Market trading clarification. I'm struggling here

Hi there,

I have recently found out that I enjoy be boring! (i.e. EVE marketplace trading).
Heh. Okay, jokes(?) aside.

I am new to the whole ‘Brokerage’ system used in EVE, and I have tried reading up so much information, and maybe it’s my thick skull, or maybe I just can’t quite find someone who clarifies things for me so that my autistic self can understand.

But I do have some questions if any marketplace/trading-savvy people could help me out here.

(very sorry if some of the questions seem silly, but I am trying hard to learn this and get as much clarification as possible. I do thank everyone for their time and attempts to help)

See, before playing EVE, my initial concept of the marketplace was something like WoW’s Auction house; being that you list a price, and someone directly fills that specific ‘Sell order’. And I kind of had that idea (initially) that EVE worked similarly. Whenever I sell an item, I imagined that people specifically chose MY item and bought it. I mean hell, I seem to get exactly the price I asked for. And likewise, whenever I want to buy, I click on a sell order, ‘buy this’, and I seem to pay exactly what the seller is asking.

BUT… this whole 'brokerage system is just confusing me to no-end, and even the UniWiki doesn’t clarify it (for me at least). And it all sounds like my initial concept of the marketplace is wrong entirely.

Question 1:

I see two columns. Buy orders and Sell orders.

Space Pepsi is wanted in the ‘Buy’ column for 1000 isk a can.

Space Pepsi is for sale the ‘Sell’ column for 1500 isk a can.

I see people listing buy orders in tutorial vids, and saying “we will buy it cheap (buy column) and sell it for a profit (sellers column).”
But WHO exactly is selling it to the ‘Buy’ column for 1000 isk when all the cheapest sale prices in the ‘Sell’ column are 1500 isk?
How are these buy orders being filled if everyone in the sell column wants to sell for much higher?

Which brings me to …

Question 2:

My understanding after reading was that:

For example, if ONE item is in the sell order column. For 1000 isk. And ONE buy order is in the buying column for 900 isk, then the seller (sell order column) unfortunately only gets to sell the item for 900 isk as it is the only item on offer and nobody else is buying.

(so, not earning that extra 100 isk they initially wanted).

IF this is the case, then does that mean that all the sell orders are not TRULY being filled at the price they are asking?

Because it really seems to me that I am selling things (sell order column) and getting exactly what I ask for in price. BUT, there are zero buy orders willing to pay the price I ask. So who is buying at my asking price if the buy orders are all wanting it much cheaper?

So once again, who is buying my Space Pepsi for my asking price? How am I asking to ‘Buy’ an item for cheaper than any offer present in the ‘Sell’ column, then being able to re-sell that same item in the sell column for my asking price if the cheapest buy order price buys it.

(I hope that made sense, but it seems like an infinite loop to me).

I buy 1 can of Space Pepsi for 1000. Someone is selling theirs for 1500. But unfortunately mine is the only order so they have to sell to me for 1000.
I then go to sell it at 1500 for a 500 profit. But, there is another buy order for 1000. So I make no profit.
…and the loop begins.

I am utterly confused here.

Question 3:

Just to elaborate on the earlier question, if ONE order is selling and ONE order is buying Space Pepsi; Selling is 10000 isk and Buy order is 10 isk. What happens?

Question 4:

If my ‘Buy order’ is wanting 10 Space Pepsi at 100 000 isk per unit.
And someone is selling 3 at 100 000 isk per unit. Can my order eat up theirs and leave me with an ‘adjusted’ buy order of 7 units wanted @ 100 000 isk per unit?

And to that effect, what if they were selling 3 @ 150 000 isk instead. Do they still only get 100 000 isk per unit since that’s all I’m willing to pay?

Question 5
Related to the above enquiry, but what if the seller was selling 12 items @ 100 000 isk. And I am buying 10 @ 100 000 isk. Does their sale completely fill my buy order and they’d now have 2 remaining on their sell order?

