Basics

EVE Skills: Trading Skills (EVE Online Guide)

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EVE Online has the most vibrant economy in the MMO world, with selling, buying, and market competition reaching heights unheard of in other games. But which skills to train in order to best make use of the market? This guide explains the various trading-related skills found in EVE Online.

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Sadly, the skills in the trading category are often neglected by new players, who perhaps rightly prefer to focus on gaining access to new ships and weaponry. That's a good way to keep yourself interested in EVE Online, but there is little point to being able to fly a Myrmidon if you cannot afford to buy one. If using the market and becoming rich in EVE appeals to you, these skills are for you.

Basic Market Skills

These skills allow effective use of the market. They are very handy for most EVE players, and must-haves for EVE trading aficionados.

Trade

Each level of trading allows you to have an additional four outstanding market orders.

This is the skill where it all begins. Two levels of this will let you train Retail, which gives far more orders per skill level, but dedicated traders will want to take this to four so that you can train Accounting and Daytrading, or even level five, in order to get the maximum number of market orders possible.

Even the most anti-trading EVE players will probably want to get a couple levels of this, for setting up the occasional buy and sell orders. It just makes everything in EVE so much easier when you can make market buy offers rather than having to always pay whatever price the sell orders are at.

Contracting

Each level of Contracting increases the number of outstanding contracts you may have by four.

Contracts are an elite market tool, used for researched blueprints, blueprint copies, faction modules, and package deals. Some products are only found on contracts, while others can be found there at cut rates. Every EVE player should have at least a couple levels trained in contracting, just to make their EVE life easier. Contracts are one of the best ways to move goods between two characters you own, if having them both be online to do a direct trade is impractical. It is also helpful for paying other people to move goods: courier contracts make managing a multi-region trading empire far more feasible than it would be, otherwise.

I train a few levels of contracting on every character I own, even PvP characters. Being able to sell fitted ships in stations I no longer have access to is handy, as it "want to buy" contracts for faction goods (like Zor's implants, for example). Training at least a level or two of contracting will probe endlessly helpful, even to newbies. Note, however, that you do not need to train contracting to accept other peoples' sell contracts or courier contracts, and also that every character may have a single outstanding contract, even without training this skill.

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Daytrading

Each level increases the distance at which you can remotely order buy and sell orders. A single level allows you to adjust prices within the same solar system, while two levels allows you to adjust prices up to five jumps away, three levels allows you to adjust prices up to ten jumps away, four permits modification up to twenty and, finally, access to an entire region at level five.

This skill may be the most important trade-related skill in EVE. It allows you to adjust your sell or buy order prices from elsewhere, so long as you are within the same region. That means you can be running a mission or waiting in a gatecamp, while at the same time playing with your buy and sell orders to ensure that they are the most competitive. You can roam all over a region, doing whatever it is you like, all the while constantly tweaking your market orders. Daytrading is even better for managing market orders spanning multiple stations, rather than just one.

The more frequently you update your market orders, the more likely that someone will buy from them or sell to them, and the happier you will be.

Intermediate Market Skills

These skills are handy for players that have decided to do some serious trading, but newbies need not worry about them.

Marketing

Each level increases the range at which you may sell items. The first level allows you to sell items in any station in your solar system, the second allows you to sell goods within five jumps, the third allows ten jumps, the fourth extends to twenty jumps, and level five allows goods to be sold anywhere in an entire region.

Where Daytrading is helpful because it allows you to modify orders from afar, Marketing is fantastic because it allows one to actually set up sell orders. This is great because flying around a region to sell things is generally a waste of time, and outright dangerous outside of high-sec space. Do your sales remotely with this, tweak their prices with Daytrading, and rake in the EVE ISK.

Procurement

Each level increases the range at which you may buy items. The first level allows you to buy items in any station in your solar system, the second allows you to buy goods within five jumps, the third allows ten jumps, the fourth extends to twenty jumps, and level five allows goods to be bought anywhere in an entire region.

The companion skill to Marketing, Procurement is what lets you set up buy orders remotely. While one can always buy from sell orders that are established on the market, that only takes you so far. Buy orders are the best way to get cut-price goods, or goods that are not currently available on the market. For that, you need marketing.

Marketing is especially useful for waging economic warfare in low-sec and null-sec, where the presence or absence of particular modules and ships can mean the difference between life and death for the inhabitants. With the Marketing and Daytrading skills, one can happily set up buy orders in enemy stations, then sell the resulting loot at inflated costs.

[Protip]The first module I always buy and then re-list is Warp Core Stabilizer I modules. The next is Cynosural Field Generator I modules. Other good possibilities with high cost-to-mischief ratios include Nanite Repair Paste, faction ammunition, and Liquid Ozone.[/protip]

Retail

Each level increases the number of active market orders you can have by +8.

This skill is a big jump up from the Trade skill. With Trade and Retail each trained to level four, you will have the ability to field 53 market orders at once, which should be enough for new traders to get started. This is enough orders to really explore a couple areas of a high-sec market, or get your feet wet in a broad swath of null-sec market areas. It is also enough to set up several low-ball buy orders for things like ammunition, basic planetary materials, or mineral-rich modules that could then be refined for a profit.

If you are constantly butting your head against your market order limit, you may want to consider taking this skill all the way to level five, and then training up Wholesale.

