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The Trader

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The trader, basically is someone who buys low and sells high. There are several ways to trade in EVE.

NPC trade goods trade

Trade goods are mostly (but there are exceptions) useless for players other than for isk making. For a full list of trade goods see market, bottom category (called trade goods, go figure). Dealing with trade goods can be a single player game. You find a station offering a given type of trade good cheaply, find another one buying it at higher price, buy it, move it, sell it. That means finding a trade route and then running it a few dozen times through highsec while AFK - but be aware there are suicide player pirates who will use the cargo scanner and passive targeter to quietly scan ships in high space and are willing to sacrifice some cheap ships and equipment (when CONCORD responds) to destroy your ship and take your cargo. So if you carry expensive cargo, consider sending a scout ahead to spot gate camps, travelling with an escort or using secure containers.

The bigger the cargo ship you can fly the more profit you can make. Note that there is a rudimentary supply and demand system in npc EVE: once you buy some trade goods on a given station, their price will go up on it; and once you sell them on a given station, their price will go down. This resets after every downtime. There are players who specialize in this; they have developed tools like spreadsheets and collected data on most profitable routes, and they try to complete the best trade routes as soon as possible after downtime.

Sometimes trade goods are offered by agents as part of the mission reward; they are also part of many courier missions.

Some trade goods (particularly nexus chips, industrial goods and radioactive goods) have uses in production and manufacturing or are needed for POS upkeep and refueling. Others (particularly tags and insignias) are needed to fulfil certain missions or for loyalty point stores. Starbase charters are needed to operate POSes in empire space. (Note: With the Empyrean Age patch and the introduction of Factional Warfare, tags and insignia are in high demand. -- aug 2008)

In theory you don't need any skills to start trading in trade goods, but in practice you need to fly an industrial, the bigger the better, and if no Industrials are available (if you're a noob, in particular), then select a mining frigate, or a cargo cruiser.

Player trade

In a limited sense, players can trade if they are on the same station. Right-click on a player' portrait if you are both on the same stations to trade items and isks.

In a broader sense, players can trade with themselves via the market, by using buy and sell orders.

While many trade goods are only in demand by npc corporations, many other items - minerals, ships, ship modules, rigs, ammunition, drones, BPOs, skills and so on - are in high demand from players. They are however not evenly distributed through EVE universe. Some are offered by npcs, others are loot from missions, some are made by players, some are found in 0.0 space... buying, moving and selling such items can be quite profitable, but requires even more in game knowledge.

In addition to highsec dangers described above, if you trade in low sec or 0.0 the risks you can run into drastically increase. Industrials and like in low-sec are a favorite prey of pirates, and if you think about trading in 0.0 but don't know how to deal with bubbles, you are dead pilot flying.

You don't need skills to manage a few orders at a time, but you need them for advanced stuff - managing hundreds of orders, or managing your orders from far-away location. Flying an industrial is useful, and for low-sec or 0.0 stuff, you may want various advanced skills, up to and including operating your own carrier fleet :)


  • demand and supply in 0.0 are both low. Hence fewer items are sold there, but with much higher margins.
  • each region has certain npc pirate factions associated with it. Each npc faction drops only certain type of modules, not all. Hence each region generates some loot (which will be cheap there), and will not generate other type of loot (which will be expensive).
  • most items are sold in trading hubs. The competition in them will tend to drive prices down. It is a trader's decision whether they want to sell items quickly but cheaply in trading hubs, or whether they want to offer them for sell in less frequented prices, but skim the higher margin
  • the lower the security of place you are trading in, the smaller and faster your ship should be (or the larger and better armed the group you travel with)
  • buy orders are your friend if they are yours, and your enemy if they are not. Research the price of every item carefully before you sell it; n00bs can lose many ISKs by happily clicking 'sell' on their early loot, not knowing that they are selling stuff for 0.001% percent of its value...
  • Right click "View Market Details" before EVERY transaction.

See also

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