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One of the things that's struck me as weird about local market conditions in my corner of EVE is the ginormous gap between buy and sell prices. People offer to buy (for example) light missiles for 1 at Station A and then sell them for anywhere from 20-30 at Stations B, C and D. I've been making some money in-game buying ammo at 1v for 12-18, running it down the pipe to KZF, and selling it at a markup of 5, which does add up when you're moving a couple thousand units. It also works in the other direction: I bought missiles for roughly the same prices at KZF and am reselling them at 1v. In the latter case I'm underselling people by anywhere from 5-10 ISK/missile.

When I brought this up in the forums and asked people to consider lowering their sale prices and being more generous in their buying prices for rat loot, I was promptly attacked for wanting to introduce "space communism" and wanting to do away with "LOLbertarianism". Since I think most of these people understand economics about as well as they understand particle physics or women I'm not even going to try and explain this in words of one syllable, especially because it's rapidly degenerating into the kind of shitposting and ad hominem attacks I'm so familiar with from /b/. I don't know why this surprises me.

One last bout of EVE last night before Detour. Hooked up with my Canadian buddy Ex2 Wombat and went out ratting, hoping to salvage some of the wrecks I'd left there Monday night. It was not to be, but we did a good job double-teaming the rats. He'd lead off with an armor-tanked Vexor, launch drones and get their undivided attention, which allowed me to show up a few seconds later and start bombing the crap out of the rats at long range. We took some good salvage from that and went on to the next system where soembody was hard at work in a battleship carving his way through the local rats. That somebody wasn't bothering with the loot, though, so we scavenged that and went back to the barn. I came away with lots of good ECM, missile launcher and shield modules, and my fellow wombat scored a lot of autocannon and the ammo to go with it. Good times. I'll probably stay away from the game over the weekend except for occasional check-ins to train skills and of course the State of the Goonion address by Remedial on Saturday night - during cosplay, which I may watch (for the first time!) on my room TV. God bless the Ramada; if only they had two more floors' worth of sleeping rooms and another 10,000 square feet of function rooms. Maybe we can get the Ghermezians to tear down the Marriott and expand the Thunderbird.

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( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
nornagest
Mar. 21st, 2007 09:49 pm (UTC)
That's actually pretty interesting; on most of the games I've played, pricing in the player economy tends to generate profit margins of between 10 and 20 percent most of the time, or even less if there's some exterior influence (say, an NPC supplier selling for below market value, or buying for above). What's different about EVE's economy that allows it to support ginormous profit margins like you describe? Is travel between locations particularly difficult or dangerous? Or is production hyperspecialized to such an extent that it's easy for local suppliers to behave monopolistically? Something I haven't thought of?
wombat_socho
Mar. 21st, 2007 10:04 pm (UTC)
It depends. The EVE universe divides into two parts: the relatively safe Empire zones, where there's a functioning police force (CONCORD) that will blow up your ship for behaving antisocially (blowing up other peoples' ships, messing with their jetcans, etc.) and 0.0/Lowsec, which is a lot like Australia in The Road Warrior or any j-random drug-infested ghetto. There are gangs of pirates infesting the asteroid belts and hanging out near jump gates, there are gangs of players acting like pirates, and there are alliances such as BoB, Against all Authorities, RedSwarm, etc., whose standing practice is Not Blue (Friendly) Shoot It. So if you go mining, you pretty much need to go in a gang and have somebody ride shotgun in case some jerk in a cloaked cruiser or high-speed interceptor decides to make you his target.

This leads to a pretty screwed up economy, in my limited experience. You can make money (and collect equipment modules & ammo) by hunting the NPC pirates, but it takes a while to acquire the skills and funds to do that well, especially if your sponsor is off in some other part of lowsec and you don't have a lot of other friends in-game. People routinely charge huge amounts of money for ammo, modules and ships because nobody else is selling them, and it's possible to make profits of 500% or more that way. I don't know what it's like in other MMORPGs because this is the only one I've really been interested enough to shell out for.
thaadd
Mar. 21st, 2007 11:31 pm (UTC)
Econ
And therein, lies why I am an 'industrial' player. The disparity of price is due to the whole supply and demand. Trust me, when stuff does not sell at inflated prices, people lower the pricestag. Players are lazy. Most T1 stuff can be made by joe random player. I, for instance, suppliment my income by making salvagers, ammo, and small ships. Mostly I earn cash by selling minerals I mine to individuals and corps. I need to buy a few ingredients, but otherwise the cost for ammo to be made is negligable.

The reason why low sec space has high prices, is because it tends to reward risk takers, and us cowardly builder types stay in Empire churning out products. Want brave? carry a big slow ship of product into o.o. Crash the market. undercut. :)
wombat_socho
Mar. 22nd, 2007 03:21 am (UTC)
Re: Econ
You know there's room for you in the Goon Free Trade Zone. And given a couple of carriers, we could even get you out here to Scalding Pass in relative safety. Think about it. You could make serious money out here.
jamestrainor
Mar. 21st, 2007 11:12 pm (UTC)
Just as an fyi, wrecks pop in about two hours after they spawn, so your ship wreckage won't hang around.
wombat_socho
Mar. 22nd, 2007 03:26 am (UTC)
Okay. Well, we got plenty of good loot, so I won't bitch too loudly.
433
Mar. 22nd, 2007 12:32 am (UTC)
That reminds me of Escape Velocity. I made quite a bit of money very quickly in a nice three-system trade route.
wombat_socho
Mar. 22nd, 2007 03:27 am (UTC)
I'm not making a lot of money, but it keeps me in missiles.
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