Question 6

Sorry if this is flogging a dead horse at this point. But see, my initial thoughts about the ‘Buy Order column’ was that people would list a cheaper price JUST IN CASE someone wanted to very quickly sell an item directly to a person because they couldn’t be stuffed waiting for a sell order to be filled/didn’t want to micro manage against competition.
Because the ‘Buy Order’ column is always a fair amount cheaper. It seems like “Yeah right buddy. Who is going to sell you that Kestrel at 50% the Sell Order’s asking price?”
Almost seemed like people in the ‘Buy Order’ column were taking the piss at this point.

I truly thank you for taking the time to help a fellow pilot out!

(I may have follow up questions depending on answers given [just to further clarify things for myself])

Buy orders buy from immediate sellers. When you sell something, you can create a sell order with a duration of 1 day to 3 months, those are the 1500+ ISK orders. Other people just want to get rid of their pepsi right away and sell it immediately to the buy order without creating a sell order (which also means they pay no broker fees). Those people sell to the 1000+ ISK orders and don’t show up in the sell order part.

If you buy something from the market, the above happens in reverse. You buy things immediately from available sell orders for the sell order prices without creating a buy order. You can, however, also create a buy order and try to buy things cheaper than the sell order price from people willing to sell cheaper or who do not want to wait for sell orders to complete.

2 orders are created. A sell order for 10k ISK, and a buy order for 10 ISK. Now people can buy your Pepsi for 10k ISK or sell Pepsi for 10 ISK. Your Pepsi sell order for 10k ISK will not sell to the buy order with the 10 ISK price.


No, they cannot immediately sell the Pepsi because there is no buy order asking 150k ISK for the Pepsi. They would (have to) create an actual sell order with a duration.

That depends on the seller. If the seller sells immediately, they will sell 10 Pepsi to your order, which is then fullfilled, and 2 remain in their hangar because no buy order is available to take them. If they sell with a set duration, they will sell 10 to you and create a sell order for the remaining 2.

1 Like

People are lazy in eve and don’t want to sit for 3 months selling everything becuase they feel that their time is better spent just farming and selling to buy order’s, as a trader you want to capitalize on these type of people and make it easier for them to off load their loot maybe make buy orders closer to them so they dont have to travel all the way to jita and so on.

There is many many many strategies in Marketing and there is as much to learn as pvp itself :] so enjoy the journey. Biggest tip would be to learn about all the ways to make money in eve and put your self in their shoes and try find ways to make it easier for these people.

Most important point: Sell orders and buy orders you see on screen do not interact. There must be players buying sell orders or selling to the price buy orders offer.

The mechanics is not too complicated:
You want to sell space pepsi:
There may be a buy order or not, you can freely chose the price you want to sell your cans. if this price is beyond the given order, the buyer pays your wanted price immediately (but only of the amount he set in the order). Practically the market suggests the price of the highest buy order, and many buyers just hit OK. You cannot sell to a lower buy order btw.
If you want a higer price, you automatically create a sell order (except your sell timer is set to “immediate”). That means you don’t get money, but your stuff is in stock and you hope for other players to buy your stuff. If nobody does, the pepsi reappears in your item hangar at that very station you set the sell order.
Fun fact: It is a very nice feeling when you wake up in the morning and your wallet shows several transactions worth millions over night :sunny:

You want to buy space pepsi:
If you need your item immediately, you have to pay the price of the lowest reachable sell order. which is suggested in trade window. You can pay more, but funny thing is that the lowest seller just gets a better price, i.e. you cannot pick from whom you buy the stuff but always the cheapest sells his stuff.
If you have enough time to wait, you can enter a lower bid, which creates a buy order, and a market escrow, so you have to pay in advance to ensure that order will work. Then you hope for players to sell you stuff for your suggested price. Be aware player orders have a maximum duration of 90 days.

Sell prices and buy prices are best thought of as seperate spaces.

Sell prices are what sellers are hoping to sell for.
These are bought by immediate buyers at that price if anyone is prepared to buy at that price.
Sell prices do not mean they will sell at that price.
Sell prices exist in a seperate space from buy prices.
Sell prices can be completely unrealistic and have nothing to do with actual value.

