Market discussions is the most important player-driven forum in EVE Online. Players in this sub-forum on the main EVE forums discuss the nuts and bolts of market trends, make stock offerings, and recount their experiences with playing the market.
Since the new EVE forums aren't quite ready, a guide to the most influential player-stuffed forum is not entirely outrÃ©. Whether this will be an epitaph for MD or a segue into its successor on new forums, time will tell.
Tycoons and Rascals
EVE Online's community loves talking about how much ISK they make. The question is whether to believe them or not.
The members of this forum are incredibly knowledgeable. Even though many of the players continually lie, exaggerate, and pontificate, there are just as many others who are friendly or want to show off how smart they are. These people can be very helpful.
Whether because of a genuine desire to help others or a deep need to show others how smart they are, many MD posters will answer questions. A good question is one that has not been asked and answered before (as verified by an EVE-search). The forums are a bit more friendly toward in-depth that show your understanding of the topic, and less friendly toward clueless newbie questions. For the latter, the EVE New Citizens Q&A forum is more suitable. The stickied topics at the top of the forum are also handy, especially for newer players.
LINK EVE SEARCH
It is rare to get a straight up market tips from MD that have any real value. Actual market opportunities will often be alluded to rather than explicit. This is partly because of the bandwagon effect, whereby the more people do something the less profitable it is, and partly because it is often more profitable to misrepresent a market trend in the hopes of provoking a market reaction. This latter sort of faux market advice is common in MD, and needs to be filtered out by you, the reader.
The most common example of rubbish advice is a thread whose title makes claims of high profit or otherwise tries to attract attention, or asks a disingenuous question. "Why is reacting Platinum Technite so profitable?" is a good example of camouflaged market manipulation. The player has probably purchased or mined a bunch of the ingredients used to make Platinum Technite, and is hoping that a gentle shove on the MD forums will result in a higher price. Such threads are often quickly lambasted by the local posters, but it seems like at least some tricks achieve the desired results.
Manipulation attempts along these lines will often be accompanied by buying a large portion of the market out to make it seem like a price spike is actually going on, rather than market manipulation that will correct itself naturally. Such correction often happens within a few days, but for large-volume markets things sometimes fix themselves within minutes or hours.
The real forte of this forum is the analysis of ongoing market trends. If something strange is happening to the price of an item in EVE, there will be an in-depth discussion of the trend, here. Granted, there may be some clumsy or not so clumsy attempts to fight the trend or exaggerate it, but amongst that there will be real comments about the source of the trend, advice about whether to buy or sell the item, and predictions for the future.
Filtering out the good advice from the bad is a personal skill that you as an EVE player will need to cultivate. Note that the presence of disingenuous advice is sometimes a blessing in disguise because it keeps players guessing and can help prevent excessive amounts of people from trying to get involved with a particular trend.
The best market analysis tends to come before an expansion. Such expansions often have serious market ramifications, and a single person cannot hope to notice all of them. At such times, market discussion can act like a sort of think tank, ruminating over every known aspect of the changes and suggesting potential investments or assets that may become toxic post-expansion. Again, it is a good idea to take big claims with a grain of salt, but nevertheless important to get as much information as possible about potential investments.
Market Trip Reports
As a new player, the most useful thing about market discussion is trip reports. That is, a post encapsulating a player's personal experiences with the market. These can take many forms, including failed manipulation attempts, success stories, or complete train wrecks where someone lost it all. All of these stories are valuable to new players, who can avoid pitfalls and learn from the experiences of others. It is surprising how often players are willing to explain where things went awry for them. Learn from their successes and do not repeat their mistakes.
Invest in an IPO at your own peril.
The IPO fatigue effect is what happens when a player will initially be enthusiastic and trustworthy, doing their best to make profits for their shareholders. Eventually, this will stop being fun, with the tedium of keeping things running exceeding any enjoyment the player might have had. The person running the IPO decides that it's time to move on, and that he might as well steal everything that is not nailed down, first. Alternatively, something might go a bit wrong and require too much work to fix, making a rip and run more appealing by comparison.
Many EVE companies have gone belly up under scandalous circumstances, though some continue to operate at a profit for years before they reach that point. Some projects seem less susceptible to this due to the way they are designed or the inherent profitability of running a legitimate business, but you need to make up your own mind about what constitutes an acceptable risk.