What are contracts and how do they work?
The Contracts System is a player-driven mechanism for characters and corporations to formalize work agreements with each other, providing an intuitive way to engage in directed commerce transactions currently supported by the market. Auctions, Item Exchange and Courier will be the first contract types introduced to EVE. Contracts will be an invaluable tool for corporation management, allowing tasks and missions to be created that are available at all times.
Skills & Roles
Everyone (except users on trial accounts) is able to have one Outstanding contract. An outstanding contract is a contract that has not been accepted by anyone. For example a courier mission which no one has taken on yet or an auction that has not completed bidding.
You can then acquire the skill Contracting in order to increase the number of outstanding contracts that you can have. Each level of the skill increases that number by 4, so at level 5 you can have up to 21 concurrent outstanding contracts which is the absolute maximum number for characters. Keep in mind that there is no limit on the number of finished contracts or contracts that are in progress (such as an accepted courier mission).
Contracts are an extremely useful tool for corporation management. In order to create contracts on behalf of your corporation you will require the Contract Manager role in your corporation. If you have this role you can also accept contracts on behalf of your corporation. That ability is a great way for corporations to formalize agreements. A contract manager of one corp issues a contract on behalf of his corp, and the contract manager of the other corp accepts it on behalf of his corp. Now other contract managers of either corp can manipulate the contract (such as complete it or declare it a failure).
You can have ten outstanding contracts on behalf of your corporation without requiring a skill. To increase the number of concurrent outstanding corporation contracts you will need the Corporation Contracting skill which increases the number of outstanding contracts created by you on behalf of your corporation by 10 per skill point. At level 5 you are able to maintain 60 outstanding contract on behalf of your corporation.
Creating a contract is easy, but not very cheap. You will need at least 100 thousand ISK as a refundable deposit to create public contracts. Unless you have the Contracting skill you will only be able to maintain one outstanding contract at a time. Once that contract has been completed you can create a new one. If you acquire the Contracting skill, however, that limit is increased significantly. You do not have to be docked in a station to create a contract, but any items that you enter into the contract have to be located in your hangar at any station.
Step 1 - Select Contract type
Start by clicking on the "Contracts" button on your neocom toolbar. You are now presented with the main contract interface. Click on the "Create Contract" button at the top of the window to enter the wizard.
You are now on the first page of the 4-step "Create Contract" wizard. Here you can select the type of contract that you want to create as well as specify who should be able to view and accept the contract. If you have the role "Contract Manager" in your corporation you will see an additional checkbox for "on behalf of corporation". Checking it, means you create it on behalf of your corporation, using its assets while paying for it out of the corporate wallet.
In "Availability" there are essentially two choices:
- The contract is visible to everyone in the same region as the items you enter into your contract. Note that you do not have to be in the same region to create the contract. You will be able to select items from any of your hangars in the EVE universe.
- You can elect to have the contract visible to everyone in your corporation or alliance, as well as to any specific character or corporation. Note that you are not able to create a contract that is visible to your corporation if you are in an NPC corporation. Private contracts do not have any region restrictions and can therefore be accepted anywhere in the EVE universe.
Another advantage of having your contracts private are that the taxes placed on the contracts are just a fraction of the money you have to spend to set up public contracts. However, your clientele will be a lot narrower.
For more information concerning the different contract types available see the chapter below.
In this example, let's assume we're creating a public auction.
Step 2 - Pick items
Here you can select the station that the contract should be created in. This is the station where the items you enter into your contract can be found. Every contract type has the same step 2.
In most case you are required to pick items to enter into your contract. In the case of the Item Exchange contract type you do not necessarily have to pick items here, but you will have to pick a station that has some of your items in it, which is the station where the contract acceptor will have to place the items which he will exchange with you.
Once you select a station (and division, if this is a corporation contract) the item list will populate. If you are currently located in a station the list will be automatically populated with your current station, otherwise start by selecting a station.
