Greedy Goblin

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The character bazaar

Few days ago I wrote my character report. It's already outdated as I have one more account now. A Gallente female (character designed by my girlfriend for maximum cuteness) who will be a Nyx pilot for sale.

Account trading and Ebaying characters are bannable in all games. However in EVE you can do it completely legally. There is an official forum for trading characters. Unlike most activities in EVE, it's free of scams, since all kind of scams will be undone and punished by CCP. The rules of the bazaar is here. The buyer receives the character via character transfer, the cost of it is 2 PLEX (or E20 but I doubt any seller pays real money for that after he received billions).

Lot of people mentioned the Bazaar as income source but after reading it I had doubts. I mean most of the sellers clearly selling a character they used just stopped using. Typically someone scaling down to more casual and selling one of his characters to allow the remaining to fly without grinding. For them training up their char is sunk cost, any income is income, so they list for pretty low price. Also, exactly because they did not train with selling aims, serious part of the SP is wasted for the buyer. So it's more likely a garage sellout flea-market where people dump their trash for nickels than actual moneymaking profession. I know it's weird to call 30-40B a "nickel", but if we consider that a 100M char takes 5 years to grow up, so the buyer barely pay for the PLEX-es the owner used.

For these reasons I kept away from the Bazaar both as buyer and seller. However I felt I must try this market for blogging purpose. Found a niche that might be worthy of trying. Supercaps need a pilot to sit in constantly. Skills that he can't use in his current ship are completely useless unless the player makes a further purchase and inconvenience (and risk) to have a separate supercap sitter pilot. So a 100M pilot with 60M in various ships and guns (supercarriers have no turret or launcher hardpoints) worth exactly as much as a 40M pilot to the buyer. Please check this site that lists characters for sale according to supercap readyness: 100M chars are below 50% due to skills all over the place.

Also, supercaps are a year to learn to fly properly and most people who are chosen to be supercap pilots don't want to wait that long. Of course the proper action would be to start a supercap pilot long before you have a chance to fly one, but most people suck in planning. So they need a pilot now and ready to pay.

Finally the transfer costs is 1B (2 PLEX) so the higher the price of the sale, the smaller part you must pay. If you sell a char for 1.5B, you pay 67% of it to CCP. If you sell it for 10B, only 10%.

My plan isn't simply a 12M SP Nyx sitter (that sells for around 10B), but a real Nyx pilot. She'll have all the relevant Int/Mem support skills at 4 at least and 5 for the critical ones, including jump drive calibration 4. She'll also have fighter-bombers rank 5. I'll start selling with P/W remap after learning Gallente Carrier 4 and keep training that skill until the sale. When the sale takes place, the 1 year remap will be close or available. The char will have around 23M SP and I plan to sell for 20B+. My costs will be 12 PLEX (6B), 2 PLEX for transfer, 2B in skillbooks and 0.5B in implants (+5 set). About 10B all together.

Will she sell? Surely for some price. Surely for more than 10B. Not surely for enough to make it profitable considering the opportunity cost. We'll see. If it works, it will be a major moneymaking for me, as it's practically zero-work.

Profitability is an interesting issue: If I can sell her for 20B, I had 18% return on investment/month. If I can sell for 30B, that's 24%. Way below my current 140%/month profit. However my current activity needs active babysitting. While 500M/hour active play is awesome, calculating with 3%/day profit (that's the 140%/month), if I have 100B capital, I'll make 3B a day and it will cost me 6 hours gameplay every day. No thanks. I rather take the "lousy" 18-24% with about 10 minutes/month work, which will mean 2 hours work all together, providing 5B/hour.

Important advice for character buyers: ask when will the normal remap be available and how many bonus remaps left. The difference between learning skills on a bad and a good remap is huge.


Tuesday morning report: 66.5B (1.5B spent on main accounts, 1.1 spent on logi, 1.0 on Titan, 0.4 on Rorqual, 0.9 on Nyx)

6 comments:

serpentinelogic said...

You will be pleased to know that there are already sites cataloging supercap pilot sales, providing metrics on how skilled they are for their role.

Anonymous said...

"I mean most of the sellers clearly selling a character they used just stopped using. Typically someone scaling down to more casual and selling one of his characters to allow the remaining to fly without grinding. For them training up their char is sunk cost, any income is income, so they list for pretty low price. Also, exactly because they did not train with selling aims, serious part of the SP is wasted for the buyer. "

You make the right observation but draw the wrong conclusions.

It can be very profitable to buy some of these cheap characters, give them 2-3 months of "polish" and then sell them for a much higher price.

Even an unfocused character often has most of the basic foundations laid and just needs some small holes plugged and one desirable role trained to lvl5 to fetch a good price.

Setsune Rin said...

your essentially giving up 10b for a 1 year investment, wouldnt keeping that money and putting it in more short term investments be a LOT more profitable?

or are you purely going for an isk sink to ditch liquid into?

Gevlon said...

@Setsune: text updated.

IO said...

I am not in character trade business, but it might be profitable. My anecdotical evidence:

I bought half-baked cap char in January for 7bil (320 ISK/sp), and as I am leaving EVE just sold him for 12 bil (400 ISK/sp). If you count PLEXes and transfer fee, that's still 1.5 bil profit.

Now looking at other purchases, for my 2 another chars I paid 17 and 18.5bil respectively, that's 250 and 240 ISK/sp.. might be worth specialize them for couple months and get big profit.

So, second comment on your post might be very right.

Monkeytroubles said...

Your post mentions some reasons why people are not too interested in making characters for the bazaar: The effective interest rate is low and the investment takes a long time to mature (longer than the time horizon of an average MMO player, or for that matter an average MMO).

I would also add regulatory risk and uncertainty as considerations: you have no way of knowing whether today's in-demand skill-set will be nerfed or oversupplied a year from now. Unlike station trading, you cannot easily adjust your stock balance or liquidate your supplies if the market turns against you. Better hope CCP doesnt nerf supercaps even more.

(On a side note, Id like to see a discussion of the risks involved in the various investments you talk about.)