Op Success(ish)?

As I mentioned previously I had the idea to seed a Low-Sec market. The goal was not to make lots of Isk, that would have been very unrealistic. I rather wanted a small, consistent customer base and competition trying to take over these customers. I had told myself that I would consider my op a success as soon as other people would start selling in “my” system and undercutting my prices.

Since then some kind of routine had settled in. Twice per week I would check the orders and restock if necessary. Most of the time it was just the usual combination of consumables such as drones and ammo. Other items sold in waves: For instance, for weeks nobody would touch T2 blasters. And then, within a day, somebody bought 20 pieces at once. Same with rigs.

By the end of October I noticed that I started to sell less and less. A closer look at the local market showed me why: Competition! From what I can see, two new traders have started selling their products. One sits in another NPC station, the other one operates from a citadel. They are both undercutting me rather aggressively, selling their items below production cost (at least I suspect that). So, op success, I guess. I might not have gotten the consistency regarding sales but at least my activity had encouraged other players to give it a try. Time to move on.

I took down most of the items which never (or extremely rarely) sold: T2 shields (PvP tends to be armor heavy), T2 damage rigs, meta items, certain types of ammo. Funny enough, when I relisted them in Dodixie I actually made a bit of profit because the price of many T2 items had spiked thanks to the latest moon goo changes. Left behind are things I am either too lazy to transport or I believe will sell over time.

In summary:

  • I invested roughly 2.7 bil Isk. I did not track every Isk I made since I did not care about profits. From what I can see I made about 300mil Isk profit since my start in June. Basically nothing for 5 months but Isk was never the issue.
  • Other players noticed and started selling as well. They did not compete in all areas I had covered but I suppose they are still experimenting.
  • My best sellers in terms of volume were: cynosural field generator, liquid ozone, Warrior II drones, Hobgoblin II drones, Calday Navy Cap Boosters of every flavor, Cargohold expanders (?), warp core stabiliziers (I and II), Sisters probes and Sisters combat probes. Most of them had been listed at Jita sell +10%.
  • Big profit items were: Faction drones and soldier tags.

Some of these items are not being sold yet by the others but that’s just a matter of time. If I feel like it I might continue selling cynos and tags in Low-Sec. I am kind of proud of what has happened. It would have been nice had my profits come from selling many different items instead of just a few. But I guess I should have done more research for that to happen. Anyway, it was a fun experience. Time to try something else.


Blood Raiders Psychotropic Depot

One of the things I hardly ever did so far was running the higher DED sites. Within the Eve lore DED stands for Direct Enforcement Department, Concord’s police division which tracks down and attacks criminals. DED sites are rated by their difficulty from 1/10 to 10/10, with 10/10 being the most difficult. You have to scan them down and the more difficult ones are in Low-Sec and Null-Sec. They have the potential of dropping valuable faction loot and blueprints.

So when I scanned down a “Blood Raiders Psychotropic Depot” in Karan (Aridia) I decided it might be a good time to give one a try. Checking Eve Uni’s wiki I learned that it is rated 5/10. I wasn’t sure whether my Stratios could handle it but after some encouraging words from a friend it didn’t seem impossible.

The site consists of 3 pockets. The last pocket contains a ship (the Exsanguinator) which might drop faction loot. The composition of the rats can be found here. Bottom line:

  • 1. pocket: lots of ouch
  • 2. pocket: lots of ouch
  • 3. pocket: dayum….so much ouch

I usually fly a rather cheap active armor tanked Stratios (less than 20k EHP). It costs less than 400mil Isk and I break even with one or two evenings of exploration. So I knew that I had to be a bit more careful. The first pocket did not decloak me when landing. I slowboated away until the closest ship was about 60km away from me. I then decloaked, launched my sentries and took care of everything headed towards me. While rather slow, this method made sure that I never went into deep armor.

The second pocket has several sentry towers at the outgoing gate but from I read you can just ignore them (I killed them anyway). While using my sentry drones approach I noticed two pilots constantly jumping in and out of the system. Since my site has to be scanned down and there is no way to fly directly to the second pocket I wasn’t too worried. But I still kept an eye on dscan and not surprisingly one of the pilots soon launched probes.

Once the 2nd room was cleared I decided that I had to change my strategy. All sites I had checked mentioned 3 webbing towers upon landing plus a substantial amount of alpha damage. So I launched my Mobile Depot and swapped my medium armor repper with a 1600 steel plate. I am quite happy that I did that since at this point I noticed that I tanked at all for EM damage, the main type of damage of the local rats. I had simply forgotten about that. A few moments later the error was corrected. 60k EHP should be enough to survive the first seconds.

Just when I scooped up the depot an Astero landed on grid and burned towards me. In addition local started to spike and I saw a Legion, a Stiletto and a Vexor on grid. Not sure what the others were flying but I didn’t want to find out. But I also didn’t want to give up the site. So I took the gate.

