EVE ISK Farming Guide for Beginners
In this guide, we will be describing all different types of activities player can take up to earn ISK in EVE Online. ISK is the primary EVE's in-game currency, used to purchase Battleships, equipment, PLEX, or even Skill Points themselves. Since pretty much anything can be bought with ISK, we tend to believe earning ISK is the most important and exciting part of EVE Online.
As a new EVE Online player, you must be wondering how to start earning decent money, to buy better ships and enjoy the game. There is a lot of fascinating things to do in EVE Online, and pretty much all of them can be profitable if done right.
The first section of this article will describe EVE ISK farming methods available to anyone, including new players. These types of activities are usually done solo, they do not involve a high level of risk, and are not the most profitable, but will let you grind your way up.
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- Mining - Mining is one of the first activities players do to earn ISK in EVE Online. All you need is Mining skill on level I. It will allow you to equip any Frigate you own with a mining module called Miner I. Then take your ship to an Asteroid belt and start mining ore. Ore is stored in your cargo hold (or other specific containers for ore). This method is one of the most accessible, most secure, and boring activities you can do to earn ISK. The good thing is that it usually can be done semi-afk in high-sec zones.
Mining can be divided into three main subcategories which include:
Ore Mining - the most basic form of Mining, where you gather ore from Asteroid belts
Gas Mining - mining from interstellar gas clouds. It is a more advanced form of mining that requires the Mining skill to be trained up to level IV
Ice Mining - the process of mining resources from ice belts. Ice belts spawn in specific zones and disappear once depleted, respawning every four hours. Ice belt mining is more afk-friendly, and profitable, but because of the 4-hour intervals, it may be harder to allow continuous income for many hours
A decent way of making ISK by Mining is learning how to jump into wormholes safely. Wormhole space is full of valuable asteroids at gravimetric sites. However, this type of Mining requires more experience and is risky. After all, you are entering null-security zones.
High-sec mining - 10M ISK per hour
Null-sec zone mining - 30M ISK per hour
Ice mining 30-40M ISK per hour
Wormhole Space Gas mining 50-60M ISK per hour
If you would like to find out more about Mining check our complete EVE Online Mining Guide
- Missions - Missions are similar to questing in other popular MMORPGs. You need to find an agent and start making missions/quests for the chosen corporation. Agents are scattered around the EVE Online Universe and are ranked from level 1 - 5. If you have good standing with the corporation and can accept missions from a level 4 Agent, you should be easily able to make approximately 20 million ISK per hour in a high-security zone.
After choosing an Agent, you should stick to doing missions for this one specific corporation. Grind your way up to level 4 as soon as possible, for increased rewards. During lower level missions you should even skip salvaging and other unrelated activities.
The "downside" to completing missions for one corporation, and increasing your standing with them, is lowering you standing with other opposing factions.
The best ships to fly missions are Marauders. However, they are costly, and it takes time to train enough to be able to operate them. If you are yet to fly a Marauder-class ship, we recommend using one of the following vessels: Abaddon (Amarr), Raven (Caldari), Dominix (Gallente), Typhoon (Minmitar). These ships provide both high durability, and decent DPS. The most efficient way to earn a lot of ISK from missions is by "Blitzing". This method requires you to skip anything that's not strictly related to completing the task. You only kill whatever is necessary, skip salvaging and looting, and return to collect the rewards.
Lvl.1 & Lvl.2 Missions - below 10M ISK per hour
Lvl.3 Missions - 15-20M ISK per hour
Lvl.4 Missions - 40-50M ISK per hour
Mission Blitzing - up to 80M ISK per hour
We have a complete guide on Missions that you can access by clicking here.
- Planetary Interactions - one of the most popular ways to get yourself a stream of ISK steadily flowing your way. It is a type of industry that requires you to set up a colony on a planet and start gathering resources from it. This type of ISK farming needs you to invest in a Command Center for your chosen planet. Command Centers can be bought with ISK on the market. There are eight types fo Command Centers for each type of planet, and once you set it up, earning money off it, requires you to visit your colony once in a while to collect the goods. Meanwhile, you are free to do whatever you like best in EVE Online, which is the best part of Planetary Interactions.