Example sell price: 4.9 billion for a rare SKIN. Potentially no one will buy at this price.

Buy prices are what buyers are hoping to buy for.
These are sold to by immediate sellers at that price if anyone is prepared to sell at that price.
Buy prices do not mean anyone will sell at that price.
Buy prices exist in a seperate space from sell prices.
Buy prices can be completely unrealistic and have nothing to do with actual value.

Example buy price for the same rare SKIN as above: 100k ISK

The examples might seem extreme, but this happens. Buyers are often chancing their luck and hoping for a fantastic scoop. Sellers are often pushing their luck and hoping for a huge windfall.

Let me give you an example of a typical trade I might do.

Buy an item from a seller using immediate, items costs 5m each.

I then have 2 options:

  1. Sell to a buy order at a Station that has a buy price I like using immediate sell.
    Let’s say someone is buying for 8m and to me that’s enough profit so I am happy with that.

  2. Make my own sell order at the same Station as above or at another Station.
    Lets say sellers are selling for 10 million. While I may have to wait for a buyer to come along at that price, I stand to make 2 million more per item than selling to the 8 million buy order. (It’s good to watch the market for a bit to check that people are actually paying 10 million or try selling one and see how that goes. You can always modify the price downwards until you hit a price that people are actually paying, so you could end up selling for 9 million, but still make more money than selling to the above buyer for 8).

Typically you end up in a situation where you are weighing up the brokers fee and wait time and the potential extra profit margin that goes with making a sell order vs the lack of brokers fee and lack of wait time but potentially lower profit margin that goes with selling immediately to a buy order.

I don’t know if any of that helps, hope so.


To answer your questions, I’m sure you are already got the general idea of it:

Question 1

  • Buy order Column: Here you find the orders of other players “want to buy” and there may also be some NPC orders
  • Sell order Column: Here you find the orders of other players “want to sell” and there may also be some NPC orders

Note: To differentiate between Player and NPC orders, a player’s order duration is limited to max 90 days whereas the NPC’s always has a duration around 1 year (365 days), also NPC orders cannot be fulfilled (they sell/buy everything you want to sell/buy to/from them).

Question 2:

Even if you buy (from a sell order) the seller does not get the exact amount you bought it for, this is because of Station/Structure Tax and Broker Fees. These fees are payed in advance when setting up the order. Same principles apply to setting up buy orders.

When selling your items, by default it will almost always try to sell to a buy order (if you haven’t changed your market-“settings”), when you get the prompt-window adjust the price and duration (anything other than “Immediately”) will create a sell order.

As with all other aspects of the game (excluding certain PvE content), 99.9% of the times, you are interacting with other players which you can tell by the duration of a given order.

Question 3:

Buy orders which is paying next to nothing for an item is just there to take advantage of those who don’t do a little research on market beforehand or just don’t care and just want to get their inventory clear.
If both the Buy and Sell order is from the same player, he would make a pretty profit out of it, approximately 1000% profit.

Note: Best place to check for an items value is either Jita or Amarr Trade hub(s).

Question 4:

Buy orders are only fulfilled by “Immediate” sales and will always be sold to the buy order with the highest paying price.

Question 5:

Yes, your order of 10 items would be filled and he would then have 2 left unless there are additional orders for his last 2 (he will still have to resell the last 2, I think?).

Question 6:

What you want to keep in mind when trading: Profit is the “alpha and omega”. This is why the price of Buy orders are always significantly lower than the Sell orders. The bigger the profit the better it is, wouldn’t you say? and don’t forget to take tax and fees into account when deciding whether to buy or sell.

Hope this helps you understand mechanics a little better

~ISD Sakimura


And don’t forget the golden rule: If something looks too good to be true, it hardly is - Market is considered PvP by many players.

Wow, fantastic help.
Thanks so much for the replies thus far. It has clarified a fair amount.

