Saturday, November 27, 2010

How to Make the Most ISK From Your Loot

After completing your mission and salvaging and looting all your wrecks, you may find yourself wondering what to do next. In EVE, selling your loot isn't as simple as clicking "sell". You have a few options. You can:
  1. Sell your loot with a basic order
  2. Sell your loot with an advanced sell order
  3. Reprocess your loot
There are not easy hard and fast rules for this. It is extremely situational. The best decision with any given item will depend on the item, the current market conditions, your skills, and your location. Giving detailed, case-by-case directions is beyond the scope of this guide, but I will do my best to give you the basic tools you'll need to make an educated decision.

There are some basic skills that will help you make the most from your mission loot. These are:
  • Trade. This is your basic trading skill. Each level in this skill increases the number of active buy or sell orders you can have at one time by 4.
  • Retail. This requires Trade II to get. This skill increases your number of active buy or sell orders by 4 per level.
  • Broker Relations. This also requires Trade II to get. This skill reduces the cost of setting up an advanced buy or sell order.
  • Accounting. Requires Trade IV. This skill reduces the tax on all your transactions.
  • Refining. This skill allows you to reprocess items into their base materials. This is great to use with items that don't sell much (or at all). You can reprocess ships and modules and a few other things as well. You also use this to refine the materials you mine from asteroids into their base elements. I suggest you get refining to at least IV. The higher your refining skill, the less of the materials are lost in the refining process. With a refining of IV or V, you can often get more ISK by selling the base materials than you would for selling the module itself.
As I said, there are no hard and fast rules for selling in EVE, but I can give you a few basic guidelines. I suggest you do price checks on all items in the beginning. Then see what the item will refine into and what those materials are worth. It's a bit of work with the calculator at first, but as you get more experience, you'll get a good feel for which items to sell and which to refine. Always pay attention though, because market conditions can and will change. If a module is a named module or a tech 2 module, there's a good chance you're better off selling it (especially tech 2). However, again, always check, because not all named modules are worth selling. A lot also depends on where you are in New Eden.

To sell an item in your hangar, right click on the item and select "Sell This Item" from the contextual menu. You will see the following window:

This is the basic selling window. You want to pay attention to how the price compares to the regional average (in parentheses after the price). If this number is red, the default sell price is lower than the average, if it's green, it's above the average price. If it's green, you're golden. Just sell the item and avoid higher broker fees. However, if the number is red, you may want to consider an advanced sell order. Whether or not this is worthwhile depends upon the price of the item, the percentage the simple sell price is below the average, and your own personal preferences and willingness to micromanage. In my early days, if the total sale price was less than 4,000 ISK or if the default sell price was less than 10% below the average, I just took the simple sell. You'll come up with your own criteria with experience.

If you decide to go with an advanced sell order, click the "Advanced" button at the bottom right corner of the window. You will then see the following window:

At this point you can set your own sell price, as well as the duration of the order. You can also sell multiple items at once. To start with, you can set your sell price for the regional average until you get a hang of things. Always compare your total with the total on the previous simple order screen. With an advanced order you pay a broker fee, and sometimes you'll get less money back (even though you're selling the item for more) than you would with the simple order.

If you want to make an even more informed decision on price, you can check out the price history. You can get to the price history from the market window. You can also easily view the market data of any item by right-clicking on the item and selecting "View Market Data" from the contextual pop-up menu.

The market screen looks like this:

You can get to the price history from here by clicking the "Price History" tab above the "Sellers" section of the market window. The Price History screen looks like this:

This chart has a lot of good information including, 5 day moving average, 20 day moving average, median day price, Donchian channel, and volume. The moving averages are lines showing the average price over a 5 day and 20 day period. The median day price shows the avearage price that day. The Donchian channel shows you the high and low prices for each day. The volume (bars at the bottom) indicates how many orders were filled each day. Armed with this information, you can figure out a good price to sell your items at.

Sometimes reprocessing an item is the better way to go. You can reprocess an item by right-clicking on it and selecting "Reprocess" from the contextual menu. You can reprocess multiple items simultaneously by selecting them all, right clicking on one, and selecting "Reprocess". Reprocessing is based on your Refining skill. The higher your skill level, the less materials are lost (waste) when you reprocess. There is also a fee for using a station's reprocessing facilities. In general, I don't recommend reprocessing until you get your Refining skill to at least 4 as the waste incurred from your ham-fisted reprocessing will really eat into your profits.

You'll have to do some calculations in order to decide if you're better off selling or reprocessing a particular item. Remember to figure in the fees for reprocessing. Eventually, you'll get familiar with the items you see dropping a lot, and you'll remember which to reprocess and which to sell. As with a lot of things in EVE, some research and time in the beginning will pay dividends in the long run.

This is just a basic guide to get you started. Feel free to experiment and find your own style. The money you get paid by your agents is a small fraction of the ISK you can make from missioning. Combine salvaging, refining, and smart selling and trading with your missioning to get the most bang for you buck.

Good luck, and I hope you all become EVE tycoons!

Fly smart!