Eve Online Trading Guide

Trading in eve is one of the hardest things to get into, it is one of the most lucrative things to do in the game by far.  People will try and tell you that you can make a lot of money in 0.0, exploration, etc, but it is simply nothing compared to trading.  One of the major problems successful traders have is that the game sorta becomes all about trading.  When you can make 100 million isk or more in a day why would you bother running missions or doing anons?

What is Trading?

Trading is anything that makes isk in the game using the market or the contract interface.  In fact every time someone buys or sells something they are performing a sort of trade.  Traders make their isk by being the middle man in all sort of transactions.  Basically, buy low and sell high. The key is to find your niche and dominate it.  Guard your secrets and ruthlessly drive your competition out.

Trading is really easy to get into, for example by trying to get the best price for mission loot.  Hauling mission loot to a trade hub, mission hub, or 0.0 and trying to sell it for more is a form of trading, not the most efficient form, but a form of trading none-the-less.  This is a ever changing game, and it will take you a long time to master.  Learning what others are doing is a great way to start.  Information is key.

Trading Guide: Two Tier System

The problem is that most new players do not understand the market system.  They are used to video games that tell you that you can buy item x here immediately, haul it to station 7, and sell item x at a profit.  This is NOT trading in Eve-Online.  Eve Online uses a two tier market system and that is the first thing any trader needs to understand.

Eve-Online uses a complicated yet simple broker system for trading that involves buy and sell orders.  Real players tell a imaginary broker in the game that they want to buy item x for 6 isk, and that broker puts that up on the market for everyone to see.  This becomes the buy order.  Selling an item works the same way.  A player tells the imaginary broker they want to sell item x for 9 isk, and he lists it for everyone to see as a sell order.

There is obviously a gap between the sell and buy order prices, and a trader attempts to use that to their advantage.  A savvy trader will come along and put up a buy order for 6.01isk; the .01isk extra that they are willing to pay will make that order the first one filled.  The highest order is always the first one filled when someone comes along and decides they do not wait.  Instead of putting up a sell order and waiting for another player to buy it; they might just sell it to the trader for 6.01 isk. 

The traders order got filled and now they have item x for 6.01 isk (minus the broker fee).  The trader can just re-list item x right where they bought it, or haul it somewhere else.  In this case lets pretend they re-list it immediately at the same station they bought it at for 8.99. A hour later a mission runner needs to buy item x, but they do not want to wait however long it will take for another player to fill their buy order.  They instead buy it from the trader 8.99 isk, and since 8.99 is the lowest price it will ALWAYS be the first one sold. (This part can be confusing: if someone puts up a buy order for 10 isk or select to buy an item for 10 isk at the same station as the 8.99 isk, then the 8.99 isk item is sold to that player for 10 isk.)

That is trading in a nut sell.  The trader made out with 2.97 isk profit minus sales tax and broker fees.  There is no NPC trading.  It is all dependent on other players, only the highest buy order and the lowest sell order will be filled in order of price.  It can lead to a lot of .01 isk warfare, but it can also lead to amazing profits.

Basic Trading Terms

Buy Orders - On the market interface these are the ones on the bottom.  They are basically non-negotiable want to buy advertisements.

Sell Orders - On the market interface these are the ones on top.  They are basically non-negotiable want to sell advertisements.

Trade Slots - These are the amount of buy and sell orders a person can have up at one time. This is affected by skills.

Volume - The amount of things bought and sold in a given day.

Profit Margins - This is the deference between the highest buy order and the lowest sell order.

How to Trade: Basic Trading Guide

There are basic mechanics that all new traders need to be aware of. It is assumed that traders understand that buy orders are the orders filled when someone tries to sell something instantly and sell orders are the things up for sale.  The goal for the majority of traders is to find items that have high volume and high margins. 

Traders will put up a buy order that is .01 isk higher then the HIGHEST buy order.  This means that anyone who makes a instant sale to a buy order will sell it to you.  The highest buy order at that station is the one that gets filled first. Traders then put the item up for sale as soon as possible for .01isk lower then the cheapest item.  The difference between the buy and sell is their profit.

What is the Best Way to Trade

Sort answer: There is no best way.  Trading is a very broad term, but there are some general sub categories:

Trade Hubs: Trading in trade hubs is brutal.  Market orders are updated every 5 minutes, and it is a rare item that doesn't already have 5 traders on at all times of the day ready to undercut you by .01 isk.  Trading here can be profitable, but you need a strategy.  Expect little to no margins.

Region Trading: Region trading is generally a great way to buy and sell items at really high margins.  The problem is the turn around time can be ridiculously slow.  It all depends on the region you are in.  Again you need to have a strategy.  As a general rule, region trading is a great way to build up cheap inventory.  The problem is selling it off.

Hauling: This is the act of taking one item to another system/station/region for profit.  There are a lot of different ways to profit off hauling, and generally it will have higher margins.  The draw back is that it takes a lot of work.

Null Sec: Null sec trading is one of the most dangerous ways to make a living.  General rule of thumb is that you should be in a established null sec alliance before attempting this sort of trading.  Null sec alliance members are always looking for certain modules, and you can earn lots of isk hauling stuff in.

Market Manipulation: Manufacture your own insane price for a item, and sell off your entire stockpile to the lemmings! This is just another way of making isk by trading, though it is a bit more aggressive and risky.

Information is Power

Information is power cannot be stressed enough.  For example, Nerf to one item in the game can send people flocking to buy another replacement, and this can mean a temporary massive supply side shortage driving up price.  Read everything, and be creative.  One stupid idea can spark one of complete genius.