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 [Guide] A Beginners guide to make ISK

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giand amazone

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PostSubject: [Guide] A Beginners guide to make ISK   Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:46 pm

A Beginners guide to make ISK

There are several good ways to make ISK, and there are a lot of bad ways to make ISK. Not "bad" in the sense that you don't make any, but that you could easily do something else to get more.

Don't get me wrong, IF YOU WANT (and you find it enjoyable), DO ANYTHING. But in my experience, logic dictates you do "work" to achieve a purpose, and that purpose is to get ISK. What you do with that ISK afterwards, that's the most fun part, usually. If you find your particular way of making ISK more enjoyable than anything else you can do with the ISK you get, then go right ahead, keep doing it even if it's not the best way to make ISK.

For instance, you could mine in a cruiser/battleship, but you would be making more ISK in a barge or an exhumer. You could be mining various ore to reprocess and manufacture something and sell it for (at least) slightly more than the minerals, but you'd make more if you mined only the most valuable ore of the moment, sold all excess minerals and bought the rest from the market. If you go into manufacturing, you might as well just buy all minerals from the market, never actually mine a single piece of ore in your entire EVE life. You could be running courier missions in a battleship too, but an industrial is usually better, and the battleship is more suitable for kill missions. And so on and so forth.


  • 1. MINING

    This is a very straightforward way. You go out in an asteroid belt, you start your mining lasers, you launch your mining drones (if you have any), and you haul the ore you mine in a station to be used later.It's a boring activity. VERY boring. But then again, this appeals to some, since it leaves you with time to do something else at the same time, like, chat. Or run several accounts at the same time. Or god knows what else.

    The OPTIMAL progression is your racial mining frigate first (because it's easy to train for), then head straight to the SECOND of the mining barges (Retreiver), then to a Hulk directly.
    DO NOT bother with destroyers, the mining frigate is better and faster, A mining cruiser is almost on par with the second barge, but going for the cruiser means a dead end, unless you go for a battleship, but then again you could reach the Covetor before you reach a decent level of mining in a battleship, and a Covetor is far superior... However, the Hulk is a tiny step away, skill-wise from the Covetor, and mines even better still, so you should probably just train for it as soon as you can use a Covetor, and skip the Covetor entirely.

    Whenever you mine, LOOK at what ore is available in the region, and LOOK at existing mineral buy orders, then at existing mineral sell orders. Training the specific ore reprocessing skills should be one of the first things to do even if you don't plan on using T2 strip miners, since you can usually sell the minerals better than you could sell the ore. Whenever you decide WHAT to mine... always pick the thing that gives you MOST ISK PER CUBIC METER OF ORE MINED, if you refine and sell the minerals. The only reasonable exception would be if there's a high buy order for a specific type of ore : this can happen in systems where storyline agents offer the "Materials for War preparations" storyline mission (L3 version asks for basic Omber, L4 version asks for basic Kernite). Bottom line... see what you can get for your ore, both refined and unrefined, and pick the MOST VALUABLE one. Ignore the others.

    There's not much more to be said about mining as a concept, everything else is details.The details are most clearly explained in here if you care to know them.
    Final word of warning : ideal starting character is either a Prospector (any race, for the repro skills) or a Minmatar Engineer (Industry 5, Science 4).


    Many people treat salvaging as part of mission running; run a mission, then loot and salvage your wrecks. However salvaging is very much a profession in itself. You can run around salvaging wrecks in belts and so on wherever you may find them with no penalty for doing so, other than occasionally the indignation of the person who created the wreck. One piece of salvage can be worth up to half a million ISK in itself, so when you are first starting out this can be very lucrative indeed, making you many times the usual reward from the mission.

    If you combine salvaging with a few exploration skills you can also pop up in someone else's mission and start cleaning up their wrecks too, when you don't have the ability to kill those rats yourself. Mission runners often get very hurt by this so ask first if you are concerned about keeping friends. Also if they are bothered by it they might leave the mission for a while leaving you to face the NPC on your own. Alternatively you can find some friends who don't salvage (level 4 mission runners often can't be bothered with 'minor' missions) and clean missions with their consent. A word of warning either way; salvaging is fine but the second you open a wreck and remove loot you become criminally flagged and can be shot by the owner. Don't do it!


