What makes earning ISK difficult?

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As you know ISK is an irreplaceable factor for EVE Online gameplay. There is simply no way to get around without the currency. Ergo, the more you have, the better your gameplay. Having a strong fleet, the latest weapons and a strong base – all demand ISK. But why is ISK so difficult to obtain? Is there no shortcut or easy way out? Well, first let’s try to understand why ISK doesn’t grow on trees – or simply float in space. No doubt thanks to CCP, mining and ratting nerfs played their part in making it hard to gain ISK. And even though it’s understandable as to why – to control inflation, etc., some players still believe they’ve been done wrong.

There is one simple reason for why CCP decided to design the game in this way – to encourage players to make an effort. Had Interstellar Kredits been lying around – players would have gotten bored easily. However, this means that you aren’t the only one looking for an easy way to make money. Keep in mind that trading and manufacturing are noob traps that amateurs easily fall into. In this article we provide you with some insight and advice to up your game and profits.

A solid rule to trading and manufacturing that you should not forget about is that people are lazy by nature. As a manufacturer and trader you should aim at exploiting that laziness and supplying products that are in demand. This trend is often referred to as the 80-20 rule.

The 80-20 rule

Once you start thinking about means of making ISK, you would most likely begin searching for items to build or trade. To explain the issue in a simplified manner, let’s propose that we have a hypothetical economy. Now, let’s say we only possess 100 items that we can either trade or manufacture, and a fixed number of players that want to use these items to earn ISK. Evidently, while some will arbitrage, or station trade, others will simply supply individuals who are there for the gameplay.

If we look at the given situation, most of the traders and manufacturers are newbies who started playing recently, and thus believe that they’ve found the key to making a quick buck. Googling the items with the highest demand and turnover doesn’t make you a fool. We’ve been there, done that, and it doesn’t work. Well, it does, but considering the multitude of players following this logic, it’s simply not worth it.

Try to comprehend and see that you are definitely not the only one who has thought of this. Players before you have already seen the figures and players after you will, too. And the fluctuations on the market are no more than players reacting to the market and various intervals.

Now if you apply the 80-20 rule to reality: 20% of items are traded and made by the same 80% of players observing the same data as you are. While this may seem appealing, you’re not seeing all the fish in the ocean. Keep in mind that time is money.

A common mistake is updating orders non-stop to somehow compensate. Understand that this results in a constant outflow of ISK covering broker’s fees and escrow which ends up minimizing your profit. In fact, most manufacturers, instead of observing order prices rather focus on wisely choosing the items for sale per se. As long as your do your homework on up-to-date demand, you will make ISK without any problems. One thing you should definitely be on the lookout for is an item’s average sale price. If an item is priced well above the ARP then it has most likely spiked on the market. What rises must fall, so the price will drop eventually.

Usually you would want to update your trades and orders before the price drop, however there are exceptions. For example, if you’re into station trading then this would not be as simple to do.

Station trading is a separate niche where regular updating is a kind of a must, since this particular market is much more volatile. In our case, hold true to your discipline and diligently search items with a stable price. Once you find a supplier with an acceptable price – sell those items where you can. You aren’t running a charity fund, so don’t forget your mark-up. Pump it up for extra profit provided the competition and demand are high.

Considering this info, overcome the 80-20 rule by doing that which most players are not – use your brain.

Important tips to consider

  • Basic necessities – just like in real life everyone needs specific items and products. In EVE Online every player cannot do without fuel, ammunition and drones. Although it might be tempting to trade these, don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can compete with the main bidders. Unless you find a supplier for cheapskate materials (chances are low), you don’t stand a chance due to the market scale.
  • Basic necessities affect EVERYONE – the key is to have patience and observe your chosen items. You need to be able to project the market movements and big NullSec bloc plans, thus predicting what materials they may demand. Adapt your trading strategy according to your predictions. For example, an upcoming large-scale war will lead to an increase in fuel demand, thus leading to a spike in fuel prices. But don’t constantly try to compete on these demanded items, sometimes finding a bargain is the way to go.
  • Fly ships that don’t hurt your pocket – think about events that may lead to losing a ship that was worth everything. Rather be safe than sorry.
  • Understand the math – it may come as a surprise, but the number of people who don’t analyse what they are actually planning to manufacture is staggering. Always calculate mineral costs. Once you understand those, only, and only then can you move on analyzing the market. When building, don’t underestimate the importance of the location. Try to build where the indexes are low. Paying attention to detail can boost your profits.
  • Timing is a factor – do yourself a favour and examine the market history. Thankfully the game has an in-market history and you would be a fool to ignore it. Opportunity cost is a real thing, so be careful when holding at a price where a profit is possible. However, if you have an order slot or two to spare, you’re more than welcome to try your luck and hope for the best. In the case of placing items on the market just past a peak, you should sit tight and wait for the right time.
  • Don’t aim for the peak – although it is tempting, don’t try to hit the peak. Try sell your goods on the upswing or as the valley starts. Consider this when both trading and manufacturing. Also, don’t wait for too long before stocking up. Selling is much simpler when you list below the spike.

Follow this advice, do your research, be persistent and ISK is guaranteed to fill your pocket.