Thursday, November 11, 2010

Guide to Salvaging

If you're new to EVE, you're probably wondering how you can make money in this game. Well, my friend, you have a lot of options to choose from. Today I want to tell you about salvaging.

Salvaging is a great way to make money in EVE. You can use salvaging to supplement your income from missioning, PvP, and even mining. Basically, whatever you do in EVE, if you ever find yourself surrounded by wrecked ships, then salvaging is something you want to consider.

Salvaging is very easy to get into, and is something a beginning player can do right away. If you've done all the career tutorials, you've already had a little experience with it. Keep in mind, though, that the Civilian Salvager you used in the tutorial only works for that tutorial. If you want to do salvaging for real, you're going to need a few skills. They are:
  • Electronics 1
  • Survey 3
  • Mechanic 3
  • Salvaging 1
  • Science 3 (to fit tractor beam, you don't need this right away)
  • Refining (to reprocess dropped modules; I recommend getting this to at least 4 ASAP)
Once you have Salvaging (the first three skills are prerequisites), you will be able to fit a Salvager I. This module takes a high slot and can be fitted on pretty much any ship. It takes what is called a "utility slot" in that the high slot you put it into doesn't have to be a turret or launcher hard point. You can also put a tractor beam (or more than one) on your ship. This allows you to collect wrecks more quickly. However, tractor beams are rather expensive (around a million ISK) for the new pilot. That's a lot of overhead to your salvaging operation. I recommend you start with salvagers only, and once you're making good money, then add the tractor beam(s). In order to fit the Small Tractor Beam I, you will need Science 3.

Once you have a Salvager I on your ship, you're ready to salvage. There's a Salvager II in the game, but you have to have Salvaging V to use it. If you're going to be doing a lot of salvaging, I really recommend you raise your Salvaging skill to 3, if not 4. The higher your skill level, the greater the chance you have of salvaging a wreck at the end of the cycle. The higher your skill, the more quickly you'll be able to salvage and the better your ISK/hour earnings will be.

You can make a lot of money salvaging. If you run missions, you can greatly add to your income by salvaging the wrecks you make in the mission. Especially in the lower level missions, you will make two or three (or more) times as much from the salvage as you do from the mission rewards and bounties. It's really worth the time to do it, especially if you do it efficiently.

You can also salvage while you're mining. Salvage those rat wrecks your drones leave behind in the belt. If you explore, you'll find wrecks to salvage in magnetometric sites, as well as the rat wrecks you create in all the exporation sites. If you do PvP, you can salvage the wrecks of other players' ships.

A quick note here: wrecks belong to the player who destroyed the ships. In this way they function exactly like jet cans. If another player (not in your corp) leaves a wreck behind, its symbol will be yellow in your overview (as opposed to white). This means the wreck does not belong to you, and if you loot it, the other player can fire on you. You can (technically) salvage the wreck though. When you salvage a wreck that has loot in it (a "full" wreck has a filled in triangle symbol in the overview, an "empty" wreck has an open triangle), the loot will eject from the wreck in a jet can when the salvaging is complete. You won't give the owner kill rights by salvaging the wreck, but you will give them kill rights if you open the can (or take the loot directly from the wreck before you salvage it). Even though the game allows you to salvage other peoples' wrecks without consequence, many players will be pissed off by this. If you're a friendly sort of player, you should ask permission first. If you don't mind pissing people off, go ahead and salvage it. They won't be able to fire on you if you're in high sec, or if they do, they'll get Concorded. Salvaging other peoples' wrecks without their permission is known as "ninja salvaging". This guide is designed to teach you about the game, not tell you how to play it. That is up to you to decide.

A lot of people will fit a salvager or two on their mission ship in free utility high slots, and salvage as they go. You can do this if you want, but I don't recommend it. Please see this post for more information. In a nutshell, it's far more efficient to complete the mission, bookmark a wreck in each room, turn the mission in, and then return with a dedicated salvage ship to collect your salvage. The reason for this is because on your salvage ship you can have multiple salvagers and use a microwarpdrive. Once a mission is turned in, it is no longer deadspace and you can use an MWD. Just be sure to bookmark each room before you turn the mission in, because once the mission is turned in, all the acceleration gates disappear.

If you have multiple salvagers (which you should), you'll have to decide for yourself whether it's more efficient to use multiple salvagers on each wreck, or to use one salvager/wreck. It really comes down to what your salvaging chance is based on skills, modules, rigs, etc.

