That post didn't quite happen. I find that writing about how bad I feel for myself makes me feel a bit stupid. However, there was truth in the fact that the negatives and hardships that are part of running TCS should be shared. Not everyone who picks up markets in a vein similar to mine will join the CSM and find their time consumed. However, other types of game time consumption do and will happen to most of us.
I often bemoan that I don't feel as if I fit in with a lot of market bloggers. They make ISK by the billions, per month. Some months TCS makes a billion ISK in pure profit after everything else but that is not common. However, that is no ones fault but my own. I don't run TCS like a proper business so it should be no surprise that it does not respond like one.
One admission that I had to make over the summer is that I would not be able to continue TCS at my previous levels. It simply took to much time to maintain and groom a market of that size. Even with my tools and familiarity, nothing removes the simple time factor of entering market orders. When I gave up my Bosena office (150 mil ISK a month anyone?) that increased the speed that my market handling degraded.
Ever since I picked up the market as a part of my game play in Eve I have much lamented the unfulfilled potential of running a store in Eve. It is right there, out of my grasp. My perception is skewed towards what I do and what I discovered I enjoyed doing, but having a truly functional storefront ability seems like it would be interesting and immersive for those who want to ply their trade and wares.
But beyond that, one of my larger problems is simply the fact that I created TCS as a project to help other people. I did not create it as a way to fund my own gameplay. It is something that it can do. TCS does not lose ISK. But I still work around the idea of using that money to grow and expand TCS and to fund projects and other people. For a while, I would buy ship hulls for people who where low on ISK and high on PvP. I'd fund Rawrcat fleets and ship peoples items mixed into my own shipments. I also used that ISK to expand TCS and to invest in the POCOpore. The POCOs give a low but steady return and the expansions into Battleships are somewhat paying off in the fact that the store has liquid ISK again.
This sounds great and wonderful. It is a problem however because I created TCS around the goal of giving the locals everything they'd want and need at reasonable prices. That means that instead of focusing on what sells and makes a good return I have instead focused on what needs to be available for the whims of the low sec PvPer.
It turns out that is a very hard goal to keep up with. As players improve their skills they broaden the selection of items available to them. It leads to flavor of the week or month habits among those I am used to flying with. Someone works up a fit and flies that for a while. Others often fly complimentary ships to it. For months shield rigs may not move as kiting armor is in vogue. Or missiles will stay stagnant for months until someone feels like blowing the dust off of their launchers.
An example of my most recent Eve Mentat update.
Things have changed. I no longer live in Molden Heath. Shipping is harder then it was back in the spring. Between surcharges for ganking and my attempts to move items through other means and hte delays that they impose my entire market structure has changed.
To my amusement, I noticed a lack of boosters on the market. For months, while I kept them stocked, others pushed me out of that market. Now, months after I have stopped making them, the others have left. The greatest weakness of a low sec market, for I cannot speak for null or high, is that someone must be dedicated to it. Someone must love it and shape it and keep it maintained. There are to many factors fighting against he market for it to just grow and thrive as a living thing tended by dozens of people with various goals.
Perhaps, my biggest mistake was that I refused to raise prices. If I had raised prices I could have just forced the increased shipping costs onto others. I could have eaten the office bill and pushed that onto my customers. But they are also not mistakes. I was very interested in running the market as I wanted to run it. That meant doing things under the terms of how I wanted to. I do know that I have been extreme but I wanted to see what would happen.
That is why I've documented what I do. Sometimes it works out well. My entire concept of a low sec market works. Reasonable prices work. But some extremes stop working at a point. I've perhaps reached that point.
Bosena's diminishing, for I will not call it death for it is not dead and shall not die just yet, started when someone said to me that they were going to spend their money in another system where someone had everything they needed, unlike me. It was a bit after the elections and things where just kicking into full swing. I was hurt. It still stings. But, that was the moment when I learned that unless I gave everything I'd probably not be able to maintain Bosena as one person and do anything else in the game. I learned that what I had done did not matter for some peoples now. And I also realized that I was not selfless enough to give up the rest of Eve to provide a market of often obscure needs so that I could watch other's go and have fun while I moved freighters and frantically compiled last minute shopping lists for fleets that I couldn't go on because I'd used my time shipping and stocking and my game time was done for the day. Sometimes, I to, just wanted to play.
I believe that I can continue to give the low sec community a valuable asset with creating markets while being a bit more selfish. A solidly stocked market is still valuable. I regret that I may not be able to keep it to the levels that make me preen with pride. But I have other duties. As long as I do the CSM thing my game time will always be divided. It is not something that I regret. It is a choice that I made and I will have to accept that it is not a good enough excuse for some.
I do not know if I will raise prices to compensate for shipping or just work with a smaller market that I can work into my time, easier. I suspect that it will be some hybrid of the two. It will be a new chapter into what I do as I take what I have learned and adapt them to what my game life is now. I've been clinging to what I had and that was my greatest mistake.
Lessons have been learned. Mistakes have been made. Eve is not static. I cannot be static nor can TCS always be the same. Eve environment has changed and TCS shall adapt to change with it.