Just Mail Me The ISK Next Time

Economic activity in MMOs is often colored by the environmental factors as well as the attitudes of the players.  These often lead to market pricing decisions that do not always make a lot of sense.  The motivation of some people can be difficult to explain.

With my light missile economic experiment I have gotten to see a number of strange things.

In a particular system, and in all of the adjacent systems, I bought up all of the light missiles, many of which were priced below the cost to produce, and relisted them all at 18 ISK each.  I wanted to see if I could keep the price up at that level.  The investment wasn’t that much if things did not work out, and if they did, well, there was ISK to be made.

I mentioned before that one persistent player shows up every other day or so and lists a couple hundred thousand light missiles at 7.50 ISK.  And every time he does, I buy them up and relist them all at 18 ISK.

Recently, he changed his tactics slightly and started listing at 6.50 ISK.  I’m not sure how he figures that will drive me out of business, but I just keep buying up his stock.

Meanwhile, people seem quite content to buy light missiles at my price.

But yesterday a new player came on the scene.

I noticed that somebody bought a good part of my Bloodclaw light missiles from adjacent systems.  260,000 missiles went at 18 ISK each, and another 200,000 went at 20 ISK.  That is 8.68 million ISK in light missile sales in in just a couple of buys.  Very profitable for me, at least as a percentage of ISK invested.

Then I saw that somebody listed 1.2 million Bloodclaw light missiles in my target system with a price of 6.99 ISK each.  1.2 million missiles at that price came out to 8.54 million ISK.  I figured I might as well pick them up.  It would replenish my stock and I would still be ahead for the day in ISK.

After I bought them, I noticed that the seller was the same guy who purchased my missiles from the adjacent systems.  He must have been buying missiles in other systems as well.

So, looking at the net of my transactions with him, he gave me 740,000 Bloodclaw light missiles and 140,000 ISK.  If I sell all those missiles at 18 ISK each, which I plan to, he basically handed me 13 million ISK.  And this does not include the profit on the missiles he bought from me, which was close to another 4 million ISK, assuming I spent 10 ISK each on the missiles he bought, which is probably a high estimate.

Nice work, when you can get it.  But you stop wondering why people complain they cannot make money in these games when you see transactions like this.

11 thoughts on “Just Mail Me The ISK Next Time

  1. Sara Pickell

    Looks like a case of death by clerical error to me. If he had listed a few hundred thousand more that he had picked up at well below cost, it’s possible he could have made a decent days money out of it. Unfortunately he missed his price margin for the amount he listed by about .4 isk, and lost some money instead.

    If he had listed them at 7.39, chances are he would have had both you, for the profit margin, and regular consumers as possible buyers. Wouldn’t have made as high a profit percentage as you, but would have definitely turned a few easy million. Or at least, if he had gotten the rest of the shipment at a pretty good discount. I’d like to give the benefit of the doubt and believe they were trying to play off you in some way… otherwise I’m not sure I see much point in their actions.


  2. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    For the first guy, I can see that he might be somebody with a big buy order out picking up missiles for 1 ISK each and relisting at 6.50-7.50 and making a decent wage. Or he might be out there mining the minerals and building with an unresearched BPO, in which case he would probably be better off just selling his tritanium and skipping the missiles.

    But the second guy, I hope it was a mistake. Clerical error? Boosting his price by .4 ISK would have netted him a profit only if he had gotten those other 740K missiles for free. Somehow, I doubt that was the case. The fact that other sellers in adjacent systems were cleared out as well makes me think that he listed the whole pile at a huge loss.

    Every so often you run into somebody who thinks they are Robin Hood and needs to list things at an artificially low price to help new players. I’ve seen that forum thread enough in other games. He could be one of those.


  3. Joe

    Yeah, I no longer question why people struggle to make money in EVE (or most MMOs). I’ve seen so much head-scratch-worthy stuff already, and I’ve only been playing the game for a couple months.

    My goal in the game is not to have a lot of ISK, because you can’t actually do anything with it. What ISK gets you is “cool stuff”. So every time I see something cool, I check out the variations (Meta 1, 2, 3, etc) and put some buy orders in to snag a few dozen for cheap. If I get too many, I just reprocess them. At the price I get it, It’s still profitable regardless.

    But sometimes people want to play the 0.01 ISK footsie game with me, constantly out-bidding me by 0.01 ISK. So I try to play it smart. If I’m only buying 10 items at 50K each, and the guy outbidding me is buying 500, I’ll outbid him by 1000 ISK each time. Since you can’t change the quantity when you modify the buy order, if he wants to outbid me by 0.01 ISK, he’ll have to spend 500 x 1000 = 500K each time to do so. If they’ll just let me get my 10 (which I’m actually going to use, not resell), I’ll be gone and they can go back to getting them cheap.

