Seems like there’s been a massive influx of new players(good!) with a number of ‘how do I make ISK?” posts(confusing!). I’ve seen casual mention of station trading as a means to fund(‘plex’) an account but they’ve mostly been pointing at stale guides with very little discussion. Having just achieved my first serious goal of 10b(woo!) net worth from station trading, I thought it might be fun to share my adventure and spark up a discussion on this topic.

Backstory
I’ve been a /r/Eve lurker for a while and a casual player of EVE for years. November 29th of last year marked me getting ‘serious’ about this EVE thing and part of that was station trading. I started with ~500m that was gathered from mining, mission running and in general boring gameplay back in February-March. Fast forward ~80 days and I’m up to 10b(piles of ISK) and a semi-passive ISK faucet for my new goal of blowing up fancy internet spaceships for fun.

Tips and stuff
Station trading is very boring, unless you like numbers(I do). However, if you like money, station trading is about as safe as it gets and has the potential to earn billions of ISK/month. To achieve this requires tons of patience. Here’s a graph of my trading volume -> pretty bars. I’m patient as fuck and it has paid off.

Where to trade

If you have patience and/or a love of ISK, you need to set yourself up in a hub that has some serious volume to get that ISK faucet running. I personally have stuck with the trade hubs Dodixie and Amarr. I hear Rens is also nice this time of year and Jita is always popular. Smaller mission and staging hub stations might work but with your goal of flipping merchandise, you need a lot of buy/sell volume.

What to trade

Now that you’re in your station, cozy up and start browsing through the market. I personally used the history graphs set to three months and just looked for items that had tons of volume(hundreds of thousands/day for consumables like Caldari Navy Antimatter Charge L -> graph, hundreds/day for fittings like Small Tractor Beam II -> graph). On top of volume, you want an acceptable gross margin so as to make money. I aimed for ~10% gross margin so that after the broker and sales fees I still made some money. Generally the higher the margin the lower the volume, so super rare deadspace/officer loot and faction ships might have 70% margins but only trade once/week.

What to train
Get Accounting and Broker relations up to 4 ASAP. Sales tax and broker fees will murder you but these skills will help alleviate the pain. You can invest some time in grinding standings to lower your broker fees. I got bored and accepted it as a cost of doing business. Also trade up the various order limit skills. I started with ~45 orders but my daily throughput stagnated once I hit ~6b ISK as I was incapable of spreading my ISK across sufficient items. I’ve since bumped that to ~125 orders and the ISK once again started flowing. Lastly, trade up margin trading. Margin trading lets you leverage ISK by reducing the amount of escrow you have to supply for a buy order. Your 1b ISK just became 2.4b effective ISK with margin trading to 3. This is huge!

How much to buy/sell
Don’t ever put your entire bankroll into one item. Markets will crash and the recovery might take weeks/months. If you have 200m ISK and you buy up a single Ishtar, your station trading is then stuck waiting for that one item to sell. However, if you spread that 200m ISK over 50 items, you’ll on average have a better daily volume in my experience. My general rule was to never stick more than ~10% of my ISK into any one item. I broke that a few times when I spotted items with incredibly high margins that appeared possible to turnover quickly. Sometimes I got burnt. Sometimes I made silly amounts of ISK.

Babysit your orders. Or don’t.
Depending on the station that you trade in and the item, your order may be the top buy or sell order for 1 second or days on end. For the first two weeks I was grinding away for 1-2 hours/night, watching episodes of Archer(something something dangerzone) while updating my orders every 5 minutes. By doing this I was able to buy/sell a combined ~1.5b/day and I was easily pulling in ~50-100m ISK/day. This WILL burn you out but I viewed it as a necessary evil and by December 14th I was up to ~2.5b net worth. I then slowed down a bit, took a week off for the holidays, and started back up in January with a 3 update/day limit. Once in the morning, once when I got home from work, and once before heading to bed. This has worked well but I have also adapted to trading lower volume less competitive items.