Here is what the different levels of the Salvaging skill give you access to:
  • Salvaging I - gives you the ability to use the Salvager I
  • Salvaging III - gives you the ability to salvage Tech II and faction ships
  • Salvaging IV - gives you the ability to salvage Sleeper Battleships
  • Salvaging V - gives you the ability to use the Salvager II
For more information on salvaging, check out the Salvaging Guide on Evelopedia

Your Salvaging Ship

One of the really cool things about salvaging is that you can do it with virtually any ship. I do recommend you have a dedicated salvaging ship (or fit). When building a salvaging ship, here are the things you want to consider:
  • High slots. Generally speaking, you want a ship with as many high slots as possible. The more high slots you have, the more salvagers and tractor beams you can fit.
  • CPU. You want a ship that will have enough CPU to fit all the salvagers, tractor beams and microwarpdrive
  • Cargo Capacity. You want a ship with a decent cargo capacity. The more cargo you can haul, the less trips you have to make to the space station to unload and the more profitable your salvaging operation will be. Salvage takes very little space in and of itself, but if you're going to collect the dropped modules as well (which you really should), then you'll need more space. Note: don't collect the cap booster charges. They take up a lot of cargo space, are practically worthless, and can't be reprocessed.
  • Speed. The faster your ship, the better--especially in your early salvaging career when you don't have tractor beams yet.
  • Capacitor. Using salvagers, tractor beams, and afterburners/microwarpdrives can use up a lot of capacitor. You can save a lot by only having your AB/MWD active when you actually need it.
You will have to decide how to balance and prioritize these attributes on your ship. Figure out what works best for you.

As for the actual ship to use, you can use any ship that fits the above criteria. A lot of people use destroyers for salvaging. They have a lot of high slots, decent CPU, capacitor, and cargo space (at least compared to frigates). They're also a lot cheaper than cruisers or battlecruisers (less overhead in your salvaging operation = more profit). However, I've seen people salvage in frigates, and that's fine, especially if you can't fly or afford a destroyer yet. I myself salvage in a cruiser sometimes. I do this when I go to a far off system to do missions. That way I can salvage and mission with one ship, I just have two different fits (I use an Omen to mission and salvage level 2 missions). You won't be able to fit quite as many salvagers on a cruiser (and you'll have higher overhead), but you'll have more capacitor and cargo space. In the end you have to decide what will work best for you at any given time.

Here is a list of modules you may want on your salvaging ship:
  • Salvager I
  • Small Tractor Beam I
  • Afterburner and/or Microwarpdrive
  • Expanded Cargoholds
  • Small Salvage Tackle I
Depending on when and where you're salvaging, you might want to fit an afterburner and a microwarpdrive on your ship, or switch between the two. If you're salvaging your own missions you've turned in (or someone else's), then you want the MWD. However, if you're salvaging someone else's mission before they've turned it in (more on this in a moment), then you'll want an AB. When salvaging someone else's mission, it's nice to have both if you can fit them.

The Big Money: Salvaging Level IV Missions

If you're a member of a player run corporation, or you have friends in the game who are doing level 4 missions, you can make a small fortune salvaging. A lot of players do level 4 missions to make money in the game. Many of them don't bother salvaging their missions because they can make more ISK/hour by just doing missions one after another as quickly as possible. However, for you, the new player, that salvage they leave behind is many times what you could make doing and salvaging your own missions.

If you're in a player corp, ask in corp chat if anyone is doing level 4 missions that they're not salvaging. Don't be annoying, and don't be a douche, but if you're nice, you may find someone who's willing to allow you to salvage their missions. They'll either let you have all the salvage and loot, or they'll split it with you (50/50 or some other arrangement). Either way it's a great deal for you. Also, once you fleet up with them, you'll get a share of the bounties, mission rewards and standing rewards for the missions. This is a great way for a new player to earn some standings and some ISK with low risk.

Keep in mind, though, that level 4 missions are dangerous to the new pilot. You should wait outside the mission area until the mission runner tells you it's clear for you to come in and salvage. In a mission with multiple rooms, you can salvage a room behind the mission runner. The most efficient way to do this is to salvage a mission behind the missioner. If you wait to go in and salvage until after the missioner turns in the mission, you can use your MWD. This takes a bit more planning because the missioner will have to bookmark each room and leave copies for you in the station via a contract. But if you can work this out together (especially if it's a friend you do this with often), it's a very efficient way to operate. Otherwise, just stay a room behind them and use your AB.

I hope this guide proves useful to you. If you have any requests for topics you'd like to see covered in EVE A to Z, please feel free to let me know via a comment. Thank you for reading.

Fly smart.


  1. Really good post,
    Good Job... I didn't know that lvl of salvage skill has anything to do with type of salvage.
    I was told it only has to do with % efficiency you salvage... Higher level, higher chance to salvage

  2. Thanks for the comment. That info is based on the Evelopedia article I referenced, so I'm assuming it's accurate. If it's not, let me know and I'll edit the post.

    You are right about it effecting your % success, but according to the article, your salvage skill opens up the different possibilities (like Sleeper Battleships).

    However, I have heard that you can make up for a lower salvage skill with the Salvage Tackle rigs (which add 10% I believe). Ie, you can salvage Sleeper BS's with 3 Salvage if you have the rigs fitted. I can't confirm this, though, because I haven't done it personally.

  3. I'm ATM in WH C2 and will pay special attention when we do Sleepers. AFAIK I was able to salvage them all, but haven't paid any attention if it was Sleeper Battleship.

    My salvaging skill is at lvl 3 ATM, and I'm not using any RIGs