If you right click on any stack in your item list you will be able to choose "Split stack" in order to get fewer items to enter into your contract.
You will see the number of items and their volume below the item list. You can include at most 200 items in a contract, but the items that you pick can also contain other items up to a maximum of 2000.
The total volume indicator is very convenient when making courier contracts. Keep in mind that if you are contracting Plastic Wrap containers the volume will not be shown until you click next.
When creating public contracts, it can be a good idea to enter only a single item type into any one contract because the title of the contract in the contract list visible to other players will contain the name of the item type if there is only a single item, but the string "[Multiple Items]" if you have two or more items. Your exposure will be greatly increased if you have just a single item type.
You should be careful when you select a ship that is not repackaged as you will lose the insurance on the ship when you create the contract and the items located in the ship will get put into the contract along with the ship. You will get a warning when putting such items into a contract.
Note that contracts issued on behalf of corporations do not void the ship insurance so you can contract your corporation-insured ships to corp members without risking insurance loss. Also, ships in courier contracts do not void insurance.
Once you've selected an item to auction click Next.
Step 3 - Options
This is the last step in which you enter information. This step is a bit different for each contract type and in the case of the Auction you have to enter a starting bid and an auction time (default 1 day). The other fields are optional although it's always a good idea to put a buyout price on an auction. Before creating an auction you should do a little research to find out the actual worth of an item since the BasePrice? (which you can use) is not always the true price of an item. Putting a ludicrous price on an item is a great way to find yourself on other character's contract ignore list. The "Auction Time" is a factor on the amount of money you will have to pay for this contract; the longer time you set the more expensive the contract will be.
Step 4 - Confirm
You should always review the information on the Confirm step carefully before clicking Finish. For public auctions you will see three lines with Sales Tax, Broker's Fee and Deposit. The Broker's Fee and Deposit is deducted from your account immediately upon clicking Finish. Sales Tax is deducted from you if the auction is successful at which point the Deposit is returned to you. If the auction is not successful and no one buys your item you will not get the deposit back. See the chapters below for detailed descriptions of these.
Once you click "Finish" the contract is created for you and it should pop up for you to view.
You should now be able to see your contract in the "My Contracts" pane in the Contracts window. Just make sure you set your filters to "Issued By", [Your Character Name], "Outstanding", "Auction" before clicking "Get Contracts". If the contract was created in the region which you are currently in you will also be able to view the contract in "Available Contracts", but even if it's not you will always be able to see your created contracts in "My Contracts".
You will be able to track the bidding by periodically checking in on the contract by double-clicking on it in your "My Contracts" list.
Once the auction has finished, whether it was successful or not, the contract will show up in your Journal under "Contracts -> Requires Attention". If the auction is successful you will have to go into the contract and click "Get Money" to finish the auction (or right click on the journal entry and select from the drop-down), and if no one bid on your contract you will have to go into your contract and click "Delete" to retrieve your items.
Viewing and accepting Contracts
The main contract interface is under the "Available Contracts" tab. From here you can set filters determining what kind of contracts you want to fetch. Since the available contracts list is extremely long it's always a good idea to set as specific filters as possible to avoid having to leaf through thousands of contracts. 100 contracts are shown on each page and you can use the page browse buttons to go through them.
The page ordering is determined by the drop-down box at the top-right of the result set. Keep in mind that clicking on the column headers of the result list will only sort the current page. If you want to sort the entire result set (spanning multiple pages) you should use the "sort pages by" drop-down.
You have two choices of searching: "Buy & Sell" and "Courier".
"Buy & Sell" allows you to view Item Exchange and Auction contracts together. You can then use the "Contract Type" filter to further refine the contract type that you are searching for.
The Price, Reward and Collateral filters allow you to only include contracts that are in a certain price-range. Keep in mind that the fields accept input in millions so putting 10 into "Max Price" will exclude any contract that costs more than 10 million ISK.
