Art by Redline XIII
Editor’s Note: This is part one of a five-part series. Part five will delve into the mechanics of market trading for those who are interested in winning Eve at someone else’s expense.
Mining, Mistakes, and the Eve Way
After 12 years in Eve, I feel strongly compelled to give back to the community, and my offering is on the subject in which I am the most proficient – Market Trader. Becoming such took several frustrating years, which included giving up and a few times even quitting this game that I love. But no good Eve story is without context and narrative, and where I’ve ended up is directly connected to my beginning days as a Capsuleer.
In the Summer of 2007, CCP was engaged in an aggressive marketing campaign and placed very compelling advertisements all over the internet: “Be your socially acceptable self in real life, and become your dark side in Eve.” I clicked the link and gaming was forever changed.
My Eve textbooks were classics such as Nightfreeze, James 315 and the Orchestration of The Great Null War, and arguably the most accurate and daunting description of Eve, The Learning Curve of Popular MMO’s. The universe I was entering left me with two resounding sentiments – everyone will kill me or scam me, and I’ll need ISK to actually enjoy this game.
Fresh in my pod and after weeks of slogging through the Learning Skills, I decided on Mining as my first career. You know, to generate some seed ISK and springboard my space faring exploits off of the finest ore highsec could offer. Absent any New Player Experience, I was dejected that I had yet several more boring weeks and months of mining skills to train through before my space riches could be realized.
Never one to be opposed in spending some of my hard earned cash on a hobby that I enjoy, I was relieved to discover the wonders of Game Time Cards (the precursor to PLEX). A plan was hatched, I would break off a few bucks and purchase enough ISK to buy a fully skilled and capable miner character from the Character Bazaar and finally be done with the hellish beginning stages of Eve. A small fortune in GTC’s were procured, as well as a buyer. Game set match, things were falling into place.
Negotiations took place between myself and an affluent pilot who, for reasons beyond me at the time, had a use for such a large sum of GTC’s. Enthusiastically I drew up a contract and shipped him my product…sans a few zeros. A simple mistake, so I told myself. Surely his decency, let alone Eve’s Code of Conduct that must be in place, would ensure I would be properly compensated for rendered goods.
I pleaded my case to him in typical Eve fashion: “I made a dumb noob mistake! I spent REAL MONEY on those GTC’s! I NEED that ISK!” He responded in typical Eve fashion, “Yeah sucks for you, thanks for the discount. You fucked up dude, it’s my ISK now. Fuck you, HTFU. Step one: Don’t be a dumbfuck.”
After those cold hard gems, I was promptly blocked. To be honest, he was absolutely right. I had no claim to that ISK. My lack of attention to detail had gifted him considerable gains. But I refused to accept this setback. Fuming at the abject wrongness of the situation I found myself in, I turned my anger at myself and at him into a determination that I would be accurately compensated for what was once rightfully mine, but now, in Eve terms, rightfully his.
From cursory inquiries about this individual it became clear to me that he was a player on the industry and production side of Eve. And judging by the quantity of GTC’s he required and was able to purchase, my guess was that lots of ISK ran through his hands. In game research exhausted, I turned to the Eve Online Forums and hit the jackpot. This opportunistic individual who received quite the windfall of ISK from me was a well known and respected presence on the Market Discussion section of the forum. He was also set to receive several tens of billions of uncollateralized ISK for his most recent BOND, in no small part due to the success of his previous BONDS. Along with those successes, the honesty and trustworthiness that he brought to his proposals propelled the Market Discussion denizens to throw ISK at his ventures.
I knew exactly what must be done. Quickly, I made another character to message my antagonist. I included a screenshot of his harsh words to me from earlier that showed the opposite of the honest and trustworthy persona he had perfected on the forums to garner support for his market offerings. I told him that our private communications would be published in his forum thread in an attempt to thwart his current and future offerings. Handling public money with no collateral comes with an expectation of honesty and trust, and his dealings with me, a poor noob, would not sit well with the Capsuleers who were about to throw ISK at him.
Mulling over this turn of events, he decided that refunding me would be cheaper then losing his good reputation and access to public funds. Within minutes, my wallet was flashing. He Eve mailed me a message apologizing and pointed out that he added 15% to the ISK I was shorted. Fair’s fair, right? I got my ISK, plus a bit extra, and he gets to continue his business ventures with public funds. Well, Eve is a cold harsh place and everyone is out to get you…including me.
I gleefully explained to him that I was ecstatic that he reimbursed me. I now had the ISK I needed to play Eve properly. What I also had was evidence that could ruin his business, and knowledge that he wanted to avoid that evidence becoming public. Our deal had suddenly changed. We came to an understanding: I would from that point on be receiving a full dividend from his current and future offerings, or I would out his indiscretion. Of course, my guy was less than thrilled with our new arrangement, but I was quite happy with it, and continued to be happy with it until he ultimately cashed in his trust and good rep on his own several bonds later.
Thus I turned a mistake into a windfall of cash, and was introduced to the Market Discussion forums. I let go my aspirations of being a space miner. Untold riches were to be found on the market.