Sunday, February 17, 2013

EVE Mentat

EVE Mentat is a very powerful trading tool that can boost ISK/effort when trading immensely. It's a little tough to get a hang of at first, as everything EVE-related always seems to be, but when used properly, it can massively cut down on the amount of time it takes to update orders and it can make life a lot easier for a station trader.

After starting EVE Mentat up for the first time, you're going to have to feed it your API information.  Go to File -> Manage Characters and add your character(s) to the tool.  I didn't see any point in adding any character besides my trading character.  Once your character(s) have been added, click the Update now button on the right side.  It might take a little while for the program to complete the process of updating everything it needs to from the Internet.

Now we need to configure the preferences to make everything a little easier.  Hit File -> Preferences (or Ctrl+O) to open up the preferences menu.  First, click the Orders import category under the Import tree and change your default import source for your character orders to File.  Your API is limited to a certain number of pulls per hour, while you can keep updating your orders from file as frequently as you'd like, which I'll go into detail with later.  Next, check the next two categories, Market orders import and Market favorites import to make sure that the path to your client is correct.

The next step is one of the most important, but also one of the easiest.  open the IGB menu at the top of the page and click Enable IGB support.  This is one of EVE Mentat's most useful features and it will make your life a hell of a lot easier.

Now that the configuration's all done, let's go over some of the information available on the main page. On the bottom left corner is the Balance and actives panel, which displays a bunch of useful information about your wallet.  The Total value is very useful, as it represents the sum of your wallet balance, your sell orders, and the ISK you have in escrow for your buy orders.  Most of the rest of the information here is pretty self explanatory.  Just above the panels you'll notice a few tabs that display some very helpful graphs.  Your Balance graph will give you a nice visual representation of the changes in your ISK balance (hopefully this graph will be nicely sloping upwards).  Next is the Trade graph, which will show you the total amounts of ISK incomes and outgoes you have.  The Trade skills graph usually won't be very useful to you, but it's a nice place to check out your skills if you need to figure out what other skills to train.

Now comes the fun part: using EVE Mentat to simplify your life.

First, EVE Mentat can be used to show you the profit margins on various items you might be interested in trading.  At the top, click the Market browser tab to open the market browser, and click the Cache import button to import your market cache into the browser.  Your market cache contains the market information of every item you've looked up in the in game market.  After you've imported your cache, you'll notice that the previously empty Navigator menu on the left now has some items in it.  Clicking on an item will reveal information about it in the market browser.  However, a lot of this information isn't too useful for a station trader, especially as it's region-wide rather than station specific.  Luckily, EVE Mentat gives us a way to fix that.

You'll notice that in the Navigator menu, you're given a bunch of information to filter data by location.  How this should be used to filter results differs between station trading and region trading, but for the purposes of simplicity I'll assume you're using a character that never undocks to trade in just one station.  Go ahead and filter your results by region, then by system, and finally by station to get just the results that are relevant to you.  This data is nice and all, but how does it help you?  On the bar right underneath the tabs at the top, you'll notice a button that says Deviation on the right side.  Click this and choose the Best buy/sell price option.  You'll notice the numbers under the Deviation column in the main browser window change.  Go ahead and sort that from lowest to highest in the sell window.  What you're looking for is the lowest number.

In the picture to the left, you'll notice that I've selected the data for the Tycoon skillbook being sold in Jita.  The lowest number in the Deviation column is 22.5%.  That means that there's a 22.5% profit margin on this skillbook; buying a Tycoon skillbook with a buy order and reselling it with a sell order at these prices would generate a 22.5% raw ISK profit.  Now keep in mind that these numbers do NOT include taxes.  The real margin is going to be lower depending on your skills.  Obviously, the higher the number, the better.  Keep in mind that this number isn't everything; a high margin is great, but it doesn't mean anything if you can never sell the item.  You'll still want to check out the market data for the item in game to check the volume moved per day and make sure it's not one of those items that moves once every month that you're tying up all your valuable ISK in.

Now that you've found the items you want to trade, you're going to have a lot of orders.  While you may not have a huge amount of orders starting out, it isn't unusual to see traders with hundreds of orders per character once they have more capital.  Going through orders one by one to update them stops being feasible after a point.  Luckily, EVE Mentat is here to come to the rescue.

Remember the IGB option we enabled earlier?  It's time to use it.  At the top, click on the IGB menu and click Copy IGB url to clipboard.  Now, open up EVE.  First, open up your wallet and hit the Export button at the bottom to export information about your orders to a file.  Next, open your in game browser (click on the big E in the very top left corner, go to Accessories and click on Browser.  Now, paste the URL we just copied into the browser.  You'll also want to bookmark this for later use.

From here, click the Market scanner: character orders link at the top.  This fun tool contains a list of every item you have an open order on.  Its purpose is to go through each item on the market, saving the latest data about the item to your cache.  The default scan delay is 3 seconds; I find that with my computer and connection, it's safe to set it to 2 seconds to save time.  You can change it as you like, but make sure that it provides enough time for the market window to load the orders available for an item before it moves on to the next one, or else you'll be missing out on data on your orders.  Start the scan and sit back and relax while it goes through the list pulling data for each item.

Once it's done, go back to EVE Mentat.  In the Market browser tab, click on the Cache import button again to import the latest market cache, which will now contain data about each one of the items you have an order up for.  Next, click on the Character orders tab and click on the File import button at the top.  Your window should now display each one of your orders, and next to each, it will display the status of the order.  Orders that say Fulfilled have been filled; if your orders have been fulfilled, you'll want to remake them in order to keep trading items you want to.  Orders that say Ok are currently the lowest sell/highest buy order on the market, meaning you won't need to interfere with the order just yet.  Orders that say Price overrode, which will likely be many of them, are orders that are currently not where you want them to be in the market.

If you click on the number under the Price column of one of these orders, you'll notice a fun window appear with information about your order, as well as the orders of your competitors.  Take a look at the information displayed to decide if you should change the order to be the best on the market.  Sometimes, someone might undercut you heavily with a single unit of an item, forcing you to change your price so they buy you out.  Other time, the item might have gone too low for you to make a profit on, and so you should hold off until the market recovers.  As fast as it would be, it is unwise to blindly copy numbers over to update all of your orders.  If you decide to change the order, EVE Mentat has got your back.

You'll notice a Copy new price button in this menu.  By clicking this button, EVE Mentat will put the new suggested price for the item in your clipboard, ready to paste in EVE.  The default is to go 0.01 ISK above/below the current best order, but this margin is adjustable in the preferences.  There is also a check box on the right that you can check to make EVE Mentat automatically copy the new price to your clipboard upon opening this menu, further reducing the amount of effort you have to put in to make boatloads of ISK.

Once the price is copied to your clipboard, all you have to do is open up your wallet window in eve, right click -> Modify Order on the relevant order, and paste the new price in and hit enter.  Using EVE Mentat to manage your orders will make your life a hell of a lot easier and it'll cost you a lot less time to go through all your orders and make sure they're the market best than it would take you to do it by hand, once you get the hang of it.

You can download EVE Mentat here.  Note: As of 2-17-13, the website says this is the latest version, but in fact it is not.  Once you start up EVE Mentat for the first time, you will be prompted to update to version 1.2.16, which you should do with the automatic updater tool.  

1 comment:

  1. Awesome guide! Followed you here from Reddit and loving the blog. Keep up the good work dude!