Saturday, 23 August 2014

Looking for Bulk Contracts

There's a new Bulk Prices page here at Merchant Monarchy.

I've begun experimenting with Bulk Buying through contracts. The new page lists my prices for various different faction mods, implants and ships I buy in bulk. I'll accept contracts in any of 21 different locations throughout contiguous hi sec.

I've also posted a small subset of the items listed there to the "Wholesale Trading" mailing list.

Take a look at the new page and feel free to leave feedback on pricing, minimum numbers, items you'd like to see added to the list and so on.

When it comes to items I'm generally not interested in anything worth much less than 10 million each. +3 implants are an exception because they're high volume and even large stacks (100+) of them don't take up very much space.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Bulk Trade Mailing Lists

I keep hearing about various different "bulk trade" channels and mailing lists. I never really bothered checking into them before because I'm not interested in buying huge piles of materials or really big stacks of cheap stuff. I deal almost exclusively in expensive items like faction mods and implants.

Recently however I ran across some comments about a rich player X ATM#### who's supposedly the biggest buyer and seller of bulk faction mods (or claims to be anyhow). That definitely got my attention since I'm pretty big in faction mods myself. It's always nice to know who the competition is and what they're up to.

So I did some quick Google research and discovered he does most of his purchasing by soliciting private contracts through an in-game mailing list.

I was a little surprised to find they consider a stack of 5 to be a "bulk" sale, especially for the cheaper items. I was expecting bigger numbers than that. I don't consider myself a really big player in the faction mods market but I can (and do) easily handle much larger purchases than that.

And the best bulk prices? I dunno about that. While their prices are similar to mine on 2 of the above items I pay significantly better for the other 4 items. I buy a lot more than just 6 items and I buy just about everywhere in 21 different regions, not just on Jita.

I also found some talk from X about routinely doing 10 billion a day in business. I can easily handle that kind of volume too. In fact I do that kind of business already, only with a lot of shipping required to get things from where they were purchased to where I want to sell it.

I also found a few other bulk trade lists that allow anyone to post WTB / WTS requests. The biggest was named "Bulk Trade" but for some reason it tells me "You're not allowed to join this list". I'm not sure why, maybe it's full (I hear in-game mailing lists are limited to 3000 members) or maybe the list owner has banned starter corps (all my alts are in starter corps). The other bulk lists I found all seemed dead or nearly so.

If people actually sell significant numbers of faction mods to X ATM and his partner(s) at those prices maybe I should start a bulk trade mailing list too. Only I'd accept contracts on 22 different hubs throughout contiguous hi sec (one hub in each region) and allow other traders as well as industrialists, FW LP farmers or whatever to participate with WTB / WTS offers too.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Somergate 2014

Somerblink and their disreputable RMT "money laundering" partner Marquee Dragon are at it again.

Predictably the community is once again in an uproar. There's plenty of coverage elsewhere on exactly what they're doing this time and everyone's probably heard it by now so I won't bother going into that.

Instead I'll go into some conjecture on what could happen if CCP decides this scheme is ok.

Let's all get rich!

Will anyone else who wants to do the same thing be allowed to?

I currently have am worth over 700 billion ISK and make about 50 billion per month. If I were to more than double Somer's "incentive" paying 100 million over the usual price for PLEX provided the PLEX were purchased from my affiliate link, I'd be paying out 1 billion for every 10 PLEX. And making 8 or 9 dollars per billion.

At 8 dollars per billion with 700 billion that comes out to about 5600 dollars. Not a bad deal for any player with a fair amount of ISK looking to cash out.

Or I could just sell 50 billion ISK a month and sustain that indefinitely. 400 bucks a month, 4,800 per year, that's a pretty decent little real life income supplement. Heck if I could double that I could quit my job and live entirely on officially sanctioned RMT plus my pension.

I suppose I could live with that.

And I'm not even all that rich, there are many players as rich as I am and quite a few that make me look like a pauper. And then there are the big cartels, alliances and corporations.

Let's get even richer!

Or here's some food for thought. What if an ETC reseller sets up a program selling PLEX for 30 dollars each with the referrer buying back the PLEX for ISK at double the usual rate and gives the entire extra 10 dollars to the referrer?

That'd be a pretty good "incentive" to buy from that particular setup. The referrer would be making about 12 dollars per billion (considering he gets half the ISK paid out back by reselling the PLEX) and while the ETC seller wouldn't be making any more per PLEX sold he'd almost certainly be doing more volume.

It's a slippery slope, where does it stop?

The final nail in Somer's coffin

Finally there's one point nobody seems to have considered yet. What if the ETC seller buys the PLEX back from the ISK buyer for real money?

Then it becomes a vicious circle with the same PLEX being sold repeatedly by the ETC seller and cutting CCP out of the loop.

I don't think there can be much doubt about what CCP will do once they finally figure that out. And this time around while they're dealing with Somer I hope they don't forget to shut down Marqee too.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Market Price History Accuracy

Market Price History is not an accurate indication of what things actually sell for.

For example here's a screenshot of the market history for PLEX in Domain.

