Yesterday I talked a little about my recent marketing ventures, but I left out one aspect of doing business in EVE: the ever-present possibility and haunting feeling of walking into a trap.
Unlike most (all?) MMOs, the economy in EVE is, in many ways, a well-oiled machine. There are countless pilots with YEARS of marketing experience who are all competing to make the most ISK possible, and they are very good at what they do. And given the depth and breadth of the economy and what’s possible, I fully believe the truly great MMO economic minds match wits in EVE. To borrow a sports analogy, EVE is the big leagues, and only the truly great make it here. So if there is a massive profit to be made, they are the ones making it, and have the knowledge and ISK to make sure that they are the ones pulling in the biggest gains.
At the same time, there are also pilots with YEARS of experience pulling of complex scams. The best con-artists in EVE make Bernie Madoff look like an amateur, and the extent of some of the social engineering that goes into these things is pretty crazy. You simply won’t find people spending months, let alone years, infiltrating a corp or setting up a long-con in other MMOs. If something looks too good to be true, odds are it’s someone setting you up in New Eden.
Combine the above with the fact that EVE itself can be a somewhat complex place, and anytime I come across something that I can make some ISK in, my suspicions always rise and I wonder why no one else has done this before. After all, EVE has been out for 7 years now, has 400k+ pilots, and all of them play on one server. The odds that I’ve found some magical source of ISK that no one else has before is pretty slim, right?
Well no. Most of the time the answer is not nearly as complex or insidious.
If I can buy something at location A and sell it for a 10% gain at location B, but the volume is limited to hundreds of thousands of ISK, the reason that opportunity is out there is because the big fish can’t be bothered by something so insignificant. If I come across what looks like a 100m+ profit for minimal work, the odds of THAT being a scam are pretty good, or would require an investment of a few billion ISK up front.
And while all those pilots are all playing in the same universe, this does not mean they are evenly spread or ‘fighting’ in one global server auction house. Finding profitable deals in low population regions is far more likely than pulling off something great in Jita or another major trade hub. The volume will be lower, and the profits will come in at a slower pace, but that might be just what you are looking for when getting started.
At least that’s what the scammers want you to think.