The module fairy flies out of his Nebula and into the hangars of capsuleers all over Eve. There he delivers random things that they need but not enough to fit a ship in any reasonable way. In a burst of capacitor dust he appears and leaves some meta 3 rocket launchers and a pile of depleted uranium beside the Atron with 1% left to its hull structure and no repair facilities, with a few dusty inertia stabilizers for good luck. With his duties done, the module fairy opens a jump portal and without fatigue or limitations heads off to his next delivery to a needy Tengu that he has the perfect set of torpedoes for...A very common question I receive is, "Sugar do you go to people to get your goods for your market?" I often respond to this question by saying, "I wish that I did. I've tried and it rarely works out."
It is a common enough question that although I have addressed it before, I will touch upon it again.
I believe that Eve was originally sculpted around the idea of everything being an interconnected circle. We can call it the circle of life.
A very simplified discussion...
For many in Eve, success has come from specialization. The same environment that makes Eve a fascinating game also makes it one where people have to depend on themselves. A complete corporate concept that involves everything from miners to a crack PvP wing is a popular one that often fails to realize itself. And when it does realize itself, it is often a segmented and detached creation full of individual safties and singular opportunity.
Eve is also about volume. Huge amounts of ore is collected. Huge amounts refined. Hundreds or thousands of items are built. An industrialist once set up and rolling will churn out thousands of items. All of these items need to go somewhere and in an ideal world they'd go to marketers and people who need them. In an ideal, ideal world they'd do it through contracts and direct trade cutting out NPC taxes and broker fees.
To step out of my comfort zone of personal experience, I will note that mass scale, contained industry does exist in some areas of null. The corporations and alliances bu the ore, moon go, and products that the membership makes. Its poured back into the group or sold off. I do not have the experience to speak on it other than the bits I have gleaned from those that live it.
But others? Many produce so much that they cannot siphon it off in tiny bundles here and there. It takes contacts to sell everything locally and not everyone is good at making those types of contacts. There are not enough tiny marketeers such as myself running around. It requires coordination and communication and reliability of need. We have it in some places. Things like Faction Warfare can create vast networks due to the hard coded mechanics of allies. But in the end trade hubs prosper. People can buy what they need and all that they need. Commerce happens. Individuals create tremendous volume. The industrialists a place for all that they build and it vanishes down into the dark maw of... somewhere. And then it explodes.
Killboards only tell a small part of the story of where stuff goes. In that vast red arc of somewhere is my market. If I am busy, I may have a week where I buy a hundred small armor trimarks. Now, this is a lot to me. A hundred? Phew. That's a whole lot of rigs. But for someone who is making their ISK off of production my hundred may be a drop in their bucket. I also need thirty Damage Control Unit II's for this week, or maybe this month. I don't know yet.
I have no idea where it all goes. Some goes right back into the market and a new career is born. Those who buy and sell and buy and sell again, changing prices and gleaning ISK as items exchange hands.
If an industrialist makes their ISK off of volume, I make my ISK off of variety. An industrialists would need a dozen marketers such as myself to consume their focused production. Each marketer would need a few dozen industrialists to create all the various things that they needed. It would be a great balance if it existed. But, it does not. We use Jita and Amarr or Dodixie and Rens as a over all place of exchange and consume what we need, sinking ISK out of the game in the process.
The market is more convenient. I've tried to buy from people but I cannot dictate what my needs will be. I've also tried to sell to people and I've struggled to sell boosters directly to my corporation mates. Yet, having them on the market caused them to sell and my production to increase.
It is convince and access with a healthy dose of unpleasant support tools. Corporate contracts are like to cause a man to claw his keys from his keyboard and throw them at the monitor. Time zones and the irritating interruption of our out of Eve life all combine into a big pool of frustration.
Buying things off of the market is easier. The accessibility is good but it could be more.