EVE Online takes the economic aspect of MMOs to a completely new level; in fantasy settings, players can engage in inter-zone, or maybe inter-continental trading, but in EVE... well, the scale can't even compare. Just think about inter-planetary or even inter-star system trading. The game gives you access to over 7.500 accessible solar systems, all of which are potential trade route destinations. The sheer vastness of the New Eden Star Cluster (that's what EVE's "world" is called) would make trading rather difficult if not for two things. Stargate Connections which allow players to fast-travel between systems and the unified currency. EVE Online ISK or InterStellak Kredit is the New Eden's main circulating medium, approved by all governments, organizations, and corporations that operate within it. Without it, interstellar trade would be much more complicated; just imagine each of the planets having its own currency system... luckily, this is not the case. ISK is what fuels the EVE's thriving economy; it can buy you pretty much anything, from raw ore to a mighty Dreadnaught. There are very many ways of obtaining it, ranging from simple asteroid-belt mining operations to daring raids into the wormhole space.
InterStellar Kredit (ISK) is the primary currency in EVE Online. It fuels the economy in EVE and is used as the mean of exchange for all kinds of in-game goods. EVE ISK is an equivalent of Gold in the most typical massively multiplayer online games, and it's the primary currency on the in-game's market in EVE Online. ISK is used to buy, sell, and trade pretty much everything in EVE Online, making it a necessity for players to earn as much ISK as possible while exploring space.
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How to earn ISK in EVE Online
As a true sandbox title, EVE offers its players real freedom of gameplay. This means that everyone will find something enjoyable to do, and will most likely make some EVE ISK doing it. Here is a brief summary of some of the most proven ways of making a profit in EVE Online:
- Mining - This is what comes to mind first. Everybody can do it, and the entry cost is very low; all you need is a Venture class Frigate (or any other small ship, but Venture was designed with mining in mind), a Mining Laser, and some basic Mining skills (of course, for high-tech mining operations, requirements can skyrocket, but so can potential profits). If you opt for high-sec mining, you can do it semi-AFK, but your profits will be lower than in null-sec zones (which are much more dangerous, however). The risk of getting ganked during mining is always present, but there are some module choices that can help you protect yourself. Profits that could be generated with this method vary greatly depending on your pilot skills, chosen ship, support of other players, and a few more factors, but they can easily reach millions of EVE Online ISK per hour with high-end mining vessels.
- Trading - Each of the New Eden's star systems has its own economy, which means that prices of certain goods can differ greatly from system to system. You can take advantage of it by buying underpriced goods in one place, and then transporting them to another place, where they are currently in high demand. Unlike mining, this method requires you to have quite a high sum of EVE ISK at the start, because you will have to buy and equip a large enough transport vessel and purchase the first load goods that you will then transport. Alternatively, you can try to flip goods, that are constantly in high demand, on a single station by placing buy orders; doing it this way will eliminate the risk of losing a ship together with its cargo, but will also generate fewer profits (short-term; flipping can make you much more in the long run, if you have the required experience and enough EVE ISK to invest).
- Missions - If you are looking for an alternative source of income and you don't mind getting your hands dirty, the New Eden Star Cluster might present you with some interesting opportunities... Dubious Private Corporations and powerful Factions often hire pilots, who are not directly connected with them, to do some more or less illegal work in their stead. The more difficult the task, the higher the reward. However, this does not mean that you can jump straight to missions that offer the highest amount of EVE Online ISK in rewards; you will have to earn your "employer's" trust first. This means that you have no other option, but to start from the very bottom by doing dishes and throwing out some trash (not literally, of course). The best-paid, but also very difficult missions become available after you reach a Standing of at least 5.0 with your chosen faction (requirements for these are quite high, prepare to field something like Battleship, an Exhumer, or a Large Industrial Ship, depending on the chosen mission type). Common missions are divided into three types: Distribution and Trade, Mining, and Security, with all of the types having different ship requirements (not mandatory, but completing a high-level security mission without a combat-specced ship might be rather difficult). The most difficult missions offer millions of EVE ISK in rewards. If you decide to become a Freelancer, talk to your chosen Agent at the nearest space station.
- Exploration - The New Eden Star Cluster is vast and still largely unexplored, which creates a great opportunity for discovery and exploration. If you equip your ship with Scanning Probes, you will be able to locate so-called Cosmic Signatures, that can be described as points of interest of sorts, scattered in the void of space. These Signatures come in 4 basic types, all of which offer different possibilities. Gas Sites - places where you can harvest interstellar gases which can then be sold for a decent sum (these sites are valued by miners, but they are of little interest to an explorer). Combat Sites - places where you might encounter hostile NPCs that will drop valuable loot when defeated (Faction and Deadspace modules, for example; as an explorer, not equipped with a combat vessel, you should avoid these). Wormhole Space - rifts in spacetime that can lead you to completely different star systems or to mysterious Wormhole Space. Relic and Data Sites - the most interesting type for any explorer; precious relics and information can be collected from these sites with Data Analyzer (both information and relics are worth a lot of EVE Online ISK, you just have to find the right buyer). If you are interested in becoming an Explorer in EVE, we have a detailed guide for you (check the "guides" tab above).
- Ratting - The New Eden Star Cluster, and especially its null-sec zones, is a dangerous place. In systems with a security level below 0.8, players are at constant risk of being attacked by NPC Pirates (also known as "Rats" hence the method's name). While small mining vessels operated by players are easily out-gunned by NPCs and have to run for their lives at the first site of danger, bigger ships stand a good chance of defending themselves. This is where this method comes in... you turn the table on Pirates and the hunter becomes the hunted. All you need is a decent combat ship able to hold its ground against Rats. Each of these outlawed NPCs has a bounty placed on its head, which means that defeating them earns you EVE ISK. Moreover, wrecks of their ships can be salvaged which increases potential profits. Ratting is the most profitable in null-sec zones, but Pirates are also much more powerful there, which means that a better ship is required to defeat them. As for places where the Rats can be found; they commonly appear in Cosmic Anomalies, at asteroid belts, near gateways and close to space stations (in other words, places where they can find "victims" to rob, destroy, and salvage).
- Planetary Interactions - The main advantage of this method is the fact that it earns you EVE Online ISK passively after you set it up correctly. The setup stage involves creating a colony on the chosen planet's surface and setting-up mining operations on it. To do it, you have to invest in a Command Center, that can be easily bought on the market (there are eight Command Center types, each for a certain type of planet). After the setup stage is done, all you have to do is visit your colony from time to time and collect the gathered resources that can be then sold on the galactic market. This is one of the best methods, if you don't have much time to spend in the game and would like to invest it in more engaging activities like fighting for domination with your alliance, but there is one even better and less time-consuming...
- Getting Interstellar Kredits from a proven outside source - If your online hours in EVE are limited because of your real-life obligations, you might want to consider this option as it will allow you to cover your in-game expenses without the need for lengthy grinds, which in turn will allow you to focus on the most fun aspects of the game. This will save you a lot of time, especially if your expenses are high because you need to upkeep a high-tech, expensive ship that is required for your favorite in-game activities. You can safely Buy EVE Online ISK on Odealo, the largest player-to-player trading hub on the internet. Doing this is, by far, the most cost-effective method of earning EVE's main currency, because your time is precious and saving it allows you to enjoy your favorite aspects of the game for longer.
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