Greedy Goblin

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The trading system of EVE

Even if you don't do "face to face" trade, you have much more things to keep in mind in the EVE auction house than in WoW.

The first difference is the existence of buy orders. When you place a buy order, the money is taken from your account and placed to the marketplace. If someone accepts your price offer, he can sell his wares instantly to you. You can of course set a sell order, when your item is put to the marketplace and the buyer can take it instantly. The system automatically match orders, so there cannot be a buy order above a sell order.

The first thing to watch is that the system will automatically try to make you accept an existing buy order, assuming that you want a fast sell:

So if you offer your skillbook on the market (you did not sell it yet, right?!), the trade window will offer you the price of the highest available buyer (green line in the bottom). It is usually (not always) a low price. You do not have to accept it, though you can if you want to sell now. However by still having those books you proved to have the most important virtues of a trader: patience.

When you try to find the "proper" price for your stuff, you can use the following tools:
  • Next to the place where you can type your price there is an indicator saying "84.70% below regional average" with red letters, below it the regional average. This value can't be really off. Avoid selling for 20-50% of it and buying 120%
  • The actual prices: the highest buy order is 206K, the lowest sell order is 405K. The price is somewhere between them
  • Clicking the price history give you a graph how this item was sold for the previous weeks. If the price is stable, you can accept it. If it's jumpy, you can try to sell high/buy low and hope. If it's decreasing, you shall accept a lower price, if it's increasing, a higher one.
Of course these are just tools and there is no perfect formula to sell. You must figure it out. Also, time is money, sometimes it's better to take a worse deal than spending time waiting for a good deal.

The second big difference is that the marketplaces are regional. There are several regions in EVE, you can see them on your starmap. For the Caldari faction there is The Forge, The Citadel and Lonetrek. All factions have regions and you are not restricted to the regions of your faction.

Before making an important buy or sale, you should check several regions. Of course not all, not even all high-security, that would take too much travel. You should set up your residence in a system which is close to other regions. For the Caldaris, it's Jita. It's in The Forge but The Citadel and Lonetrek are both only 2 jumps away. Open your starmap and find your regions. These will be the places you'll work. If you say "I just work in Lonetrek", you are doing it wrong. You shall cover at least 2 regions, 3 is better.

Travel there with your fast ship and visit your regions. Check the prices of the items you want to buy and sell. It's easier to manage it if you put the important items to your market quickbar, so you can access their market data with a click. Get a piece of paper and write down the highest buy and lowest sell orders.

You can and shall use filters for quantity. Not for books, of course but if you trade with bulk stuff, don't get fooled by a great price with little quantity. Selling Tritanium for 10ISK would be a great business (and the screenshot would be here to ridicule the idiot who paid that money). Going 5 systems away to sell 12 (not 12.000.000) pieces of Tritanium for 10ISK would be some major idiocy. Similarly if you just sell some leftover crap, you shall not bother travelling, nor setting up a sell order, since you can have limited amount of sell and buy orders. Just accept the price or reprocess the item and sell the materials. The quantity is also a great measure of price stability. If you see lots of items sold in the 150000-160000 region and only a few over 160K, the price is somewhere there.

So you traveled the stars, found the offers of the regions. You probably saw that your books and ships sell for various prices. You might choose to accept the highest buy order or set up your own sell order in the appropriate region. Don't do it yet!

The third big difference is that in WoW the items magically transport. You can put your copper ore in the AH of Ironforge and I can buy it in Stormwind, then pick it up from my mailbox in Northrend. In EVE, the items stay where they are. To sell in Jita, you must move the item (not necessarily yourself) to Jita. The Starmap is your friend to find central regions. Selling in a dead end system probably won't find a buyer fast (unless it's underpriced). You shall also check the locations in your marketplace window. If the name of a system shows up often (like most of the orders on my screenshot is Jita), it means others picked that system and you have better chances to sell there. Not to buy of course, but hauling comes later.

Now, after moving your books to the "perfect" system, place your sell order or accept a buy. You can only accept buy orders if they are in range (green). You must travel to the buyer to accept greyed orders. Beware of quantity. If you choose to accept a buy order that wants 2 items and you carelessly sell all 3 to him, only 2 will be sold, the last one will be placed as a sell order for the same price. So you won't sell instantly, nor high. When setting up sell order, you must specify duration. The longer it is, the more likely it will find a buyer, but you can forget it and the item just sit there. A shorter order forces you to re-sell, re-evaluating the price.