Note the low prices on the dates 08-13 and 08-10 are 760 mil and 763 mil respectively. Yet when I look at my transaction log I can see I bought 5 on each those same dates for only 745 mil and 745.5 mil each.

Obviously price history is not a very accurate indication of what things actually sell for. So what is it then?

Market history does not show the prices things actually sell for. It seems to miss a lot of lower priced transactions (like my 10 PLEX above) which inflates the numbers meaning the prices things actually move at are often lower than market history indicates.

Maybe market history only uses sell orders without taking buy orders into account at all. That would certainly explain why my purchases (usually made with buy orders) are often lower than what market history says is the lowest price.

But that doesn't explain other inconsistencies in the history data, like how I sold 5 PLEX for 784 mil each on 08-13 when market history says the high price for that day was slightly less than that.

I know for a fact that on the 13th there were a whole lot of sell orders listed higher than 784 mil, many of them much higher so history can't be just taking periodic snapshots of listed sell orders as I first thought. That'd push the average way up.

Then again the average prices shown in my screenshots above are lower than I would have expected unless it IS taking buy orders into account too. But in that case why didn't my buy order purchases show up in the data?

Whatever the cause may be something funny is going on with market history. The problem is market history prices are often misleading, sometimes very misleading, especially for low volume items. In a worst case scenario, market history doesn't reflect anything near the real prices an item normally moves at but instead shows extremely overpriced listings that for the most part are NOT SELLING.

What I'd find a whole lot more useful than this is information on the prices things actually sell for. I'd much rather have accurate info on the prices (with volume numbers) something actually sold for than what someone listed it for.

On a related but slightly different note, in the case of PLEX I'd really like to see information on two specific things

1. How many PLEX were bought from CCP with real money.
2. How many PLEX were actually used (taken out of circulation and used for subs, transfers, etc).

Even yearly data on PLEX purchases and usage would be extremely useful though monthly data would be much better. No need to get fancy with in game statistics, regular reports or anything, a simple one time dev blog post containing the information would be just fine.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

PLEX Prices - August 2014

PLEX prices have been rising rather rapidly for most of this year but the last month or so seem to have hit a plateau and even dropped off a bit.

The above screenshot is the price of PLEX on Amarr. Prices on Jita are similar. I choose to use Amarr for this example because margins are a bit better and I have more PLEX for sale there right now.

Coincidentally the dropoff started right when I jumped back into the PLEX market with the intention of trying to influence PLEX prices. No I'm not claiming credit for prices going down. Even though I intended to see if I could push prices down, they'd already just started going down as I returned to the market.

Back in my May PLEX Price Crash post I predicted PLEX prices would level off and possibly crash sometime before they hit 1 billion per PLEX. While this doesn't exactly qualify as a crash yet, prices certainly have come down a bit.

Well I did have more PLEX for sale on Amarr. I'd posted 5 PLEX at 784 mil each then started writing this article. About 10 minutes later I went to take a screen shot of the PLEX for sale and found all 5 of them had already sold.

Oh well, I guess those particular PLEX won't be pushing the price down any further. Still that's 39 million margin with roughly 17 million in taxes and fees leaving about 22 million profit per PLEX or 110 millon in total. Not too shabby for a quick and easy profit.

And here's a screenshot proving they were all bought not only in Domain but right on Amarr.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Power Projection - The Elephant in the Living Room

I don't know why everyone keeps coming up with all these convoluted, unnecessarily complex ideas about how to "fix null" while completely ignoring the elephant in the living room.

Power Projection - A term used in military and political science to refer to the capacity of a power bloc to conduct war. IE, to intimidate other powers and implement policy by means of force, or the threat thereof, in an area distant from its own territory.

Power projection in Eve is insanely overpowered. It's completely ridiculous how massive fleets of the largest most powerful ships in the game can also travel across the entire map faster than anything else.

This leads to sov war being a game of RISK in Space with unlimited airdrop rules. All that really matters is who has the biggest teleporting blob because that blob can be anywhere you want it very quickly. More quickly than much smaller, far closer, but purely local forces can respond.

If you really want to fix null, the one thing that must be done is to nerf power projection so the big blobs can't just attack anyone, anywhere, anytime with total impunity and overwhelming numbers for easy, guaranteed wins anymore.

Jump drives on capital ships and Jump Bridges should be removed from the game.

That would make capitals the core of the home defense fleet rather than the fast reaction teleporting IWin blobs they are now. As it should be.

In reality the disadvantages of large, extremely powerful forces are that they're slow, difficult to move, maneuver, support and supply over long distances. They are by no means a quick reaction force. Jump mechanics turn reality upside down and give a massive, unsurmountable advantage to gigantic fleets of the largest ships in the game.

Leaving jump capability on Black Ops should be ok. As a plus they're actually extremely well suited to smaller fleets fighting geurrilla warfare *against* the big blocs and their giant blobs.

Edit: heh, fixed a silly typo, it's "big blobs" not "big blogs".

Training Report - August 2014

Training report for 08 August 2014

I haven't done a training report since March and I use these to help myself keep track of my plans too so it's time for another.