Keep calm and don’t panic sell
Sometimes a market crashes. In most cases it will recover in anywhere from 1 day to 3+ months. If you were wise and don’t have your entire bankroll in that one item, you can opt to ride out the lull and wait for the price to recover. You can even go all-in and buy up even more of said crashing item when you feel it has hit bottom. I just recently did that with Legions and made a nice profit after waiting ~10 days. Be careful though and look at 3-6 month histories. You’ll notice most prices move in cycles, the goal is timing the lows and highs.

Next level stuff
After about a month of station trading I started to look for other things to help keep the ISK faucet flowing. One was market manipulation, another was EVE Mentat, and the last was processing the EMDR firehose.

Dictate the price
Even in big trade hubs, there are plenty of low-volume items that are ripe for a bit of manipulation. One important thing to look for in an item is something that is unique. There cannot be a lower-priced alternative to your target. Someone just recently pumped the price of Hulks in one of the hubs to what appeared to be great success. One of my examples were Tengu Electronics – Dissolution Sequencer from ~December 30th to ~January 14th in Dodixie -> graph. I casually over ~36 hours bought up many of the available Dissolution Sequencers on the market while gradually increasing a few buy orders. I bought my sequencers from between 25-30m ISK and then listed the lot @ 42.5m ISK. I then proceeded over the next two weeks to purchase every sell order that undercut me by ~5% and rode the wave down until I had sold out of goods and the market had stabilized back to ~25m ISK/sequencer. During this time I think there was another trader or two attempting the same thing and in the end we all must have profited handsomely(I earned around ~300m ISK). Just be very careful when doing this as if someone else notices and either 1) buys from another hub and sells into your buy walls 2) buys from another hub and competes with you, you could end up with a lot of overpriced garbage and tie up your ISK for a long time.

Trust the Mentat
While the legality of cache scraping is a grey area, Mentat’s effectiveness is very clear. Mentat will whip up an in-game browser script that will proceed to index your buy/sell items and scrape the price. It’ll then indicate which items have been undercut and quickly provide you with a new price so you can continue the 0.01 ISK game. I positively love Mentat, without it station trading would be TOO boring and I’d have given up long ago. I put this under ‘next level stuff’ but really you should use Mentat from day 1.

Drinking from the firehose

EMDR is a great project and has proven to be an incredible resource for market discovery. There is no possible way I could spend hours/day looking for new items to trade as old items become too crowded with other traders. EMDR gives me access to the datastream coming out of players who push their cache scrapes to the likes of eve-central. I process that stream, dump it into a database and then when I need to make some buy orders I query the database for potentially interesting items. If you are code savvy or want to pickup a language, this can be a very fun project.

tl;dr
Station trading can be awesome, or worst case a boring ISK fountain. It won’t provide the heart thumping adrenaline rush of PvP but it will enable you to ride that PvP wave for longer without worry. My ultimate goal was to be able to shrug off PVP loses with no care and I think with another month of this I’ll be able to plex both of my accounts and lose dozens of HACs/interceptors/AFs per month with glee. PvP is a problem best served by a bottomless pit of money so go get started on creating yours.

If you think anything in this wall of text is incorrect, let me know. I don’t claim to know even a smidgen of what it takes to be a long-term successful station trader. I’ve just kept plugging away at it and what I’m doing seems to be working. I’d love to hear other stories of market traders as I so infrequently get to chat about this particular facet of EVE.
Reddit Post

  • Vin

    what a load of crap lol

    plz follow that scrub’s advice if you want to never make isk and lose whatever you have to begin with

    • Selina

      Well that comment was certainly worth both your time to write and our time to read….

    • The Obvious

      ^^^Assuming Vin here plays a different way and is butthurt he doesn’t make as much isk.

