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Salvaging is the process of turning ship wrecks into items. After a ship is destroyed (NPC or Player), a wreck is left behind. This wreck may contain loot, and can be turned into further items by salvaging it. Salvaging can add a lot of extra value to PvE operations. NPC wrecks can drop valuable modules or items, and the salvage from wrecks is used to manufacture rigs.
Why should you be a space janitor?
Salvaging does not require a lot of skills, expensive ships/modules, and is relatively safe and suitable for new characters. The starting skills include everything necessary to start salvaging, though it takes a few more hours to train into a ship better suited for the process. There are only a few skills that impact salvaging, and a player can reach max efficiency much faster than other professions.
The salvage in level 4 (and some level 3) missions is on par with and can sometimes surpass the worth of bounties and mission rewards. Also, you're not (usually) being shot at while salvaging. Low skillpoint characters can become salvagers for level 4 locust fleets and individuals and gain higher profits than doing their own relative mission levels.
The salvager's toolbox
Salvaging is easy to train into and can be done in almost any ship.
- Salvager I : This is the main tool for salvaging wrecks. Keep one in your hold all the time (they are dirt cheap too). There is also a tech 2 version (Salvager II) which is more expensive and requires more skills.
- Small Tractor Beam I : You can live without it, but these things make life a lot easier. They pull wrecks (and containers) to your ship so you don't have to fly to every one of them. They are a little more expensive (about 1.5 million ISK), but they speed up your salvage which means more ISK/hour. Note that although you can salvage yellow wrecks (wrecks not belonging to your fleet), you cannot tractor them. See "Ninja Salvaging" below.
- Expanded Cargohold I : Also optional, but it may help you reduce the trips to a station on some of the larger L3-L4 missions. The tech 2 version, Expanded Cargohold II, is also easy to train for and inexpensive.
- Small Salvage Tackle Rig (also comes in medium and large sizes): Increases salvage chance by 10% per rig. Adding this to a salvage destroyer (small rig) or noctis (medium rig) can greatly increase the speed at which you salvage.
Other useful modules include prop mods like a microwarpdrive or afterburner to fly faster to wrecks out of range of your tractor beams.
- Mobile Tractor Unit : Pulls in wrecks from up to 125km away and loots them for you - collecting the wrecks in one spot for easy and fast salvaging. An MTU reduces or eliminates the need for tractor beams being fitted to your ship allowing for more salvagers and a cloak to be considered. For the fastest salvaging, MTUs are best dropped early in the battle so it collects the wrecks as the battle progresses. This is dangerous for a pure salavager to do, so it's best if a fleet member drops one for you - however they need to collect it at the end, resulting in it dropping all the loot in one container for you to collect.
Any ship with high slots can be used to salvage, but the best ships have a lot of high slots to fit salvagers and tractor beams (if not using an MTU), decent speed for travelling closer to wrecks, and a good cargohold.
Destroyers are a very good choice for a starter salvager. They have 8 high slots, for 4 tractor beams and 4 salvagers (or 5/3 or 3/5 depending on preference). Destroyers are also fast and very reasonably priced. So, don't throw out your dessie. It can double up as your salvaging ship until you can afford a Noctis.
The Noctis is the gold standard of salvaging. This ORE ship has been designed specifically for salvaging. It has 8 high slots and bonuses to tractor beam range and speed and a reduction to salvager cycle time. With a high level in ORE Industrial skill you can sit still and tractor wrecks from over 70kms away. Salvaging with a Noctis becomes very pleasant and fast. The only down side is a price of about 50 million isk, and its rather clunky align time.
Salvage on the go
Some ships have the ability to do missions without guns. Droneboats are a very good example of these ships. You can warp into a mission with salvagers and tractor beams on your high slots and start salvaging while your drones kill NPCs. The Gallente (and recently Amarr) are known for their drone skills and have an impressive array of droneboats capable of salvaging while fighting. Vexor/Arbitrator (cruiser), Myrmidon/Prophecy (Battlecruiser) and Dominix/Armageddon (Although Armageddon is not popular in PvE but is a drone boat) (Battleship) come to mind.
