Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Its Time: Unleash The Market Data Window

Its Time

The recent episode where Odyssey 1.1 changed the cache and thus broke cache scraping for all the software that powered Eve Central et al. brings me to mind of a pet peeve of mine.

Let's try an exercise: Open your contracts window and check for the price of something valuable, say a Phoenix dreadnought. You'll probably see a couple in your own region, but you want to see if there is a deal anywhere in the cluster, right? So you change the search parameters to All Regions. It doesn't matter if it shows you contracts in hostile space as you are aware enough to see those and avoid them. But at a glance you know the complete contract price picture for the dreadnought in the game.

Now, open the market window and look at the Phoenix. You'll see prices for your region, but you are prevented from seeing any market orders farther than that. You could be one jump out of a region, you'll never be able to see its market until you make that last step into it.

It has always been this way and I doubt there is anyone at CCP that remembers exactly why they decided to have regional markets only. Lore reasons? Economic? Performance? I'm sure in the past ten years the original reason for it has passed away much like the uses of Defender missiles and mines.

One of the downstream effects of regional markets is the establishment of Jita as the super-trade hub. It seems unintuitive as you would think that limiting market visibility would lead more to the creation of regional trade hubs but I think the opposite is true. Since a player cannot easily check the selling/buying price of goods in the game, its easier for buyers and sellers to congregate in one commonly agreed upon system for the vast majority of market transactions, thus Jita.

However, if the market window was freed from this archaic restriction, everyone and not just those aware of or industrious enough to use Eve Central could benefit from seeing the going rates across all regions. Therefore players could more accurately decide where they want to buy and sell their wares, removing some of the draw of Jita and strengthening the regional trade hubs. I.e. why go to Jita when I see Dodixie one region over has the same stuff at comparable prices?

You can sort of see this effect by the fact that contracts are less concentrated in Jita than the markets tend to be. By allowing players to sell from anywhere and still be seen on the wider market, you allow them to choose to sell away from Jita to actual local markets at competitive prices.

While we are at the process of fixing the market window, lets add some more control over the display and filtering of items, categories, and orders. Let's add more information like the sec status of the system the order is in, and clean up the market history window to be easier to read at a glance.

Let's give all players in game the same power to use the markets as players who know about Eve Central have.

8 comments:

  1. I don't agree. I run a regional market. Part of my entire market game is to force my regions prices down towards Jita. To improve prices through my efforts. Its selfish but you'd take that away from me.

    It doesn't take long to realize prices are different region to region as you travel around. New players are teetered to their home systems for quite a bit where they tend to have access to lots of low priced items in their buying sphere.

    Turning Eve into one big global market seems like a boring, flat way to do things. I don't get the prices are two different grocery store chains when I go into one right now. While convenient I don't think its some stupid relic or dumb mechanic. I think it adds a lot of flavor and interest to regions and how people live and work inside of those regions.

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    1. With players able to see prices, they can see the local prices are competitive AND closer than Jita in many cases. This will increase local markets. Right now, everyone assumes Jita has best prices and go there.

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    2. I've never shopped at Jita. There is a convenience factor at work for at least some players to buy local, even if its more expensive.

      I think for myself (and hopefully not speaking for just myself) the goal is not to get the best deal but get a deal that is good enough. And often good enough is the best in region. If the best is region isn't good enough - well, *then* its time to go traveling.

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  2. One global market would probably reduce hub prices more to jita level? That would reduce profits of traders moving goods between hubs.

    How about server load because the market window has to load about 10-50 times as much data? As long as eve central or other third parties supply this regional overview CCP might not put something like this high on its priority list as well.

    So a checkbox or other option would be needed to show only region or constellation results (or allow us to set a range, like within 5 jumps), otherwise you might see hundreds of cheaper systems before seeing what the local price is.

    I admit that even if something is available locally I often fly to the nearest of Jita, Amarr, Hek, Rens, Dodixie because I assume those will be more competitively priced.

    Any serious traders out there that would like to give their opinion if a change like this were to happen?

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    1. "How about server load because the market window has to load about 10-50 times as much data? "

      Hogwash. The market query hits the same database table regardless of what region you are in. And the data could be easily virtualized to reduce the bandwidth. :)

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  3. Amen, I say. This would be a long overdue improvement to a (frankly) bizarre game mechanic.

    Regional markets only restrict the flow of price information from one part of New Eden to another. That imperfect information makes for inefficient markets and sometimes wild price fluctuations. Some players profit from gaming that volatility (guilty!), but generally it just leads to higher prices everywhere outside of The Forge.

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  4. I'm with Sugar Kyle on this one. Homogenization for the sake of homogenization isn't necessarily a good thing. Consumers will always cheer on whatever gives them the lowest prices. The difference between our world and New Eden is that in our world, most people are simply consumers. While in New Eden, a much larger percentage of the population are producers.

    Eve is a game. The more bumps and rough edges there are to exploit, the more interesting opportunities are created, and this opens up the door for wider participation. Opening up the regional market into a single market would likely have the effect you described and drop prices in all regions. However, it would also likely consolidate the number of players in the market. The small group of people who largely dominate each major regional market would all of a sudden have to reach our and operate in other regions as well or be pushed out of business. Those operating in regions without large, established markets wouldn't be able to face the competition. This effect would be especially pronounced if there were also the ability to modify orders in other regions.

    Someone from Stay Frosty has stocked the market in our shared home system of Hevrice. It's good for piracy as it attracts a lot of people in from high-sec. It's also good for us who live there. However, part of the reason people are so happy to buy from those listings is that they don't immediately realize that it's a 10-20% markup from Jita or Dodixie, either of which are just a handful of jumps away. That markup is necessary to make it worthwhile to the operators due to the hauling and relisting costs involved. With a drop in willing customers, it's less worthwhile to participate in a lesser-used market, especially when you have direct competition to a Jita-sized market.

    Trade hubs will exist regardless of information transparency. The only thing consolidating regional markets into a single market would do is also lead to a stronger consolidation in trade hubs.

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  5. Chanina4:46 am

    I agree with you in parts. It would be helpful to see the price development over several regions. But getting real time data from every market over eve would homogenize the market too much and destroy or highly limit the traveling trader profession.

    In almost all cases it would be enough to simply see the average item value that you get in your inventory. You open your regional market and all you see is the Cap Recharger II for 10m and you don't have a clue what is average. You need one in your inventory to get that value.
    Solution: Add the average price in the market view.

    If we ever get the ability to see remote markets I hope it is delayed by a few hours at least. It is enough information for an average price but the trader at local market still has his advantage.

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