Last night CCP removed all NPC sellers of Pax Amarria from Eve's market, bringing to an end one of my longest kept money making secrets and restoring the mineral market to the 'nerf drone goo' panic we should have been seeing for a few weeks now.
Last year when the noctis launched I had two BPOs that I was feeding with minerals, and, while I'd stockpiled minerals I hadn't really put to much thought into the larger market dynamics, so when nocxium started rising I was unprepared, my stockpiles ran out and as I was accustomed to silly margins on my Nocti I found myself unhappy at paying 600 isk/unit for my nocxium.
I wrote myself a bit of perl that analyzed the static data dump to find things I could buy and reprocess for nocxium, I shared this data with a friend and we bought up piles of mining crystals, smartbombs, shield transfer arrays and other garbage before I found Pax Amarria in my list. I could buy piles of these from NPC sellers and immediately resell the minerals in jita for a small markup. The Breakeven price with my skills and standing was about 532, so any buy order above that was an opportunity.
The margins were slim but me any my friend were making billions at least until the price dropped below our magic number an I was reduced to only making a couple of hundred mill a day on the Dodixie market. Nocxium can't be mined in Gallente or Minmatar hi-sec so those markets always tend to have higer prices.
We looked at the market histories and by combining our numbers it was clear that we were the only people doing this in Winter 2010/2011. We looked for evidence that other people knew we even found this post that must have gone ignored in December 2010. Indeed people had been talking about it in 2005 and nothing had happened then.
I think the reason it was so underused was a combination of people thinking...
a) It's a book - why would a book reprocessable into minerals?
b) There aren't enough Pax Amarria on the market to supply jita - people not realising that NPC stocks were infinite.
c) Pax Amarria are only available in small stacks, so you have to click buy a thousand times to get any number. I literally found a stupidly rich trade baron who told me this. He should learn how the markets work.
Now the prices returned to unprofitable levels for a long time, but when the drone changes started to become more solid we started doing it again, but, it actually became real effort keeping up with the demand on the Jita Market. I a few more people in on the secret and whenever we saw market activity that wasn't ours we'd place sell orders in the relevant stations to find out who it was. We'd contact them with stories of 'The Nocxium Cartel' referring to it as 'The Latin Peace Deal' (Pax is latin for Peace) and encourage them to keep it a secret and back off on their sales to let the price rise (instead we'd sell more).
And then it finally went public, people still denied it was possible, no doubt the same people that had buy orders for 600+/u - of course, they can finally make a profit at todays prices..... but I can make a bigger profit.