Monday, February 2, 2015

Trading in Thera: Part II

It has been a while since my first post about trading in the new wormhole system of Thera, but now that January is over we are starting to see the "dust" settle in Thera. The system went from one of the top systems for ship kills in all of EVE in the first days of its release, to its current position in the top-50, maybe top-100 systems for PVP activity by ship kills. In terms of who is living there, that can always change, but it is nice to see the "return" of Verge of Collapse (they went through a period of inactivity in the summer and fall of 2014), who seem to be the main permanent residents of Thera currently. Roaming gangs popping in--most often, it seems, including BNI, CFC fleets, and Bombers Bar/other NPSI fleets--seem to provide much of the fleet PVP there currently.

It will be interesting to see what PVP in Thera looks like over the next few months--whether some major groups will move there, and whether activity in the system will increase, stabilize, or continue to decline. However, Thera is perhaps less important for the PVP in the system itself, and more important for the unprecedented logistics network via wormholes that Thera provides to its residents. In terms of how I have personally used Thera in my PVP, I currently have an empty clone and stash of ships there, but have primarily used Thera as a network to other regions--particularly as an easy way to roam null sec. But what about trade in Thera?

The First Month of Trade

In my first post about trading in Thera, I wrote that, when it comes to regional and inter-regional trading, "profit is made largely in the logistics." In other words, profit is partly dependent on the difficulty of the logistics. So, how difficult the logistics would be to Thera was a big question.

It turns out, thanks in large part to the efforts of the EVE community, that logistics to Thera from day one, continuing to today, is incredibly easy. Probably everyone by now has heard of or used EVE Scout, the frequently updated public list of current wormhole connections in Thera. The site, in fact, just got a facelift, adding the ability to measure number of jumps from any system in EVE (such as, of course, Jita).

EVE Scout has made logistics into/out of Thera incredibly convenient. It is a fantastic project, and definitely one worthy of your donations to help keep it running. With the ease of logistics, though, came the realization--even in the first day after release--that Thera was going to be a very easy market to stock with most goods. Perhaps worse for trading there, though, is the fact that one can usually jump into high sec from Thera and buy what one needs in a market nearby, then head back to Thera--rather than buying in-system. At any given time, Thera has around a half dozen connections to high sec, as well as around the same to low sec space. As I am writing this, for instance, Thera has a connection 5 jumps from Amarr, and another 7 jumps. Wormholes are rarely camped, and when they are it is typically because they are close to a major trade hub during peak server population hours.

I don't exactly know how people did it, but the markets in Thera were very well stocked in commonly used items by the end of the first few days after release. Ammo, drones, all sorts of tech 2 modules and exploration gear, even a decent amount of small ships like interceptors and exploration frigates were up in both of the non-kick-out stations as well as the kick-out stations in somewhat smaller amounts. I suspect some people have been bringing in goods via freighter, as some bulky items are stocked in amounts that would be extremely tedious in a deep space transport. If you look at hauler losses in Thera on any killboard, though, remarkably few haulers have been lost in the system. I think this indicates two things: first, that the people stocking Thera are pretty good at staying safe; and second, that bringing in blockade runners or DSTs or even tech 1 haulers is not terribly dangerous.

Due to time-constraints, I stocked multiple stations in Thera with only a few test items to see what would sell. I only sent in what would fit into a blockade runner, and put maybe 6-7b isk on the market total. I made a modest 1-2b isk, only updating the orders two times, and almost everything sold out by the end of the first two weeks. This was a side-project for me, so I am happy to share what sold well in the system and what didn't.

Essentially, what I've learned is this: If it can fit into a blockade runner, and it is a commonly used item, it will probably be at the market in Thera in multiple orders and only 10% or so above the Jita price. Look at your interceptor fit, your stealth bomber fit, or your covert ops fit, and chances are all of the modules are on the market at fairly reasonable prices. There are gaps, of course, and some people have stopped trading in Thera and left more gaps, but in my experience so far that rule has been the norm. For instance, I made small margins (less than 10% of Jita prices) on the following items: Damage Control II, Core Probe Launcher and Expanded Probe Launcher II, Sisters Core and Combat Probes, all Tech 2 Light/Med Drones. Mobile Depots sold well and quickly and for a while at much higher margins than the typical tech 2 stock. Ammo of many types is still a much needed commodity on the market there, and should pay decently. At first, this stock moved quickly, but had HS-hub level margins; now that Thera has settled down, though, this type of common stock should move slower but with higher margins in many cases.

For some items, I left them on the market at high prices just to see if any would sell (to be fair, I didn't recall what price I bought the rigs at, and assumed the price was much higher). I was surprised at some of the results. For instance:

I know, I know, serious price gouging here, which I don't usually do (since, for one, people simply won't buy the goods above a certain margin), but the surprising thing is that these items actually sold. This shows that there is isk to be made in Thera outside of the usual common items. Furthermore, ships and other bulky goods are good candidates for isk makers partly in virtue of the difficulty in bringing such goods to the market there.

1 comment:

  1. Well there is one market niche which suits Tera - booster pills. The biggest issue for drug manufacturers was the low local market volumes. We just couldn't sell more boosters than locals could consume. Other regions markets were separated via high-sec or too distant to bother blockade runner logistics.

    We trippled our trade volumes thanks eve-scout and Thera.