    But it never fails that someone will still play the 0.01 ISK game, costing them hundreds of thousands or even millions, just to one-up me for the day or two that my buy order exists. :)


  4. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    @Joe: Oh yea, I know the 0.01 ISK game.

    In one region there is a guy who has a region-wide buy order for Hammerhead drones. I went in to one corner of the region, a good 10 jumps from him, and put in a 1 jump buy order for 500 drones at a higher price. He has the whole region, I have 3 systems.

    That would not stand with him. So we keep bidding up. I am buying to use, I have checked out the price to make with a BPO and the going market rate, so I feel I have a long way to bid before it ceases to be a good deal.

    This guy, he has to get them all, that he must own the region. So rather than getting these drones at 200 ISK from all but three systems in this region, He is now paying more than 6,000 ISK per drone, and I am going to go bid him up again this week, since I need some more drones! And, like you, I always bid up in big chunks, so each price change costs him a lot.


  5. heartless_

    Wilhelm, if he lets a little fish get his way around the lily pads, what happens when that little fish adds some weight and starts moving towards the stump?

    EVEnomics always interested me while playing. Since my alliance during my play time in EVE was stretched all across space after BoB attacked us, it was a nightly game of mine to see what was on sale in my current system, grab a few of them in my Thorax, and take em along for a ride 20-30 systems deep into the war zone.

    Funny enough, the farther I got into the 0.0 space, the more expensive things got. And ironically, Afterburner IIs were in the highest demand.


  6. mbp

    The 0.01 isk game has its place. If you are trying to sell stuff in a crowded hub like Jita (I know, I know) then there will always be competitors trying to sell exactly the same stuff and at least some of them will know what they are doing. At any given time only the lowest price seller will make sales so you can use the 0.01 isk game to time share the market. I log on at 7PM GMT and set my price to 0.01 ISK below my competitor. I own the market for the next few hours until he logs on a 7PM EST and undercuts me by 0.01 ISK . I make my sales while he is at work he makes his sales while I am asleep. Done right we both sell our stuff and make a profit. Undercutting by anything more than 0.01 ISK just reduces profits for everybody.


  7. Rieger

    The other thing to remember about the EVE market, is that you are only looking at a tiny slice of what he is doing on the market. Now this won’t apply to missiles, but back in my manufacturing days I used to sell a few specific ships cheaper than anyone else. People would fly to pickup the ship and then almost without fail they would start buying the fittings that they needed to go with the ship. That is how I made my isk. I would plan out typical ship fittings, and then I would make sure that I supplied those fittings to the people that bought the ship. Typically each of those 10 or so items would be significantly marked up over the surrounding stations/systems, but I was always able to sell them. People would fly to save big isk on a ship, but were willing to blow any savings they had made on the fittings for that ship. So I would lose isk on each ship, but always came out ahead with all of the various modules I sold. So in EVE always remember that the total picture is hard to see sometimes when you only have small snipets of the full image.


  8. Letrange

    I usually do the same as Reiger – setup a store with a good cross section of fittings (at a minimum sell the weapons that fit in the hulls you sell), hulls and ammo and eventually simply manufacture what sells out. Everything moves at different rates but once you hit the “build sell outs only” stage it’s reasonably profitable even with certain items above market averages. You could literally see what people would be flying because they tended to buy a hull and all the fittings at the same spot if they could.


  9. Leumas K

    @ Rieger
    It’s the convenience store concept. You drive out of your way to get the cheapest price gas, but you blow any savings by buying grossly overpriced merchandise inside the store. The C-stores make their money on the goods inside, not at the pump.


  10. Gribblethemunchkin

    There is so much with the Eve market i haven’t done yet. My market activity consists mainly of selling loot at Jita where i tend to get a good price. I only use sell orders if the highest buy order is well below market average (10% or more).

    Apart from that i buy minerals in large quantities and build ships, battlecruisers and battleships. I buy below market value, large buy orders with a 2 jump range (so i don’t spend forever collecting it all). I sell the ships in jita at a fraction below the lowest price available. I always make enough money to make it worth it.

    Given that i’m primarily a mission runner, this has the great side effect of being mostly hands off activity. Set orders, wait a week or two, spend an evening collecting it all, build a few ships, fly them to jita.

    Am seriously considering buying a freighter and moving my production activities up a considerable amount. mass produce battleships.

    Do any of you guys get much use from your frieghter?


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