The Item Type input field allows you to search for specific types of items. A typical search term might be "Raven" which will search for Raven, Raven Blueprint, Raven Navy Issue, etc.
If you are interested in only one type check "Exact Type Match" and the search term from before will then only return Raven ships.
There are a few convenient short-cuts that you can use in the Item Type input field. For example, you can specify the Group or the Category of the item that you're searching for and therefore bypass the "Item Category" drop-down. You can do this with the following syntax:
- blueprint: raven
You can also specify the metagroup of the item after the pipe (|) symbol. This can be:
- Tech I
- Tech II
Therefore you can enter a search term like:
You can also include * in your search query for wildcard searches. An example of this is the following query:
This will search for items starting with "pit" and having the substring "shield" somewhere in it. It will return entries like "Pith C-Type Shield Boost Amplifier" and "Pithum A-Type Medium shield Transporter" etc.
You can combine all these search criteria to make some very sophisticated and targeted searches.
There are five basic types of contracts. Some of these are available to everyone but others can only be used in private contracts.
When you create a contract you can set the amount of time that should pass before it expires. The available times are different for each contract type, but the cost of setting up the contract increases as the expiry time does.
This type of contract allows you to enter an item (or multiple items) up for an auction, setting a minimum price and an optional buyout price. You can select a duration for the auction of 1 day, 3 days or 1 week. Other people are not able to see exactly how much time is left on your auction, seeing only X number of days, X number of hours or "less than an hour".
When you create an auction it's important to set realistic goals. If you're selling a Raven battleship and set a minimum bid of 200M ISK not only won't you sell your ship, but you'll incur a huge cost since the deposit is not returned. In addition to all that this might cause problems with future contracts as others will not take you seriously.
You can also set a buyout price, which is the amount that a person can pay to receive the items(s) on auction immediately, effectively ending said auction.
There is a minimum bid increment of 10% of the starting bid price. For example, if you set the starting bid at 1M ISK, and have a current highest bid of 1.6M ISK, the next bid will have to be 1.7M ISK (or the buyout price). Additionally, 15 minute shotgun rules apply so if a bid comes in when less than 15 minutes are left on the auction the expiration will be increased by 15 minutes from the time the bid came in.
Once an auction has expired, whether it received any bids or not, it will appear in your journal->Contracts under "Requires your attention". If you issued the auction contract you can now either delete the contract and retrieve your items if there were no bids or you can get the money you earned from the auction if it received bids. In the latter case you will get your deposit back and the contract will be entered into your permanent contract history. Unsuccessful auctions are not entered into your history.
If you are the highest bidder in an auction when it ends you will also see the auction in your "Requires attention" list marked with "You won this auction", at which point you will have to open the contract and click "Get Items" to finalize the auction. The items will be delivered to your hangar (or your corporations Deliveries tab if it is a corporate order) in the station specified in the contract's Location.
If you have been outbid on an auction that has not finished then you will also see it in your "Requires attention" list in the journal.
It will be marked as "You have been outbid" and you can open it to enter a new bid. If you are outbid the bid you entered is returned to your wallet and if an auction ends that you have been outbid on you will still see the entry in your journal's "Requires attention" until it has been completed by the issuer and the winner. You can remove those entries by right-clicking on the row and selecting "Dismiss".
Public auctions can only be accessed in the region where they are created. If you start to bid on an auction and leave the region you will not be able to continue bidding if you are outbid unless you return to the region. Keep in mind that if you enter a ship into this type of contract its insurance will be voided, whether the auction is successful or not.
You can always keep track of the auctions you are currently participating in from the Journal interface by selecting "Bid on By".
This contract type allows you to exchange your items and/or money for items and/or money. When you create a contract of this type you can optionally specify what items you want to sell. Even if you don't intend to sell any items you will still need to select a station you have some items in to specify a drop-off point for the person taking the contract.