First the numbers:

12 Accounts
29 Characters (30 if you count a "Junk Storage" character with no training other than social I and contracting I)

26 Traders (24 active, 2 spares, all finished training trade skills)
21 (out of 23 total) Empire regions covered by traders

5 Covert Ops pilots
26 Blockade Runner pilots
2 Tengu pilots
1 Recon pilot
1 Rattlesnake pilot
2 Black Ops pilots (1 Panther, 1 Widow)
29 Vigil pilots =)

12+ PLEX per month (12 subscriptions plus more for dual training)

I work a mix of regional and station trading with a fair bit of hauling and courier contracts between regions. I'm always moving up market (dropping cheaper items and replacing them with more expensive items).

I train my traders for 305 orders with the following trade skills: Trade V, Retail V, Wholesale V, Tycoon V, Accounting V, Broker Relations V, Margin Trading V, Daytrading V, Marketing V, Procurement IV, Visibility IV and Contracting IV (6,716,785 SP). I consider them to be "finished" training trade skills at that point.

All but one of my traders are also Blockade Runner (Prowler) pilots. I train them for Transport Ships IV, with all important subcap Shield, Fitting and Navigation skills at IV or V (mostly Vs with a few IVs).

Account 1

3 fully trained traders, all flying Blockade Runners, covering Essence, Tash-Murkon and Verge Vendor Regions. Currently working on finishing training Navigation, Fitting and Shields on all of them.

Future plans: Train Cyno V on all 3 characters and train at least 1 character into Bombers (Covert Ops + Missile skills).

Account 2

The traders of Amarr, Dodixie and Rens. All 3 are finished training trade skills. Also finished training Capacitor, Navigation, Engineering and Shield skills on all 3 characters to mostly Vs and a few IVs. Two are Covert Ops pilots, all three are Blockade Runner Pilots. Currently training Cyno V on Rens.

Future plans: Will probably train missile skills on Rens next so he can fly Bombers. After I'll probably either get Cyno V on the other two or start training one of them into Industry.

Account 3

Lonetrek Trader - Finished training trade skills. Covert Ops and Blockade Runner pilot with Cyno V. Currently training Covert Ops V and Missile skills to fly Bombers.

Jita Trader #2 -  Finished training trade skills. Does nothing but trade officer/deadspace/faction mods. Blockade Runner pilot.

The Bleak Lands Trader - Finished training Trade skills. Blockade Runner pilot.

Future plans: Continue training Bomber skills on Lonetrek, then get Jita's Navigation, Fitting and Shield skills up higher..

Account 4

Jita Trader #1 - Finished training trade skills. Blockade Runner pilot. Does nothing but trade skill-books. This is the only character that still deals in very many items worth less than 20 million ISK.

Exploration / Scout / Scanning pilot - A combat pilot, not a trader.. Flies Covert Ops (Buzzard), Recon (Falcon), Tengu and Black Ops (Widow). Has Astrometrics V, all the rest of the astrometrics skills at IV and most shield, navigation, fitting, EW and exploration skills at IV or V. Currently in a Per/Wil remap training Missile skills and Black Ops V.

Future plans: Finish training Black Ops, Missile and Jump skills to V. Eventually start a new character on this account.

Account 5

My Main - Covert Ops, Tengu, Rattlesnake, Panther pilot with all racial Battlecruiser and Destroyer skills at V. Has half decent trade skills but hasn't done any trading in a long time now. Currently in an Int/Mem remap working on Jump skills and other Int/Mem support skills.

Stacmon Trader - Finished training Trade skills. Blockade Runner pilot.

Future plans: My main is finally finished training subcap Missile skills now. He can use all T2 subcap launchers with IVs in missile specialization skills and Vs in all missile support skills. Eventually he'll probably train Recons, HACs, Interdictors and HICs too. I'll probably start a 3rd character on this account eventually.

Account 6

Dual training active

Hek Trader - Finished training Trade skills. Covert Ops and Blockade Runner pilot. Currently training Acceleration Control V. Will remap Per/Wil to start training Missile skills soon.

Jita trader #4 - Finished training Trade skills.  Blockade Runner Pilot. Handles the Jita implants market and dabbles a little in other markets. Currently training Int/Mem support skills higher.

Devoid Trader - Finished training trade skills. Blockade Runner pilot.

Future plans: Finish training int/mem support skills on Jita. Train Missile skills on Hek soon so he can fly Bombers.

Accounts 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12

Six accounts I started just before the news about dual training broke. They're all trader / blockade runner pilots following the same training plan.

All six original characters are finished training trade skills, fly Blockade Runners and are either finished or nearly finished training flying support skills (mainly Navigation, Engineering and Shield skills).

All 6 accounts also have 2nd characters that are finished training trade skills and in various stages of training blockade runners and int/mem support skills. All but one are following the same skill plan of training Trade skills (along with a few days worth of basic flying skills) first, then Blockade Runners and finally topping up Int/Mem support skills.

One character is following essentially the same training plan except he's training Blockade Runners and Int/Mem support skills *before Trade skills for a change.

10 of the 12 characters on these accounts are active traders, the other 2 are basically spare traders that aren't actually doing any trading right now.