Thursday, March 31, 2011

Escrow Scam

This is possibly the most clever scam out in the universe of eve for the amount of time it requires to set up.  I've seen someone pull in 10 billion isk in one weekend minus the cost of the stuff he was using.  The scam involves abusing the Margin Trading skill and finding items that are never traded.  It can be done with dog tags, overseer effects, etc.  You basically want something that literally has no market, and for our examples we will use a imaginary item just called DNA.

This DNA is absolutely worthless, but there is very little of it in the game.  The hard part of this scam involves getting between 3-5 of the scam item, but it can be done.  The person will then create a buy order asking for 3-5 (depends how many you are using for your scam) for a ridiculously  high amount.  This makes it look like the item is worth a lot of iskies, when it is worthless.  The scammer can get really creative and use multiple buy orders and even put some up for sale at the high price.  The goal is to make it look like the item is worth a LOT.

This is where margin trading comes into play.  The scammer will intentionally create one or two orders per character and then transfer the rest of the isk off the character.  This means that if anyone tries to sell to his buy order it will simply fail, and to prevent someone from messing up his scam he will have min volume set to 3-5.  This is to prevent someone with one of the item from canceling all his orders.

The actual scam takes place on the contract market.  The scammer will create a contract asking for a lot of isk for there worthless item, and spam the contract in local.  People will click on the contract and generally have no idea what the item is or what it is really worth.  They will then view market details and see that it is selling for hundreds of isk, and that by accepting the contract they can sell to the buy orders and turn a profit.  The problem is the buy orders will disappear as you sell to them and leave you with a worthless item.

I guess the tip of the day, all contracts in local are scams.  Stay away.

Suicide Ganking - A More Advanced Method?

I'm sure everyone is familiar with the fact that you are not to fly in tech 1 haulers on autopilot when you have stuff in your cargo hold.  I would not even fly tech 2 haulers on autopilot unless they were empty. There seems to be a new wave of suicide ganking, where high sec pirates are going after haulers that are not on autopilot. 

The way it is being done is quite simple, but it involves a group of people or someone with a lot of alts.  They camp systems where they can predict the way you are going to travel say between Amarr and Jita; this is the key.  The easiest way to explain this is to make a simple diagram.

---->(Gate:A)Scanner------->(Gate:B)Gank Team-----(Gate:C)

The scanner scans and identifies the person to be ganked (on gate A) while they are aligning to the next gate (Gate:B).  He then communicates the target to the gank team sitting in the next system.  The team will wait for you to jump threw gate B, and they will jump you while you are aligning to the next gate (Gate C).

The ganker will probably be in a battleship fitted with as many sensor boosters and amplifiers as he can fit for a wicked fast targeting.  They will also have a warp scram, and this will serve as a dual purpose.  First, it will stop you from warping away (assuming u don't have warp stabs). Secondly, it will stop you in space, and make it even easier to hit you.  The team also have someone to haul away the loot.  I guess in theory there could be someone to remote sensor boost, but i'm pretty sure they would be concorded as-well.

How to protect yourself?

Fit your ships - if your going to be hauling expensive things, then drop the cargo expanders.  Go for the agility mods (inertia stabilizers) and warp stabs.  Fit a high buffer tank so you do not killed in the first strike.

Dock and unload - If you get scanned, warp to a station and dock.  If you don't care about losing a indy then unload your cargo quickly and see if they still try and attack you on the other side of the gate.  Remember the scanner already called you out as a high value target; and they might have been sitting at the gate for a few hours looking for a kill.  WARNING: There is a small chance you might poded; warp away quickly - don't loose your implants.

Freighters -  God awful idea for small items, but it takes a lot to gank it.  I would say that if your hauling under 5-6b in one go ahead and autopilot and go watch tv.  People hauling 20b+ need to remember that a single ship could probably keep you from aligning somewhere.  This means his buddies have all the time in the world to organize a effective gank. 

Courier Contracts - 1-2 mil reward for someone else to haul your stuff?  Yes, please.  The reward size really depends on what your hauling and where to.  If it requires someone to take a freighter into low sec, then your contract might not get filled for a 1-2 mil reward.  Be sure to place a high collateral as well.  I generally do sell order price + 50%, but everyone has their own little method.

