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Feedback Request - Margin trading and accurate market UI

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C C P Alliance
#1 - 2013-11-21 17:02:34 UTC  |  Edited by: CCP Rise
This is a problem that my team has been hoping to fix for quite some time now. We were prepared to make changes for the Rubicon release but after a lengthy discussion with the CSM we didn't feel satisfied with current solutions and so now we want to open up the discussion to you guys for help.

In case you aren't sure what I'm talking about:

The Margin Trading Scam exploits the mechanic where a character with the Margin Trading skill can place buy orders and only place a portion of the ISK in escrow. If they then transfer all of their ISK away, the order will fail when someone tries to sell to it, essentially allowing them to make a fake buy order. Usually this means players make purchases that are grossly overpriced with the expectation that they can sell them to the margin trading-based buy order and make money, but instead are left with a pile of items that they will have to take a loss on.

I want to make another thing clear about this issue which came up when talking with the CSM:

This isn't about scamming or whether or not it's okay for people to trick other people, which is obviously extremely EVE and we have no problem with. The issue here is that the client (via the market interface) is essentially lying to the player by showing an order which can't actually be filled.

The solution we proposed to the CSM initially was based around the idea that if you didn't have enough money in your wallet to back an order, that order would be cancelled. This would still allow traders to benefit from being able to have multiple orders for which they couldn't cover the total. For example, I could have one buy order for a thorax at 5 mil, and another order for a rupture at 5 mil with only 7 mil in my wallet. If my wallet went below 5mil, it would cancel both orders.

There are several problems with this solution, the biggest of which is that it puts unwanted pressure on legitimate up-and-coming market traders who need to be able to leverage the ISK they have. There is also some advanced market gameplay around putting up very large buy orders which you can't technically cover, but which also will never realistically get filled. If you guys have feelings either way about this solution please share.

A second possibility, which emerged from the discussion with the CSM, was built around marking orders in the market interface based on whether or not they were placed using margin trading. This would mean that when you place a buy order you would have to decide whether that would be a 'guaranteed' order or not, and then it would be marked (colored or check boxed or something) in the market interface so that people would know whether there was risk involved in trying to fill the order. This has several problems also, including: making legitimate market activity seem shady, making the interface more confusing, adding clicks for people placing orders and also costing new players money by steering them away from cheaper orders because of fear of scams.

It's a complex problem and we want to handle it carefully but we would appreciate any ideas or insights you guys can provide to help us.

Thanks!

@ccp_rise

Pandemic Legion
#2 - 2013-11-21 17:11:23 UTC
I'm all for the removal of the margin trading scam; I think something that appears to work in the market UI (selling a valuable item in the case of the scam) should work. Scams should in my opinion require some human error (ex selling 2 plex for 1 or w/e), not just not understanding how the orders work.
#3 - 2013-11-21 17:14:11 UTC
So when the order is canceled will tax/fees be refunded? Because that is one of the benefits of leaving the order up even if you don't have the isk to fill it, especially on larger orders. For new traders this would mean cutting into their already tiny profit if they don't get a chance to buy and then sell items to cover the fees.
#4 - 2013-11-21 17:15:27 UTC
Allow short sales and leveraged trades funded by some $$$ taken out of the player's RL debit account and held in escrow
Goonswarm Federation
#5 - 2013-11-21 17:16:47 UTC
Destoya wrote:
I'm all for the removal of the margin trading scam; I think something that appears to work in the market UI (selling a valuable item in the case of the scam) should work. Scams should in my opinion require some human error (ex selling 2 plex for 1 or w/e), not just not understanding how the orders work.


Gonna get out in front here and say that this is my viewpoint exactly. Scams are cool, scams that work because the game is lying to you or because the interface is bad/unclear rather than because you talked someone out of their stuff, less so. But wrecking the many legitimate uses of the skill is also not cool, so let's hear your ideas.

