Getting the most out of the market comes only with time and experience. A well-trained intuition is almost as important as a strong understanding of numbers: when to buy, when to sell, and when to switch to a new business model. It is also important to understand what role each commodity plays in EVE's economy, to perceive the big picture.
Still, there are also plenty of things that can be learned about the market that will enhance your understanding of it. Here are five of them:
5. Highest And Lowest
The more you understand about the market, the more ISK you can gain from it.
This model often confuses newer players who, when confronted with annoying market orders that only undercut by .01 ISK, try to ignore them in favor of higher priced goods that are not engaging in an annoying price war. I would speculate that the reason the market works like this is to reduce server load, though I don't know any of the particulars. In any case, do not make this mistake.
4. The God Damn Scroll Wheel
If you are setting the price on a buy or sell order, turning your mouse scroll wheel up or down will modify the order by .01 ISK per tick. If this is obvious to you, great. I played EVE Online for years without realizing it, and it would have helped like heck.
3. Nines And Eights
The EVE font is, in many ways, quite terrible. It also cannot be changed. For our purposes, that is good: sequences of nines with an eight slipped in can be difficult to detect. By lowing a price with many nine numerals in it by .01 ISK, and slipping an 8 in there somewhere, you may cause a competitor to mistakenly only lower his price by .01 ISK. This won't get you far in Jita, but in less-travelled stations it may be hours or days before the price is checked again. A small trick, but one that has helped me a few times.
2. Be Patient, But Take Precautions
If you have a long term investment strategy, perhaps based on the natural rise and fall of mineral prices or that of any of the various planetary materials, it is best to hedge your bets even when things seem to be going quite well. If you have invested 100mil ISK into a commodity, and the price of that item doubles, then seems poised to rise even more, do not hesitate to sell off a portion of your stock even when the upward trend seems certain. Prices can fall as fast as they rise, and paying for a portion or even all of your investment insulates you from loss. Should prices abruptly crash, you will not bear so intense a loss.
1. Read Patch Notes (And Use The Test Server)
The biggest market trends are dictated by upcoming changes to the game. When it is announced or implied that an item will rise in value in an upcoming patch, that item will soar in price almost instantly. Catching these changes and taking advantage of them before others is unlikely, but you can still ride the wave as the slower players catch on and inflate whatever the commodity is still further. You may also perceive implications and side-effects of changes before other players, as those are often not nearly as sure bets for investment.
Constant use of the test server is also helpful, as many changes will appear there before the main server, yet not be announced anywhere by CCP. Only those that comb through the test server looking for changes otherwise unnoticed are privy to them. Be wary, however, sometimes the changes do not go through to the main server. Indeed, there have occasionally been red herring changes on the test servers to throw people off. Still, noticing the right change ahead of time can make billions upon billions come patch day. The test server is the place to find them.