Sorry, I don’t have an Oceanus-themed post. Though I am about to log on and play with my cloaking device. Anyway, on to the official post.
One of Kaede Industries’ long-term goals is to foster the development of Algasienan IV – Moon 1 – Republic Security Services Assembly Plant as a market hub within the Placid region. The existing regional market hubs in Placid are in Stacmon and Orvolle. Algasienan is currently the primary market for Placid’s high-sec pocket, with a broad selection of T1 items, but lacking in T2 selection.
Regional Market Brief
According to the station rankings on EVE Market Data, Orvolle I – Federation Navy Assembly Plant is ranked 12th in New Eden, representing 479 billion isk across 4,302 sell orders. Stacmon V – Moon 9 – Federation Navy Assembly Plant ranks 18th, with 289 billion isk across 4,317 sell orders.
Algasienan IV – Moon 1 – Republic Security Services Assembly Plant is way down at rank 538th, with a bit over 13 billion isk and 637 sell orders. Towards the beginning of September, Algasienan IV-1 had about 20 billion isk posted in sell orders, so there’s been a recent drop. A year ago, though, that figure was about 7.5 billion isk. A year before that, 3.8 billion isk. So there’s definitely been growth. Data from here.
There are several low-sec systems in Placid which boast larger markets than Algasienan: Ostingele, Agoze and Vestouve all have greater isk amounts in sell orders. Vestouve has a limited selection, mostly larger ships and associated mods aimed at Syndicate buyers, I would imagine. Ostingele is the primary crossroads of Placid, with six gate connections, including one to Stacmon. Agoze connects to Ostingele, has a regional connection to Verge Vendor, and probably additionally benefits from being part of the low-sec route from “south” to “north” FW space (using the dotlan map of the region to designate north/south).
My History in the Local Market
But station rankings don’t really paint the whole picture of market conditions in Placid. Algasienan IV-1 currently has almost no significant T2 inventory. However, if you’re shopping for T1 items, it’s a pretty safe bet that you can find it for cheapest in the region in Algasienan. You might be able to find much larger stocks in Stacmon or Orvolle, but the better deal is in Algasienan. Algasienan had attracted multiple T1 market competitors even before industry changes in Crius. That trend has only continued as more people locally have gotten started in industry with T1 production.
I’ve been based in the region pretty much since the birth of this character back in March 2014. I was initially surprised at just how bloated the pricing was here for T1 items. It was great for a starting industrial character, because I could undercut the entire market and still price way over my production costs. I’m not opposed to higher local prices if the market has stabilized at that price range. But the T1 market in Placid had gotten a little ridiculous in my opinion.
I’m happy to say that situation has definitely improved, though, since that time. My presence in the market as a single character is currently relatively minuscule. My character only has about 625 million isk across a couple hundred sell orders posted, but they’re all at Algasienan IV-1, and they pretty broadly cover all types of T1 items. And I’ve been undercutting the market across the board for about three months. That in turn has attracted competition, which I find delightful. Because my goals in the Algasi market of course include making isk, but equally important is attracting more sellers to the station. The competition keeps prices low, which attracts buyers, which attracts more sellers in a lovely cycle.
Analysis of Local Markets
In going forward, as I scale up my operations and lay plans for operations which require leveraging the resources of a full corporation, I’ve been trying to put a little more critical thought into what makes a market hub. It’s all well and good to say you want to turn a station into a market hub, but without understanding why markets become hubs, you’re bound to make mistakes.
Probably the easiest answer to that question is hubs form where the people are. If a station has a lot of traffic, its more likely to develop a robust market. But the reasons a system has a lot of traffic will differ. Let’s take a quick look at Placid. Click the map to link out to dotlan.
If a system has a regional connection, it’s likely to have more traffic and a larger market presence at one of its stations than otherwise (in addition to being the first stop of inter-regional buyers). Orvolle, Stacmon, Agoze, and Vestouve all follow that rule. And Ostingele, though lacking a direct regional connection, is the largest crossroads in the region and is only two jumps from a Syndicate system and two jumps from two different Verge Vendor systems.