Marauders are a special class of T2 battleships designed for mission running. They all have a 100% bonus to tractor beam velocity and range (up to 40km from 20km) and have utility high slots to equip salvagers and tractor beams. A 100% bonus to weapon damage and around twice the cargo hold of normal battleships (around 1150 m3) to store loot and salvage. Unfortunately they are very expensive and require a long train.
Small Tractor Beam I requires Science III.
To fly a Noctis, ORE Industrial skill must be trained to I or more, which needs Spaceship Command III. Also Science I. The tertiary skill required is Salvaging I which you should have already trained to use Salvager I. Training ORE Industrial is useful as each level increases the tractor beam speed by 300 m/s, its range by 12km and each salvage cycle half a second faster.
Creating a salvager alt
Creating a basic salvager alt that can fly a Noctis with tractor beam and salvager will take a little more than 2 days without any remaps. With ORE Industrial skill at level III this alt will have a 56km tractor beam range in a Noctis and with Salvager III it can salvage almost all normal high-sec missions, to salvage more advanced wrecks you can add rigs. If you want more range on your tractor beams you can train ORE Industrial to levels IV or V.
- Mechanics I (8 minutes, 20 seconds)
- Mechanics II (38 minutes, 50 seconds)
- Mechanics III (3 hours, 39 minutes, 30 seconds)
- CPU Management I (8 minutes, 20 seconds)
- Survey I (8 minutes, 20 seconds)
- Survey II (38 minutes, 50 seconds)
- Survey III (3 hours, 39 minutes, 30 seconds)
- Salvaging I (25 minutes)
- Salvaging II (1 hour, 56 minutes, 26 seconds)
- Salvaging III (10 hours, 58 minutes, 34 seconds)
- Science I (8 minutes, 20 seconds)
- Science II (38 minutes, 50 seconds)
- Science III (3 hours, 39 minutes, 30 seconds)
- Spaceship Command I (8 minutes, 20 seconds)
- Spaceship Command II (38 minutes, 50 seconds)
- Spaceship Command III (3 hours, 39 minutes, 30 seconds)
- ORE Industrial I (33 minutes, 20 seconds)
- ORE Industrial II (2 hours, 35 minutes, 14 seconds)
- ORE Industrial III (14 hours, 38 minutes, 6 seconds)
Total time: 2 days, 1 hour, 1 minute, 40 seconds
Using two remaps you can decrease this time to 1 day and 15 hours.
Remap 1 : Intelligence 27 / Memory 21 / Perception, Willpower and Charisma 17
- Mechanics I (6 minutes, 40 seconds)
- Mechanics II (31 minutes, 4 seconds)
- Mechanics III (2 hours, 55 minutes, 36 seconds)
- CPU Management I (6 minutes, 40 seconds)
- Survey I (6 minutes, 40 seconds)
- Survey II (31 minutes, 4 seconds)
- Survey III (2 hours, 55 minutes, 36 seconds)
- Salvaging I (20 minutes)
- Salvaging II (1 hour, 33 minutes, 8 seconds)
- Salvaging III (8 hours, 46 minutes, 51 seconds)
- Science I (6 minutes, 40 seconds)
- Science II (31 minutes, 4 seconds)
- Science III (2 hours, 55 minutes, 36 seconds)
Remap 2: Perception 27 / Willpower 21 / Intelligence, Charisma and Memory 17
- Spaceship Command I (6 minutes, 40 seconds)
- Spaceship Command II (31 minutes, 4 seconds)
- Spaceship Command III (2 hours, 55 minutes, 36 seconds)
- ORE Industrial I (26 minutes, 40 seconds)
- ORE Industrial II (2 hours, 4 minutes, 11 seconds)
- ORE Industrial III (11 hours, 42 minutes, 28 seconds)
Total time: 1 day, 15 hours, 13 minutes, 20 seconds
Mechanics of salvaging
Every time a ship is destroyed, a wreck is left behind. If you have enabled wrecks in your overview you should be able to see a downward triangle with the name of the wreck. If this triangle is full it means the wreck has loot and if the triangle is empty the wreck has nothing. If it is grey, it means you accessed the wreck and opened it and took a look inside. You can loot every wreck if your distance to it is under 2500 meters.
