Friday, August 29, 2014

Burner missions – Economic Impact?

Amidst Hyperion's fairly rocky release (including, for some players, the loss of all their UI presets), many players are attempting their first burner mission. I tested a bunch before release, but have not yet had to time to run them “for real.” I am currently more interested in what, if any, economic impact burner missions will have. The first thing I did was jot down the tech 2/pirate/navy losses in two NPC corporations over the first 24 hours after these missions were released, just to get an idea of how frequently they were being run and what ships people were losing...

Hawk (140m)
Vengeance (75m)
Daredevil (180m)

Caldari Provisions

One notable and somewhat funny loss from another NPC corp was a condor worth 56m. The bulk of its price was a single Dread Guristas Light Missile Launcher in its high slot (one other other high slot was filled with a salvager). The missile launcher dropped, so the pilot returned to the mission complex in a rookie ship in an attempt to loot the item. The pilot looted the missile launcher, but was then killed by the burner, at which point the launcher was lost. Burners, it would seem, are a fantastic troll.

But then CCP Fozzie graced the datajunkies by noting on twitter how many player ships were lost toburners on release day: On day one, 207 Burner NPCs died, but they killed 1563 capsuleer ships.” 6.2 kills per burner, improving the text day to 7.55 says another tweet.

Has the market been affected by these losses? The relevant tech 2 market has stayed fairly stable, in spite of ships like the Hawk being popular for burner missions. The daredevil is the only ship that is noticeably up, sitting around the high-90m isk in Jita as of 8/29. The Worm is high but has been since the summer buff.

However, the relevant deadspace module markets have spiked—either because of manipulation or demand but likely both. Small armor repairers in particular have skyrocketed, with most items doubling in sell price in Jita and remaining fairly stable. Buy orders are slowly acquiescing to the higher prices so if the spike is manipulation the parties are apparently dedicated.

If the price of daredevils and various deadspace modules like SARs stays high, this in turns benefits explorers doing 1/10-3/10 DED sites, which are often new players. It's a good time to run some lower-end DED sites in serpentis and guristas space particularly. I ran a blood raider 1/10 for kicks the other night, and got a C-type SAR. That armor rep is usually 20m, but currently up 15m in buy orders and, if I managed to sell it, currently running at around 100m in Jita sell orders with very limited stock.

It is no secret that EVE has a lack of isk sinks for many play styles, leading some mission runners, for instance, to amass enough wealth to fly mission ships worth tens of billions of isk. Risk/reward does not scale well at many levels of EVE gameplay. What's distinctive about burner missions is that they create a sort of risk of loss that otherwise didn't exist in the game—an isk sink that targets mission runners specifically, does not involve PVP, and can fairly reliably result in the loss of ships. It also introduces a new sink for pirate and tech 2 frigates as well as the respective deadspace modules, one that again did not previously exist.

Dotlan reports that in July of 2014, for instance, around 313,00 player ships were lost in high sec. It's likely that the number of players running burner missions will drop significantly over the next few weeks as novelty wears off, and it's likely that those who do continue to run them will do so because they have found fairly reliable ways of winning the mission (enough to at least break even on isk). So, in terms of the long-term economic impact, burner missions are not likely to be a massive market force. However, any new content that has a large amount of risk of loss is welcome in EVE in my opinion and I count this as a step in the right direction for CCP, even if the missions leave a bit to be desired. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Testing Burner Missions

Burner missions are coming with Hyperion and they are on Sisi with only a few days for testing—time for tweaks and fixing the bugs but likely close to the final form. That doesn't leave much time for even bug testing, so if you have any interest in these missions it would be worth logging onto the test server,  trying them out, and leaving feedback. A feedback thread started here, where I posted some first impressions. After running more of these missions and reading more feedback my impression has stayed pretty much the same: 

First, they can be easy with the right fit, and second, no, they are not at all like frigate PVP and players aren't going to learn much about PVP fitting from them. It already appears that efficient fittings for these missions are going to be what I would call “cheese” fittings, quirky fits that counter each specific burner but mostly useless in any other context. The types of frigates that will be able to run these sites is fairly limited, insofar as you need far more DPS than almost any frigate can match (in fact, thus far it seems the worm in various fits is by far the best frigate for running all 5--a nice potential investment at the moment, perhaps). Giving up on the idea that they are going to help players learn to fit for PVP or somehow simulate frigate PVP, they look to nonetheless be quite fun.

