Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Guest Post: A Noobs Guide to Lowsec Ninja Salvaging

A Noobs Guide to Lowsec Ninja Salvaging:
by Galdornae

Ninja Kitty
Today as I was scouting for ice miners to suicide gank, a 2 day old player asked in local for 500k isk to buy his first cruiser. As the ganking business was quiet, I was in a rather good mood, and feeling somewhat charitable, I sent him 600k. Shortly thereafter I convo'd him to ask if he needed any more for fittings. He said probably, but he didn't want to ask for any more. I can respect that.

We chatted for a little bit and I linked him a PVE vexor fit. He mentioned that he would need to train for the salvager on it. This lead into a discussion of the different possible careers in eve, and I suggested the posibility of lowsec ninja salvaging.

I have long felt that ninja salvaging is quite possibly the most lurative career in the Eve for a new character. The skillpoint requirements are very low, and the payout is much higher than low level highsec missions. The main barrier for this carreer is of course not skillpoints, but knowledge.

As with many things in eve, knowing what you're doing is far more important that having a lot of SP. This guide is designed to help new players get an idea of how ninja salvaging works.

Have a friend who just started the game? If they're bored of missions, or if they want to try something more exciting with a higher isk payout, have them read this.

What ship do I use?

A tech 1 frigate is going to be your best bet. Not only is it cheap, but its small sig radius, good agility and speed will often allow you to escape if attacked.

How do I fit it?

Your highslots will of course be for salvagers. Fill all available highs, because more salvagers means fast salvaging, which will get that snazzy salvage in your hold and you safely on your way. Pick a frigate with 3 or 4 highslots. In your mid slots you'll want, for starters, a propulsion mod. I recommend an afterburner. This will allow you approach wrecks quickly and maintain a small sig radius (microwarpdrives can be used, but they increase your signature radius, allowing dirty pirates like me to hit you better.

The other module you will want in your mids is a medium shield extender. This will help protect you from being instapopped by said dirty pirates.

Your lowslots are a little more flexible. I like to put nanofibers in them, but if you need more powergrid to support your prop mod and shield extender, use a micro auxiliary power core. Alternatively you can use warp core stabilizers. These won't make you quicker and more agile like the nanofibers, but if you do get warp disrupted, and not instapopped, they may allow you to escape. Consider warp stabs if you're salvaging out of range of a stargate.

Remember though, one stab won't always do the trick!

If your attacker is using a scrambler you'll need 2 in order to escape!

Where do I salvage?

The best place to ninja salvage is lowsec. You'll want to look for areas with a lot of combat taking place. This will make it more dangerous for you, but it also means more wrecks for you to salvage. Besides, your ship is cheap! Buy a stack of them and just hop in a new one if you die. If you aren't familiar with any lowsec PVP hubs, look on your ingame star map (star map tab -> stars tab -> statistics -> ships destroyed) or go to the dotlan maps at and select ship/pod kills.

What do I do when I get there?

Your main objective is to find elite wrecks. Other wrecks can still be salvaged for some profit, but only elite wrecks drop tech 2 salvage, which is where the big money is. An elite frigate wreck can drop 20-30 million isk in salvage, an elite cruiser can drop up to 100 million or more, and an elite battleship... well, if you find an elite battleship wreck you're having a good day. Note that those isk amount are what CAN drop. You won't get that much every time, but often enough that if you keep at it the good stuff will start to pile up.

To find elite wrecks, your directional scanner is a huge help. Watch this video if you don't know how to use your directional scanner. I recommend setting up an overview tab just for wrecks. Alternatively, you can just disable active overview settings. Most of the time you'll find wrecks on gates, but they can also be in belts, at planets, etc. Anywhere a ship can blow up, there can be wrecks.

Use a 360 scan to see if there's any elite wrecks in range, and then narrow it down directionally. Or if you're lazy, just warp around to gates. Also use your directional scanner to keep an eye out for hostile ships. In lowsec, expect that anyone and everyone will shoot you, given the chance. When you find a wreck, orbit it and begin scanner.

One of the most important things to remember is to always keep moving. Orbit the wreck at 2500 meters with your afterburner running. Staying moving makes you much more difficult to hit. If you're in jump range of a gate, you can usually just jump out when shot, but if you're not in jump range (but still withing 150km) consider warping out if anything larger than a frigate shows up.

Through trial and error you'll learn what to worry about and what not to. Away from gates, assume that anything that shows up, including frigates, will shoot you.

One final thought.

When you do get some good salvage, consider dropping it of in a nearby station before attempting to find more. I've seen salvage pilots lose 200mil in salvage because they got too greedy.

