Among the patch notes for EVE Online‘s recent Citadel expansion release was a fairly innocuous increase in the fees for listing items on the in-game market from a minimum of 0.25% to 2%. While most people saw this change as fairly minor, one player by the name of “probag Bear” figured out how to use it to multiply his ISK by temporarily cornering the market for PLEX, one of EVE‘s most highly traded commodities. The player realised that if he set up buy orders for PLEX before the patch, he’d pay the old tax rate of 0.25% for setting them up while anyone buying after the patch would pay the higher 2% rate. This would give him a competitive edge and a higher profit margin than other players.
The second part of the scheme used an odd quirk of the Margin Trading skill mechanics to set up hundreds of buy orders worth thousands of times the ISK actually invested. The result is that probag Bear now has the ability to buy and sell over 17 trillion ISK worth of PLEX at higher profit margin than anyone else can obtain, giving him temporary control of the PLEX market and turning his 70 billion ISK investment into over 300 billion ISK profit. Some players have called this confusing scheme a borderline exploit, but CCP is not expected to interfere. Emergent behaviours like this are often considered part of EVE‘s sandbox gameplay, and players may yet build a low-tax trade hub citadel to nullify this market advantage.