Friday, December 19, 2014

The End of the Aoede Mining Laser Upgrade? No.

CCP just announced the latest set of modules to be swept up in the module tiericide project. Unfortunately it includes th'lovely meta 4 MLU, the Aoede, which I regularly buy for about 500M and sell for 800M to 1B (a quick look at EveMon says I've bought/sold 10 of them in 12 days). The previous round of tiericide saw modules get merged together, so I suspect it's possible that the Aoede may no longer exist when the January 2015 release is done.

I owned six of them when the announcement was made, and was trying to sell them for about 950M. I lowered my price to about 880M, and thought for a minute....then decided to sell three of them directly to buy orders for 501M each. I basically got my money back on those, and left three on the market for 880M, hoping someone might buy them anyway, despite the uncertainty.  Luckily for me, a buyer picked up all three in one transaction!

Bullet dodged.

Edit from one hour later: CCP Terminus responded to a comment I made in the official forums.

Those are become faction modules with the same drop rate as before. Mining Laser Upgrades are not changing as much as some of the other module types when it comes to merging named modules. There will be more info out about the changes very soon.


Other Stuff

I'm using the free 20 days of multi-character training to buff my Jita alt's ability to fly a PvE Drake, and also buff her ability to research her own blueprints. Flipping Jump Freighters continues to be the most amazing thing I've seen in station trading :) I wait till there is at least a 300M gap between the buy/sell orders, since it costs me 130M to complete a buy/sell cycle.

Monday, November 24, 2014

A really good month of station trading

Piling up the ISKies

Before reading my post, if you haven't seen the new "This Is Eve" trailer, watch it now! I'll wait.

My fortunes shifted in a pleasant direction over the last month or so. I had been saving up my datacores and Planetary Interaction (PI) output, waiting for price spikes....and they all came at once. And other stuff spiked too. In a few short weeks my cash balance went to 12B ISK.

Looking for something to do with it, I trained up another level of Retail, allowing me 53 simultaneous orders. I looked through all the apparel items, including a lot of new stuff recently added to the game, with good profit margin and put up my offers. I also tried my hand at Jump Freighter trading! I'm currently training Retail V, so I can unlock the Wholesale skill and get another 64 order slots in a pretty short amount of time.

Here are some of the trades I did.

It's worth keeping in mind that I did most of the following without undocking -- this is all at Jita, on a character with about 500K skill points in trading.

My best trade was a tattoo that I bought for 800M and sold three days later for 1.9B! It took about 2-3 weeks to actually acquire it, though. Next up, a Rhea and Ark jump freighter, netting 780M and 490M profit each (not including taxes/fees around 150M each). It takes 6-7B to acquire these, so it's definitely not a starter item. During a price spike on Gallentean Starship Engineering datacores I sold 5000 of them for 200K each; a nice 1B ISK sale for around 440M ISK profit.

I pulled in 1.4B profit on my level 4 PI products, all of which were going through price spikes. I'd bought the P3 inputs for them a long time ago, when the prices were lower, so it was pretty easy to sell them in a strong market. The P3 and P4 prices have stayed high, so I'm not sure where this will go next. Remember, the PI stuff I do only works because my main's corp, Aideron Robotics, has 0% tax on its POCOs.

There were a couple of really satisfying sales too. I have a pile of 60 cheap tshirts that I bought for about 500K each, several months ago. I've been waiting for something interesting to happen and it finally did. The sellers all dried up! There was only one guy offering a single shirt, asking 2B for it. I joined the party at 1.5 billion with all sixty shirts...hey, you never know when Chribba might go drunk shopping! We drifted lower on price and I was able to sell one for 340M.

Small Remote Armor Repair IIs made a surprising price swing. They cost about 800K to make and usually sell around 1M each. But they soared to 4M and I had a good amount to sell, making about 500M profit. I'm acquiring more, waiting for the next swing.

There was also 425M profit in trading faction navy ammo, which has surprisingly frequent price swings. I highly recommend this for new traders.