Approach the target or lock it and tractor it to your location using the tractor beam. When it is under 2500m (because you want to loot it too). Disable the tractor beam and fire up the salvager. Salvager I has a range of 5000m while Salvager II extends this to 6000m (in my opinion these are not very useful because if it has loot, you have to be under 2500m to loot it). After each cycle of Salvager, you can get any of the 3 messages:
- Salvage is successful and you found something of value, look into your cargo hold. The wreck disappears.
- Salvage is successful but you didn't find anything of value. Better luck next time. The wreck disappears.
- Salvage was unsuccessful. The salvager will start another cycle and continues until you get message 1 or 2.
Don't worry if you have not looted the wreck yet, when a wreck disappears after salvaging, its loot will appear in a storage container in space where the wreck was. You can then open each container and pick up what's inside. Salvaging will not destroy the loot.
The loot and salvage in each wreck are calculated at the time of destruction, so a higher salvaging skill and rigs will not guarantee you higher salvage. Other than enabling you to salvage higher level wrecks, salvage tackle rigs and salvage skill only make salvaging faster.
Each type of rats and ships give certain types of salvage, for a list of T1 salvages you can see this table.
Salvaging for yourself
Nothing complicated here. You may want to salvage on the go or bookmark each mission pocket and then come in later with your salvage ship. Bookmarking is better because you can do a batch of missions and then start salvaging with your Noctis. Also, after you hand in the mission, the acceleration gates will disappear and you can warp directly to each bookmark. Remember that wrecks disappear after 2 hours so time your salvage and mission time accordingly.
Salvaging for others
You may want to Salvage for other people. Remember to talk with the fleet or individual beforehand about your share. Usually in E-Uni fleets, salvagers are entitled to an equal share of the loot/salvage profits and bounties if you decide to warp in during the killing (almost no one will object because after all it's your ship that is at risk). Also salvager is usually responsible for hauling and selling the spoils of war to a trade hub and distributing the profits.
This is especially profitable during wartime when E-Uni members can run missions but don't want to risk being kicked because of an industrial loss. They can and will use an out of corp salvager. If you dropped from the Uni for war or have a salvager alt, this is prime time.
Salvager usually warps into each mission pocket after all NPCs are dead (or sometime while the killing is going on for a share in bounties) and starts salvaging and collecting loot and continues to the next pocket (if any). If you warp in during the mission please be advised that sometimes new waves can target you and be prepared to warp out as soon as you see some red boxes flashing, you are an industrial not a fighting ship. Sometimes salvager is contracted mission bookmarks in a station after they are done.
Remember that others in the fleet can see what you looted/salvaged in loot history window of fleet, so if you keep stealing and report lower numbers they will eventually catch you and it is also against E-Uni rules to steal.
How to make profit from salvaging
You did all the above and now have a load of salvage materials.
Directly selling salvage materials
Simply load up all the salvage material and travel to your favorite trade hub and start selling. Fortunately, their volume is usually low which eases transportation. It is easy to forget how valuable they are and haul too much and get suicide ganked. The big money makers are Alloyed Tritanium Bar, Armor Plates, Tripped Power Circuit, Burned Logic Circuit, Melted Capacitor Console and Ward Console.
Salvage materials are used to manufacture rigs. You can start manufacturing them if your industry skills and additional skills for the blueprints are high enough and you have access to the blueprints. Be advised that you will be competing with near-perfect industrialists with researched blueprints, so it may be more profitable to sell the materials directly. When in doubt you can always make spreadsheets.
- This section is taken from the Salvaging 101 class.
All wrecks have a base access chance, which is likelihood (for each cycle of your salvaging module) that you will successfully salvage the wreck.
- Small basic wrecks (Frigates and Destroyers) have a base access chance of 30%
- Medium basic wrecks (Cruisers and Battlecruisers) have a base access chance of 20%
- Large basic wrecks (Battleships) have a base access chance of 10%
- Small advanced wrecks (Wormhole NPCs, Faction or officer NPCs, or T2 player ships) have a base access chance of 0%
- A Sleeper Large Advanced Wreck has a base access chance of -20%.