You can move your ships the following way: you buy some very cheap ship, a frigate or shuttle where you are. You travel to the location to your ships, click on them, choose "make active" and fly them. Sell or reprocess the little ship that carried you here. If the ship has a number next to it, it's packaged, you must assemble it to fly. You must repackage a flying-ready ship to sell.

You sold your first books? Great, you sold items you "farmed for free". Let's do some business now! Go back to your starting star system and check the book prices there. Newbies are showered with books and they don't know what to do with them. There can be dirt-cheap books to buy, or there can be some very low buy order active. Buy the cheap and set up your own buy order which will buy you cheap books. In the buy order window you can see "range". It shows how far the buy order is active. If you set it to "3 jumps", then everyone within 3 jumps can sell you books. More morons will be reached by your order, yay! Don't! The items will not transport themselves, if your buy order is accepted 3 jumps away, you will have to go and pick them up. This can be serious inconvenience to travel several jumps for some low-price item and it can be a total disaster if your item lands on a low-security system, meaning you must travel to the land of pirates to grab it. For now, just buy the books, maybe ships from the newbies who get them on that station with no clue.

I already set up some buy orders and the ridiculously underpriced books are showering to my item hangar to be sold in Jita:

This mean two great things: one is that EVE has lot of new players. The other is that they have no idea about trading, so the fruits of their farming will be ours!

Did you train Caldari (or whatever your faction is) Industrial rank 3? Then time to go some shopping: get your Badger II (faction transport ship second class). Shop around, see the prices of all regions. Don't forget checking the price history. Since you are going to buy a ship, travel there in a frigate, you can repackage it and carry back in your industrial on the way back. If the distance between buy and sell orders is high and you aren't playing several hours a day, no need to buy now, you can set up your own buy order for 80% of the lowest sell order or something. Remember that you can set up higher range than a station for easier buy, but double-check the starmap so no low-security system is in your range.

What? No mention of relevant skills? Tomorrow. There are a lot and there are several other things about marketplace trading that you should know. For now, sell your old books and ships and get your cargo ship. If your training queue is empty, train the "trade" skill, you can't go wrong with that!


Mika Hirvonen said...

A few additional notes:

Haulers like the Badger II can transport small packaged ships like frigates and cruisers. Anything beyond that usually requires piloting the ship yourself. Only capital ships (and the Orca) have the capability to haul anything bigger.

If you haul lots of small bulk goods (like minerals), it's usually worthwhile to buy a few Giant Secure Containers. They're bigger on the inside, so each container that you can fit into your cargohold increases your total capacity by 900m³.

Anonymous said...

This 2D map is great help:
Try it out mate. Reactivated my Eve account after 2 years thanks to your blog and Syncain blog.
Keep it going and fly safe.

Anonymous said...

Dont forget that skillbooks are a bit on an anomaly in that they are mostly sold by NPCs

lancore said...

One thing you should keep in mind with that: Margin Trading Scams
There is a skill called "Margin Trading", it allows you to set up buy orders with only reserving 23% of the ISK.

Now, you create a buy order for some items with an abnormal high price, but set the min. quantity to the max. Then transfer all you ISK away to another alt
Set up some sell orders for those items, still overpriced but not as much as your buy order.

Now wait. Eventually a clueless trading newbie who don't now the value of the item will see those, think "whoa, easy money" and buy your items.
But when he wants to sell it, the buy order will fail because your char won't have enough ISK to buy those items. The newbie now sits on a pile of (very expensive) junk and you are a few hundred million ISK richer

nanoha said...

Just felt I had to add this as a player of eve for several years. Do not travel in your pod! Even if you are going to get a ship, all but the smallest ones can carry a packed shuttle, so use one of those, they are also dirt cheap so you can leave them around (5-10k ea).

Gevlon said...

@nanoha: why not? Pods align very fast and use very low capacitor for jumping, while little ships has the nasty tendency to jump only halfway because even full capacitor is not enough.

Green Gambit said...

Smartbombs. Your pod is very fragile and will die instantly to any smartbombing ship.