In summary, Eve Mentat says I've made 6.5B profit on my station trader this month (10.5B profit in two months), and I have around 7B JUST in apparel sitting in the hanger. There's another 4B of assorted stuff, waiting for price spikes, to be sold too.

My PI efforts have ground to almost a halt over the past couple of weeks; we have unfriendly guests making life interesting in Fliet :).  I need to have corpmates escort me to/from the POCOs to deliver/pickup from the factories, but I don't have much chance to play Eve at home at the moment, and co-ordinate that activity, there's lots of RL stuff going on.

How Much Should Things Cost?

My homework involves finding out what the base price is for more items. Manufactured items are easy: you ask a blueprint calculator how much it costs to build. Items sold in the game's store are easy too: you check the price of Aurum and convert; i.e many Cybernetic Arms cost 1500 AUR, which is 250-300M ISK.

But there are many items which are not manufactured or bought in the store, including some apparel. I need to find out where they come from and what the "natural cost" would be.

Why? Because one of my rules of thumb is to look for stuff selling below its manufacturing/acquisition cost. That number usually acts as a price floor, especially on manufactured goods. It's not always true, though, especially in apparel. Most of the items available in the game store sell for less than the "real" cost.

Monday, October 13, 2014

High-Stakes Roaming in Brutix Navy Issues

French vs British at the Battle of the Chesapeake

We've been trying to get enough qualified pilots to field a Brutix Navy Issue fleet and last night we finally got the numbers.  We took out our BNIs, supported by Oneiros and Exeqs for reps, plus scouts and a smidgeon of other support roles. I think it's the most expensive roaming fleet I've ever been in, pound for pound, and there were some jitters at first. But we worked them out and went out looking for a fight.

We ran into a nice Templis CALSF gate camp in Heydieles, this Gila, Hyena and a couple of Caracals. It was very satisfying to take out that Gila at range. After docking up in Fliet we heard that some GalMil allies had found an Orca on a gate in Indregulle. We jumped into our disposable Catalysts and went to help kill it. It turned to be a bait Orca, equipped with a cyno generator! He jumped in a fleet of mainly Proteus ships, but it was too late, and their numbers too low. We killed the 700M ISK Orca, losing our disposable Catalysts -- an acceptable trade :)

We re-shipped into our BNIs, hoping to catch the Proteus's and their support ships. As we undocked, though, there were two ships watching us.  One was an Orthrus, a very juicy cruiser. Our FC had us all overheat guns and lock/fire at the same time, hoping to blap him before he could warp *almost* worked! He was in low structure when he finally managed to warp out.

Our BNIs arrived at Indregulle just in time to see the last Proteus warp away, so we didn't get a fight there. We headed back to Fliet with lots of happy discussion on the night's events, when someone found a Harbinger that had been around our area for a few days making life hard for our smaller ships. We sent in a reasonable force to engage him and point him, then jumped in our hungry BNIs to finish him off.

After that, we DEFINITELY docked up the BNIs, imagining that we'd be hot-dropped if we stayed out any longer.

That was a really fun night of Eve, with one fight flowing into the next, and quick re-ships.

Sadly I didn't get any video because my recording software had an identity crisis.


In trade news, I managed to nurse my buy/sell orders for most of the day at Jita; I was curious to see if would make a difference in the volume of trade I did. It did so, but unfortunately not in anything very valuable: apparel/tattoos/cybernetic arms continue to be pretty elusive. But I bought and sold a lot of other stuff and got good deals on the PI inputs I need, a lot of equipment I use to build ships for the corp.

Friday, October 10, 2014


Our awesome Battalysts in action. This is one of the ships I build for the corp. Thanks to Keewee for coming up with the fit and this video!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Making a killing on Meta 4 mining laser upgrades

From flickr user Psycho Al

I had a lot of fun doing these trades, and it's going to be more fun to share it!

I've mentioned this item, the mighty Aeode Mining Laser Upgrade, a few times in the past, but I got recently got lucky and acquired three of them, for 500M each just as the sellers market dried up. So I was holding three valuable items and nobody else was selling. What should I do?

Jack up the price!

