Thursday, June 11, 2015

Looking Up

My EVE life has become a spreadsheet.

Many see too many numbers, and orders of endless drudgery when they think of market trading. But, out of all the ways one can make ISK in EVE, the trading profession has always been the one I’ve gravitated toward.

Unlike other things such as mining and mission running, there is no limit to how much ISK you can make in trade. There is no min-maxing the most ISK per hour, or reaching maximum efficiency. The sky is the limit, and your ISK has the potential to grow exponentially.

However, beyond the obvious ISK advantages of being successful at market trading, I find the market in EVE to be interesting in its own right. In many ways, it represents the pulse of a place. You poke at it, watch it, and stick your fingers in it until you understand the underlying thrumming that is the everyday life of the locals. 

And I often can’t distinguish whether my market research ends up being a matter of researching a system’s inhabitants in order to understand their market, or researching the market in order to understand the people that live there.

I current supply two low-sec markets. And, they are as alike as night is from day. What will sell extremely well in one place sells poorly in another and I’ve come to regard them as two separate beasts altogether.

One is a sleepy Faction War system, where I avoid the expensive stuff and hand out warp core stabs like they were penny candy. Faction frigates and tech one cruisers seem to be the popular vessels of choice and my buy orders gorge themselves on discarded drones, tags, capacitor boosters, ammunitions, and salvage materials.

The second one is a volatile, thriving, pirate cesspool.  The flavor of the day seems to fluctuate like the emotions of a moody girl, with one expensive ship class selling hot and heavy one day, and fizzling the next as some other expensive class takes its place in popularity. Faction battleships and then HACs. Tech three cruisers and then command ships. 

And I load the market with every expensive gadget--anything offering an extra 2.5% advantage for which the inhabitants will dearly pay.

My third market is an experiment I recently started in high-sec. It’s the first high-sec market I’ve traded in on this scale, in a frazzled high-to-low border system. There are several others who trade there, though their market pulse feels timid and scattered to me. Perhaps they are new –eager to reap the benefits that market trading can bring, but a little scared to take risks.

This market is also home to a couple items I purchase in bulk from those cashing in at the local loyalty point store. Combat pilots and freedom fighters slip in to drop their wares and pick up a few necessities, only to dash back out again. And I keep up ample buy orders to bank upon their haste.

And then, of course, I speculate. Speculating is like riding waves. You have the small, predictable and somewhat regular waves that null-sec alliances brings as they gently do their market manipulations and shipments from null-sec.

And then you have tall, less predictable waves that usually occur with shifting politics and local wars.
Momentary tidal waves will come in as everyone rushes toward something new and interesting. And a building Tsunami will indicate someone doing a whole lot of something general --outfitting a fleet, or stocking an alliance hangar with old reliables.

You ride, and ride, buy and sell, buy and sell, hoping that you don’t miss the peak or misjudge the quickly approaching valley.

But, for all this spreadsheet life’s interesting qualities, I always welcome that particular moment that always hits me when I’m heads down, all else forgotten, adjusting orders, riding waves, and researching new ideas. The freighter is going, and I’m scrolling and tabbing through market and wallet and journal, then market and wallet and journal.

And my Teamspeak rings and my Jabber pings and I’m jolted –looking up through a haze of numbers and percentages and margins.

“MAX DUDES GET IN FLEET!!!1” <insert string of expletives here>
"MAX DUUUUUUDES " <insert seedier string of expletives here>

And my spreadsheet life abruptly drifts away, forgotten. And once again I am a pirate.

1 comment:

  1. Dammit Susan... are you the one I keep fighting with in the Hek Market?