Member of the Goonswarm Economic Warfare Cabal

Goonswarm Federation
#6 - 2013-11-21 17:16:49 UTC
I'm not sure if I like the colored orders, but one thing I do like is the ability to actually force more escrow in than required because once you've trained margin trading it can be irritating when you've forgotten it and don't realize how much of the money in your wallet is earmarked for buys.

Head of the Goonswarm Economic Warfare Cabal Pubbie Management and Exploitation Division.

The Tuskers Co.
#7 - 2013-11-21 17:17:38 UTC  |  Edited by: Morwennon
Wouldn't it be better to have a more sensible escrow system such that a buy order is always backed by at least x% of its face value? IIRC, the way it works now is that if you post a buy order with Margin Trading V, the game takes 24% of the order's value from your wallet and dumps it into escrow. However, when someone sells to that buy order, they get paid from the escrow rather than from your wallet until the escrow is drained. This is what allows scamming players to create orders with zero backing - they place the order and then immediately sell some of their own goods into it at a price that will consume all of the escrow money. With the escrow thus removed, they empty the wallet of the buying character leaving a buy order that is backed by no escrow and an empty wallet and therefore cannot ever be filled.

You could change it so that any time someone tried to sell to the order, 24% of the payout would come from the escrow and 76% from the buying character's wallet. That would at least ensure that all orders were backed by the expected percentage and put a cap on the maximum profit achievable from a single fake MT buy order.
#8 - 2013-11-21 17:21:20 UTC
What about a penalty paid by the margin trader for a failed order? To start with, the 24% or more that the put down could be paid to the attempted seller; so the seller gets 24% and keeps their item(s). You could ratchet it up and have the penalty that could bring the trader's wallet negative, though obviously, you couldn't give any of the negative wallet penalty to the seller, it would need to just be an isk sink.
#9 - 2013-11-21 17:22:59 UTC  |  Edited by: Swiftstrike1
Give every character a market rating like on eBay. Expressed as a percentage, it would go down every time one of their orders failed to complete for whatever reason. Players could then make the choice as to whether or not they want to accept a buy/sell order based on the issuer's rating.

You could even include an option in the market to "hide all orders where the issuer's market rating is below x%"

Casual Incursion runner & Faction Warfare grunt, ex-Wormholer, ex-Nullbear.

Goonswarm Federation
#10 - 2013-11-21 17:23:50 UTC
Personally, I think that marking all buy orders made via margin trading is a bad call. All sorts of interesting deceptions can be performed by using this skill, and blatantly calling out which orders are margin traded can deflate some of this.

Some alternatives off the top of my head, not encumbered by any sort of tethering to the reality of the architecture in place:

* Disallow a minimum quantity of more than one (1) when setting up a buy order for more ISK than you can cover. The vast, vast majority of margin trading scams rely on a minimum quantity greater than one. If your goal is to eliminate margin trading scams, this would cover nearly all the bases without adversely harming the legitimate uses of margin trading.

* Only when selling to the top buy order, put in a confirmation prompt if the order is made via margin trading. This would allow margin trading orders to be detected by the process of "probing," but wouldn't reveal the dispensation of the entire buy order stack. This is not ideal, but it is a compromise between revealing everyone's orders and no one's. To reduce complexity, only check this for the "top" buy order in the stack; if I dump 10,000 units and that consumes three separate buy orders, one of which is an unfunded margin lower down, that's my fault and I should be more careful.

This post was crafted by the wormhole expert of the Goonswarm Economic Warfare Cabal, the foremost authority on Eve: Online economics and gameplay.

Gallente Federation
#11 - 2013-11-21 17:24:12 UTC
What about a combination of these solutions: if the character that placed the order can no longer cover it, the order appears greyed out with a mouse over text that explains the problem. Other players selling can then make an informed decision.
#12 - 2013-11-21 17:27:53 UTC  |  Edited by: Thomas Hurt
Automatically cancel any orders where the 'Minimum Buy Volume' * 'Price per unit' is greater than the amount in your wallet
#13 - 2013-11-21 17:29:55 UTC
2nd idea: if a market transaction fails due to margin trading shenanigans, the guilty party cannot place new orders at that station until they have paid a fine to the corporation that owns the station.