The sales history showed it had never sold for more than 800M, not in the past six months anyway. I decided to try for a 1B isk sale, after taxes. I needed to sell for a little more than 1B to pay the sales tax and broker fees, so here's my first listing. I put two separate orders up to give the illusion that two different sellers were doing this. Notice the orders are a few hours apart to add to this impression.

Partial success! Another seller appears, reinforcing this as the new price for this item.

I don't have a screenshot of my next step, but here's what happened. The other seller made his sale, leaving me with 2 orders still up and still no competition from other sellers.  I decided to raise the stakes and raise ONE of my order's price to 1.5B. That would make the 1B isk item look cheap by comparison.

And it works! I make my first 1B+ sale, netting about 500M profit.

 The buyer immediately relists for 1.5B. If he had checked the sales history he'd have seen the item has never sold that high, and only just start selling at 1B in the last couple of days. He should have smelled a rat.  I list another Aeode that I'd picked up from my buy order at the new 1.5B mark, just in case someone actually is willing to pay that much.

It doesn't happen, sadly, but in the next few days as more sellers enter the market and the price drops back to 1B, I get a pleasant suprise.

A buyer pays me 1B isk for this item, then sells it back to my buy order 1 minute later! 500M profit and I still own the item, ready to sell it again!

Since the events shown here the price has drifted back down to about 590M on the sell, while the buy is still at 500M. What worries me most is that with the ongoing module tiericide that CCP is doing, this module may disappear or get nerfed, so I'm selling my remaining stock.

But this was a fun, fun few days of station trading!

Market Manipulation

A couple of months ago I indulged in a little market manipulation. It stemmed from a need my corp had: we were producing a wave of cheap hull-tanked Catalysts to help in our conquest of the entire Gallente/Caldari warzone.  The key ingredient was the Small Transverse Bulkhead I rig, which, despite only costing 100K ISK to make,  cost about 500K at all the major trade hubs, thus making the ship more expensive than we'd like.

I offered to make them at cost for the corp, a nice way to help Aideron out after all the enjoyment and free jump freighter services I've been given. I bought 10 BPOs, bought the materials started churning out about 400-800 a day.

Why so many? I wanted to also see if I could reduce the price at Jita, and perhaps at the other trade hubs, although I wouldn't go to those directly. It's a really useful rig and hull-tanking is the flavor of the month, so I'd like to see if I can push the price down and get the existing sell orders, and new sell orders to come down to my level.

If I make my sell orders too cheap, and too small in number then people will just buy them and re-sell them at the prevailing higher price. My sell orders need to be too big to ignore and too big to casually buy out.

On the first day at Jita, with my 400 rigs in hand I'm looking at the market. There are two sell orders of 500-600 rigs each at 394K and several buy orders offering about 200K each for 100 or so rigs.  I decide to put up a few sell orders at 225-250K to see what happens. They're snapped up immediately...nice for my wallet, but I need the orders to stay around.

The next day I start higher, listing my rigs at 350K. One of the other big sell orders comes down from 394K to beat my one! The market is moving!  I add more sell orders at 299 and 259, and also fill the the buy orders that were offering 200K. I add a buy order of my own at 100K. I'm trying to create the perception that the rig wants to cost between 100 and 200K, not 200-400K as it was.

Dawn comes and I list 160 rigs at under 179K. By this time, other sellers have been joining me at these levels. zKillboard lists the average market price at 299K. That evening I post another batch of 200 rigs at 138K...there are two good sell orders at 169K. I fill the remaining buy orders and, just to see what happens, put up a buy order for 200 rigs at 75K -- well below the cost of making them.

A wild large order appears, right where I want it.

Then the whale arrives.  Somebody lists over 4500 rigs at 138,599 ISK.  That's a huge order and if it doesn't move, that will lock the market down for a long time. Perhaps the drop in price worries them and they just want to get their stock's still a 30% profit, after all. zKillboard reports the average price of the rig, not surprisingly, as 138K.

Trying to keep the market low

Interestingly, this is only happening at Jita. The Rens/Hek/Dodixie markets are staying at 300-400K. I'm surprised that no enterprising space trucker hasn't bought our Jita stock and flown it to the other hubs yet.

