Thursday, January 10, 2013

Business Thursday: seeding headquarters

This isn't just a "how to make ISK" post, despite you make ISK with it. It is a post about how to participate in a group operation as a trader (as opposed to as a normal fleet member using your traded ISK). Every group operation in EVE needs resources: ships, ammo, modules and many other things. This is usually done utilizing corp hangars full of donated items. Such communistic approach is sub-optimal due to need of slave-work which leads to burnout and extreme vulnerability to spies/awoxers. Also, it is only applicable if the group is indeed a corporation and harder to use with alliances and formally non-organized groups.

The alternative is simple market seeding as it happens in Jita normally: people who want to sell put their wares to the market and people who want to buy buy them or place buy orders. This does not happen automatically as it needs capital: to put out 10 ships you need to own 10 ships. In Jita it happens due to the large number of sellers, each putting out a few. In a headquarters only a few people have excess items, most just want to buy. This is where you enter: provide the needed wares from your own money and sell them for profit. Currently I'm doing it for the New Order HQ and since I'm doing it the ganking goes much more smoothly. Let me outline the basic rules of doing it:
  • Standardization: working with the ops leadership figure out what are the few items that will be needed. For example there are more than 20 kind of small blasters that the Catalysts ships use. I seed only 4 kind of them after careful selection. Please note that unlike the corp hangar method you can make your own calls without risks as you are not forcing anyone anything. It's not like I say "you must use one these blasters", it's that I provide them but anyone is free to use different and also to provide different in the market.
  • Advertising: the people should know what you sell or they don't even look for it. Post on the group forum for example. In the New Order I use the simple trick of putting the item list to my Bio.
  • Hauling: while you should use contracted haulers (members of the organization and others) they aren't always available. As a fallback you shall be able to haul yourself. If you operate in highsec, have Orca and Freighter. In low/null/WH have a Jump Freighter. Below I show my new highsec hauling Orca. It is a compromise between tank and align time, faster than a max-tank, stronger than an Afterburner-accelerated one. The T2 large rigs are surprisingly cheap and you can put in a shield and armor link to further increase EHP:
  • Pricing: despite you are selling for your own people, you shouldn't sell at Jita prices for two reasons. One is the eternal "you shall not be a slave". If they find your prices high, suggest them to haul themselves and undercut you. Some may do, increasing the supply of the HQ. For this reason you shall never 0.01. If another guy undercuts you, be generous and let him sell if the price is OK. If it's too high, cut deeply. The other reason is protection from hostile buyouts. If you price over Jita and haul costs, the hostile buyer suffer losses.
  • Skills: you'll probably have to supply multiple smaller bases, not just one HQ. So you need lot of orders, time to learn Tychoon. Don't be scared by having 300 orders, they don't need the same babysitting as the Jita orders. Look at them once a week or so. Remote order management skills are helpful too. Having a fast aligning but not easily suicide ganked frigate (Merlin is great) in highsec or a covops frigate in low/null/wh also helps a lot. If you base on NPC stations, have your standings up. No need to max them, especially as it decreases your standings with other factions. Having your broker fee below 0.5% is acceptable, no need to go for 0.3-0.2 like in a dedicated hub trader. Accounting and Broker Relations 5 are no-brainers.
  • Buy orders: important! Whatever you sell, you should also buy in the same stations. I told that you'll need Tychoon. Buy orders are needed to let group members easily recycle their excess items (instead of hauling them back to Jita for sale and letting them rot in the hangar). Buy orders also allow independent haulers to supply you. Finally buy orders help silence "omg ripoff" idiots: they will more easily accept the Jita +30% price in deep nullsec if you also have a Jita +15% buy order. Even with their limited economy knowledge they can understand that you don't want to rip off yourself.
  • Manufacturing: ships are large, therefore their transportation is hard. Having manufacturing skills and proper blueprints let you haul (compressed) minerals and build the ships yourself.
  • Hub trader: the trade hub where you get your supplies, must have a standard, high-standings station trader alt and you must station trade the items in that hub. Why? Because this cannot be tolerated:
    This item is one of the implants I provide to the New Order. You can see the huge margin between buy and sell orders, right? This cannot stay for several reasons. At first the 900K sell orders might make hostiles believe that they can profitably buy out your wares at the HQ and haul to Jita. Secondly it makes you unable to define "the price" of the item. The hub buy and sell orders must be within 10%, keep station trading the the item until you reach it (and get nice profit). Thirdly in case of surge demand you might have to buy out sell orders in the hub and this case you don't want these sell orders to be 50% over the market price.

6 comments:

Steel H. said...

Slightly off topic, I'm proud of you. You have finally found a purpose of violence and bloodshed (even though violence and bloodshed without purpose is better if you ask me - in an internet spaceship game). And so, I have resubbed my two accounts today. My gank alt, veteran of the Gallente ice interdiction, Burn Jita, and Hulkageddon V, will be joining the New Order shortly. And damn, I just realised I still have a huge pile of Catalysts, Tornados and blasters of all kinds. It will be an honor to finally meet you, and kill besides you (in an internet spaceship game) - it's been a long time since I found this blog that helped me escape the hell of ICC-4/12-forever.

Death to all icebots!

Gevlon said...

Thank you and welcome. Death to bots and leeches!

Anonymous said...

So, Gevlon, why don't you just admit, that all this New Order thing is a social experiment - how to abuse/trick socials and people who just like violence for the sake of it and encourage/guide these people to do something for the "greater good", like fixing mineral prices, encouring "smart" mining, etc. Your "soldiers" don't care about bots, nor mineral prices, nor economy, but you do. You don't care about ganking and violence, they do. They give you what you want - fixing economy. You give them what they want - be it a protection racket, excuse, lots of easy targets. It's a win-win.

It's really smart, instead of trying to fight social, pointless and stupid behaviour (like you were doing before), now you are manipulating it for your own goals.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous: Gevlon is merely growing up. The "upper-class" always manipulate the socials for their own good. That's the nature of being rich.

Anonymous said...

I like the idea that they are "Gevlon's soldiers". He only joined the project 5 minutes ago.

Hivemind said...

@ Gevlon

You're still using the word "leeches" without giving much of an explanation why it's suitable. At this point, given that you don't exactly spend a lot of time mining yourself, I'm wondering if someone (possibly James 315 via his site) has simply told you AFK miners are bad and they harm the active miners who put in all the work, and you've immediately associated them with the honour leeches you're familiar with from WoW BGs. I've said before that an AFK miner still puts in as much effort as their at-keyboard equivalent, but allow me to provide an example:

Miner A and Miner B are both in an Orca-boosted fleet, mining in Mackinaws because they offer better yield than the Skiff and a much stronger tank than the Hulk's, strong enough to deter casual gankers (though not a large force like those fielded by the New Order).

For Miner A, the mining process consists of warping to the fleet, targeting a juicy asteroid, turning their lasers on and then stepping away from their computer and watching TV for 17 cycles, then coming back and moving their ore to the Orca, then returning to the TV for the next 17 cycles.

For Miner B, the mining process consists of warping to the fleet, targeting a juicy asteroid, turning their lasers on and then tuning out the mining process as they browse websites through the ingame browser for 17 cycles, minimising the browser, moving their ore to the Orca, then returning to the browser for the next 17 cycles.

If you would prefer, you could substitute any other activity for Miner A watching TV, and any ingame activity that doesn't involve moving the ship for Miner B browsing the internet.

Explain to me please who Miner A is leeching off with their style and why it is inherently worse than Miner B?

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