I’m still planning, haven’t yet gone fishing to see if I can get a buddy invite (and start my 21 day clock). I’ve pretty much decided that I can’t do it in a 14 day trial. Some people might, I’m just not that good.
Anyway, as already noted my only real avenue is trade. One thing I’ve noticed in preparing is that a lot of people don’t get trade. Oh, everyone gets the basic rule of buy low, sell high. And they manage that for what I’m going to call tier zero and tier one trading.
Tier zero is when you sell your loot on the market. Whether it’s from NPCs or other players or mission rewards or production, everyone accumulates these things that are for the most part useless to them. They take it to the market and sell it. Pretty much everyone looks at the current lowest ‘sell’ price, picks a number some distance below that, and puts it up. They don’t really care about the price, they want it gone — and any money beats no money.
Tier one tends to turn into hauling. Basically, you watch the market – usually several markets – and look for someone selling something for which there’s a higher buy order elsewhere. Buy it at A, haul it to B, sell it for profit. Much of the strategizing here deals with getting the most money per jump.
An interjection for the non-EVE players, especially the WoW players. EVE has a complex market system. In other words you can not only put up things for sale, you can put up standing orders to buy things. You have to put your money up (though you can get skills that let you only put part of it up front and promise payment on sale). In addition there is not a unified market. Oh, you can see markets at other stations in your region, but there are a lot of other regions. And while you can buy at range (and with skills sell at range as well) the deal isn’t closed till the package reaches the station. Mostly.
Anyway, there’s a thriving trade-haul opportunity that is buying in one place, hauling, and selling it somewhere else. There’s also a little niche: pure hauling under contract. But that’s a digression and is not something I can do right now.
What I call tier two trading gets a little trickier. Here what you do is see there’s a gap between the highest buy order and the lowest sell. You offer to buy the stuff at a price better than anyone else. Then when you’ve got it, you offer to sell it at a price lower than anyone else.
This, by the way, is most of what I’ll be doing. I’ll offer to buy some things at a price higher than others are asking, then I’ll offer to sell them (perhaps elsewhere) for less than others but at levels that still make me a profit.
So what are the big challenges? Basically there are three. First, there need to be available sellers of the goods. The people who’ve got buy orders up are competitors, not customers. And since you’re offering to buy at a price below that of the current sell orders none of them are going to sell to you. You have to have someone(s) who will sell to you.
Second problem is the flipside of this. You need to have buyers. Paying for a bunch of widgets and seeing them languish on your shelves gathering dust is bad.
Third problem generates harsh words. That’s dealing with competition, usually through bidding wars. There are two general camps here: the coppercutters (or .01 iskers) and the bidjumpers. The former enter the market (or change their offer) to be .01 ISK (or 1 copper) more desirable than the current best bid. The latter jump wildly – frequently by ten or twenty percent. The former tend to be players with plenty of time who can get on and stay on, making another bid each time they’re jumped. The latter, well, they’re usually one-shotters. They’re people who do not want to stay and watch the bids.
As a rule, the cutters tend to be players with very large inventories while the jumpers’ inventories are (relatively) smaller. Cutters expect to be selling their goods over a period of weeks, Jumpers expect their goods to go in a couple of days.
Both camps despise the other. The cutters accuse the jumpers of destroying the profit margins. The jumpers accuse the cutters of smothering sales. They’re both right. And both are successful sometimes, sometimes losers. Hey, some people PVP, some PVE, life goes on. But I digress, again.
Are there more tiers? Yes, but they require skills I won’t have for a while. Are there more complications? Oh, yes – taxes and broker fees, scammers, pirates, cross-region trading, and more.
It’s a challenge.