Whilst anybody smart-bombing near a gate in high-sec will be destroyed in short-order by Concorde, that's no consolation when you warped to the gate in the instant before Concorde arrived. Lots of the popular low-sec shortcuts have ships more or less permanently doing this. So although you *can* warp fast enough in your pod - even in low sec to avoid normal weapons, it's still risky.

On top of that you have players who have recently started killing pods - just to see if the player has expensive implants. This is happening even in high-sec.

Remember - nowhere in Eve is safe...

Caramael said...

Because you could get pod-killed (in hi-sec) that way, losing all your implants. If you travel in a ship, the attacker will most likely only be able to destroy your ship before concord destroys the attacker's ship.
It's the same reason why you should fit a tank onto your hauler; to try and stay alive long enough until concord arrives to save you.

Parasoja said...

You can also modify an order, by going to wallet->orders, right clicking one and selecting modify.

This allows you to change the price of an active order, and also resets the duration to whatever you selected when making it.

Anonymous said...


Jumping halfway is not a problem, shuttles rarely have this problem, and the align/warp time is not much different to pods.

If you train a few skills, then there are very few systems you can not jump across, there are few 100AU+ systems

The point is, if your shuttle gets exploded, you get away. If your pod gets exploded, you lose your implants and end up back at your "home" station.

But, I think the "zomg eve is dangerous" theme is overstated, if you are semi awake at the keyboard and in a small ship, travelling is rarely an issue unless you jump into some smartbombs, but then you are screwed either way.
Properly set up overviews make life much easier, as does map use when jumping into lowsec.

Anonymous said...

Travel by pod in high-sec is perfectly safe, so long as you're not sporting several (hundred) million in implants.

Gankers farming tears won't bother you unless the killmail shows you losing more ISK than they do from being Concorded.

Parasoja said...


Podding anyone who isn't warping gate to gate is easy. It can be done with a throwaway -10 alt in a thrasher. And it always makes the target sad.

Related: Last I checked, implants don't show up on scan.

Anonymous said...

but how do they know what implants you have before they look at the kill mail?

Anonymous said...

Anon - "Travel by pod in high-sec is perfectly safe..."

The point is that until they've exploded you, they don't know what your implants are.

Even if you have no implants at all, there may still be a cost for a new clone. But worse than that, travelling from A to B, only to suddenly find yourself at point C. That *could* be a real pain in the ass.

Vermis said...

Max Velocity 150 m/s
Max Warp Speed 3.0 AU/s

Max Velocity 500 m/s
Max Warp Speed 6.0 AU/s

When warping to 0, the max velocity doesn't matter, but it does when you are using auto-pilot. In both cases, a shuttle will warp gate to gate twice as fast as a pod.

The slowest warping ship is a Freighter at 0.75 AU/s and the fastest is a Covert Ops at 13.5 AU/s. Here is a summary of the warp speeds by class:

Having flown a Freighter I can tell you that you speed a lot of time staring at a warping animation. 100 AU gate to gate warp takes 2.22 mins!

So, both from a defensive standpoint and just time savings overall ... never use a pod.

Guthammer said...

Why use an industrial ship to haul books?

Small loads should go in the fastest frigate class ship you have. Frigates are faster, tech 1 ones are cheaper and the extra speed gets you there faster and safer.

Casares said...

About order duration:

EVE differs from WoW here.

1. You can change your orders without taking them off the market (right-click->modify order). That will cost a minimal fee, but nowhere as much as the original broker fee.

2. The broker fee is independent of the time of your order. There's little reason to not use the max of 90 days.

3. Orders with shorter time are listed above orders with longer times. This can be used in market pvp: instead of the usual 0.01 isk undercut you undercut to the exact same prize as the lowest seller. With shorter time your order will be on top and the other seller might not notice as he still sees "his" prize on top.

Has confused me myself more than the other sellers, so I dont use it anymore. But worth mentioning.

Steel said...

@Vermis - not sure if that chart is up to date, I'm pretty sure dictors warp at 9 and inties at 13.5 these days

You should look into some navigation skills if you plan to fly slow haulers, mostly warp drive operation, evasive maneuvers and spaceship command. Shield, tank and fitting skills wouldn't hurt too.