If a system has a high concentration of agents, it’s likely to have more traffic and a larger market presence. Orvolle has 15 agents, 2 of whom are at least L4. Stacmon has 16 agents, 3 of whom are at least L4. Ostingele has 24 agents, 10 of whom are at least L4. Outliers of this particular metric, Vestouve and Agoze only have 9 agents between them, only one of which is L4.
Other factors to consider are security status and location. Placid is mostly low-sec. Vestouve, Agoze, and Ostingele are all low-sec markets. The region’s two main hubs though, Orvolle and Stacmon are both high-sec, located on the “edges” of the region. There’s lots of traffic and there’s direct travel access from high-sec Empire space to safely stock your market. Your hardcore pirates can’t move goods in or out of the high-sec hubs (Orvolle/Stacmon) and are forced to shop in low, which bolsters the growth of those markets. Pirates have to be able sell their ill-gotten gains, yeah? Location plays a factor there too. It’s much more convenient to sell your loot near your hunting grounds instead of having to move it elsewhere. Also, a market in an active pvp system helps pvp’ers refit more quickly.
Evaluation of Algasienan
So how does Algasienan IV-1 compare using the previous metrics? Well, it has 10 mission agents, 2 of whom are L4. It has no regional connections. Algasienan is nestled in Placid’s high-sec pocket. That is, high-sec systems of the Josmaert, Unuor, and Pegeler constellations, numbering a total of 10 high-sec systems that form a pocket surrounded by the rest of Placid’s low-sec systems.
One disadvantage might seem to be that a lot of traffic through the region actually routes around the pocket. The Ostingele-Agoze-Vey-Frarie route lets you bypass the pocket with fewer jumps while staying in low. Additionally, the Ostingele-Pelile-Dour-Vivanier pipe leading to Algasienan is a prime pirate hunting ground. On the other hand, Algasienan is the gateway to the Unuor constellation, which is where you’ll find a high concentration of Placid’s miners. The pocket is also home to a lot of industrial corps. On the one hand, that’s low traffic plus higher competition. But I see the higher competition as a plus when talking about making Algasienan a hub.
So what are the benefits? Location, location, location. But wait, you’re thinking, he just said it had low traffic after spending a whole section saying how important that was. Well yes, lower traffic. But lower traffic and high-sec space equals greater safety for an industrial infrastructure to supply the Algasienan market. So why not build in the pocket and ship to an existing larger market? Well, there’s the volume of goods that would have to be transported through low, primarily, which adds risk and potential loss.
But also, Algasienan’s location is pretty good if you take a closer look. Its more centrally located than any of the other larger markets in the region. There’s no doubt it’s the go-to market for the high-sec pocket. And Algasienan is five jumps or less from 8 of Placid’s 11 constellations. I see that as a definite plus in a situation where you’re looking at the market and you’re weighing the benefits of a great price versus how far away it is.
The idea of developing an in-pocket hub is actually something I adopted from a previous corporation I was in. After it went kaput and the survivors formed a new corp, they eventually moved out of Placid, back to high-sec. But by that point I was already personally invested in the idea, with lots of sell orders already posted. I chose to stay and eventually decided to continue the initiative as a long-term project of Kaede Industries.
Algasienan isn’t going to eclipse Orvolle or Stacmon as a regional market hub. But I think it can be solidified as a viable and competitive alternative. If nothing else, it can be a powerful tool to keep pricing in Stacmon and Orvolle in check. Currently, I would imagine, Stacmon and Orvolle traders can price items relatively independently of each other. They’re far enough away from each other that distance blunts pricing competition. You’d be quite the gung ho bargain hunter if you were in Orvolle’s sphere of market influence but went all the way to Stacmon for a somewhat better price, or vice versa.
Algasienan is four jumps from Orvolle and five from Stacmon, pretty much midway between the two. Once Algasienan IV-1 has the inventory selection to match availability in the existing hubs, they’ll have to respect Algasienan prices. I wouldn’t redirect 9 jumps for a moderately better deal, but I would 4 or 5 jumps. Once Stacmon and Orvolle traders have to price against a third, more easily accessible alternative, I think the Placid market will be more robust and healthy, with better prices for the consumer. But, it will require further investment in the market over the long term from local industrialists. I would love to see other pocket-based corps get on board with the initiative.
Now, I’ve got to go update my market orders.