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TCS: Making a Difference

Over in my public chatroom, in game, I was called out for my ideology with my market. Instead of working under the raw power of pure capitalism  I use capitalism as a basic rule book to stop myself from losing ISK. My ideology is to bring stuff to low sec and improve low sec in the little ways that I can. To do this, I puzzle many people by not working towards greater profits. I could make more. Perhaps, a good bit more. But to do that would be to pull that ISK from not just random strangers but those closest to me.

I’ve never considered myself an idealist, but on reflection of the topic I can see how I am. I consider myself a fairly transparent person. I may hold back an opinion when I wish to but I tend to state my opinion when I state it. I am what you see is what you get as a person. It is one reason why propaganda bothers me so much. Say what you mean and mean what you say. It is this guide book that causes smack talk to confuses me. I may often fail at it but I do try to make sense of what I do and say.

TCS is an experiment in ideology. My entire gaming is, to an extent. But, that is the fun part of the game. I can indulge these aspects of my personality fully while using the levels of rationality to level me out a bit. Glass houses are fragile and all.

The hardest part is getting feed back on it. Am I making a difference  I've picked up some feedback here and there. I can use my stores and over all stability of the store as measures  However, today, I was working on refilling orders (a task that involves double checking Bosena to what Eve Mentat tells me) and I accidently clicked the price history tab.

I saw this.

I stared at it and realized that I was seeing my own presence on the market. I was ridiculously excited. As in I started to show it to people that didn't give a damn because I was to excited. This was me doing what I had planned to do. I'm assuming I am reading this properly.

TCS started March 13th and the abrupt downward slope spiral is visible from that point on. This particular item was requested early on by Naughty. My first days of restocking were mostly cruiser and battlecruiser sizes. I upped my frigate stocking after this when I realized that the entire frigate market was seriously out of line with the trade hub. I immediately sought to fix that and started putting a lot of pressure on the market for PvP fits.

I also got gank fits as well and stocked them heavily. I can't compete in frigate hulls but I do stock a steady supply of them just over the high sec price. I, however, stock T2 frigates under the high sec price. With some changes small neuts are also more common on cruisers and battlecruisers due to the nerfs and tucks from ship re-balancing.

This is an area where I have very much been catering to my selected market (low sec residents) with some of these items. These two graphs represent, to me, that my pressure on the market has taken effect and I have forced down these prices through sheer tenacity. Even if high sec is not decreasing its prices people are not having to buy in high sec.

Anyway, I'm thrilled and sharing. This is the stuff motivating me to spend hours working on this stuff to the confusion of some over what I find some appealing that causes me to invest my time into all of this work. While others are wheeling around I'm kicked back, skimming orders and market transactions and doing buys.

Why am I doing this? The graphs say it all. For others, they might want these gaphs to go in the opposite direction. For me, I cannot explain the glow of pleasure this brings to me.

Which is a reminder to myself, to toss someone an e-mail to buy some things they were so kind as to offer to sell to TCS.


  1. Sugar,

    It sounds like you've got a plan, you're working it and it's working for you. That's what matters, not other people's opinion.

    1. Aye. People's opinions don't affect me insofar as that I spend my days curled up stopping myself from doing what I want. However, they are still there.

      It feels, on some levels, like the carebear vs pvper thing. That 'class' structure that we have in Eve even if people do not want to admit that we have it. The one where PvP is at the top and its a pat on the head if you do other things but they don't really 'count' as important or access your value next to someone that shoots things and only shoots things.

  2. Good to see you playing with the markets in lowsec. Back in the days when I was a faction warfare pilot I noticed the same phenomenon in FW hubs, particularly for meat and potato combat modules, and had a bit of fun running the prices down from the stratosphere.

    Could you and I have maximized our profits by gouging our fellow pilots? Sure. But we are not 'homo economicus'.

    Your decisions are not driven merely by markets, which are, after all, just a different terrain; a different field of play. And the winner on the economic terrain is not the individual who ends up richest, but by who drives the market to serve their in-game interests best.

    You see the larger picture. Well done, you.