    • Methylated Spirit

      The guy did say hes been experimenting, and trying it out, to be honest he is making a bit o isk and having fun. Rather than call him a scrub, why not offer a bit of constructive criticism if you know better. I bet you didnt know better when you first started. What a chickenshit reply, why bother post it?

      • Bawk Bawkbagawk

        how many discus accounts did you create before you wrote this article?

        • lol

          Its seems you made at least 2 to troll his post, why can’t he do the same when writing?

        • sadleric

          Methylated Spirit is an established disqus entity.

        • Methylated Spirit

          Click my name, check my profile.

    • g0meler

      OP here. I’ve totally make negative billions of ISK station trading and I’m just trying to sucker people into this pitfall. I’ve recently learned the solution is null sec mining in a blingy hulk.

    • Vintroll success

      Do not be lured into feeding the troll.that is all.

  • Jaime Gomes

    interesting article but i wonder how the new recruits now of this site.

    • http://justsharkbait.com/ JustSharkbait

      it was a reddit post, a lot of newbies come to EVE from reddit, so they wld see the OP.

      • g0meler

        Yup, wrote this for newbies on /r/eve and judging from the response over there, a few newbies saw it and asked questions.

    • Sair

      Yes, newer eve players don’t know how to use the internet, how did the OP not know that.

  • Bo Jangles

    Station trading is great for steady income, and if you need a burst you spacejew nullsec, :)

  • Bawk Bawkbagawk

    It wasn’t til the final paragraph that the author used the proper term of “market trading” for what he was describing. Station trading is something used by scammers to scam strangers and friends/corp mates to swap ore and hand out ships etc.

    Poorly written but thanks for trying, I guess.

    • Methylated Spirit

      Nah man thats nitpicking. Decent article with a bit of enthusiasm behind it, something this site sorely needs more of.

    • g0meler

      This wasn’t meant to be posted to EN24 or really extend much past being a discussion on Reddit. I was more interested in generating a conversation around trading but in the end I did a mini brain dump.

  • Muul Udonii

    Could have benefited from including the pictures referred to in the article.

  • orly?

    The article was NOT meant to say ‘this is the best way to make isk’ – clearly.

    If you live in high sec this could be a good supplement to mission running. If you live in lowsec it could help normalize your income from LP harvesting or pad losses when flying the Jolly Roger proves expensive.

    Unless you’re running logistics for your alliance / corp if you’re a nullbear or style yourself a 0.0 PVPer (hint-all pvp all the time seldom makes money on its own) there’s faster ways to make ISK.

  • Bo

    You realize trading is a zero sum game right? The more people do it the less sustainable it is. So either your article gets more people to do it, lowering the profits of said newbies, or it fails and you achieve nothing. Either way it is a negative result. And also there is a reason it is “profitable”, it takes certain kind of people to be able to do, afterall station trading being very profitable is the worst kept secret in EVE.

    If you want to recommend something to the masses, maybe how to optimize level 4 missions, or how to make iskies in FW with t1 frigates.

    • g0meler

      OP here, I understand it is a zero sum game. However, the markets are so broad that there is plenty of room for newbies. This activity will burnout many players so in a sense it is self-preserving. I wrote the Reddit post with no goal besides exposing this facet of EVE to newbies with a few anecdotal experiences to help explain. In the end if 1% of the newbies pickup trading and plow their gains into pvp we all get more shiny killmails.

      • Dreshna

        It is only zero sum if adjusted for inflation….

        • heh

          however, having a trading alt that helps make up for your losses because of inflation is a good thing.

          Besides…. by doing station trading in jita, I’ve been able to afford to pvp a lot more. I tend to be the guy that isn’t full blown station trader. I just invest in things at low times and sell them at high times. I’ll even wait months to years to sell. I look at it not as an instant give me money now… but a retirement fund that I don’t touch.

  • http://justsharkbait.com/ JustSharkbait

    i enjoyed the read. good work. also, the links to the graphs are on the Reddit site, and you can go to the reddit link at the bottom to see it.

