also willing to consider offers from other groups (scammers don't even bother trying, I'm not stupid, I won't be handing ISK out to just anyone).

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Financial Report - August 2014

Financial report for the month of August 2014 (last month). Trade oriented since trading is how I make virtually all of my ISK.

I buy and sell 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 of those traders are also Blockade Runner pilots, capable of doing their own transport (mostly on autopilot).

I surprised myself this month, I took it easy and only expected to make 35 maybe 40 billion yet I wound up making 50 billion again. Then again I didn't burn many PLEX this month, most of the PLEX I bought in August were resold for profits.

Current net worth is 738 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, with maybe 5 billion worth of ships and fittings I keep for my own use.

Monday 1 September 2014

PLEX Crash - Somerblink Connection?

PLEX prices have been climbing and climbing ever since they were introduced. A while back I predicted PLEX prices could only go so high and would eventually hit a level where they'd be too expensive, demand would drop and prices would drop. I predicted that would happen before prices hit 1 billion ISK and if prices went too high prior to dropping they could crash hard.

The last month or so I've been seeing indications a price correction was beginning.

I've had a number of "guard" buy orders set up somewhat lower than the going price in various regions for some time. When those orders started getting filled (around a month ago) I knew something was up and started paying closer attention to the PLEX market. For more than a month I've been getting some pretty good deals on PLEX purchases and it seems to be picking up steam lately.

Lately the frequency with which my buy orders get filled seems to be increasing.

During the same time period the price of PLEX on Jita started going down on almost a daily basis, refusing to go back over 800 million and mostly staying in the 770-780 range. There was a brief rally where the price went back to slightly over 800 million (probably a failed attempt at price manipulation) but it didn't stay there for very long at all and was quickly right back down around 770 mil.

I believe we are now on the verge of a PLEX price crash. The big questions are will it actually crash and if so how hard will the crash be?

Then there's the question of a possible likely Somerblink connection.

I've long suspected someone was continually manipulating PLEX prices upwards and Somerblink was an obvious suspect. They had plenty of reasons to drive the price of PLEX up and keep it up. At any rate someone certainly was putting up quite large buy orders (100 on Jita, 50-100 on the other main hubs and 20-50 on most large secondary hubs) that didn't seem to be there to actually buy PLEX but rather to get overcut and continually push buy order prices higher.

Someone with very deep pockets (deep enough to make me look like a pauper) seems to have been manipulating PLEX prices for a very long time. Is it just a coincidence PLEX prices started dropping and those large buy orders began slowly disappearing right after Somer got shut down?

I think not. I believe Somer had been manipulating PLEX prices upwards all along. Without them around continually pushing the price up anymore, it's probably going to crash now.