    Right now, there are four main types of missions you can be offered : courier, trade, kill and mining. Mining missions are a relatively recent addition (or return, some might argue).
    Agents give you various types of missions, depending on their division (it's in their showinfo).Most agents' divisions are pretty obvious... for instance, Command and Security agents give you mostly kill missions, Storage agents give you mostly courier missions, and so on and so forth. While there are plenty of listings of "types of missions for agent division" floating around, none of them are quite accurate, as they also depend on several other factors AND also a lot of randomness (for instance, while unusual, a Command agent might offer you 10 courier missions in a row). So, in most cases, just go with your gut... worst thing that could happen is you reject a mission.

    If you accept a mission however, the wisest course of action is to complete it succesfully, there are penalties (in standings) for failing a mission. So, ALWAYS check the mission info BEFORE you accept it. Check the mission type, and check the route you have to take to complete it.You might want to reject kill missions if you only have an industrial ship, and you might want to reject a courier that has you going into or through a lowsec system... or, you might want to reject a mining mission if you have lousy mining skills.

    Of course, you can always risk it and take all missions, but in the early stages, while you learn the ropes, it's best to avoid missions you're not suited for. The "time bonus" on each mission is optional. Mission expiration date is the important thing (one week from the moment you took the mission, or the first mission in the chain, in case of chained missions). FAILING to complete a mission in one week or telling the agent you are unable to finish it will bring a standings penalty.

    There are some special missions we like to call (or at least I like to call) "chained missions". You will recognize them by their name. For instance : "Enemies Abound : 1 of 5" (or "Enemies Abound 1/5").They are usually a set of missions of several types, and to get to the last one (usually the best paying one) you have to complete each of the previous ones first. Failing or rejecting one of them means you're not offered the rest.

    There are drawbacks to REJECTING a mission too. If you reject a mission, a 4 hour timer for that agent starts (hidden to you, so you might want to write down the moment you clicked the reject option for the agent). IF you reject ANOTHER mission before the timer expired, you will take a standings hit with the agent, his corp AND HIS FACTION. While the standings hit is not huge, it's a good idea to avoid it nevertheless. That's why areas with multiple agents for the same corp or faction are prefered by mission-runners, since you can just ask another agent for a mission while the timer expires on another mission you were offered and you want to reject.


      The missions are pretty straightforward. You have to go to some location and mine out some "special" ore (one that can't be reprocessed, AFAIK) from some asteroids, and bring the ore back to your agent. It's a good idea to have decent mining skills for this type of mission, obviously.
      Whilst the mission description usually tells you to bring the agent a certain quantity of ore, you might find that you need to mine the ENTIRE mission area completely before the mission can be completed.While annoying, it's a good thing too, since ore lost "accidentally" by not having enough cargo (auto-jetissoned in space without a can) is LOST. It's better to have the mission take a while longer instead of watching helplessly while you have no other choice except failing it.


      These are the easiest missions you could possibly ask for : pick up stuff in station A, deliver it in station B. They are also a bit boring, but unlike mining, they make you move around a lot, yet you do not have to constantly check the market to see what's best to mine at the moment.
      You can usually complete them in any ship with a large enough cargo.Most of them don't even have to be completed in a single trip, since they're made out of several identical packages... the mission description tells you how many packages they are and the total volume (so you can easily calculate how large one single package is - that's the minimum cargohold space you NEED to finish the mission).If you have a small ship and a large cargo, you might have to forefit the bonus reward as you are forced to take several trips... but you still get the regular reward, and all the standing increases, so it's not tragic.

      Things to watch out for? Destination or routes going through lowsec (try to avoid them, check route before accepting mission) or packages to large to fit in your cargo (the warning comes for the TOTAL cargo, not one package, so you have to check manually, like I said).


      This mission is basically "half a courier mission".You don't have to pick some package up and deliver it somewhere else... you just have to deliver something to the destination.HOW you get the goods is not any of your agent's concern. You will usually buy them from the market, either where you find it cheapest or closest to the destination.

      Things to watch out for : even if in most cases the agent will offer you a lot more ISK or an object much more valuable as a reward, in some rare cases, the cargo he asks for is valuable yet the reward nearly worthless. So you have to check how expensive the desired mechandise is, and how much the reward is worth.