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Advanced Market Skills

If you are one of the trading kings of New Eden, this is the skill category for you.

Accounting

Each level of Accounting reduces the sales tax of market orders by 10%.

Every time a sell order is set up on the market, 1% of the cost of the items exchanging hands is automatically taxed. This skill reduces that tax and thus increases your profits. Lamentably, even with this skill maximized you still pay a .5% tax on your sales and purchases.

This skill is particularly important to newbies because they are not selling huge amounts of goods, nor is the value of the goods they are selling high enough that a few percent here and there will matter in the long run.

Once a player is selling big stacks of things with a small margin, or gets most of their income from trading, it might be time to train this skill. At that point, the ISK being lost can start to become significant, especially over time, so you should probably train this. If you have an "alt" character who stays in Jita just to trade, this skill is pretty much a must.

Broker Relations

Each level of Broker Relations reduces the broker's fee of market orders by 5%.

Like the accounting skill, broker relations affects a 1% tax. Unlike the sales tax, the broker's fee is levied against both buying and selling market transactions. Another unfortunate dissimilarity is that related skill, broker relations, is less efficacious at reducing the tax. Even with the skill at maximum, the broker's fee will still end up being about 75%.

This reduced effectiveness is because the broker's fee can be further reduced by obtaining good standings with the NPC corporation that runs the station where you are trading, and with the NPC faction to which that corporation belongs. The better your relationship, the lower your broker's fee.

See some of our other Ten Ton Hammer guides that deal with grinding missions to learn more about obtaining NPC standings.

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Corporation Contracting

For each level of this skill, you may have an additional ten outstanding corporation contracts.

For some people the hard limit of having 21 outstanding personal contracts really, really is not enough. If your corporation has an office somewhere and you have the right roles, you can use the corporation contracting skill to put up contracts on behalf of your corporation. Each character can have ten outstanding corporation contracts by default, so this skill is for the really hardcore.

When making corporation contracts, the goods being sold must be located in a corporate hangar, and any proceeds will be deposited in the corporate wallet. This means that corporation contracts are a really good way to put huge amounts of contracts on the market, but only if you are the sole member of your corporation or have a very good, very well-defined relationship with your corp-mates.

This skill is ideal for selling large numbers of blueprints, ships with their modules already fitted, and otherwise making bank on the contracts market, but only so long as you have a corporate office in your location of choice. This is fine for areas a bit off the beaten path, like much of NPC-controlled null-sec, but offices in well-traveled areas of high-sec can run cost hundreds of millions of ISK each month. Just be sure that your business model supports the cost of keeping your office, before you get started!

Margin Trading

Allows you to put up buy orders without actually having enough ISK to cover them at the time, by reducing the amount of ISK taken into escrow by 25% per level, cumulatively. The way the maths work out is that when trained to level five, one gets a discount of approximately -24% of the buy order price.

This skill is a bit difficult to understand. Essentially, it allows one to put up buy orders without putting down the full amount of cash. While it will not allow you to buy things for free (the order will be removed from the market if you do not have enough ISK to cover it), it is useful if one expects to make enough ISK over time to cover the buy orders. In practice, this can cover temporary liquidity shortfalls or allow one to put up many speculative buy orders with the expectation that only some of them will be filled.

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If you are the kind of EVE player that essentially lives PLEX to PLEX and are constantly running low on ISK (hopefully because you are putting it to good use), this skill is for you. If you are a successful trader and have more ISK than you know what to do with, this skill is of reduced importance.

Wholesale

Each level of this skill increases your maximum market orders limit by +16.

Once you are a serious trader, it is likely that you will want to do your best to dominate several areas of the market, have speculative buy orders up for dozens of commodities, and to do so in several different stations. This is the skill for that. Training this up to level four along with Trade and Retail at four will give you a total of 117 outstanding orders, which should be more than all but the most dedicated traders feel like modifying the price on, on a daily basis.

Trade this up to level five if you want still more market orders, in order to get access to the Tycoon skill.

Tycoon

Each level of this skill increases your maximum market orders limits by +32.

This is the acme of market order skills. Once you train it, you can afford to scatter buy and sell orders across all of New Eden, without regard for wasting market order slots. With Tycoon, it is possible to play the market in several regions, simultaneously, without ever running out of market orders. Indeed, it is almost too many market orders.

Fair warning: once you train this skill you may find yourself burning out on updating your market orders, or having trouble keeping track of which regions your prices are competitive in. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Visibility

Each level of this skill increases the area which remote buy orders may affect, instead of being limited to a single station (as normal buy orders are). The first level allows remote orders to affect their entire solar system, the second allows them to reach in a radius of up to five solar systems, and so forth, until level five permits region-wide orders.

This is the ultimate null-sec economic warfare skill, allowing you to cast a wide net across several enemy stations at once. With it, you can use minimal market orders to affect entire constellations of enemy stations. Using less market orders is good because it means takes less work to update market orders, in order to keep their prices competitive.

This skill is of somewhat limited application in high-sec, though it is good if you want to bounce back and forth between two clusters of stations, without extending your buy orders region-wide. Region-wide buy orders can kind of be a drag, because you end up having to stop at dozens of stations to pick up things, having sell orders for very low-value goods, or else setting up price-ineffective courier contracts so that others do it for you.

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