Also check out astronautic rigs. I fitted low friction nozles and hyperspace rigs and inertia stabs on some hauler I had to fly at some point because I hate the slow.

Also I think this smartbombing thing is blown too out of proportion. I have not seen any in all of my ~3 weeks or so of flying through hisec, and it would take a special breed of m... er, maniac to do that in this in hisec in this day an age. That been said, I heard a corpie some week ago complaining about getting disco'd somewhere in Jita in an alpha clone pod and losing logi V. Oops.

Also think about it - it used to be that implants didn't not show up on killmails at all. You'd pod some poor sap, no way of telling if he had no implans or a full set of crystals+mining mindlink. It was a huge player request and lobby by the CSM to have this feature added, and they took great pride and joy when it was finally added in Crucible. I heard on comms people that were overjoyed with this, with seeing just how much additional iskloss and suffering they have caused, and how the only thing that would be even better would be to show on killmails if the guy was in an alpha clone and exactly what skill and skill points he'd lost. The humanity...

Casares said...

A bit more about modifying orders:

The associated cost is neglible and you don't have the time sink of canceling - getting out of mailbox - relisting as in WoW. To prevent 0.01 isk undercutting every 10 seconds modifying orders has a 5 minutes cooldown.

Canceling an auction counts as modifying and hence is on the same cooldown.

That has one severe consequence:

Don't make typos when setting the prize!

One digit too much (on buy orders) or one too few (on sell orders) and you can just watch your money go for 5 minutes without any chance to interfer.

The ui for setting up oders has a default warning if your prize is too high or low (can't remember the exact numbers ... I think 50% for sell orders). You can de-activate that warning. My serious advice: don't.

xiani said...

Oh my word, this is some excellent & geeky-looking stats-heavy stuff, you're almost tempting me into trying out Eve here.

Though all that effort to learn it properly suggests my time might be better spent trying to do this for real money, in the real world!

Anyway, one little thing, you often use phrases like:

"you *shall* not bother travelling"

Now, I know you're not a native English speaker, and the meaning is clear, but that is a very authoritarian way of putting it, and suggests a direct command, rather than advice.

If that is your intent, then ignore me. If not, well, you "shall" be using the word "should", or, for variety, "ought".

Anonymous said...

How do you determine which items people will try to unload for prices well below market average? For instance, I'm guessing that placing a buy order for a faction battleship at 50% of market average (assuming its the highest buy order) is unlikely to be met?

Kristopher said...

Parasoja: implants now show up in killmails.

Gevlon: A shuttle is one of the cheapist and fastest ships in the game. It can carry an unlimited number of cheap skillbooks. If you get ganked, you get another chance to run away like a rabbit in your pod.

And yes people do kill pods in highsec. Note that the disposable destroyers this Goon is using at Jita are all cheap fit and have exactly one round of ammo in each gun. Kill the pod. Get CONCORDED, fly to the station your spare dessies are stored at, get in one, find another pod.

The dessies are tanked just enough to ignore the highsec faction police.

Kristopher said...

Anon: you look up the selling and buying history for that faction ship in that station.

Study the graph, and make your buy/sell order decision.

Scott Marks said...

I'd suggest rather than use a shuttle use a Condor. Almost as fast, larger cargo hold and better tank.

Boxington said...

I've resubscribed to the blog now that you're covering EVE! There is so much business/economic analysis (the heart of what interests me) in eve. Anyhow, a few longterm goblin hints I'd suggest to you:

Nullsec trading can be 10x as profitable per hour than highsec trading, using the exact same methods.

Think about investing in covert ops ships,which are much faster and safer for carrying around the very expensive stuff. Eventually, the covert-ops industrial ship is the ultimate in utility+saftey.

Don't limit yourself to just "legal" money making endeavors. Much of the fun comes from making money with complicated social engineering.

Nekko said...

@ Gevlon
The actual warp speed of a shuttle is faster than the pod if I am not mistaken. Its been a few years since I played. I had an interceptor that was fully fitted for alignment and warp speed to run around to my research agents. Sometimes it was 21 jumps between. On auto pilot it could do this in less than 20min's. It was a Taranis.

I know you like the trading side of things but something you can get into while trading is DataCores. You just earn research points (in the same fashion as skill points).