    • 3.4. KILL MISSIONS

      Well, what's there to be said ?Go in, kill stuff, optionally you might be asked to collect some item from one of the killed ships or structures and return it to the agent.Sounds simple, but it's also the most dangerous mission type around.At the same time, it's also the most lucrative type too, offering the greatest rewards both directly (ISK and Loyalty Points), but also indirectly, in form of bounties, loot, salvage, ocasionally tags or alloys instead of bounties... all from the wrecks of the destroyed enemies.

      While the direct rewards (ISK and LP) might vary according to agent division, skills, standings and system security rating, all of the indirect rewards are almost identical (except for the normal randomness) for a certain mission. Also, the secondary/indirect rewards are usually much higher than the direct rewards, and because of that, highsec "kill mission" running is the favourite ISK-making activity of a lot of pod pilots. Another reason is that it only requires skills you could also use in PVP combat, so it's even more of an incentive.

      Even if pilots were able to complete some L4 missions solo in ships as small as assault frigates, they were experts, and it still took a long time. You usually want to fly a frigate only in L1s, a cruiser in L2s, a battlecruiser in L3s and battleships in L4s. It's not a strict rule, but more of a general guideline, and feel free to either experiment or ask around about alternatives.
      It's also a good idea to try and run missions together with other people you trust.


      These are special types of missions you are offered after completing 16 missions of a certain level for agents of a faction. The agents do not matter, only their faction and the agent level. The storyline agent "triggered" will belong to the same faction and offer you a storyline of that particular level.

      Storyline missions are THE ONLY REPEATABLE WAY TO GAIN FACTION STANDINGS.The only other ways are non-repeatable (rookie missions and COSMOS missions - once you complete them you never get them offered again on the same pilot).


    To put it bluntly, if you are a beginner to EVE, it is best if you stay away from this area.The only notable exception to this rule is manufacturing.

    Yes, I may sound very harsh, but science and industry is best attempted with large ISK starting funds, and small-scale efforts are bound to either never really get off the ground or fail miserably, while you caould have made a lot more progress soing something else instead. Once you get more cash in your wallet and you gain experience in the game, feel free to revisit the idea of science and industry... but then again, you won't be a beginner, so this guide does not apply to you.


      Like I said, the only exception is manufacture. And by that, I mean T1 manufacture, and preferably in either ammo, modules, rigs or small ships (because of the relatively affordable blueprint costs).Do not even bother with manufacture before you have Production Efficiency trained up to level 4, and try to get it to level 5 as soon as possible.

      For more details on what to manufacture, how and where, visit the Science and Industry subforum, and check the science and industry guides here. A good idea would be, for instance, to manufacture ammo in mission hubs, or frigates, cruisers and assorted modules (for the frigates/cruisers you also manufacture) somewhere near a lowsec (or even 0.0) system on a major transit "pipe" across EVE.

      Things to watch out for : OPPORTUNITY COST.That means, if you are selling something, you'd better damn well sell it for more ISK than you could have made by simply selling the things you used to manufacture it with... or else there's no point in manufacturing at all in the first place.
      That's the most critical mistake a rookie manufacturer makes : selling below cost. And the reason he does not go bankrupt is that he usually mines the ore himself, then reprocesses it, and uses those minerals to manufacture. SURE, if you CANNOT sell the minerals at an acceptable price in the location they are in, then manufacturing something that actually sells at that location would make sense (but only if the effort is less than the effort you'd have to make to haul the minerals somewhere they can sell). But if you CAN sell the minerals decently, manufacturing and selling something below that "opportunity cost" is STUPID.

  • 5. HAULING

    There's two main types here : the hauler/trader, and the pure hauler. The differences between them are minor enough not to justify treating them separately.

    Basically, "hauling" is almost the same as NPC courier and/or trade missions. Courier contracts are almost the same as NPC courier missions, but the difference is, you have to move it all in one go.Hauling stuff is basically the same as a trade mission, but you set your own destination and cargo type : you just scour the market for cheap things in one station that sell high in another one, and move them around.

  • 6. TRADING

    Some people like to include "non-courier contract hauling" in this category. I personally like to simply call it hauling (or, at the extreme, "hauling/trading") instead of trading.It doesn't really matter what we call it anyway Truth is, a "true" trader doesn't even have to leave the station he's located in... he can, of course, but he doesn't need to, as he can set up courier contracts so others haul for him (for a price, or course).