The expiration possibilities for this type of contract are 1 day, 3 days, 1 week and 2 weeks. You can offer money or receive money along with any items but not both. You can, for example, offer a Raven battleship for a Megathron battleship and offer to pay 5M ISK as well. You can also use this type of contract to offer money for an item type. For example, you can set up an item exchange contract for a Raven battleship, offering 95M ISK in return. The caveat with using the Item Exchange contracts in that way is that it's not very visible in others "Available Contracts" list. You should always provide a description in this case so that people will see what you're offering. Keep in mind that if you enter a ship into this type of contract its insurance will be voided, whether the contract is completed successfully or not.
You can request that someone ferry a bunch of items for you by setting up a Courier contract. The items are all placed in a box that the contractor agrees to carry from A to B. You can set up a reward for successful completion as well as a collateral which should cover you in case the package does not make it all the way. There is a 800 thousand m3 limit to courier packages and you have to be careful when setting up these types of contracts because the contractor will be able to peek inside the package and potentially steal all the items in there if he doesn't care that he will lose the collateral. If you set your collateral at the exact worth of the items being hauled then you should be safe.
The expiration possibilities for this type of contract are 1 day, 3 days, 1 week and 2 weeks.
You are able to specify how many days the contractor will have to complete the mission once the contract is accepted. Once that time has passed the issuer can "Fail" the contract at any time. Note that the contract does not become failed automatically and the issuer can therefore give the contractor some extra time if they have come to some sort of an understanding. Whether or not the contract is with a corporation or an individual, the contractor will have to have the package in his personal hangar before he can "Complete" the contract.
Item Rules for Contracts
There are several rules on the types and configuration of contract items that you will need to be aware of.
- You can enter damaged items into any type of contract but the damage will show up in the contract information window.
- If you put a ship that has insurance into a public item exchange or auction type contract, the insurance will be void.
- Acceptors of Courier mission contracts are able to 'peek' inside the container they are carrying without voiding the contract. They are also able to steal the items in the package (but this of course makes the contract not completable).
- Items that are illegal in at least one region of space cannot be offered in contracts, but they can be requested, e.g. if a player wishes to sell 10 Caldari Navy Midshipman I tags, he cannot do so via. the market, but if a player wishes to purchase 10 Caldari Navy Midshipman I tags, he can setup a 'Want to Buy' or 'Trade' contract, requesting the items.
Availability, Visibility and History
Contracts can either be Public or assigned to a named entity. This named entity can be a character, a corporation or an alliance. You are able to create a contract with items from any one of your hangars throughout the EVE universe.
Public contracts are region-based, and are visible to everyone within the region where the items entered into the contract are located. Once a contract has been accepted (for example, a public auction completed) the contract will become visible to everyone as a part of the issuer's and the contractor's contract history.
If the contract is assigned to a character, he and the issuer are the only ones who will ever be able to view the contract (the assignee can reject the contract if he chooses). The character can view and accept the contract regardless of region. The assignee can accept the contract himself or on behalf of his corporation.
A contract that is assigned to a corporation can be accepted by anyone in the corporation or by the corporation itself. Every member of the corporation will be able to see the contract while it is outstanding. After it is finished everyone in the corporation will be able to view it as a part of the acceptor's and issuer's contract history. If you leave the corporation you will no longer have access to that history.
It's important to note that here, as well as in Alliance wide contracts anyone in the corporation/alliance can accept the contract, not only the corporation to which the contract was issued. If you want the contract to be only acceptable by the corporation you should assign it to one of the corporations Contract Manager's, he can then accept it on behalf of his corporation.
You can assign a contract to your alliance which works the same way as assigning to a corporation except that every member of every corp belonging to the alliance can view the contract.
The Journal is an important tool for anyone involved in contracts. From there you can see at a glance all the contracts that are currently in progress that you or your corporation have issued or are currently working on. You can also see a list of all contracts that require your attention.