Good luck and happy salvaging!

Oh, and if you run into me, I will shoot you. I'll be the flashy red guy.



  1. This is largely how I make ISK in null sec. After we have a fight and if there are any elite wrecks around, I start salvaging. Intact armor plates are the best, intact shield emitters are next best along with the single crystal alloy bars. The other stuff isn't worth anything in small quantities.

    All in all, it's a heck of a lot better than mining or ratting.

  2. Nice article. A few comments:

    Yes, salvaging is probably one of the most lucrative ISK generators for new players. I can confirm that you can easily rake in over 1B ISK per month, on casual salvage roams through low sec.

    The Salvaging skill should be trained up to level 4, in order to harvest those tasty T2 wrecks.

    On a dedicated salvage boat, you should fit Salvage Tackle I rigs. T2 salvage has a lower chance per cycle of dropping than T1 salvage, and the rigs help a lot. The rest of your ship should be cheap T1 fit - don't bother with T2 or high-meta modules.

    Nanos in the lows are better than warp stabs - warp stabs reduce your targeting speed and range. You want to be able to lock and salvage the wrecks as fast as possible.

    Forget the shield extender. It increases your signature radius, and won't help much against any PVP-fit (or even PVE-fit) opponent, esp. since you can't shoot back. Fitting requirement is also too high. Better to fit a cap battery or recharger, for the few extra seconds of cap (salvagers are cap hungry).

    MWDs are ok on dedicated salvage frigs, esp. with nanos. Salvagers are not affected by tracking speed and you aren't ever going to shoot back - so, keep moving as fast as possible and stay out of range of any bad guys. I prefer the speed-fit Vigil - very cheap, very fast, and hard to catch.

    Other non-combat ships - which you use to transport goods or just use to quickly run around high sec - should have a salvager fit, for those occasions when you happen to run across a T2 player wreck.

    Believe it or not, salvaging in low sec is relatively risk free. Why? Because you can train up a salvage alt in less than a week, and keep the alt's SP below the free clone limit. You don't need implants in your salvage alt. So, when you get popped and podded, you only lose a few million ISK in ship (mostly the salvage rigs) and nothing on your medical clone. T2 salvage more than pays for the ship losses.

  3. I started a new character about a week ago to get a fresh start in Eve. I used to be a high-sec mission runner, but there is no fun to be had when the only available outlet for your ISK is more faction mods for a CNR. :) My self-imposed rule is that I cannot make an ISK in high-sec, as defined as the source of items, bounties, etc. - selling in hubs is allowed.

    A couple days after I started, I read this - and I am now making many times what I used to. :) That said, I am having some issues - namely with finding wrecks. I am situated in and around one of the major lowsec PvP hubs. Both DOTLAN and the ingame map regularly have it registered as 10-20 kills per hour - and yet I can only locate a quarter as many, on average. I use several safespots to monitor all the planets, moons, belts, and gates. I cannot account for this discrepancy - am I missing something obvious?

    This leads me to salvaging the few wrecks in the hub, then roaming through the surrounding systems, which are virtually devoid of wrecks, both on DOTLAN and according to my experiences. Is my local lowsec simply inactive, and I should find a new neighborhood, or is there another issue? What can I do to find more?

    Thanks in advance - and would enjoy an ingame convo, if you are willing. Character is Starke Valdarian.

  4. Starke,

    Some people when they pvp in lowsec do salvage the wrecks of their victims. Pirates gotta make money too =)


  5. Very true, and some of those who do not may just simply shoot them. Still, the hub I'm watching showed over 40 kills on DOTLAN (it was crazy), and yet I could only find three. It wasn't that wrecks were appearing and then disappearing (a.k.a. being salvaged) - there were simply a 2-3 lying around, and that was it.

    I'm wondering if this frequency of encountering wrecks is normal - if so, I can't see how money can be made off this on a semi-regular basis. Aside from the occasional wreck and blue-moon T2, I spend most of my time either waiting in the pvp hub for people to kill each other, of scouring empty system after empty system in the surrounding area.

    What am I doing wrong? I'm not looking for handouts, only pointers.

  6. Seeing some time has passed, I'm going to cap this by saying that I've found myself to be a very successful salvager in the last couple weeks. :) I've also found that while the Eve Map and DOTLAN are great for finding areas of battle, one should take the number of kills and divide 5-10 to estimate the number of wrecks they should expect. It seems most PvP-ers either come back with salvagers, or more likely, shoot the wrecks. =/

  7. There could also be wrecks in safe spots, not on grids, pod kills, etc...

    It's pretty common to shoot wrecks on gate camps as they provide warp ins and they can scare/warn victims.