Thoughts on the Exchange
#1
TL;DR: I'm thinking it would be nice to have a place to discuss tips with regards to the Exchange. I have a few thoughts below, but I want to know if folks are interested or think it's a bad idea and, if folks' curiosities are piqued, figure out how best to sort it out (obviously more efficiently than the treatise below).



I obviously used the exchange as a way of offloading drops for a while, but, for most of my time in the game, I'd been plodding along with very little EC. A few thousand here, maybe another 10k there... occasionally, a very lucky drop, but it was only a few weeks ago I hit a million EC (already having been lvl 60). In the past week and a half, I shot up from 2m to nearly 30m (which is still kind of lower-middle-class as I understand it) just playing around on the Exchange.

I was familiar with the basics (like this great 101: http://www.reddit.com/r/sto/comments/2jt...to_market/), but I'm interested in other fleet members' thoughts on how to play the Exchange, given how it's just one really weird market. For the sake of not spilling all the beans, I put this in the Fleet forums, but I'd get it if people don't feel like sharing.

That said, I think the fleet should get rich. I've heard chatter of our Fearless Leader at Omega, Mal, being on TANF (Tithe to Admirals Needing Funds), or STO Welfare... and we just can't stand by and let things like this happen.

A few things we've noticed are:
  • I would start with what you know. If you're regularly using certain items (say, for R&D projects), and you notice the price varies a lot, start tracking it... you'll get to know where to buy and sell it at and can start making a profit without even really stepping outside of your usual routine.
  • That there are really severe  and regular daily fluctuations on some items. For example, in a day, Trellium-K R&D packs can cost between 100 and 150k (the highest low I've seen in a day is 120k and I've never had a 149k priced pack returned to me so far). They're really cheap, but the margin is fairly significant. I'm interested in taking some notes to see if there are patterns, but it looks really erratic and tied to events and such. One idea I have here is to have a Google spreadsheet shared among the fleet in which folks could input data and we could chart out prices. Maybe that's a little involved, though.
  • Also, it seems that, at times, ship reward packs flood into the market pretty cheap. I keep thinking to pick up a Kazon Heavy Raider, but I every time I nab one (or five) for 150-200k, the price jumps back up to 350 or 400 or so and I can't resist the profit and let go of all of them. Does this happen more when keys go on sale and folks start popping boxes open and trashing what they don't want?
  • The Exchange is terminally buggy. One example is that the "All" search doesn't properly sort (maybe it hits a limit of items before sorting) and you can make a little margin comparing the specific search of a category to the "All" search. Also, always sort by "Descending by Price per Unit"... it's the wrong language, but it's the right way if you're looking for value and there are plenty of folks on the Exchange who miss it, because the language is wrong.
  • Omega Upgrade crafting has been extended beyond the Anniversary, but the capacity to farm Omega traces isn't going to continue. This means that, maybe, if you hold onto your fragments and shards, they should drop in value as soon as the events over and then shoot up to really high values within a month (as people realize there's a scarce resource that can be used to make these fantastic upgrades).
  • DOffing! Buy fleet duty officers from fleet credits, that you obtained from getting more EC, and contribute to fleet holdings a second time.
  • Get your R&D up enough to craft Superior Upgrades, then sell them on the Exchange, because that never gets old, apparently. This was just linked elsewhere on the forums: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1...Mdl1I/edit and is a great resource for figuring out where profits lie in R&D.
  • Speaking of crafting, some consoles can go for a bit more than the materials it takes to craft them (a recent example being 75k Plasma tac consoles)... that said, they can take up a lot of inventory space and aren't a tremendous margin, so you may want to take consoles you craft to Epic in order to pull those double-digit millions numbers
  • If you have the money to invest... and the market isn't getting flooded with whatever item... you can make a pretty penny buying up low-priced outliers and relisting them at a profit.
  • Two items that never sit idle long are Contraband and Masterkeys... while the prices are fairly stable, they get bought up super-fast, so when you do notice a dip, take advantage of it! For Masterkeys, particularly, their price can drop really fast when Lockbox ships come out and at other times... it takes a while for the price to go back up, but they stack (only one inventory space taken up) and, if you're patient, you can get as much as a 15 or 20% return on a 2m EC investment in a week or two.
  • The Exchange returns searches by latest posted, so, unless you're in a real hurry to sell some stuff, there's not that big an incentive to undercut the going price for an item
  • Jack, I believe, posted this video of how to make tons of ECs in a very streamlined manner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwFNqAoM9-w I can't find the original post, so correct me if my attribution is off.

I'm aware that the specific examples above kind of "blow up the spot" and may make them less variable; however, they're both rather small-ticket items, so I'm not sweating it. Maybe examples could be more hypothetical - what do folks think?

I'm also more full of questions than answers, here... Like, there was just a Masterkey sale, but I didn't see the keys drop below 1.9... with a reliable sale price of 2.1, that's just not that big a cut. Is the Masterkey market done? Or is this just the new low and it's going to go up significantly higher with the next lockbox release?

Anyways, I'm fairly new to this, having just broken 20m a couple of days ago and I'm curious if:
a) Other folks are interested in this kind of discussion (I could curate tips in this first post above)
b) Anyone thinks this is a particularly bad idea (given that the ROI on published tips could drop)
c) A portion of profits earned by tips learned herein should go into TANF (I guess that would be the Fleet Bank)
d) Folks think could be a place to pool ideas, too... based on what's going on on Tribble, trying to figure out what will happen to prices when x-thing goes live.