    Trading can be explained in many different ways, you can go into details of what to sell and what to buy, when to do it, how to manipulate a market to see a spike in price and so on and so forth, and you can read a lot of such stories over in the Market Discussions subforum.

    The thing is, eventually, it all comes down to a single thing : buy low, sell high. Whether you buy low in place A and sell high in place B, or you sell and buy in the same station at a small price difference, or even if you buy and buy a lot witing for price to grow then sell it all at the higher prices... it's all just details.

    Things to watch out for : prices you sell/buy at, and all broker fees or sales taxes. It's a BAD idea to disable the market-related warnings : people have accidentally put up an order with an extra zero (or two, or three), and not only did the taxes amount to more than they would have wanted to buy/sell the items for originally, but they also lost the ISK or the goods in question more often than not. A SINGLE mistake in trading might very well cost you a FORTUNE, so, well... Don't make any mistakes.


    This is a lot like mission-running, after a fashion.The big difference however is that you can only do it in the "COSMOS" constellations, and NPCs respawn continually in there. A list of empire-based COSMOS areas can be found by a simple site google search, but here's one of the possible results : Eveinfo - Caldari COSMOS page.

    EVEinfo is also a decent resource for regular missions too, in case you want to have an idea of what to expect in them.

  • 8. RATTING

    This is a lot like mission-running too, but it's done in asteroid belts.The problem is that the "good NPC rats" only appear in lower-security systems, and the very good ones only in deep 0.0 space.
    The advantage of ratting (especially for the beginner) is that highsec belt rats are VERY EASY to kill, and you find usually a lot less of them compared to what you could find in a mission. The drawback (compared to a mission) is that you don't get any agent/corp/faction standings for doing this (but you still might lose a bit of standing with the pirate NPC factions - you would lose them if you ran missions too, anyway).

    The other (minor) advantage of ratting is that there's always a (very small) chance of encountering a "faction spawn", even in empire highsec.While they usually only drop some tags, faction ammo and such, you might also find occasionally some valuable faction modules, or even more valuable implants. Still, it's a small chance, and the drops are very random, so it's not a good source of steady income.


    A mix between missions and ratting, you will either use the shipboard scanner or scanner probes to seek out cosmic signatures signalling an encounter or an exploration site. The shipboard scanner is only able to find "encounters", and they are almost the same as a mission... but you have a slightly higher chance (compared to belt-ratting) to encounter faction or even commander NPC spawns dropping valuable loot.Using probes you can find various other things, but these are best left for others to explain.
    Highly random, it might not be a good idea for a beginner either... but maybe fun for a while ?


    While not the best avenue for a solo beginner pilot, it could be a nice endeavour for a group of younger pilots, especially if they can find a tutor of sorts in the "art of war"... but, like they say, experience is the best teacher. Basically, you find somebody in need of protection... or in need of a good shakedown... and you start a corporation war against your chosen targets. It could be good, it could be bad, but as long as your goal is to have fun, every bit of ISK you get from it is an added bonus... if you pick your targets carefully, you might actually make some decent money, even if your group is not that good. Of course, the opposite could happen, and you end up all losing everything you have.

    Definetely not the best thing for a beginner to do, but it's still something you can do.


    Among them, included but not strictly limited to them, things like baiting, can-flipping, ganking, suicide ganking, pirating, ransoming, scamming, ninja-salvaging and so on and so forth. Scamming in itself could fill whole threads, for instance... from contract scams, to chat spams, the "lofty scam" and so on and so forth, the possibilities are almost only limited by your imagination (and your victim's stupidity, greed, lack of knowledge or a combination thereof).
    While not the most lucrative things you can do on a regular basis, SOME of them can offer the enterprising (and unscrupulous) beginner untold riches compared to any other endeavour he could embark on, at his "young age".

    To get an idea of the thinks I've mentioned, you can head over to the "Crime and Punishment" subforum and read about other people's stories regarding this "illicit" lifestyle.

Final words ?

While I'm sure I have missed a lot of things that a beginner COULD do, and I might have mentioned a few that a beginner normally shouldn't even try to do, overall, I hope you (the reader, assumed to be a beginner) got a pretty decent idea of how to make (and for that matter, not lose) ISK in this game to the best of your abilities.
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[Guide] A Beginners guide to make ISK
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