So If I am following correctly:

  • Buy and sell orders aren’t directly related.
  • “Buy Order” column is for quick sales (for various reasons)…[including laziness] if you are looking to sell, OR scooping up a nice bargain on an item/s if you are looking to buy
  • ‘Sell Order’ column is if you say "screw those cheap buy-column prices. I want MORE money …. BUT you have to wait to see if the order gets filled/micro manage things (like competition).

Now, 2 more questions. And one may seem like a digression, however it isn’t. I am simply trying to understand many facets of the marketplace. An place I intend to work within (in the world of EVE at least :stuck_out_tongue: )

1. In the ‘Sell Order’ column, is my current understanding correct:

Whoever has been lucky enough, or micro-managed their sell order enough to ensure they are at the top of the list in terms of cheapest price will ALWAYS be sold to first. Regardless of if someone selects to pay a higher price? (perhaps by neglect).

My understanding was that, and lets just say for arguments sake, there is some big computer controlling the whole process. And it doesn’t take individuals into account.
It simply waits until someone clicks to buy from the sell column and hits ‘accept’, then the computer allocates those funds to the lucky seller who was currently at the top of the list.

(and thus the reason for those pesky .01 isk drops in price…to ensure you are “first in line to receive”.

Is this understanding correct?

2. The Market Trading Scam.

Now please don’t get the wrong impression, I am simply looking to understand things further, and I have read a lot of posts/watched vids, and they all mention this scam.

My understanding is :

  • I buy a few obscure items. And I sell one for something crazy …2 bil isk.

  • I make a fake buy order for 5 bil isk for that same item. I have Market Trading trained up to V and thus only pay 24% in escrow. I then empty out my wallet. (maybe sending to a friend/alt)

  • Someone see’s the “bargain” of a potential 3 bil isk profit and buys my original 2 bil isk item…tries to then sell it to my buy order of 5 bil isk (unbeknownst to them it is all a set up).

  • The transaction doesn’t complete due to my lack of funds.

  • They just bought garbage for 2 bil isk.

  • I made 2 bil isk.

My question here is, (assuming my understanding of the scam is correct); what happens to the escrow on the scam buy-order? Is it lost? Or is it returned when the transaction fails to go through due to your lack of funds?

I imagine if it is lost, that’s why the Market Trading skill being @ level V is so important …to minimize losses.

Again, I am not trying to learn how to scam, just trying to get a better understanding of the possibilities the Marketplace offers.
It really is a new game, and one I never thought I’d be interested in…

Yes to this and everything you said above it.

Modifying a sell price downwards to be first in line is a big thing, but best used with caution, as of course you can kill the price if you overdo it and lose yourself potential profit. I’ve had items that are selling for 9 million, constantly, and been undercut by someone putting theirs on for 8.5 just to sell first. Realistically, they are just losing money they didn’t need to lose at that point.

If you respond by modifying yours to 8 and then they respond by modifying theirs to 7.5 in no time at all the price has tanked.

I’ve had people undercut me by several million, at which point I’ve bought their items myself and then immediately put them on sale at my higher price.

This is where the ‘market PvP’ thing comes in. It’s literally a price war between players.

Not sure about this part, others may be able to help you, I am far too honest to know anything about this kind of thing :angel:

In regards to Market Scam(s), this is how they are set up (there are 2 parts):

Part 1: an Item Exchange contract is made with 1-2 expensive items (usually Officer Mods) for a price of several billion isk.

Part 2: a Buy order is placed on same items in the contract, but due to the “Margin Trading” skill, the escrow payed to set it up can be greatly reduced to about 25%(?), so all the player has left to do is to only have enough ISK in his wallet to make this Buy order. and wait for his victim to fall for his scam.

The victim will then accept the Contract and get him an expensive item, which he think he then can sell for a quick profit. But due to the Escrow not being fully paid, the rest will have to be payed when he attempts to fulfill the buy order, but it will fail because the account does not have enough ISK to do so

I am guilty of this. And it honestly came from not understanding how the market worked.
I think it’s a very poor habit created through games like WoW where buyers buy from the SPECIFIC seller, and you try to make your ‘deal’ look visually attractive.