Access chance can be modified by salvaging skill level, and using rigs, implants, and tech II salvaging modules.
Each level of the Salvaging skill with a Salvager I module improves your access chance by 5% per level (up to +25% at level V). Once you have trained Salvaging V, you can use the Salvager II module, which improves your base access by 7% per level (up to +35% at level V).
Salvage Tackle I rigs improve your access chance by 10% each. Salvage Tackle II improve your access chance by 15% each, but they are hideously expensive and usually not worth the additional investment unless you plan to do a lot of salvaging.
The Poteque 'Prospector' Salvaging SV-905 implant (it fits into slot 9) improves your access chance 5%. The Poteque 'Prospector' Environmental Analysis EY-1005 implant (it fits into slot 10) reduces cycle time of salvage, hacking and archaeology modules by 5%.
If you're using Salvage Drones, their access chance is 3%, and is increased by 2% for each level you have trained in the Salvage Drone Operation skill (up to a maximum of 13% at level V). This means they should be able to open anything except Sleeper Large Advanced Wrecks.
Note that the chance to salvage is not affected by stacking penalties. Also, improving your chance to salvage does not give you better salvage; it merely reduces the number of cycles it takes you to salvage a wreck (or, in the case of very difficult wrecks, allows you to salvage them at all).
Salvaging and the law
According to CONCORD, anyone may legally salvage a wreck. Salvaging a wreck does not affect your criminal or aggression status in any way. If the wreck contains loot, the loot container that drops when the wreck is salvaged will belong to the corporation that owned the wreck.
Looting an owned (yellow) wreck or can will flag you towards the owner's corporation, allowing them to shoot you. Salvaging will not.
You can tractor containers and wrecks owned by your corporation or by no-one (abandoned). You cannot tractor containers or wrecks owned by other corporations.
Salvaging and E-Uni
E-Uni rules are a little more restrictive than CONCORD rules. E-Uni members may only salvage (or loot, for that matter) wrecks of E-Uni members, NPCs killed by an E-Uni fleet, PCs killed by an E-Uni fleet, or abandoned wrecks. E-Uni members may not salvage (or loot) from wrecks owned by other people, even if you find them lying unattended in space.
The rule that makes ninja salvaging possible in high security space is that salvaging someone's wreck is not a CONCORD offense. You will not be flashy to the owner of wreck and they can't shoot you but taking the loot will result in you becoming flashy (the same as Can Flipping).
Step by step guide to ninja salvaging
- Finding a popular mission hub. Mission hubs are system several high level agents in adjacent systems and also have lower security value (usually 0.5 and 0.6). Because mission rewards are higher if the agent is located in a lower security value. Low distance to a trade hub is another factor. Note that there are other ninja salvagers and you may have competition in a popular mission hub.
- Initially run a D-Scan of the system to find the type of ship that you want to scan down. Scanning down bigger ships is easier, also if you want to provoke the mission runner into attacking you and then destroying him, you might want to scan down ships of a certain kind. Remember that maximum range on D-Scan is 14 AU and missions usually don't spawn further than 4 AU from celestials. You can warp to every celestial and run a D-Scan. When you have found a ship that you would like to scan down. Start by reducing the range of D-Scan and seeing if the ship is still in range. This way you can find the approximate location of the ship to scan it down faster in step 3. You start reducing the range of your D-Scan and write down the range. You can warp to a celestial in that range (the sphere with the diameter of that range centered on your current location) to run more D-Scans and reduce the range. Also reduce the scanning area from 360 degrees so you can have a good idea that your target is in which direction. Also if you can see wrecks in the same range as the ship, it means a mission is being run and there are wrecks for you to salvage. If there is just a ship without any wrecks chances are that he has just started the mission or is a salvager and has salvaged everything.
- Drop combat probes and scan down the area in the area from last step. There maybe hundreds of ship signatures in system but you have a vague idea of where the ship is located. Hopefully there are only a few ship signatures in that area. Scan down each signature, at some signature strength you can see the type of the ship to see if you chose the right one. Scan down your designated victim and warp to the mission at 100km to see what is happening. Note that in steps 2,3, and 4 you are simply combat scanning a ship.