  • random dude

    station trading is the last thing a new player needs to do, they’ll quit faster than they would have from sheer boredem

  • Jesusbait

    I had to look twice to make sure I was on EN24. Good article.

    • Unironically Meta

      If you’re reading an Eve-related article, then statistically you’re not on TMC.

  • erratic1212

    If the “game” is about making isk, is it really a game?

    I make enough just going out and doing various things in the game without worrying about how much isk per hour, or how much isk I have. At the end of some game play sessions, I look at my wallet and wonder how I made so much. Then I go play Rift.

  • Eric loto

    Straight up detrimental.
    Making money without providing any kind of good or service is detrimental to any economy.

    • http://www.eveonline.com/ hoodaticus

      The only way to do that is with welfare. Trading does provide services. It’s awfully nice to be able to buy and sell things. The only reason you can do that is because of an active market full of traders.

  • Sigh

    LOL come join eve and then sit on a computer watching graphs?
    Id rather do anoms and lvl 4 missions then watching graphs no matter what the isk is.

  • Nickolaj Madsen

    Wow did you really just copy this article from reddit without adding all the links to his graphs. That seems like a real shame.

  • dingus

    It’s not a bad proposal but you forgot that newbies have shit for money when they start out, even a million isk seems a lot to them. So if they start trading at that point, it takes them ages to get an amount of money worth mentioning. So you should probably add that they should only try it once they have at least 100 million isk free to invest into station trading.

  • John Doe

    I think station trading makes big money only if you have big money, a lot of patience and some creativity to work out strategies (or know trading tricks from rl you can apply perhaps).

    For most people it’s just better to stick to something with no competition, making money out of air like anomalies or missions, much more calculable income.

  • Jot

    Agree with the OP on most points, station trading helps my wallet when I can’t log on and do more active ISK making. It’s boring, but you can pick how much effort you sink into it.

    However, I do NOT agree with putting newbies onto Eve Mentat. I tried it for a day, re-read the EULA, got paranoid and fired up a ticket to talk to a GM about it. You aren’t allowed to disclose details of ticket convos publicly, but I uninstalled it afterwards. That should give you a rough idea of how it went.

    I suspect the only thing keeping mentat users out of the doghouse is that CCP security have limited resources are usually looking for bigger fish.

  • Eve Mogul

    This is actually a pretty good overview of Station Trading, and for those interested in trying it (or any Eve trading in general really) it’ll be a decent primer and good source of motivation for them. Having said that there’s only a small fraction of the Eve community who really get a kick out of making trading their primary isk making career, so it’s not surprising that there’ll be some trolling from those who don’t get it or don’t care.

    My only further comment, and this is more for the aspiring traders and to counter what some have suggested, is that you don’t need 500million to start station trading and I suggest you DON’T start with 500million. You can start with not even 10% of that amount, learn the ropes and importantly makes mistakes cheaply, and as your experience grows your account will grow (i.e. potentially explode) with it.

    Good article.

    • Woschdbrot

      Yeah and definetely need some experience and “feel” for eve numbers, you need to know what’s happening around you and what to buy/when to buy and when to sell.

      • heh

        yeah keep up on what the prices normally are… how much they dip, how high they go. Any change in the patches or huge battles that effect the price of things on the market. Always good to know and react to.

  • http://battorem.blogspot.com/ BattoRem

    Station trading is super profitable. Even as a veteran of 7 years I still do it. However new players should not just station trade, they should run mission and make isk in other ways. You need a lot of isk in order to make a lot in station trading.

  • angryminer

    you’re a piece of shit for using a cachescraper, i had to work my ass off today to salvage a hefty investement, return 19 mil on over 5 bil investement with a godawfull 13 hrs of combating a fucking bot program.

    You all should be fucking banned for using that crap. that shit program singlehandedly tanked a market by a friking 17% dropping the prices to a level where the “manufacturing profit” on an item is now sub 1% and barely even accounts for pos fuel used during its production.