High-sec planets - 0.75-1M ISK per day, per planet
Null-sec planets - 4-5M ISK per day, per planet
- Trading - trading is one of the most interesting(at least in our opinion) and profitable activities you can do to earn ISK in EVE Online. The basic idea of making money on trading is to buy underpriced items, and sell them for more. Trading, in general, requires a bit of initial investment, and a lot of in-game knowledge, and experience. Station trading, which is the most basic way to earn ISK, is all about trading items within one specific station. You post buy orders for highly demanded items, and when someone sells it to you, you have to post it for more. You should make sure that you can sell the item and at a higher price, within a reasonable timeframe. It is also possible to make a significant profit by buying items on one station and hauling it to another, where its' price is higher. And, the most profitable trading activity of all, is for sure direct manipulation of the Market. However, you should be prepared to invest hundreds of billions of ISK (if not more) and accept a great deal of risk. After all, there can be wealthier players than you, that may detect your attempt and ruin your plans, leaving with your billions of ISK in losses.
Station trading - 20-200M ISK per hour
Market manipulation - supposedly Billions of ISK per hour
- Exploration - exploration is one of the most interesting ways of making ISK in EVE Online. This is one of the things that new players can start doing on day 1, and it's what most people came here for - exploring space. This method's profit has very high variability and requires luck to make some decent money, but it's an excellent way for new players to learn, and enjoy the game. Exploration involves using scanning probes to detect "Cosmic signatures" in space, which are scannable locations. Those locations can have different types, and because of it, Exploration can include all different types of encounters, and bring profit from different sources. Cosmic signatures may be identified as:
Combat sites - which contain hostile NPC Battleships, called "rats" (see Ratting) that you have to kill. They can drop valuable items, or in rare occasions escalate into expeditions (see Escalations)
Gas sites - which contain Gas clouds that can be harvested (see Mining)
Relic sites - locations with containers, that can be hacked with a relic analyzer. Relic sites can contain very valuable loot, including high-end Battleship equipment, and Blueprints. Relic sites can be a very high difficulty level encounters, with only the normal space areas containing no harmful elements
Data sites - locations with containers, that can be hacked with a data analyzer. Data sites are similar to Relic sites. However, they are usually less profitable
Wormholes - are temporary gateways that connect two star systems. Wormholes can connect to uncharted space, or the Anoikis galaxy, which are referred to as the "Wormhole Space". Players can make a lot of ISK in Wormhole space. However, those are hazardous areas, where you to be prepared to face significant loses. For more information check our Wormhole Space in-depth Guide.
Exploration has very high variability and is highly dependant on luck. The income can vary from 10M ISK per hour to around 70M ISK if you can deal with Null-sec and Wormhole Space Pirate Relic and Data sites.
We also have a complete Guide to Exploration in EVE Online which you may want to check out if you are interested in learning about this part of the game.
- Ratting - EVE Universe is full of NPC pirate ships, usually called "rats". Hunting rats is a prevalent method of earning ISK for the type of players that like PvE Combat. Rats can appear in cosmic anomalies, asteroid belts, and near gateways and stations in null-sec space. Rats can be found in 0.8 security level systems and below. The lower the security, the higher the chance to find a rat. Killing rats give you bounty, and you can also loot and salvage their wrecks. Keep in mind, that the lower the security level of your system, rats will have more powerful ships, and you should be prepared.
