How to make money in EVE Online

I figured I’d write a post on how I’ve found to make ISK in EVE Online, similar in fashion to my previous entry on starting an Alt.

Being a fairly casual player and only having played for about a year it has taken me quite awhile to identify ways of making money. There are plenty of write-ups and discussions on this topic, but I figured I’d present my practical approach on how I discovered these activities and who they generally apply to.

1. Mission Running

  • This is pretty much where any new player starts. When I first began I didn’t fully comprehend what all mission running offered me. What I eventually figured out was that running missions increased your standing with whatever Corporation the Agent was associated with. As your standing increased you were granted access to higher level Agents which offered larger payouts, loyalty points and standing increase. Higher level missions were obviously more difficult to complete, but offered better loot and salvage. As your standing increased this also lowered the amount of tax incurred by the given Corporation when doing things like refining ore or items.
  • The first thing I discovered was Salvaging. I trained the skill so that I could salvage the wrecks of the mission NPC ships. I eventually found that the best way to proceed with mission running was to have a ship that could dish out and take lots of damage thus completing the mission as fast as possible. I then purchased a Destroyer and fitted it with 4 Salvagers and 4 Tractor Beams. I would then return the to mission location and collect everything of value I could. I found this to be a great start for me as a new player.

2. Mining

  • As I began to expand my knowledge of EVE in general I latched onto the concept of Mining. I did as much research as I could and did my best to train up the necessary skills for ships and mining that offered the best return. I only mined in Hi-Sec focusing on Veldspar and Scordite. I would run missions until I received one that had lots of asteroids in the mission room so I did not have to compete at asteroid belts. However if I did mine at asteroid belts and if I was in a 0.7 security status system or lower I would anchor Giant Secure Containers at the asteroid belts so I could fill the containers up with ore and then come back in a hauler instead of running back and forth in my mining ship.
  • Hi-Sec ores do not have a very significant return, plus my corporation standings were not very high so I was losing a lot of minerals in the refining process. Ultimately it would have been better if I simply continued running missions as the level 4 missions have great payout in terms of rewards, bounty, salvage and loot, sometimes upwards of 20 million ISK per missions. That is well above anything you can make mining in Hi-Sec then refining and selling the minerals.
  • However once you get into Wormholes and have access to the A,B, C’s of asteroid types then payout can be much, much larger. (I made over 200 milling in my first mining op)

3. Scanning

  • Eventually I learned of the scanning mechanism. This involves fitting a Probe Launcher and scanning out a system for Cosmic Signatures and Cosmic Anomalies. I really enjoy this particular activity as it’s best tailored to my schedule.
  • You mainly want to focus on finding Cosmic Signatures, as these sites offer the biggest and best rewards. You will typically find Radar (Hacking skill), Magnometric (Salvaging Skill) and Combat sites. Occasionally you will find a Gravametric (Mining) or Ladar (Gas Mining) sites.
  • My favorite are the Radar or Combat Sites (Complexes, Plex). As the materials that can be found in the Radar sites can range in value from 3-15 million per unit. Also, running Combat sites typically leads to what is called an Expedition.
  • Sometimes when running combat sites when you kill the final NPC ship, or (more often) destroy a structure (Communications Towers are good ones to try) you will receive a popup message saying you’ve intercepted a communication or tracked extra enemy ships to another system. You will then be able to find an entry in the Expeditions tab of your Journal. The next steps  involve traveling between 4-15 jumps away from your current location to engage in a small combat site, which can be ‘warped to’ from the entry in your Journal. This leads to another small combat site 4-15 jumps away and so on. Once you’ve done about 3 or 4 of these chained sites you will get a final combat site which is typically in Low-Sec so be careful. The last site yields a special commander ship which Faction or Deadspace loot which sells very, very well. Some loot cannot be sold on the market, so be sure and check contracts for a specific item.
  • What I typically do is check out the exceptional EVE mapping site DotLan Maps and see how many NPC’s have been destroyed in a given system recently. I will then typically head out to systems that have not been very active potentially indicating that lots of good scanning sites will be available.

4. Trading

  • This activity can be very lucrative, however I am very bad at it. It involves using the Market to identify items that can be sold in a number of ways to make a profit. You can identify items that have low Buy Orders which you can place and once (if) they are fulfilled you can then turn around Sell the items for a larger amount. You can also find items that sell very low in one location which you can then transport to another location and sell higher. This is a very complex topic and one I have very limited exposure to, but if done correctly and if you put in a good amount of time, research and effort you can make a lot of money. I typically went the route of placing Buy Orders for items and then immediately turning around and selling them for a profit. This particular method can be quite taxing as you have to “babysit” your orders because people will undercut or overcut your prices by 0.01 ISK at times forcing you to modify your orders. Again, there are many methods that work here, I’m just touching on the one method that I tried and had limited success with.

So those are the 4 main areas I’ve found and used to make ISK in EVE Online. Again, there are TONS of write-ups on these subjects that offer much more detailed accounts and instructions. Yet I just wanted to list out the methods I found as a new player coming up through EVE and what worked for me.

Please feel free to add your thoughts and what a new player could do to make ISK in EVE given no previous experience.

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