Good to know I have been wasting my time trying to make things more “optically pleasing” to potential buyers. I had always thought they specifically chose me to buy from. Thus, in my mind, my price-point mattered.

Side-note; do buy orders work on exactly the same premise? Wherein if someone specifically wants to buy from the Buy order column, the most expensive order will be filled automatically? And thus, people constantly bumping their buy-order UP by .01 isk?

Why does a contract need to be made? Why couldn’t you simply find a really obscure item nobody is selling, put one out for sale at an inflated price, then proceed with the fishy buy order?

I mean, I guess most people would wonder why the buy order creator didn’t just buy the cheaper price on the sell order list…but perhaps someone thinks;
“Oh wow, look at this idiot! He left an insanely stupid buy order open and completely missed this awesome sale!”

Yes. Selling immediately to a buy order always get you the best (highest) price available.

Don’t forget you are selling to the Buy Order column, not buying from.

If people with Buy Orders want to ensure they are the ones that people sell their items to, then indeed bumping up by 0.1 ISK is the Buy Order equivalent to bumping Sell Orders down by 0.1 ISK.

It doesn’t have to be a contract, but it is the most effective, as people would just pick the best price they could get from market. which again would negate the point of scams.

Ahh. yes yes. Thanks. Sorry, I meant selling to Buy Orders. I have honestly written ‘buy’ and ‘sell’ so much, and rehearsed it to myself mentally that I am now mixing things up. :rofl:

side note: I literally had to sit down with a bunch of playing cards and coins and role-play things to myself to “see it in action”. Silly, but it helped me better visualize what what being said. Lol.

Understood! And thanks for the clarification!

Haha don’t worry, I know the feeling, I just wrote completely the wrong reply to you a moment ago because I mixed up the two things. I edited the post quickly though so I think I got away with it. Don’t tell anyone :rofl:

Once again, to everyone who helped out; Thank you very much.
The time and effort taken is truly appreciated.

I had actually been stressing over my lack of understanding with this lately, and you all helped to clarify things perfectly. I do feel like I’ve opened up a whole new hobby whilst playing EVE now!

All the best, and fly/trade safe ~

1 Like

One thing to add to this:

You cannot pick which order you’re interacting with.

You always interact with the highest buy order, and the lowest sell order. (unless you’re creating your own orders)

So if there are 3 sell orders, 1 at 1 million, 1 at 5 million, and 1 at 10 million (lets say they’re all selling 3 things) you cannot pick to buy 3 things at 10 million, from the top order. You can buy 3 things at 10 million, but all that does is fulfil the sell order at 1 million, and give them more isk. The market is left with one order at 5 and one order at 10.

Buy orders work the same way.

Think of it this way:

You’re telling a broker to go to the market and get you X things, for Y price. The broker will always go to the lowest sell order, and hand over Y isk (assuming that Y is above the asking price). If there are none at Y or less, and you don’t tell them that it’s an order with a duration, the order will fail. If you tell them a duration, a new buy order will be created.

They can go to multiple orders, if you are offering more than the asking price, and a single order doesn’t have enough. So if there’s a sell order for 99 items at 4.99 isk, and an order for 100 items at 5isk, and you say I want 100 for 5 isk each, the 4.99 order will provide 99 of them (and the seller will get 5 isk each)

Bear in mind that if you have a duration set, you will be paying the broker fee, even if the order completes immediately.

Because a fake buy order at a higher price than sell order in same location would get filled immediately (you attempt to sell to yourself). As you need to suggest a profit to your victim, you must sell the item cheaper than the available buy order. That’s why the contract.

Also the escrow is not lost, but repaid if not used. So the only thing you lose in case of this not working is the broker fees for buy order and contract.

This is very confusing. I am not sure why / how anyone would do this.

Are you suggesting that someone would come along, ignore the better priced 1 million and 5 million items and delberately right click buy this on the 10 million items?

Is this even a thing?

Who does this? Why do they?

What’s wrong with them? :rofl:

Yes, sometimes I receive 200k for 8k offers :slight_smile:
Probably they have edgy filters or sorting, wrong understanding, or just don’t care.

1 Like