One of those strange rituals all EVE Online players go through at one time or another is the fire sale. Over the course of normal play, we buy, loot or otherwise acquire assets all over New Eden. After a time, our asset windows become a mess of long lost items and treasures hidden away in the cargoholds of ships we forgot we had. We all eventually reach breaking point and need to sell off our distributed stockpiles of odds and ends.

Maybe it will happen when you run out of ships to PvP in, or perhaps when your subscription is about to lapse and you need to buy a 30-day PLEX. With the recent five-day reactivation offer on many expired accounts, I imagine a lot of EVE players are currently scrambling through their assets in an attempt to raise enough ISK for a PLEX. Whatever the reason behind it, that dreaded day when you need to have a fire sale on your assets will inevitably arrive. A monumental logistical task now lies ahead of you, but it doesn't have to be the headache you'd expect it to be. Having been through countless cycles of accumulating bits and bobs and then selling them to buy PLEX, I've picked up a few tips to make the process as painless as possible.

In this week's EVE Evolved, I look at the tools and strategies you can employ to squeeze every last drop of ISK from your misplaced treasure troves, and how to complete the task with a minimum of effort.
Organisation and preparation

If you're anything like me, you let odds and ends pile up all until you have several pages of stations in your asset window. This poses a problem, as you need to work out the most efficient route between each station while also accounting for the necessary drop-off trips to a trade hub when full. I've tried a number of strategies to combat this over the years, and my honest advice is to not worry too much about it. I usually just head to a trade hub and add several of the nearest systems with assets to the autopilot from the assets window. Then I hit F10 to open the map, click the "optimise route" button and start hauling.

Over the years, I've discovered a few very valuable tools for finding the nuggets of gold in your pile of assorted rubbish. The most comprehensive option for asset management is EVE Asset Manager. This free application uses your full API key to download a list of all your assets from the EVE server. It can then be used to compile reports on how much your items are worth, organised by location or type. The reports can also include modules fitted to ships, the contents of a ship's cargo hold, the contents of corporate hangers and even items inside starbases. Popular application EVE HQ also has an asset management tool, but at the time of writing it couldn't access a list of my assets from the EVE API. It does, however, come with a map tool to help you make more efficient haul routes.

Strategies to maximise ISK

An important thing to recognise when selling off your unwanted assets is that there will always be a trade-off between the amount of ISK you bring in and the effort the sale requires. If you want to squeeze every last drop of ISK out of those assets, you may end up investing a lot of time and effort into logistics and trading. If you enjoy those parts of EVE, this could be a perfectly reasonable way to spend a weekend or two. My advice is to keep a handle on time invested, because at some point you would be better off taking a small hit to sale income and using the spare time to make enough ISK through conventional means to cover the difference.

The first step in any fire sale is to bring all your assets to the nearest trade hub or Jita. Although most people drag their items to Jita for sale, you can actually make more ISK selling in an alternative trade hub like Oursulaert or Rens if you're willing to spend time monitoring your market sell orders. Sell for just low enough to be the cheapest item on the market and watch those market orders like a hawk for other players undercutting you.

Strategies to minimise effort

The number one way to minimise the effort you spend consolidating your huge mess of items is to haul it on autopilot in the background while doing other things. This can be dangerous due to the potential to be suicide ganked during transit, but as with everything in EVE there are strategies to counter this. Estimate the value of your cargo and make sure never to carry more than 10-20 million ISK in a standard industrial ship, 50-100 million ISK in a Tech 2 blockade runner or transport ship, or 1 billion ISK in a freighter. A freighter is the ship of choice for AFK hauls, with its cargo capacity approaching a million cubic metres and its ability to carry around a billion ISK in cargo without being an attractive target for attack.

One of the nice things about EVE's huge playerbase all being in one universe is that there will always be someone else out there with a need for ISK and a lot of free time on his hands. To take advantage of this, you need to create an opportunity for him to take some of the workload off you for a profit. One way to do that is to set up market orders or contracts for your assets at 10-20% below Jita prices. Seeing a profit, people will sometimes buy the items with the intention of hauling them to a trade hub for resale.

Alternatively, you can set up public courier contracts to bring the items to Jita. Many pilots make supply runs to Jita and see these contracts as some free income. Set a collateral of at least the Jita sell order prices for the items so that you don't lose out on failed transport missions. With a reasonable pay of 5-10% of the haul's value, the contract should be snapped up within a few days. Once the items are in Jita, you have the option of dumping it all on buy orders for a quick sale for a slightly reduced profit.

Transporting ships

Sometimes you'll find yourself with the monumental task of moving a large number of ships for sale. While ships can be repackaged for transport inside a large industrial ship or freighter, this will destroy any rigs you have installed. Rigs can make a significant difference to the value of battleships as they use the more expensive large versions.

To make the most ISK from rigged battleships, consider flying them to a trade hub and putting them up on the contract pages for a bit more than the price of an unrigged ship. To save on transportation time, you can fit inertia stabilisers to help get into warp faster. A viable alternative, which is also particularly useful for transporting ships you can't fly, is to put ships into the ship maintenance bay of an Orca.

Summary

We all have a need to do a little spring cleaning in our assets window at some point, whether we've got our eyes on a new ship or we're in desperate need of a PLEX. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some asset-window spring cleaning to do.
Brendan "Nyphur" Drain is an early veteran of EVE Online and writer of the weekly EVE Evolved column here at Massively. The column covers anything and everything relating to EVE Online, from in-depth guides to speculative opinion pieces. If you have an idea for a column or guide, or you just want to message him, send an email to brendan@massively.com.

This article was originally published on Massively.