Thursday, March 14, 2013

Welcome to Math Online

Math Online is a massive multiplayer online game that offers limitless potential to discover, explore and conquer an amazing science fiction universe.

I'm being a bit snarky with the introduction.  It is a side effect of the spreadsheets.  People call Eve spreadsheets online but really it is more about the math and the calculations.   I do more math in this game as part of enjoying myself then I do in daily life.  There is something amusing about that.

The other day I said that I was exhausted by spreadsheets and unable to think.  I was only mildly humorous when I said that.  I found myself, sitting, at four in the morning finishing the last parts of phase one of my project and I had no idea how it had gotten to be that late.  It is not often that I lose track of time in large blocks like that.

The reason that I was doing spread sheets and losing large blocks of time is because I decided to take on a project that people have been asking someone to do.  I decided to take over stocking our local low sec trade hub.  The person that used to do it has been playing other things of late and the hub has gone to decay and ruin.  

I found myself standing inside the dust covered market place.  The shelves were empty.  Outside, people had stacked a few overpriced modules.  A stack of shuttles, painted with silver spray paint had a tattered, crooked sign that said, "Bling shuttles" on it and a price tag of over a million ISK.  The windows were so filthy that light barely seeped inside.  I stepped forward and sneezed as dust exploded into the air from under my feet. 

Market Hubs evolve in Eve.  They Evolve around strategic positions in regions and also around mission hubs.  Every station has the potential to be a market hub but not everyone will be one.  This particular part of Molden Heath is one of the three high sec entry systems.  There is only one station and it is a good station with a reasonable docking radius and in station position.  With the boys having halfway moved into Bosena they were sad for the once thriving market Sard had kept going when Gunpoint was active.

I never appreciated the Bosena Market when it was here.  I had myself set up to regularly run to Rens.  I had no reason to spend more ISK locally when Rens was only nine jumps away.  I had stuff to sell a few times a week so my trips to Rens were already something I needed to do.  Bringing back items for myself and others was not a big deal to me.  

However, not everyone is me.  Many want to be able to refit and go for a reasonable price.  I stress the word reasonable because there is a markup for the hub.  That is why I never shopped there. I never shopped locally at all.  Yet now, I found myself in an odd position where I had the ability and the finances to step up and take over this market hub. 

This is not all from the depths of my loving soul.  It has the potential to make ISK.  I would have to spend ISK to make ISK.  It is not something I have ever been fond of.  Yet.  I could see the potential.

I turned on the lights.  I wasn't sure if it was the best idea I had had recently.  Cobwebs hung from the the high ceilings.  In the back, there were a few boxes and foot prints through the dirt.  The register glowed behind the counter.  I worked may way past the empty, dusty shelves and peeked back into the warehouse. It was enormous   Through the haze I could imagine the bays filled with ships and the storage room filled to the ceiling with ammunition and modules.

After I thought about it for a while I decided to go and poll the boys about it.  The general mood was positive.  They would love to have their local market back.  They were tired of being gouged by the local high sec system with its 30%-50% markups.  They had a million suggestions for things for me to stock.

I only had one naysayer. He felt that there was no reason for me to stock low sec when the high sec system next door had plenty of things.  Also, the top station was an instant warp from it to the low sec gate.  That system was normally well supplied.  Why would anyone shop in low sec when they could shop in high sec?

People had wanted to shatter my dreams.  My dreams of improving lives for pirates.  Why should we always bow to the whims of those who hate us the most?  Why should feed our ISK to our enemies?  Why should we be forced to evade faction police just to buy ammunition or pick a sub-optimal ammunition because none was available   Why did it make sense for us to cater to the very parts of high security space that most hated everything about us but our ISK?  These were teh questions I had asked myself when I came to this place and now, as I looked around at the empty shelves I could see beyond their barren shelves at what they could be.