Casual Incursion runner & Faction Warfare grunt, ex-Wormholer, ex-Nullbear.

#14 - 2013-11-21 17:43:52 UTC  |  Edited by: Vincent Athena
Despite the issues I like this solution:

"The solution we proposed to the CSM initially was based around the idea that if you didn't have enough money in your wallet to back an order, that order would be cancelled. "

If fact, there should be sufficient ISK kept in escrow to fully cover the most expensive buy order the trader has up. As orders get filled additional ISK is moved into escrow to keep this amount. If the wallet runs out, orders get canceled (most expensive first) until the amount in escrow is again sufficient to cover the most expensive remaining order.

Doing it that way means the game only need test the escrow amount against the orders, moving ISK and canceling orders as needed, upon an order change or fill.

Another possibility is not canceling the order, but temporarily suspending it. The order would be reactivated automatically if and when funds become available. This could even be done partially by reducing the number of units, but increasing it again if funds become available.

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Frozen fanfiction

Goonswarm Federation
#15 - 2013-11-21 17:45:30 UTC
Ever since I saw that "Market Fine" was an option in your wallet log dropdown, I wondered why it was never implemented for this reason.

You can create a disincentive *and* an isk sink. If people just keep using new chars to get around negative wallet issues in doing this, then you just increased the margin needed to make a scam worth it, making a isk sink and an SP sink that hits the scammers only. People get scammed still because, let's face it, EVE is harsh at times.

Might want to push up the skill needs on the Margin Trade skill while you're at it. SP sink also would be a huge disincentive to scammers.
#16 - 2013-11-21 17:46:23 UTC
SOL Ranger wrote:
As I see It this can be solved by making any escrow to be dependently shared among buy orders.

Escrow rules:

  • A buy order can never be set unless the resulting total amount in escrow covers its value fully.
  • When total escrow is going below the value of a buy order your account(wallet) is charged to cover it.
  • Failing to cover the attempted charge any buy order which is not covered by total escrow will be immediately removed the very moment this is true.


One important result from this is, the highest buy order will always be the limiting factor, thus you will only engage in business on a level you can actually afford to do business in.

...


https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&m=3585797#post3585797

The Vargur requires launcher hardpoints, following tempest tradition.

Goonswarm Federation
#17 - 2013-11-21 17:48:15 UTC
A player (Buyer) creates a buy order and with margin trading and puts 24% of the total buy order in escrow.

The other 74% isk does not come out of player's (Buyer) wallet, but the amount is marked against player's (Buyer) wallet.

Another player (Seller) sells said item against buy order and the player (Buyer) who created the order does not have the isk to fullfill it;

the player's (Buyer) wallet is deducted the isk amount which then becomes a negative amount.

the Player (Seller) receives isk for the item he sells at the buy order price.

I do not agree that a player can use the UI to scam someone. This mechanic needs to be fixed. So if you start to penalize the person who is trying to take advantage of this then it will stop.

The players who actually use this feature the proper way & for the reason it was implemented will not be affected.

R.I.P. Vile Rat

Goonswarm Federation
#18 - 2013-11-21 17:50:19 UTC  |  Edited by: mynnna
Swiftstrike1 wrote:
2nd idea: if a market transaction fails due to margin trading shenanigans, the guilty party cannot place new orders at that station until they have paid a fine to the corporation that owns the station.


Grandma Squirel wrote:
What about a penalty paid by the margin trader for a failed order? To start with, the 24% or more that the put down could be paid to the attempted seller; so the seller gets 24% and keeps their item(s). You could ratchet it up and have the penalty that could bring the trader's wallet negative, though obviously, you couldn't give any of the negative wallet penalty to the seller, it would need to just be an isk sink.