If your personal contract or any of the ongoing corporation contracts your corporation is involved in have expired, are overdue or are finished it will be shown at the bottom of the Contracts tab in the Journal interface. If you click on those links you will see the list of contracts that you have to manipulate.
There are several different contract states that will put it on your "Requires Attention" list:
- The contract was not picked up by anyone and is no longer visible to others. You will have to delete the contract. This applies to all types of contracts.
- Auction has finished
- The issuer of an auction contract will see this if his auction has finished successfully. He will have to open the contract and click on "Get Money" to finalize the contract and receive his payment.
- You have been outbid on an auction
- If you are in the same region as the auction you can click on the contract and place a new bid.
- You have won an auction
- An auction has completed (either expired or you did a buy-out) and you are yet to pick up the items you bought. Open the contract and click "Get Items" to finalize the contract.
Taxes and Deposit
The base price of a contract is used to calculate the various fees for using the contract system. Only public contracts are subject to these charges with the exception of the Broker's fee, which is fixed at 10,000 ISK for private contracts. Auctions work a little bit differently as the sale's tax is not determined until the auction is finished.
The Base Price is the starting bid for auctions, the reward for courier contracts and whichever value is higher out of the reward and price for item exchange contracts.
There are three charges for issuers of contracts:
This is 1.0% of the base price with a minimum of 100,000 ISK and a maximum of 10,000,000 ISK. If the contract is completed this amount is returned. If the contract expires or you delete it you will lose this deposit.
- Broker's Fee
This is 0.4% of the base price with a minimum of 10,000 ISK and a maximum of 10,000,000 ISK. This is deducted when the contract is created and is non-refundable.
The Broker Relations skill lowers the broker's fee by 0.02 % per level so at Broker Relations level 5 you will have to pay 0.3% in Broker's Fee. This skill also influences the maximum deposit and lowers that accordingly, so at level 5 you have 7,500,000 ISK maximum broker's fee.
The Expiration Time is a factor in the Broker's Fee and nothing else. It increases the Broker's Fee by 0.05% with each additional day after the first one. This doesn't come in until after the calculations above so it can increase the Broker's Fee above the maximum stipulated above.
If you have, for example, a contract with a 7 day duration, the Broker's Fee for the contract will increase by 0.3% (up to 0.7%). If you have the Broker Relations skill trained to level 5, this translates to 0.6% total Broker's Fee.
The maximum Broker's Fee is also affected by the expiration time and increases by the same relative amount as the Broker's Fee percentage. Every additional day translates to a 5% increase for the maximum Broker's Fee so a contract with a 7 day duration would have the maximum brokers fee increased by a total of 30%, that is, up to 13M ISK for a character without the Broker Relations skill and 9.75M ISK if the Broker Relations skill is at level 5.
- Sale's Tax
This is 1.0% of the base price with a minimum of 10,000 ISK and a maximum of 100,000,000 ISK. This is deducted at the successful completion of a contract. The skill Accounting decreases the sale's tax by 0.1% per point, lowering it to 0.5% at level 5. The maximum sale's tax is also modified accordingly (50M at level 5).
The maximum amount is fixed, so you will never have to pay more than 7.5M + 50M = 57.5M ISK for a successful contract.
For courier contracts, these fees are all 1/10th of the amounts above and Sale's Tax is omitted.
If someone grabs a courier contract, and then fails it, the deposit is returned to the issuer along with the collateral.
Hints & Tips on Contracts
Contracts add a whole new flavor to player interactions. You should familiarize yourself with the different contract types and use the contract history of other pilots/corporations to determine their trustworthiness.
Use the filters in the Available Contracts list to specify which contracts you want to see, because otherwise you're bound to get overwhelmed by their sheer number.
When creating auctions and item exchange contracts remember to set realistic goals. It can be costly to let public contracts expire since your deposit will be lost.