I think a missing piece is that you're failing to valuate the second, third, etc... weapon in to the purchase price of the first.
It's the difference between an active investment (tools of your trade), and a passive one (someone else's business).
If you're going to do the work, reach for the top, whatever, you have to see things in a different way. A carpenter with a hand saw doesn't buy a circular saw so that he can make money selling it later. He buys a better saw so that he can produce a higher quality (or just more) output, and increase his total earnings over time. At some point he'll be able to buy a table saw. Maybe he'll move on to a CNC machine.
He probably threw the hand saw away, or left it hanging in the garage. He might garage sale the circular saw. If he's not sitting on a comfortable bankroll yet, he's definitely selling the table saw when he gets the CNC machine because it takes up a ton of space, and it's going to resell for an appreciable percentage of it's original value.
Now at this point, this is where we find someone like, uh, "Eddie". He's been at this for a while. He seems to love his work, and he's operating at the top of his market. There's a little fudging here with the metaphor because a more obvious real world comparison like an athlete isn't necessarily gear-dependent, and may be working professionally with regulation gear or under other standards. But in EU, it works more like another trade - Skills are required but the quality of your gear is a deciding factor.
If you are capable of playing efficiently (I'm not talking about weapon eff I'm talking about EU, where to some extent you have to do what the game wants you to do) and invest in a high-end toolset - within a couple of gear cycles you should be pulling ahead. I'm going to put my thoughts here, for anyone who cares - even if Rick doesn't. If I'm way off base, perhaps someone who is functioning at that level would like to correct me.
For now we discard armor/FAP costs. These items have relatively stable values and active markets. You grab the one you need, and when you're done you pass it on. If no one's around when you're done maybe you hold it for a minute, or maybe you take a loss to get what you need to keep working. Unless you got something really specialized and suddenly everyone "takes a break" for a few months, this is going to be ok. And definitely we're focusing on the big piece, weapons here.
So you've spent, hmmm, 100k PED to get a top-end weapon. You've cycled 1m PED and you're ready for your vendor pull. You're playing like a pro and returns are at 97ish %. Let's not BS here - at this level your loot composition should be pretty solid. So you're out, effectively, 130k at this point. But also you've got 970k PED worth of loot, and you still have all of your gear. And you're ready for a vendor pull.
Here's a kick in the nuts. Because of your own vendor pull, the weapon you bought is no longer top in class
Guess what though? Your new one is
You drop the old weapon like a hot potato. A quick 70k. And a bunch of armchair quarterbacks and would-be passive investors get cramps looking at you losing 30k on your investment in under a year. With cycling losses you're down at least 60K!
Meanwhile Eddie laughs his ass off because he's fully top in class, he's getting ready to do it again, and he still has 970 KiloPED of uber-class loot to sell. Even if it was 90% eye oil - you're getting close to breakeven on MV. And let's be honest, you don't grind a million PED through top-end mobs and loot a mega stack of eye oil
So our observer is looking at 60k in losses, wondering why people do it. At this point I'm sure they realize that Eddie could have sold the pulled weapon and come out way ahead. Depending on his level of confidence in doing it again with the same weapon, maybe he would. But probably not, and certainly not for more than one extra gear cycle.
End of the day, after dropping the loot, Eddie has completed a "gear cycle" and he's probably a little ahead of breakeven. Time for the next round. And this time he's starting the cycle with the top in class weapon, it was essentially free.
Gear cycle 2 then, with the same pretend, round numbers, million PED cycled, etc... At this time whatever the market value of the current weapon is, that's pure profit
Grind hard, stay top in class, and sell people your seconds. Extracting value along the way and as long as you can keep getting that 3 - 5% MU on your loot you're earning at a minimum, the market value of a first or second in class weapon every time you can manage another vendor pull.
At this point some people are watching you, thinking you're "losing the weapon depreciation" on every round. But - that's not what's really happening. As long as you can stay at the top and pull one of the next-gen tools - selling whatever you have left from the previous cycle is pure profit. You're actually depreciating the weapon yourself - as a part of the process of extracting value from it.
So, if Eddie was a carpenter, and he bought that table saw for $25,000 and uses it for 5 years before he sells it at $9,000 - there might be some people saying that he "lost 14k on the saw" but meantime, he's laughing because he earned $50k/year using that saw for 5 years. Remember that uber loot?
He could throw the "saw" in the dumpster, and still be ahead.
is going to net almost two years' gross pay at the US federal minimum wage if it goes for BO....