Daily Tip:Any time a corporation or other large group of players is leaving an area, it is a good idea to check the contract market for "fire sale" deals.

Life As A Pirate Merchant (EVE Online Guide)

Posted Thu, Sep 22, 2011 by Space Junkie

One of the most lucrative ways to earn ISK in EVE Online is to capitalize on the price differences between Jita and null-sec. It will surprise you how easy it is for even very new players to get set up markets out there.

Selling in null-sec can be a lucrative business, but there are three big problems: finding and getting to a spot with customers, supplying yourself with stuff to sell, and staying safe. Each of these has a simple set of solutions that players can easily use, even within their first few months of playing EVE Online.

The Outline

The idea here is that you can set up one of your characters in a station located in a high-traffic area of NPC-owned null-sec. You can -without risk- run an entire production business there with no greater risk than when you list items for sale in high-sec. You do this by outsourcing the transportation aspect of your operation to Black Frog Freight Service, a division of the incredible Red Frog guys that have been pretty much driving the wheels of EVE Online's industry for at least a year or two now. Let me walk you through the plan.

First, you choose a likely location. Next, you move out there and establish a jump clone there so you can build things there and update your market orders without difficulty. Next, you put together a giant package of all the things you want to sell, and have the player-run Black Frog Freight Service move it out to your destination (in exchange for a fee, of course). From there you can sell your goods, assemble whatever ingredients and parts you included, and generally be a good merchant.

EVE Online

  • Choosing A System
  • Train Some Helpful Skills
  • Get There
  • Pick A Market Strategy
  • Drop Yourself Onto The Market Like A Cluster Bomb

Choosing A System

First, the key is to settle on where you will be settling. The ideal spot should have the following:

  • A high number of people using the system.
  • A large number of NPCs should be killed in and around that system each day (visible in the in-game browser or on DOTLAN), to indicate that missions are being run there.
  • The system should already be a local market hub, likely because it is near a null-sec mission hub for an NPC faction.
  • The station that you base in needs to have a lot of manufacturing slots. If it has research and invention slots, it's a bonus.

A word about regional hubs in null-sec: there are usually a couple "natural hubs" in each region. These places tend to have the highest concentrations of players, goods on the market, and usually have a bunch of level four agents.

Here are some suggestions for potential spots in relatively active regions with NPC-controlled space:

  • Curse: HLW-HP
  • Delve: KFIE-Z
  • Fountain: A-1CON
  • Geminate: FDZ4-A (not ideal because it is so close to high-sec)
  • Great Wildlands: E02-IK
  • Pure Blind: X-7OMU
  • Stain: HM-UVD
  • Syndicate: FD-MLJ
  • Venal: H-PA29

Whether or not that system is the hub or not usually depends on what organizations are squatting in a given region, that month. In the case of Curse, for example, large alliances routinely dispatch contingents down there in search of Good Fights, sometimes settling in good ol' HLW, but just as often picking somewhere else.

Meanwhile, last time I was in Delve there were at least three NPC systems that were simultaneously being used as bases for different alliances. The point being that this is just advice, and some current research on your target region should take place before you commit.

For the purposes of this example, let's assume you decide to settle in Curse, in the HLW-HP solar system. Curse is a good region because a lot of players like running Angel missions, because pirates like to screw around there, and because large-scale attempts at conquering space in the south often base out off there. HLW-HP is a good system because not only is it in the central area of the region through which most traffic passes, but also because it has an excellent selection of agents up to and including level five.

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