Life and Times of a Space Trader (Part Two)


Header Art by Redline XIII

In part one I briefly outlined my origins, of which every point would define and guide my future choices in Eve, even to this day, 12 years later.  Further defining was the discovery that unfun game activities put you on a direct path to unsubscribing. Mining wasn’t for me, nor was sitting around allowing myself to fall victim to other Capsuleers.  

The Market Discussion forum hinted at untold riches to be made on the market but held close any insight besides the “Buy Low – Sell High” trope.  With billions of ISK in my wallet and this mantra drilled into my head, I set out to join the exclusive space rich club.  

 Buy low sell high, besides being horrible and misleading advice, gives the would-be trader exactly zero starting points to enter the field, product wise.  I decided to scour the market window comparing the highest buy price against the lowest sell price, and promptly discovered that what margin was left after Sales Tax and Broker Fees rendered a minuscule number of viable items to dive into.  

Unaware of the other metrics that are provided on in the market interface, I jumped head first into what appeared to be easy money – the mineral trade.

Zero Sum Game  

The state of Eve at the time generated a lot of minerals from reprocessed modules dropped from the belt rats.  Additionally, there were swarms of actual miners (and bot miners) out there acquiring and reprocessing their ore.  These two groups possess the detrimental mentality that the items they acquired via gameplay were free ISK enabling traders across the galaxy to generate profit.  Eve is a zero-sum game, for a Capsuleer to make ISK, another Capsuleer must make less ISK.

I became a real Eve player then.  I created and downloaded spreadsheets and plugged in the numbers, considering the State and Broker skimming my profits.  Trit and Mexalon were not an option – I did not have the capitol to generate profit from the economics of sale of purchasing millions of units.  This led me to the much rarer and high profit margin mineral Morphite.

The spread between buy and sell on Morphite generated me a more then acceptable profit margin, and my wallet was consistently ticking.  Of course, what I did not know at the time, is that every trader wanted in on this item. To turn the profits I desired, I had to make multiple buy and sell orders, so I could update at least one of each every two to three minutes.  It payed off, but the onset of tedium and fatigue began to set in.

Of the what must have been thousands of updates, I inputted one less zero on one of my sell orders.  I was crushed when a significant portion of the profits I had spent hours generating over days if not weeks immediately vanished.  

I was done grinding my gears in the Morphite trade.  I knew the multiple updates led to human error. Yet again I ventured into the Eve-O forums, but I didn’t limit myself to the strange procedure that the MD forums tended to consist of.  Mission runners made money, and not just from bounties. I discovered that a majority of the ISK they earned came in the form of LP.

Profit Per Trade

Off to the PvE section I went.  I discovered that these runners generated mass quantities of implants, and they habitually just sold them to buy orders.  I had experience with implants as I needed to amass as many skill points as I could as a new Capsuleer, so naturally I dove into that market.  I attacked the implant trade fiercely and was making acceptable margins off of the lower tier entry level implants, but my eyes were bigger than my experience, and invested a large part of my trade capital into the 100 million range of higher tier implants.  

Needlessly to say, while yielding more profit per trade, the trade was slow and heavily contested.  I wasn’t making nearly as much money in this market as I was with my ill-fated mineral flipping, and it required even more time in front of my PC, relentlessly updating orders.  Fed up, I drastically undercut a few buy orders to separate myself from the 0.1 ISKers. I got even more fed up when I realized that I dropped my Sell price lower then the current high Buy price, netting me a significant loss.  

And thus, two things happened:  A valuable lesson was learned but wouldn’t materialize until much later in my trade career (diversification, burnout, and a fuller understanding of the Eve Economy).  And, I decided to emulate the business model of the opportunistic gentleman who I blackmailed for ~six months.  

Detailing my experience in skilling for industry and acquiring BPO’s to manufacture from is beyond the scope of this article, with the exception that the end location for my goods wound me right back to the Market that I was disenchanted with.  I did make profit but wised up and decided against hauling hundreds of millions worth of goods back and forth to my production system then back to Jita.  

It would be months before I made the trek back to the station trader life, but I did with a new resolve that I would not let the cutthroat economists keep me out of the profession I was determined to break into and thrive in.

Attacking the Markets

In Eve, you can do the wrong thing for the right reasons, which build up into failures.  Those failures can be mitigated and avoided. Success in Eve hinges on doing significantly more right things for the right reasons and paying heed to seemingly small details that completely keep you for your goals. I took my expanded knowledge of the economy of Eve from my industry venture which opened more of the Market to me.  Suddenly I had many more categories of items that I thought I knew well enough to enter into and come out ahead. And I attacked those markets.  

Yet again, my bottom line significantly improved…at the cost of being over my head in too many markets.  My original goal had been realized, but problems reared their head quickly. I was stuck in the station and unable to use any of my ISK for the fun activities I so desired.  So much time was spent in front of my computer jockeying for the top Buy and Sell positions. Other much more experienced Traders would tank my markets and drive me out, and I did not have enough capital to do anything about it.  I did not have a full understanding of the profession to attain long term success.

And so, for the first time, I won Eve, for about three months.  

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  • BroDude

    Cool Story Bro

    November 5, 2019 at 7:24 PM
  • The Thinking Agent

    “Eve is a zero-sum game, for a Capsuleer to make ISK, another Capsuleer must make less ISK,” is a fundamentally flawed statement.

    November 8, 2019 at 8:55 PM