- You cannot tractor yellow wrecks. So don't put any on your ninja salvaging ship. You must fly to each wreck, lock it up and start salvaging when under 5000 meters. Remember that if you don't take any loot, wreck owner cannot shoot you. A microwarpdrive is also useful to get to wrecks faster.
- Fly to another wreck, rinse and repeat.
- It cannot be emphasized enough that ninja salvaging and griefing is against E-Uni rules. You may be kicked with no chance of rejoining.
What to do when encountering a ninja salvager
- Don't panic, at most he can only salvage your wrecks. But cannot take any loot without becoming flashy to you. This works like can flipping mechanics.
- Don't shoot the ninja salvager if he is not flashy (has not take any loot). If you shoot him in high security space you will get CONCORDed.
- You can try to ignore him and do your mission normally.
- You can warp out of mission if you can. Then the NPCs may start targeting him and he may be destroyed as they are usually in fast and small ships.
- Create a bookmark 150+km away in the mission pocket. Then lead the NPC to the ninja and warp to the bookmark. The ninja will now have full agro. You can watch or continue the mission or start looting your own wrecks free of agro. Trigger the next wave if needed.
- You can shoot your wrecks, be careful that you don't lock up and shoot the ninja.
- If he takes any loot, you can legally shoot him but beware that many ninja salvagers are in a pvp fitted ship and have chosen the fit specifically to work against mission fits for your class of ships. They want to provoke you into attacking them and then destroying you without CONCORD intefering (like can flippers).
- Report his name, your location and his ship into the alliance chat. If he has taken any loot and you are near other unistas, a fleet may be formed to go and kill him. In this situation note the aggression timers.
- You just want to make life as hard as it can be to them, so they get bored and go away. Destroying the wrecks is a good idea.
- If you see ninja salvagers a lot, you may want to change your mission base or hire a salvager to salvage your missions for you while you are doing them. Alternatively you may want to salvage on the go
- Did I mention that you should not panic and/or shoot the ninja salvager?
Salvaging in wormholes
Wormhole NPCs are called sleeper drones (usually sleepers for the sake of simplicity). They don't have bounties like K-Space rats, instead each type of sleepers drop a certain number of tags from specific type(s). These tags are called blue loot (because they are blue in color) and there are NPC buy orders at fixed prices for them in stations. The sleepers won't drop any modules or loot other than blue loot and each and everyone of them will always have at least 2 pieces of blue loot in their wrecks.
The main income of WH site runners comes from this blue loot and sleeper salvage. Sleeper salvage is used in T3 (strategic cruisers) production. Unfortunately most of sleeper salvage is worthless because of the high drop rate, the only valuable sleeper salvage are Melted Nanoribbons which can be sold higher than 6 million isk at time of writing.
When salvaging in a Wormhole, beware that you are the treasure ship and a solo stealth bomber can destroy you easily. People should remain with salvagers on site to help protect them when a threat suddenly appears. For smaller sites, a salvaging destroyer can be used but for higher class wormholes, a Noctis is the better option. Salvaging ships usually have warp core stabilizers in their low slots to be able to flee and warp out. Expanded cargoholds are usually not needed as sleeper loot and salvage is low on volume.
Tips and tricks
- Some people use 4 tractor beams and 4 salvagers, depending on your preference and fit, this could be 5/3 or 3/5.
- If you use a Noctis 5 Salvage Drones can save a lot of clicking, you can concentrate on tractoring and looting, the drones salvage. In save areas you can even bring a MTU to do the looting of containers for you.
- Using modules that decrease your align time and increase max speed will help you get to the bookmarks and hence your salvage faster.
- When making a bookmark in a mission to warp in with your salvaging ship, zoom out and choose a wreck to bookmark in the middle of wrecks so almost every one of them is in your tractor beam range. if you have the tank, it may be better to kill enemies closer to you so all the wrecks are concentrated in one spot.
- If you can, fit a microwarpdrive on your salvage ship, to fly to each wreck out of your tractor beam range quickly. Remember that it also makes you easier to find using combat probes and easier to hit.