I think that's what victory in market PvP looks like, though it is much easier to drive the price of an item down than up.

September 3rd
We don't need the price of this item to stay low any more, so I'm going to stop pushing it down. I'm curious to see if it will go back up again. If I stop undercutting that huge order (now around 2800 units) he may feel its safe to raise his price, which should drag the market back up again.

September 9th
After a few days of not forcing the price down, it has returned to the 500-550K mark. My hopes of getting rich quickly have faded, however, since the rig is selling quite slowly. C'mon people, hull-tanks! HULL TANKS!

September 19th 
Competition on this item has been fierce and the price got pushed down rather quickly. We're at 229K, but since Sept 9th I've sold 795 of them at Jita for a total of 318.9M, yielding a profit of 239M. I'm continuing to sell these to corp-mates in Fliet on contracts for 110K each, in sets of 30.

September 29th
In the last week the price has kept swinging between 225 and 550K. It started with a surprise overnight buyout that cleared out all the available stock under 500K, leaving me with a smile and a steady stream of high profit sales. But the price has been gradually pushed down to a mere 220K. That's still a 100% profit, though, which I'm happy to take any day, especially when I can so easily obtain the ingredients to build the item at Jita. The extra cost for building there is only about 10K per item.

October 9th
The price has stayed low and seems like to stay there. You can continue to track the price here, if you're interested.

Monday, October 6, 2014

How not to fly a brawling Vexor

We got into a rather fun fight in Akidagi last night, with Templis CALSF. I died just as we were breaking their tank and taking control of the fight, so here's a look at the first half. It was really exciting, high pressure stuff! Our logi said several of them finished in low structure.

But I made a lot of mistakes; I pointed out a couple in the video subtitles but I've been shown a couple more by our CEO. So in the interest of educating brawling Vexor pilots, here's what I have to work on.

Our Vexors' main drone flight is 2 Ogre IIs, 2 Hammerhead II and 1 Hobgoblin II. Mine also had a Minmatar jam fitted.  Ideally I should have launched drones on landing (waiting till the warp-in was completed!), and tried to jam a Minmatar target. Scythe would have been best, but the Sleipnir I eventually picked was good too. I'm not quick about recognizing the race of ships above cruiser.

Secondly, I spend a lot of time trying to fly to the primary targets as they are called. This is not how I should be flying. My drones should be sent to the primary, but I should have picked my own target to orbit at 500 and hit them with my guns, scram and web. Ideally, make sure nobody else is doing the same to your target, so you're keeping as many enemy ships pointed as possible.  I've heard our FCs give these instructions dozens of times, but I didn't properly absorb the lesson.

(Update: Or not. Sometimes it is better to fly to the primary, MWD on, and burn through it. When the "spread points" command is given, that's when we start looking for other targets to lock down.)

By not noticing my drones hadn't launched, and spending a long time not firing my guns, I missed out on applying a lot of damage.

Lastly, I should have broadcast for reps when all those yellow boxes appeared. I did notice it happening, but I didn't want to distract our logi squad from the repping they were already doing. They said afterwards, just broadcast and we'll get to you if we can. At the very least they'd have time to have me locked up and ready to send reps when the damage started landing.

And on the killmail-whoring side, I had the Loki targeted for the whole time and didn't actually do anything to him! So I missed out on that 200M+ ISK killmail, not that it matters.


On the other side of the game I'm continuing to build Catalysts, Comets, Enyos and Atrons for the corp. My pet wish is that CCP add a "rename your ship to match the fitting name" in the fitting window, so each ship automatically gets renamed. I've already sent it up the usual flagpoles and I hope CCP Punkturis sees it sometime soon - it seems like an easy change and a good time saver.

My PI operations have slowed down, but I'm still acquiring the P3 inputs I need when the prices are low, then building the P4 outputs, then selling them when P4 prices are high. I'm sitting on a good cash buffer, so I don't need to chase PI quite so hard any more.

I just completed Gallente Cruiser V, so I'm a short train or two away from the Proteus (FW missions!) and Ishtar (kill all the things!).