I'm sure there's a ton of ways to come up in STO, but I could've used some advice along the way and still can, so... whaddaya think?

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#2
I think this is a rather good idea. From what I can tell in chat (as well as personal experience), most players are always looking for ways to make more EC. Personally, I've found that crafting superior tech upgrades is a decent way to earn some cash if you're at high enough levels in whichever school.
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#3
I would also appreciate a similar thread on the dilithium exchange as it fluctuates.


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#4
I'm a huge fan of the exchange.  Personally, I play it like the stock market.  In the beginning, I was so frustrated that I couldn't crack 2 million EC.  Then, I realized there is merit in several actions.  As was mentioned previously, crafting items either through direct DOFF mission or R&D can create a huge influx of income.  Also, playing the market with contraband.  I'm not ashamed to say that I undercut the lowest bids.  More often than not, the items that I sell are gone by the time I list the last item.  Buy more storage and remove the 10 million EC cap.  Then, buy what you want. (For me it was the Plasmonic Leech that I HAD to have!)                                                                                                                      

Once you have the EC flowing, you can follow a recommendation that TacPaddy gave me...Buy fleet duty officers from fleet credits, that you obtained from getting more EC, and contribute to fleet holdings a second time.  Capitalism is a wonderful thing!  Cheers!
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#5
Perhaps we should start a fleet group for Ferengi lobes.


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#6
Perhaps, that's the way to do it, a fleet group... because there are issues that need be more in depth or are more topical (for example, that Omega Upgrade crafting will extend beyond the event, so holding onto Fragments and waiting til a week or two after the end of the Anniversary event may be quite profitable).

Anyways, first off, thanks, Jim, Will, and Beardy, for responding.

I've started playing around in a spreadsheet tracking some values just to see what the capabilities are (without too much work). I think it'll probably be best to have a sheet for each commodity in which folks are interested (okay, not STO "commodity," but any salable item), Dilithium, definitely being up front among them.

Then, as Google spreadsheets takes full date/time, I have a column with the date/time, a column with just the time of day, and a column with the price. This way, we can have a running chart of prices over time for longer-term trends (so we can map out how events, sales, etc., affect prices) as well as a chart to identify any regular, short-term patterns (say, the wild swings of R&D packs). I'm thinking a line graph for the former and a scatter chart for the latter. Oh, yes, and everything in my play-spreadsheet is set to NY time, so we'd have to agree on a time zone so all our numbers agree.

As far Dil goes, I was just thinking of doing the cost of 1 Zen (in Dil)/time. Does that work?

Also, as far as the spreadsheet itself goes, I'm trying to sort out the best way to keep it kind of private, but allow fleet mates to view it and members of the Ferengi Lobe Fleet Group to add values to it. I think there's a programmatic way to password protect Google Drive stuff, but I have to make sure it works with publicly shared documents... Then, I'm thinking we have a rotating password that gets updated in a fleet group post and anyone who wants to work on the document can be invited to it. I do think this will work best if folks are regularly updating those commodities in which they're interested (and, maybe, dropping in numbers for other items while visiting the exchange).

In the meantime, I'll drop some more tips into the original post here.

And thanks again, this could be fun (and could help me fit my ship with worthwhile gear)!

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#7
Pukalish, how on earth did you suddenly get 30million ec within 2 weeks?!
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#8
Some of it was luck... a lot of it, really.
That said, I started noticing that there are sometimes items listed on the exchange for a fraction of their worth... I am starting to chart a few things, as a proof of concept (Trellium-K, Dentarium, Kazon Heavy Raiders, and Dilithium), but I think I picked up most of money money relisting things and I got very lucky once or twice. Now, I've taken more risks, learned more, but probably have only netted about another 10m since then and most of it's tied up in assets in the Exchange until this afternoon (when I hope a bunch of R&D stuff sells, since it tends to do that at certain times).

Another thing to look out for is high-priced commodities folks don't need much of... look for stacks... sometimes, the stacks are way lower per-unit than even smaller stacks, so you can make it more convenient for people to buy 10- or 30-stacks while making a nice markup.

Finally, as a negative lesson, I haven't earned that rapidly the past two days... in fact, barely at all... in part because the patch slowed down the exchange, but also because high-ticket items don't move very quickly (duh). So be careful about even really good margins on items that are priced over a certain amount, as they'll take up exchange space and keep your ECs illiquid while you wait for someone to nab it up (I've only got about 20m liquid right now for this very reason, despite being "worth" about twice that).

Hmnn... may add some of these to the list above. That said, the point was for me to learn some of *other folks'* tricks, lol... Seriously, though, let's keep it going with questions and with ideas! Thanks for piping up.

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#9
Puck,

This will be short, I'm on my phone. If you want to play the market with big ticket items, go for selling keys and contraband. They sell as fast as I list them. I need to read your post closely, and on a 5" screen, it's difficult. Regards...Will
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#10
I have gotten stuff of the exchange in the past at a 'deal' price and resold for profit. I myself have never really played the market. Now with that being said, I do think it would be cool to get tips on how to do it so if the bug ever hit me I would know how.
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