Both ideas ultimately can hit a legitimate user as well, and while in real world terms the legitimate uses are really sort of odd, they are what they are.

Thomas Hurt wrote:
Automatically cancel any orders where the 'Minimum Buy Volume' * 'Price per unit' is greater than the amount in your wallet

This isn't bad, I think.

Kyt Thrace wrote:


The players who actually use this feature the proper way & for the reason it was implemented will not be affected.

Qualifiably false. I'd have been penalized repeatedly in my early trading days, and I know many others who used similar techniques.

Member of the Goonswarm Economic Warfare Cabal

Caldari State
#19 - 2013-11-21 17:52:33 UTC  |  Edited by: Maevra
CCP Rise wrote:

The solution we proposed to the CSM initially was based around the idea that if you didn't have enough money in your wallet to back an order, that order would be cancelled. This would still allow traders to benefit from being able to have multiple orders for which they couldn't cover the total. For example, I could have one buy order for a thorax at 5 mil, and another order for a rupture at 5 mil with only 7 mil in my wallet. If my wallet went below 5mil, it would cancel both orders.


How about instead of cancelling the orders if the wallet dipped below the 'fulfillment' total it should reduce the quantity that the market sees as available, only cancelling the order if cash on hand is less than the minimum cost to purchase the minimum quantity of that order? The orders would be updated whenever a transaction occurred (similar to your proposed solution), and it would let marketeers float orders while waiting for revenue, and not immediately cancel everything if their wallet momentarily spiked low.

Situation 1:
Marketeer has 10 million ISK on hand, places a buy order for 5 of item A at 2 mil ISK per, and 10 item B at 1 mil ISK per.
Initial buy order Status: 5 of item A, 10 of item B
Someone sells 3 item B, wallet at 7 mil ISK
New State of Buy Orders: 3 of item A, (of max 5) 7 of item B (of max 7)
Someone else buys 6 more item B, wallet at 1 mil ISK
New State of Buy orders: item A order cancelled due to insufficient funds, 1 of item B.(of max 1)

Situation 2:
Marketeer has 10 million cash on hand, places a buy order for 10 of item A at 2 mil ISK per, and a sell order of 10 of item B at 1 mil ISK per
Initial buy order status: 5 of item A (of max 10)
someone sells 4 of Item A, wallet at 2
New state of buy orders: 1 of item A(of max 6)
someone purchases 5 item B, wallet at 7 mil ISK
New state of buy orders: 3 of item A(of max 5)

Situation 3:
Marketeer has 15 million ISK on hand, places a buy order for 30 of item A at 2 mil ISK per, with a minimum quantity of 5
Initial buy order status: 5 of item A at (of max 30)
Someone sells 5 of item A, wallet at 5 mil
New state of buy order: buy order cancelled, insufficient isk for minimum quantity
The Tuskers Co.
#20 - 2013-11-21 17:53:03 UTC
Kyt Thrace wrote:
A player (Buyer) creates a buy order and with margin trading and puts 24% of the total buy order in escrow.

The other 74% isk does not come out of player's (Buyer) wallet, but the amount is marked against player's (Buyer) wallet.

Another player (Seller) sells said item against buy order and the player (Buyer) who created the order does not have the isk to fullfill it;

the player's (Buyer) wallet is deducted the isk amount which then becomes a negative amount.

the Player (Seller) receives isk for the item he sells at the buy order price.

I do not agree that a player can use the UI to scam someone. This mechanic needs to be fixed. So if you start to penalize the person who is trying to take advantage of this then it will stop.

The players who actually use this feature the proper way & for the reason it was implemented will not be affected.

This doesn't penalize the seller, this allows anyone who can afford an alt account to generate infinite free ISK for themselves by creating buy orders for some trash item (trit at 1b per unit, say) on a throwaway alt in an out of the way station, emptying the alt's wallet, filling the order with their main, and then just letting the alt account with the immensely negative wallet expire.
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