Orca - You can not scan anything in corp hanger bay. AFK away?

Cloaky Hauler - If you are hauling small amounts, then you can't go wrong with a cloaky hauler.  Properly fit, it should be entering warp right when your gate cloak drops from you trying to enter warp.

Auto Target Back - A lot of null sec players will have this turned off, but it makes it pretty easy to know if you have been scanned.  Just be sure to turn it back off when you get back to null.

Passive Scanners - Just because you haven't been targeted doesn't mean you haven't been scanned.  Try and watch for the scan animation.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Scamming 101 - Contract Scams

I have already covered courier scams, and now it is time to cover the annoying scams... local contract scams.  These are really easy to spot, but occasionally the contract spammers get lucky.  CCP actually made it a bit harder to check if a scammer has been successful in the past, but you can still do it if you are curious.

1.) Find a scammer, just check Jita local.
2.) Open up contracts and click on my contracts tab.
3.) Type in the name of the scammer in Owner and change status to finished.
4.) Click Get Contracts.

I just did a quick check on everyone who is scamming local, and only one managed to succeed.  I realize that most likely the people really spamming local are just bots, but is running a spam bot to get one plex a week ago really worth it?

I did a quick check of people pulling the 960,000m3 scam I posted about here.  Oddly enough, people seem to be succeeding at the rate of one per week.  It seems that the standard is to offer 1 mil/100 mil collateral, and while some get finished about one for every 5-10 gets failed.  So the successful ones are making 90 mil average on their scam.

Don't Believe me? Look up courier contracts and find someone who wants 960,000m3+ hauled. I I found 3 people with an active 960,000m3+ scam up and they made about 200mil each over the last two weeks.  I guess it's up to you if you want to try scamming, but there are much easier and faster ways to make isk. 

I will cover phaserinc in another post.  I guess I can't call them a scam, but I won't call them legit either.  Personally, I would never invest one isk with them, but that's a story for another day.

If you are familiar with basic scams (Reverse buy and Wrong Price) then don't bother with the rest.

I guess I should cover the types of contract scams, but they are pretty easy to spot.  In fact, they are so easy to spot that I am having a bit of trouble trying to explain them.  There are really two types that I can think of.  The more clever of the bunch is what i call reverse want to buy.  The person puts up a contract that he wants to SELL something at a outrageous price, the usual being an Elite Drone AI (worthless btw), and then they advertise the contract as a WTB contract in local.  They are hoping that the person in local doesn't realize that it says they will pay 100 mil to buy one, and not get 100 mi.

The other is so common it is hardly worth mentioning.  Its trying to buy or sell something at the wrong price but trying to make it look like it is the right price.  Basically, a person says they are offering 380 mil for something but the contract is for 380 thousand.  They are hoping that you don't notice the missing zeros.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gate Camps and a Little Known Fact.

It is my understanding that the Eve-online servers process nearly everything in about one second intervals.  This is not one second from when you click the module, but every one sec the servers do a process of everything that happens.  Now you may think that this really doesn't matter, but when seconds matter it can mean the difference between life and death.  Seconds couldn't matter more then on a gate camp.  You have seconds to catch your prey or to get away.

How can someone take advantage of the one second processing though?  Why does it matter?  Well did you know you can activate a Covert Ops Cloak and a Microwarp Drive at the same time?  The Microwarp Drive will finish its cycle before it auto-deactivates.  If you are caught on a bubble in null sec; this gives you a chance to haul ass and get out of dodge.

Gate campers can take advantage of the servers as well.  The fact that eve servers only process once a second means that you have a full second to scramble the prey before they re-cloak.  The trick is to get your targeting speed under a sec and be quick with your targeting and scrambling.  This is where things get interesting.  If the gate camper is quick enough then the server will process both events (cloaking and being targeted) at the same time.  It appears that targeting wins.

I guess the way to take advantage of this for gate campers would be to set up their overviews so they can spam target on the first spot in their overview whenever they see gate fire.  This combined with a bit of luck and ungodly fast targeting speed would mean disaster for their prey.

Another worthy note is that organized gate campers have the advantage even without a scout in the next system.  The player jumping into a low or null sec system does NOT have any element of surprise. The gate campers get to see gate fire and see the person in local long before you are done loading.