  3. I'd argue that your instincts not to gouge your customers are actually good capitalist instincts.

    Because you're running an entire market instead of just a few modules, you need to be more focused on getting customers and keeping customers, regardless of what they buy.

    By keeping prices competitive with hi-sec you give people a reason to buy from you instead of shipping it themselves from hi-sec. You're average profit rate may be lower, but you have the possibility of much higher volume than if you priced at higher margins.

    1. I agree totally with Wes. Building up your market's reputation by being affordable with good deals is really what you need to do with such a new and small market.

      At this point, you'll want to be looking to build up customer loyalty, which comes generally less from a sense of: "Oh, I buy from The Cougar Store because ~lowsec pride~ even if the prices are steep" and more from: "Shit, that was my last stabber, but hey, TCS is three jumps away, and that always has a good value". If the locals begin to trust that your prices are good prices without shopping around first, you're made.

      Also, staggering sell orders over time to avoid your whole stock being snapped up by people who resell in Hisec (or price gouge IN Bosena) will help you maintain control of prices. (I dunno if you do this already or not.)

    2. Aye but people want to gouge. I see it everywhere. I need to finish that thought post about that.

      I don't stagger simply because I lack the market orders. However, alts are about to plug in wholesale and that opens up a whole lot of options and shifts a lot of the store to where I have been steering it for manageability.

  4. I feel the disconnect players have viewing operations like this is use of the open market. Building up a market like this is a community service, very much akin to "friend" prices people offer for wares they peddle to friends versus open market. Given the typical cost of wares in smaller market hubs like Teon, or lowsec markets like Amamake, selling items near Jita values is in itself like selling ships slightly above build cost, etc.

    Also misunderstood is the community aspect of a lowsec market like this. Molden Heath houses a small but stable population of PvPers, who primarily base out of lowsec. A market in lowsec caters to these individuals in particular, which when I ran the Bosena market accounted for the majority of sales. Additionally, any item movement in lowsec represents activity in lowsec, as players must fly to lowsec to acquire their ships, modules etc. Its a win-win for lowsec dwellers and the market operator, who in our case is too a lowsec dweller.

    Lastly it makes PvP in our region more accessible to players who are like minded to us; we are casual PvPers who enjoy focusing on PvP versus other activites. An affordable lowsec market allows for players to focus more on PvP, and less on acquiring or moving ships. This is especially important to small entity lowsec dwellers (small corps, soloers) who due to their PvP focus turn outlaw, and can't acquire cheaper ships from market hubs on their own.

  5. I think it's great what you're doing and I am planning on doing the same starting in about a week or two. My alt can almost fly some good hauling ships appropriate for moving goods from high sec to low sec. I don't live in low sec like you, but I have been venturing there quite often lately and I'd definitely like to see more items readily available in low sec.

  6. Fascinating stuff. I'm just starting out really, selling small T2 stuff into the borders of hi/low. I'm still figuring out who my market is, I think it's PVPers who still have sec status but I wonder why they don't have some kind of community market or whether I am in competition (it's not all noobs like me - there is repeat trade)

    I tend to avoid ridiculous price gouging or even take advantage of it where I see it (I'd have jumped into that small neutron II market) but some markup is high on the slow moving stuff out in the sticks. I'm making the product. You're paying for my boredom threshold for Invention.

    Any tips on moving forward from a small T2/ammo/drone business into a wider market?

  7. Gotta love those price gougers. With a little market PvP you can make big profits off them while they're trying to buy out everything and keep prices insanely high.

    They price something at say 5 times the usual going price, I price mine at 1.5 times the usual and it sells fast (often to the gougers themselves).

    If they buy me out and re-post higher, I post even more a bit higher than the last time (say 1.75 times the usual price). If they undercut me, no problem, my next cut will drop the price by at least 10% of the difference between buy and sell orders.

    In the end prices either get down under 5% profit or the gouger can't compete, leaves the market and margins go up a bit. Don't let them climb too high though or the gougers will be right back like flies on you know what.

  8. Nice. I did the same kind of thing in null sec for a while when I was playing EVE. It was very satisfying.


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