I did the smart thing.  I went to one of my market gurus and told him that I was ready to learn.  He had offered to teach me before and my eyes had glazed.  Now we sat down and bit by bit created a list of items to stock the market with.  We started out slowly and I decided how much ISK I wanted to sink into the project.   We went for popular consumables and high volume items.  Drones, ammunition, fuel, cynos, some basic modules.  Item after item was built in and added up and at the end of the evening I had a list that at 120 items long would be only a drop in the bucket to the needs of the market.

Small steps at first.  I purchased.  I loaded my freighter. I flew it down from Jita to the high sec gateway system.  I then broke it down between two other alts in their blockade runners and let them haul it all in, load after load while my trade alt began to add everything into the market.

My cargo, so large and amazing as I loaded it in Jita now sat, forlorn in the center of the storage room floor.  What had been overwhelming now did not seem as if it was enough.  It did not seem as it it could be enough.  I was determined   I cleaned and swept and removed all of the dust.  With the place clean I lit a vanilla scented candle and started to put stock on the shelves.

It was after I started listing the stock that I started to feel vindicated.  My spreadsheet,  so painfully created earlier that evening, showed me how badly the regional price gouging was.  These people were taking the hard earned ISK from the wallets of my friends.  Some of the prices were terrible.  A million ISK for a shuttle. 100k for basic T1 modules.  Now and then I found something that was locally cheaper then I could list it at.  I gritted my teeth and pushed through the guilt.

I also felt vindicated.  The price issues were bad.  I was going to fix them. People could buy out my stocks, they were not enormous   I would just buy more and price them back at reasonable rates.  I knew that some might want me to price things lower.  But today I learned a lot about the value of the work and effort that goes into making something happen.

Every item that I put up only made me realize how much more I needed.  It was as if a floodgate had been unleashed.  I needed more then what I had.  My supplies, suddenly so small vanished into the shelves.  Even when the bright markings and clean shelves the place still looked empty.  However, it was a start and I was exhausted.  I headed back to my quarters pleased with myself.  Even as I closed the doors my wallet chirped.  Someone had purchased from the automatic stock.  I smiled.  This was going to work out.

It isn't a small undertaking.  A lot of research.  A lot of reading.  A lot of careful buying.  A lot of jumping.  A lot of work.  Yet, it is sweetly amusing.  This isn't for me.  Sure, ISK will be nice.  I'm being very brave in not undercutting myself.  Yet, I feel very excited that I will, I hope, have an impact on this little part of Low Sec.  An improvement that allows Pirates to buy things in low sec stations and not deal with the ridiculousness of high security space.

And maybe, just maybe, in my warm, quiet thoughts, this will brighten up the area some.  Increase the traffic and bring people in.  A little hope and dream that one but one I will indulge myself in.

10 comments:

  1. I can't agree with you more.

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  2. "I decided to go and pole the boys about it"

    Poll. If the genders were reversed it would be funnier...

    Feel free to delete this comment after fixing.

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    Replies
    1. It was one of those moments when I knew it was wrong and left it because I giggled and forgot to fix it... Whoops.

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  3. SardMart was great, I've thought about setting up a mini market hub around where I live now but have always been put off by the effort that it would require to set up and maintain, I just don't have that much free time at the moment. I hope that you manage to keep this going.

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  4. Exciting!

    And I flashbacks of Escoze and his 4B lo-sec Orca.

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  5. Go for it!

    Some tips:
    * Don't import shuttles or other T1 hulls, import minerals and build them, less jumping.
    * Your trade alt should have Accounting and Broker relations 4, 5 better. Check her standings with the faction and corp owning the station, have both at 4+
    * Start learning Jump Freighter
    * Most importantly: Set up BUY orders for the same items on the same station. People will haul/manufacture for you and sell it to you, you just relist, no more jumping.

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    Replies
    1. Buy orders are in phase 3. Right now someone has undercut me for some ammo. That makes me happy because it means the ammo is available at reasonable rates. So far I am running the highest volumes and I'm not worried about turn around speed.

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  6. If you want my two cents regarding my experience with it, feel free to PM me on the MH.net forums. From the sound of things you're already on target to managing the market much better than I (I never used spreadsheets!)

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