Friday, August 15, 2014

One Year of Trading

From January/February 2013 to February/March 2014 my second character lived as a sort of hermit in low sec doing exploration and PI. As I describe in this post a while back, this was an incredibly formative and fun year (or so) of EVE for me, but it came to an end when I moved this character out of low sec and transitioned more into trading. I still do a lot of exploration, but causally—and sometimes even in high sec. Though I play EVE primarily to PVP, I live a double life in a way, also playing a character who avoids PVP at all costs, first as an explorer and now more so as a trader.

In August 2013 I started regional and inter-regional market trading. It has now been a full year of trading, and I would say I've come a long way. I started with a handful of goods and some T1 haulers, selling in small markets I had at some point lived in/around. I suppose the most significant milestone is my total profit on the year, half of which has come in the past three months:

First Year Total: 58b.

Monthly Isk in Millions

Looking ahead into the next year of trading, here are a number of things that have recently changed for me:

First of all, my goal has always been to trade on one character, with 300 stable (though constantly changing) orders. However, I recently took the plunge and trained a second character on that account. One month of training easily allows for a character with 125 market orders and two weeks of other skills as need be, and this character (or two) does not cost extra each month since it is on an existing account. The reason why I trained a second character is that it actually makes my trading more efficient and less time consuming while at the same time adding more orders. Here's why: As my posts introducing trading outline, one place I trade is Simela, a mission hub (more posts in this series hopefully coming soon). I trade all sorts of goods there. The orders do not need frequent updating and I only need to restock every week or two. So, I decided to split this market off onto a second character since it is so hands-off. It doesn't make a lot of isk, but enough to be worth keeping. With 125 orders freed up, my main trader can add more items to hubs that she visits more frequently. I should reach thi new goal of 425 orders by the end of the month.

Second, as my experiment involving investing 100b into the market outlines, once I am no longer using profit to add orders I will be investing most of my profit into long-term market orders—primarily simply to avoid having a lot of isk in my wallet (a bad thing given how frequently I often add zeros when putting up orders).

Third, I have stopped doing PI. I actually really enjoy PI. It is rewarding to build colonies that passively generate income, sort of like setting up a city in SimCity and seeing it run smoothly on its own. However, it was becoming too time consuming to travel to this remote low sec area and transport the goods.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Investing 100 Billion Isk - Update I

About three weeks ago I started an experiment: I imagined investing 100b isk in items which I predicted would increase in price over the next four months. My goal was to see if I could make a profit with very conservative assumptions, buying from sell orders and (attempting to) sell largely to buy orders (or, at least, taking the average of the buy/sell order prices during the period I would sell the stock). This is my first update on the progress of this little experiment. As it turns out, I did actually make some of the investments, and I explain how those have panned out along with what I would have done with the rest of the stock thus far.

tl;dr - so far I'm up to 5.69b profit with no "mulligans" (i.e., I calculated my profits according to when I actually would have sold / started selling the items, instead of simply calculating the profits by the highest buy or sell order price since July 12th). Considering how little time I've spent on this project (e.g., I didn't even start checking most of these prices again until Crius, and then only occasionally) I'd say this is a success thus far.

Category 1: Moon harvesting arrays.
Estimated profit: 400m

Between July 20-27th MHAs spiked in Jita from 20m to a high of around 34m. Whether from market manipulation or an actual increase of use, I began selling them off as soon as the prices hit 25m. I did (actually) sell a few MHAs I had (actually) bought at 30m isk, but I will assume here that I would have managed to sell all 100 of my stock for an average of 24m. That makes for a modest profit of 400m and I didn't even have to ship them out to sell at local trade hubs like I thought I might have to do.

Category 2: Logistics.
Estimated profit (guardian, oneiros, scimitar): 1.3b

Some of the logistics ships were coming down from a spike when I invested in them. Since the beginning of July, besides the basilisk, logistics ships have slowly been increasing in price, and on August 3rd I decided to cash out. Guardians were up to 170m in sell orders with a few buy orders for around 164m, so I estimated that I could liquidate my stock of 20 for an average of 165m. I bought 10 scimitars for 146m and now they were up to 169m in sell orders, 161m in buy orders. I estimate I could liquidate the 10 through sell orders at an average of 168m. The oneiros has especially jumped in price, from 150m when I bought 10 to between 200m and 220m in sell orders at the beginning of August. Buy orders on the 3rd were at around 181m, so I estimate I could liquidate my small stock for an average of 190m.