Let this post serve as a warning.  It is very unlikely that your covert ops hauler is going to get caught by a gate camp, but it is possible.  The only way to really be safe is to scout, scout, and scout some more.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Trade 103 - Jita

I feel I should skip around a little bit and explain how to make money in Jita.  Jita is the most populated hub in the game, and pretty much is the center of the Eve-Universe.  This means that miners and industrialist will usually come to Jita to sell everything, and this means you can buy a lot of stuff quickly.  Players will go to Jita and fit whole ships because it is convenient and cheap.

All of this means that 90% of the other people in local are other traders.  Competition is absolutely insane, and in some buy orders will be over cut in under 5 minutes.  There is a lot of profit to be made here, but the margins are TINY.  The key to Jita trading is taking advantage of what it does best, high quantity of trades.  You have to move massive amounts of things to make a profit on the low margins.

WARNING:  Price can change FAST, and that profit can disappear before you can resell your stock.

This is where most traders will tell you to find something to trade in, by starting at the top of the list and working down.  I figure I can do a lot better.  I will tell you what to trade in and why.  I just cant tell you specific items like hulks, because I have no idea what price hulks will be.  I will tell you groups and some generalizations about them.

Faction Ammo - Low Risk, Slow Moving, Medium Margins
Faction ammo prices are pretty stable, and they have nice margins.  The problem is the fact that they are relatively slow moving, especially when you are trying to resell your stock.  People generally don't buy more then there pvp or mission ship can hold.

Moon Materials - High Risk, Fast Moving, Decent Margins
Moon Minerals are probably the most dangerous thing to trade in eve.  The competition is the worst, and you will be over cut in minutes.  You have to trade in rather large amounts to make any isk. You will want to layer your orders so you can get around the 5 minute lockout time.  The profits can be pretty insane.

Planetary Materials - Medium Risk, Medium-Fast Moving, Decent Margins
Planetary Materials are like the little brother to moon materials.  You have to trade in large amounts, competition is pretty bad.  The only thing is NOT all planetary materials are really profitable.  You will want to focus on pos fuel.

Faction Ships - Medium Risk,Fast Moving, Decent Margins
The nice thing about faction ships is that you can really easily see the profit.  Trading one ship will net you a profit of 5m-20m, if not more.  The taxes and fees can be rather steep if you do not have the proper skills.

Ships - Medium Risk, Medium Moving, Questionable Margins
 Ship margins in Jita can be so small that you will lose money on fees, but it can be possible to make a profit on good deals.  Just keep your eyes open.

Modules - Low Risk, Slow Moving, Questionable Margins
The key with module trading is to jump on the good deals.  Find things that have high margins, buy up a lot and sell them slowly over time.

Skill Books - Really Safe, Slow Moving, Really Low Margins
I consider this brute force trading.  Buy up the skill books at a NPC station, and haul them to Jita,  Since Jita has so much traffic it won't be uncommon to find someone that will want to buy one or two.  The price is set by NPC, and as long as you don't sell below npc cost you will be fine. 

Attribute Implants - Low Risk, Medium Moving, Low Margins
You will want to find implants that have some sort of margin, but it still possible to turn a profit.

Other Implants - Low Risk, Really Slow Moving, High Margins
This is a bit of a generalization, but you can make nice margins on certain implants.  The problem is that the turn over time might be a week if not longer.

Trade 101 - Basic Mechanics

I guess this is part two of the stuff I have to get out of the way.  The mechanics of trading are a little bit hard to grasp. The market is divided between buyers and sellers.  Players put up "buy orders" for items, and another player can fill this order.  They can also decide to put things up for sale, and hope someone comes along and buys it.

The first thing anyone should do is orient yourself.  The comparison here is the overview.  A pvp pilot won't try to pvp with a screwed up overview, and a miner won't try to mine without having asteroids in their overview.  Why would a trader have a screwy looking market tab.

To get started, when you open up your market you will see two sections, buyers on the bottom and sellers on top.  Generally, you want to orient yourself so you see the cheapest sellers and the most expensive buyers.  You do this by clicking on "Price".

