Thursday, 9 October 2014

Understanding the Market System

If you're a follower of other EVE blogs, you may be aware of Merchant Monarchy, a trade focused blog which is run by Moxnix Induli.  It used to be a pretty good blog, but more recently he's begun to tranform into a mini Gevlon Goblin, copying or following in many of his ideas. I helped along his transformation when he converted his blog to moderated comments yesterday, merely by having an opinion that opposed his own.  Perhaps it's the warped mindset of people distanced from the game who play purely to increase that ISK counter in their wallet rather than for entertainment like the majority of us.

But ah well, it did raise a good topic that has been raised before and I felt like publishing my opinion on.  The market order system.

The system and the problem
The way trading works in EVE is a pretty simple brokering system.  When you buy an item for a given price, the system will find the lowest matching sell order for that item and will purchase it.  The price it uses for that is the price you have chosen, not the price of the lowest sell order.  The same thing works for selling, it will find the highest matching buy order and sell to that order, at the price you set.  This way, the system favours benefiting the player with the outstanding order over protecting the player actively buying or selling.

The problem that this normally causes for some people is that if they sell an item for way under the price they wanted, they potentially sell their item at a fraction of the price and lose out.  Take for example a PLEX.  You go to sell a PLEX for 800m ISK, but you miss a digit off when setting up the sale, and you sell it for 80m instead.  You get 80m, the buyer gets a PLEX at a massive discount.  The system warns you when you do this, so you would either need to have that warning disabled or click though it to do this, but it is possible and does happen.

The solution
The solution to the "problem" is simple.  Nothing.  The system is working as intended, and delivering the desired effect.  If you aren't careful and you don't pay attention to what you are doing, you will lose out.  As the EVE wiki puts it: "To sum up, other players will benefit from your error if you miscalculate your buy or sell order price".  This add some well needed risk to the trading system, without which you could just dump everything on the market for 1 ISK knowing that you'll always get the best available price.

Personally, I believe that there's not enough risk in the trading system.  It's possible to make vast amounts of ISK with very low effort and with relatively low risk.  I pretty much make all of my ISK from trade these days with a few offshoots into industry to mix things up, and have far more across my accounts than I'm likely to use.  Speak to any serious trader, and the response will be the same.  Maybe half an hour updating orders now and then, a few contracts out to haulers and the rest takes care of itself.  On most items if you are even half awake you can foresee price drops, hauling can be covered by collateral (I make ISK when a courier fails to devliver) so the only real risk is trader error.

An actual solution
How could this be changed?  How could trading have more risk introduced?  Personally I think a longer time between order updates and a considerable increase in tax and broker fees would be a good start, but long term, I think shaking up how items are introduced, making industry less predictable with fluctuations in readily available resources across the universe would go a long way to creating patterns that are harder to predict.

But I put it to you, would you change anything about trading, and if you would, what would it be and why?


  1. would you change anything about trading, and if you would, what would it be and why?

    It is minor, but yes I'd certainly fix the problem of selling/buying for more than the marginal buy/sell order. I don't see any need for stupid risks in trading. Risk should come from actual mental errors -- bad calculations or mispredictions -- not a slip of the finger while typing a price.

    I'd revise the current "immediate" buy/sell to be more of a market order. That is, an order to buy/sell any amount of commodity and it will take the best prices in order. (This adds a potential semi-stupid failure mode, so you might like it.) For example, if you want to sell 50000 units of water and there are 100 buy orders for water that make up the highest prices offered for 50000 units, your order should automatically buy 100 orders. Contrast how EVE works now, which is that you must enter 100 buy orders manually, and also manually keep track of when you are coming near to 50000 units.

    Oh, and I'd add a "copy price" right-menu item. Punkturis should do that tomorrow.

    1. Very few mental errors occur with all of the tools that pretty much allow you to copy paste prices in. Pretty much the only serious risk is people clicking too fast and not paying attention to warnings. Removing that risk would make it far too easy to never make a serious mistake. At most you'd miscalculate and lose a few %. Anything more than that, and the existing orders would buffer you. Just like in anything else, if you don't pay attention to what you are doing and what you are typing you should be punished for it. The market simply isn't volatile enough to have sufficient risk without the "stupid" risks.

      From a buyers point of view, I see the benefit in being able to buy across a bunch of orders, but you an already doing that by setting up a buy order at a price high enough that it covers that many orders. Sure, you pay a higher price for all but the top order, but then that's the cost of the easy purchase. In your wa, would you simple say "I want 50000 units", and it would buy from whatever orders regardless of price, or would you put a cap price too? Without a cap price, it means that if someone bought out a chunk of the market leaving only massively overpriced orders after you'd clicked the screen but before you'd submitted your order, you'd get charged way over the price and there would be no way to avoid it.

      I like the copy price idea. It would be nice to see a "Copy Cell" feature across the board to be honest, so price, dates, amounts, etc without having to copy whole rows.

  2. I would very much like to see a couple of columns with buyer/seller name and corporation added to the market window. This wouldn't have any direct effects since you can figure it out anyway but seeing the same name constantly 0.01 isking your order might lead to some interesting behaviour.

  3. I am just a beginner in trading. Well, I guess the real risk / benefit improvement you could get would be from inspiring from the actual RL trading: make trader operate more as brokers than simple suppliers.
    I mean: have traders get a kind of delegation for selling item stacks on behalf of an industrialist. The latter gets a guaranteed price with respect to daily statistics and the trader tries to do better than the average. You could have variable delegation terms such as "guaranteed daily low", "guaranteed daily average", "guaranteed weekly average" (paid on end of week of course), etc.
    The trader makes money by trying to do better than the contract. It has less risks too because unsold items go back to the industrialist (overproduction...).
    I am less critical than many existing traders on the current market system. It works. It seems like a nice way to make money easily. Sure you won't break it or even try to break it for the benefit of already established traders like yourself?

    Alicia "Anonymous" Amatin