Low-sec asteroid belt Ratting - 10M ISK per hour
Null-sec asteroid belt Ratting - 20M ISK per hour
Null-sec Ishtar Anomalies Ratting - 50M ISK per hour
C5-C6 Ratting - up to 250M ISK per hour
- Combat sites/Escalations - Combat sites are one of the main areas where PvE combat takes place. Combat sites are usually found during exploration, and those can be divided into:
Combat anomalies, which are located without the use of scanner probes, or have a form of cosmic signatures, which require scanning. Combat sites, which are found as cosmic signatures, are usually more challenging and rewarding. Cosmic signature combat sites are further divided into:
DED rated complexes - contains several groups of enemies, that can drop Faction items and Deadspace modules
Unrated complexes - have a higher chance to contain a commander. Commander's ships can drop Faction items and have a chance to escalate into expeditions
Chemical Labs - are a type of combat sites that will appear as a gas cloud in your scanner window. To get all the loot, you need to deal with hostile NPCs, and hack found containers with a data analyzer
The previously mentioned Expeditions are escalated from Unrated complexes when certain conditions are met. Expeditions usually consist of four parts, and after completing each, you are lead to another location. Usually, those locations are several jumps afar from where the Expedition escalated. It's also common that the fourth location will be in a lower security system
High-sec Combat anomalies and signatures - 20-25M ISK per hour
Low-sec Combat anomalies and signatures - 40M ISK per hour
Null-sec Combat anomalies and signatures - 80-90M ISK per hour
Escalations may nearly double your ISK per hour rate
- Faction Warfare - is an exciting game mechanic that revolves around PvP combat. Players sign up to fight for one of the factions of the empire and battle for the control of some low-security regions. Faction Warfare takes place in two main battlefields: the Amarr-Minntamar war zone, and the Caldari-Gallente war zone, which are contested by the corresponding Factions. A lot of ISK is to be made in Faction Warfare. Players are rewarded for:
Completing missions - which work like other missions in EVE Online
Capturing enemy complexes (commonly referred to as "plexing") - to capture an enemy complex in Faction Warfare, you have to enter it and destroy hostile NPC controlled ships. As long as you are in the complex's radius when it's captured, you will be substantially rewarded. However, some players also prefer to earn money by defending those complexes. This is done by leaving certain ships as baits and then obliterating the attackers. Plexing does not always turn out to be easy
Destroying enemy ships - on top of being able to loot and salvage enemy wrecks.
For each of the above activities, players are also awarded Loyalty Points, which can be exchanged at the Faction Warfare's Loyalty Points store. LPs can be traded for ships, blueprints, implants, modules, and more. In general, plexing in Faction Warfare is one of the most profitable activities in EVE Online.
Faction Warfare Missions - 150-250M ISK per hour
Faction Warfare plexing - up to 1B ISK per hour
- Incursions - are one of the most advanced methods of earning ISK in EVE Online. They can be compared to Raiding in World of Warcraft and other similar MMORPGs. It means, that a full team of experienced players is needed. All members need to have special roles assigned, need to fly specific ships, with proper modules equipped. Team composition, teamwork, and a lot of experience is required to successfully run Incursions. Incursions are random PvE events, where Sansha's Nation invades the Constellation. Players are supposed to team up to either slow down or stop the invasion. Incursions, on top of being extremely challenging, are very rewarding. To learn about an Incursion, you either have to be in the Incursion Constellation or check your Journal (Incursions/General Report tab). Incursions are one of the most profitable activities in EVE Online, sadly, being able to run them, a proper Corporation is required, and this is impossible to be done solo.
High-sec Incursions - 150-200M ISK per hour
Low-sec Incursions - 200-250M ISK per hour
Odealo is a secure marketplace for EVE Online ISK and Items where trades are made by regular players with the use of real money.
We hope this gives you an insight into how ISK can be farmed in EVE Online. We know there are a lot of different ways to earn currency in EVE Online, but these nine methods seemed to be the most popular. Other methods including Blueprint Research, selling Datacores, Moon-mining, Manufacturing are not that effective anymore and were not mentioned above. However, we still encourage you to try them out and learn about this fantastic MMORPG game.
If you think there are other methods that should be mentioned here, feel free to leave a comment below. You can also let us know if you would like to see a detailed guide about any of the methods above, and we may consider doing an in-depth guide about it. Either way, feel free to leave a comment below.
Pictures used in this article are the intellectual property of CCP Games.