Now to explain the BASIC concept of trading.  You put up a "buy order" so that your offering the most amount of money for a item, and then putting it up for sale so your the lowest "sell order".  The easiest way to explain this would be taking a item, we will say hulks.  Lets pretend that there are hulks for sale for 197m, 196m, and 195.9m isk. and buy orders for 150m and 151m.    This means that there is a gap of 35m, which could be your profit.  There is also the variable of range which will be discussed later.

Buy Orders and sell orders ALWAYS get filled by price.  A player will ALWAYS buy the cheapest ship (even if they want to play more) and sell to the most expensive buy order.  So if we use our hulk example: If you put up a buy order for 151m - .01 isk, then your order wont be filled until the 151m is filled.  If you put up a buy order for 151m +.01 isk, then your order will be filled first.

The issue of range is the other major variable.  Your buy orders can have a range of "region", and anyone in the region can fill your order.  The problem is that items don't magically move, so if you buy something 10 jumps away you have to go 10 jumps to go and get it.

I realize that I probably butchered the mechanics of trading, but this has been explained so many times before.  I figure I will just post links.

I recommend reading: - good and simple explanation

Scamming 101 - Courier Scams

Scamming 101 - What to watch out for... or try...

This is a pretty hard topic to address.  I personally never had any luck scamming, but it was never my cup of tea.  This makes it a bit hard to write about.  I am note sure if this should be a warning or how to guide, but knowing eve players... This will be a how to guide. 

Courier Scams
The point of these is to make it impossible, or highly unlikely that someone will be able to finish a courier contract, and thus resulting in the scammer getting the collateral for the cheap items they want shipped.  They accomplish this in three common ways:

Null Sec Courier Contract - The destination is one that you might not even be able to dock at.  These stations are owned by alliances and generally they will only let other alliance members and their allies dock. CCP changed the contract system so it WARNS you that you might not be able to dock there, but a sucker is born every day.

Massive Cargo Scam - This scam is pretty clever.  The target is newer freight pilots, specifically those who do not have freighter 5 trained (since it is a long skill a lot of people don't bother).  Level 4 freighters get 940,000 m3, so the goal it to go over that. The common way is to make a courier contract to haul 8xGeneral Freight Container which comes out to about 960,000m3. Level 5 Freighter pilots can still haul this, but its all about balance.  If the collateral is 150m and the reward is 2 mil, then you just need to find one sucker for every 75.

Suicide Gank - Simple Enough. Set a really high collateral, a destination that freighter pilots normally don't go to, pray they use a industrial, and suicide gank them at all costs.

Trade 101 - Skills

Where to begin?  I guess the most logical place is to start in the beginning, but that has been done to death.  Who really wants to reread all the same stuff, over and over.  I guess the problem is I don't know what the average eve player knows about trade.  I guess this is one of those things that just has to be done so everyone is in the same page.  Those of you that already know all these, bear with me.

Trade is mostly about information, but skills matter.  There have been multiple attempts to turn 5k isk into 1 billion isk in just 30 days. The most notable attempt was by Bouncer Ricdic. This lead to various competitions and spin offs, but the problem is the amount of work they have to put into trading to make it work.  Do yourself a favor and train some trade skills.What skills, though, really depends on what kind of trading you are going to do.  Which is another post for another day.

Accounting Level 5 - Saves money from fees when selling things.
Broker Relations Level 5 - Saves money from fees when buying and selling things.
Margin Trading Level 3-4 - Each level takes ~25% off the amount you put in escrow when you put up a buy order.

Trade Slots:
Trade - 4 per level
Retail - 8 per level
Wholesale - 16 per level (Requires Retail 5)
Tycoon - 32 per level (Requires Wholesale 5)

Day Trading level 4 - Lets you modify sell orders you already have up within 20 jumps. (level 5 for region-wide)
Marketing Level 4 - Lets you place things within 20 jumps up for sale. (level 5 for region-wide)
Procurement Level ? - I don't use this skill, but it lets you place remote buy orders.
Visibility Level ? - I don't use this skill but lets you extend the range of your REMOTE (Procurement) buy orders.

Those that are interested in more details about skills can read a pretty good explanation in this forum post. I will cover the basic mechanics of buy and sell orders in Trade 102 - Basic Mechanics.