How Important Are Traders to Eve-online?

How important are traders to eve-online? Typically traders are seen as middlemen who have little interest in providing goods to players at a low cost but that isn’t exactly true. Traders drive the market prices down and are able to make goods available where they are typically not. This in turn allows missioners to buy ammo at their current station or fit out a new ship without having to go 10 jumps to get it.

Most traders at some point must move goods from one system to another in order to make a bit more money. Typically the further out these traders move the more expensive the goods get. That does not mean that all traders will mark up the goods by millions of isk but occasionally one does. Because of this trading system if someone is marking goods up at ridiculous prices other traders will come in and undercut him until the price has normalized. This process does not always happen overnight but as it is a free market anyone is able to join in and push the prices down even further.

In this instance I will consider traders and haulers as one in the same because the haulers are typically moving goods for other players, traders, who then resell the goods. Haulers move goods into systems which traders need them. Resources typically flow upward to trade hubs, which mean that material that players mine in one system will be sold and moved to major trade hubs to be resold; while ships, modules and ammo typically flow downward from trade hubs into mission hubs to be resold. This is the trade route or region-wide trading system that I had discussed earlier. Both of these systems move goods along the pipeline until they used in production or sold on the market. In fact most goods travel to the major trade hub, Jita, and are resold just to be packed up and shipped elsewhere.



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Why would players bother moving stuff into Jita just to turn around and move it elsewhere? Well it’s all economics really. Players are able to offload more material in jita due to the high trade volume, even though they might get a lower price the ability to have high turnover is appealing to players who have idle isk. The players who then move the material elsewhere are marking it up 20-30% but it moves slower so it takes more time to make the full return on investment back and the reselling of these goods is typically done by players with less isk because a higher markup is more important. Those missioners who buy rockets or ships save time when buying the goods in station which have a markup but not always a large one. Instead of spending their time going to a trade hub to save 20% they can spend their hour running another mission to make more than enough to cover the increase in cost. Often players forget that time is money in eve-online. If a player goes 3 jumps to save 5,000isk then he has wasted his time which is worth more than the potential savings.

When markets change relatively quickly most of the goods located on the outside of space will have little price change. Often traders do not monitor their far away trades more than once a week and because of that their prices can lag behind. For instance if the cost of a drake in jita goes from 40m to 50m those ships on the edges of space will still be listed at 40m. In most cases these spikes are not permanent and traders will not always go out of their way to relist their goods at higher prices or to move them to the trade hub to make quick money. The price can also be lower when players want to sell their ships but don’t want to move it, so there is often an area of space with low priced items because someone is lazy and no one is around to take the offer.

Traders are the lifeline of Eve-online. Without them we would not have ships, modules, or ammo in null-sec, low-sec, or most of high-sec. They are constantly moving goods into systems for players who are looking to save time and buy now rather than haul it themselves. They also keep moving goods out of systems to repurpose them or relocate them to where players have a need. These systems are the invisible lifelines of eve and without them eve would be an even darker, colder place.


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