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"Eve Online": Trading Tips and Tricks

Jon has been playing "Eve Online" since 2004 and has written about most aspects of the game.

Trading Basics and Skills

If you are already familiar with the basics of trading and the skills, then scroll down for the tips and tricks. Otherwise, you can read on.

Trading in Eve Online offers a possibility for massive profit if done correctly. There is no real limit on how much ISK you can earn per hour as long as the effort is placed into it. And contrary to most activities in Eve Online, trading can be profitable even if you cannot sit at the computer all day, as long as the trades are set up in a manner that works with a limited playtime.

Trading is done by placing buy and sell orders on the market. By placing a buy order for a certain product, you can have the order filled and then re-list the purchased product at a higher price as a sell order. This chain of events is typical for station trading, where all the trading occurs within the same station.

Like everything in Eve Online, there are certain skills that make trading more profitable in the long run. These skills are:

* The lowest value at level 5 is about 24% placed in escrow per order.

SkillEffect

Accounting

Reduces sales tax by 10% / level

Broker Relations

Subtracts a flat 0.1% / level from teh cost of setting up a market order in NPC station

Contracting

Increases the number of concurrent contracts by 4 / level

Daytrading

Allows remote modification of buy and sell orders

Margin Trading

Reduces the precentage of ISK needed for buy order escrow by 25% / level *

Marketing

Allows remote selling of products

Procurement

Allows placement of remote buy orders

Retail

Increases allowed active orders by 8 / level

Trade

Increases allowed active orders by 4 / level

Tycoon

Increases allowed active orders by 32 / level

Visibility

Increases the range that buy orders can reach up to the whole region at level 5

Wholesale

Increases allowed active orders by 16 / level

In addition to your characters skills, your characters standing with the corporation that runs the station and the faction it is aligned to has an effect on the total tax that is paid for each transaction.

Besides station trading, which is usually highly competitive and difficult to start out with, there are several other ways to earn from trading. I used these methods myself to get started trading and earning my first billion.

#1 - Blueprint Trading

One way in which you can earn money trading without a large risk to your capital or the need of a huge starting capital is by trading BPOs, which are regional. You do this by buying racial specific BPOs such as ship BPOs and move them to other trade hubs. An example of this is to buy Gallente frigate BPOs (Heron, Incursus, etc.) in Gallente space at NPC prices, move them to Jita and sell them there for a decent markup. And being already there, you can pick up Caldari frigate BPOs and move them to a Gallente hub for resale.

Crucifier BPO for sale in Domain region

Crucifier BPO for sale in Domain region

As you can see from the image, you can know that this order is from an NPC since it expires after more than 90 days (which is the max for players).

There are also other BPOs which are regional, such as specific modules. Just do a little research and you can easily find out which are regional and which are universal.

#2 - Skillbooks

This method is similar to blueprint trading in that you trade racial specific skillbooks (try looking at T2 related skills, such as railgun specialization) between regions. There is, however, also a possibility for profit by simply re-listing skillbooks at the trade hub in the same region. Skillbooks generally have a higher turnover, meaning that they sell faster, opening up the possibility of a decent profit by moving them within the same region.

#3 - Mission Hubs

There are a few systems in Eve Online which are known for heavy traffic from mission runners. This offers potential profit from trading in the items that mission runners need to complete their missions, which is usually ammo and other consumables.

The offside of this is the potential of competition as these trade hubs have been in the same spot for ages and a lot of mission runners have taken up trading in these spots as a way to supplement their daily income.

#4 - Incursion Hubs

Much in the same way as mission hubs, for each incursion, there are pop up hubs where players gather to team up and organize themselves before running the incursion. In these systems, a profit can be made from ammo, other consumables and even some ships and modules in the same way as in mission hubs.

However, contrary to mission hubs, incursions move around, meaning that there is never a set place to do business. And it's usually the early bird that gets the worm as being the first one to set up trade contracts gives the greatest profit.

To find an incursion hub, you can use the incursion tab of your journal which shows you the staging system of the incursion.

Here are three constellations that have ongoing  Incursions.

Here are three constellations that have ongoing Incursions.

#5 - Low Volume/High Value Regional Trading

If you find an item during your research that has a high value but a low turnover, it might be worth it to set up a regional buy order that is far below the usual trading hub prices. For this to work, you need to be sure that the buy order is at least higher than other regional buy orders for the same item, with the best scenario being no other regional buy orders at all.

In time, you can then gradually adjust your buy order to a point where people consistently sell directly to you and save themselves the travel to the regional hub.

This trading tip can also work for higher volume/lesser value items. However, in that case, you need to be prepared to travel a lot to pick up your products as sales tend to happen all over the region.

#6 - Nullsec Trading

As the last tip, I want to include one that has a little risk to it. Providence is (normally) an area of Eve Online where neutral players can fly without being attacked by the SOV holding alliance. Flying in with goods that are used for PvP (guns/ammo/mods/PvP implants) and high-level industry can often return a nice profit for your effort.

However, you should absolutely not go there in a standard freighter. A blockade runner with a covert ops cloaking device is a far better choice, or a covert-ops if you are moving a low volume/high-value commodity.

You can also do this in any NPC null sec space but be extra careful as there are often warp bubbles at the entry gates to those areas of space.

#1 - Cyclical Trading

Certain products have an interesting cyclic rhythm to their supply and demand resulting in an interesting price pattern over time. If you study the price diagram for the last few months of products, you will eventually find a product that increases and decreases in price on a regular basis.

This change in prices can be used to profit. By purchasing the product in mass when the price is low and then holding on to the product until the price increases again, a nice profit can be made. If the cycle occurs within the span of three months, you could even re-list the item immediately at the desired sell price.

Typical cyclic product, with an apparent slump ongoing, expected to increase again.

Typical cyclic product, with an apparent slump ongoing, expected to increase again.

In the image above, you can see a typical product that has a cyclic behaviour. It goes up and down over the year in a semi-predictable manner with a typical summer slump from June until September.

Trading with cyclical products can be a decent way to make profit, but it requires capital that can stay locked in a product for weeks or even months before returning a profit. This type of trading is therefore usually best done as a sideline with regular trading activities.

#2 - Market Manipulation Busting

The second trick I am going to share requires finding someone who is attempting a market manipulation (meaning he is arbitrarily trying to increase the price of a product far above what is normal). The perpetrators of market manipulations often do sloppy work. The tend to concentrate on a single region and forget nearby ones. If you see an obvious ongoing market manipulation, you should check the nearest regions to see if you can purchase the product there for a reasonable price. If so, you should grab a boatful and head back.

Now comes the tricky part. You don't want to drop everything on the market at once but let it dribble in slowly two to three items at once, with a few minutes between each sale, at a price considerably lower that the market manipulator is setting. Usually they will buy up the few items to keep their momentum earning you nice profit.

Other Useful Eve Online Information

  • How to make money in Eve Online
    Making money in Eve Online is a major part of the game as, skills, equipment and ships all cost ISK. Isk can also be used to hire mercenaries and fund wars so ISK = power in Eve Online.

© 2015 Jon Sigurdsson