Category 3: Recon Ships.
Estimated profit (falcon, rook): 1.17b

All recon prices spiked after Crius. I could have sold at least some of my stock in sell orders during this price and made 10-20% profit. However, I felt this was jumping the gun on most of the recon ships given that the rebalanaces have not even been announced yet, and given that my goal is to make profit by selling to buy orders, ideally, even if when I do these investments for real I will likely sell most of my items through sell orders (obviously?). So, I only cashed out on two recons:
I invested in 30 falcons at 168m. Buy orders jumped to 185m by the end of July and sell orders were around 195m, so I estimate modestly that I could liquidate the stock at an average of 188m each. Sell orders and, briefly, buy orders, for rooks spiked as well, though far less rooks move each day. I picked up 30 for 126m, with sell orders around 160m by the end of July and beginning of August. I would have slowly cashed out over this period likely starting when sell orders hit 135m so I estimate that I could have sold them for an average of 145m. For the rest of the recons, I want to wait for the rebalance announcements at this point, which I expect is the next time they will spike in price. Hopefully I haven't been too conservative here!

Category 4: Limited edition items.
Estimated profit (leopard): 1.27b

First of all, shortly after I did my July 12th “investments” some people started manipulating the price of leopards. At one point roughly around the time Crius hit, nearly all of the stock of leopards were bought up in Jita. Sell orders peaked at 99m and have slowly been going down, hitting the low 70m spot currently. I picked up 75 leopards for (again, always rounding up) 63m before this spike. Fortunately for me, leopards were one of the items I actually did (for real) invest in at this point, though not as many as 75 (closer to 40). I sold my stock at an average of 85m, and estimate I could have sold 35 more at 80m, so I am going to make a safe bet and say I could have liquidated my 75 leopards at an average of 80m, so a profit of 1.27b. Geckos, on the other hand, have dropped a bit. I am a bit worried about this investment. I am predicting geckos will spike right before—or during—the alliance tournament. Both genolution implants have continued to slowly increase in price. I could begin selling them off for a profit, but I am going to wait out the trend longer as unless players directly manipulate the price by selling off large stocks, these implants should continue to rise in price over the next few months.

Category 4: PLEX

I picked up 32 PLEX for 795m a piece. Prices spiked to 820m or so and have since dropped to 785m as of August 3rd. So thus far, unless I would be willing to ship these PLEX to other regional markets and sell them for higher prices there (something I know some other, crazier traders do!) I don't have any option besides sitting on the stock. Realistically, if I did make this investment, I would be PLEXing my accounts in advance and so I wouldn't count this investment as a “loss” but as needed assets.

Category 5: Nestors

What I knew was a terrible decision, fueled only by irrational expectations that the nestor would soon be improved, the nester has dropped by 100m since I picked up 3. This is the purchase I was least likely to make in the beginning, and most included them out of curiosity at how their market would develop.I guess my pretend nestor investment is a placeholder for bad decisions I will inevitably make in the future when investing.

Category 6: Bombers

I made a small investment in bombers. Since July 12th their price has increased by a small 6-10%. I am holding out for slightly higher prices.

Category 7: Strategic Cruisers
Estimated profit (all): 1.54b

Finally, strategic cruisers. It turns out this was another set of items I actually did purchase around July 12 (though not in the same numbers as on my experiment's chart), and I've since sold my stock for a decent profit. 15 legions at 127m easily sold at 164m. 15 tengus at 134m sold for an average of 155m (underestimating a bit I think). 15 proteuses at 134m were selling for as high as 180m, but overall I estimate I could have sold 15 total for an average of 165m very quickly. 15 loki at 127m sold at least at 142m a piece. Total, I made a fairly quick 1.54b on strategic cruisers.

Current totals: So far in my experiment I am less than a month in and I've turned a fairly quick 5.69b profit. I didn't even start checking the prices on most of these items until after Crius, and, as explained, I would have sold most of the stock thus far to buy orders, reducing my investment of time. Of some the items I did actually invest in—a few MHAs, a few leopards, and some strategic cruisers—I've made a decent profit. Crius has had a much bigger impact on the prices of tech 2 and 3 goods than I expected, which is actually a positive sign for my experiment since most of my investments were long term. Most of the investments were made from predictions about how the market will react to future rebalanaces—recon ships in particular—as well as long term trends of limited stock items. Since my goal is to have all stock sold by December, I still have over three months left in my experiment to turn a profit on the remaining items. As is probably painfully obvious to experienced traders etc., in this experiment and in my regular trading, I am learning that the more isk you have, the easier it is to make more and with it with less of a time commitment.