Instantly upon landing I got redboxed and webbed. The Exsanguinator was 40 km off me and that was the only thing I cared about. The thing with these sites is that you can kill the boss and then just warp off. Return to the site after 2 min or so and the rats will have despawned and only the wreck remains (hopefully filled with loot). I launched my medium drones, bookmarked the site and started to align out. Local was now at 7 pilots and my armor started to melt rather quickly. When the boss finally popped I was at 5% armor and instantly warped out.

I am not sure if the others entered the room but I doubt it. They would not have been able to handle the damage. As soon as I landed I messed up big time: I launched my depot and decloaked. Not the best idea when the enemy might have combat drones around and to be honest I have no clue why I did that. The depot seemed to take extra long to online and when it finally did…I dc’d.

I hate my ISP. Of course it is Comcast. Over the next 5 min I spammed the launcher button only to be greeted by an error message. I worried about my ship. I worried about my loot. When I was finally back I was alone system. I refitted and started to warp to my loot bm. The can was still there! And so was the loot:


Time to finish: 50 min

Cost: 4 Infiltrator drones and a heart attack


  • Corpum B-Type Energized Adaptive Nano Membrane
  • Corpum B-Type Medium Energy Neutralizer
  • Corpum B-Type Energized Kinetic Membrane
  • 18th Tier Overseer’s Personal Effects (guaranteed drop), ~42mil Isk
  • Total worth: ~ 550mil Isk (Jita sell)

Not bad. Might do this more often.


Seeding a market

I don’t care too much about grinding and ratting. I understand that Isk is needed to fly shiny things but I don’t see the appeal in these activities and from what I read most of the people who actually do these things do either.

Instead I prefer to do passive trading. I enjoy spreadsheets, I enjoy analyzing data. On the other hand I like to do it at my own pace without feeling that it becomes a second job. So instead of watching my items like a hawk and instantly updating the price as soon as somebody undercuts me I like to go for items which sell slowly but consistently. Alternatively I trade in areas where the trade volume might be relatively low and as a result has less competition. My trading char has almost max skills so I don’t have to be too selective when finding items (it actually is a pain to find enough to fill all my slots). I do wish that I could put more stuff on contracts since selling max researched BPC is a nice income.

Since reading Sugar Kyle’s post about seeding a market I always wanted to give it a try. Recently, while exploring Low-Sec and taking pretty pictures, I noticed that the local area was relatively active (pirates and militia) but the market was poorly stocked and overpriced. High-Sec was only a few jumps away but not all pirates can go there without getting shot. It seemed like a good opportunity to try out my luck here.

First thing I did was placing a few popular products on the market, things which always sell (think Warp Core stabs, repair paste or ammo). After a week I came back and behold: almost 2/3 of my items still hadn’t been undercut and sold well. So demand and competition were reasonable. Time for the next step: Finding a niche. These are the three things to consider:

  • In less busy regions, station trading is not an option – even ignoring the fact that this is low sec; nobody comes here to sell shit.
  • Buyers are lazy: As I said, the market is non-existent meaning products are scattered throughout the region without a hub people can rely on. I need to provide an incentive to prefer my system over others.
  • I don’t want to spend more than 2 to 3 hours max per week on this.

This means that I have two options: Sell general consumables or sell items which complement each other. Consumables in a Pvp area are: Ammo, repair paste, drones and drugs. Regardless what I do, these are things that will sell, no matter what. Items complementing each other are ships and fits. I can try selling a Svipul for weeks but if the buyer can’t find equipment to fit it with there is just no incentive to buy the ship. Buyers are lazy. Nobody wants to travel through x systems just to collect a working fit. Especially in Low-Sec.

A beloved staple of frigate Pvp is the Tristan, an incredibly versatile ships with a low entrance barrier. You can fit it for a brawl or for kiting, it can neut or shoot, combat drones or ewar drones. It seemed like a reasonable ship to continue my project. I selected 3 popular Tristan fits which a reasonably trained pilot could fly and bought enough to fit 10 of them in total. In addition I stocked up on ammo and drones.

Getting it into Low-Sec was a bit unnerving considering the amount of deaths Dotlan shows for that region. I used a stabbed Iteron and lots of bookmarks. Plus I never carried more than 200mil per haul. After a bit more than an hour everything was in place and I was ready to sell.

I am not a fan of scorched earth. Overpriced items are a great way of making profit but I am convinced that it won’t work long time. Especially if I want my system to be known for a good market. While my prices are higher than Jita they are reasonable and still way beyond what the few competitors around here are charging. I won’t make a lot of Isk with this. My napkin math tells me it will be just barely 10% of my investments after tax, not considering the time I spend on hauling. Doesn’t really matter though, it was never about the money. I am pretty sure that my local competitors will start wardeccing me once they notice the drop in prices. But there are plenty of ways to work around them and it keeps things spicy.

Of course there is a high chance that everything I did and said is bullcrap. I will come back after a few days and see how things are going.



You know you are rusty when you are few jumps into lowsec and realize that you undocked in your learning clone. When I realized that I was flying with 600mil in implants through Aridia my butthole shrunk to the size of a pinhead and I only when I was back in highsec I was able to relax again. Not a great start but it feels good to fly again.