User:Irving Farnham/ISK Generation

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So you want to make ISK?

One of the most common and largest questions in EVE Online is "How do I make ISK," which is really just asking "What can I do in EVE?" If you're only interested in making money, there's an option here, but if you're interested in making ISK doing things you enjoy, the questions you should be asking are "Who are you?" and "What do you want?"

Some of the ways to make ISK in EVE aren't fun for everyone. If you grab a random guide from the Internet then you'll get that person's idea of a good time. If you enjoy being docked up, maybe industry is your thing. If you want to fly PvE for profit, Abyssals currently turn out good profits. If you like PvP, there's always something going on. If you don't like one of those options, please, don't do it no matter how much someone promises you it's the best way.

If you're looking for the safe way to make money without time, ISK, or real world investment, there isn't one.

Getting Started

The Career Agents provide a simple paid training course for EVE Online. If you're a new player, this is a highly recommended route to take. You will receive good, if occasionally poorly documented, experience as well as a few million ISK and a handful of ships and modules that will prepare you for PvE Security Missions and PvP Fleets as Tackle. This is free money and equipment when you need it most. If you just started playing, find a career agent.

You should also join a corporation. Not only does this help new players with advice and an easy way to find good fleets, but most players are really friendly to new players, especially in their corporation. Of course, you need to be aware of scams. Find a good corporation, and EVE University can assist in getting players to a point where they can decide where their career should take them.

We have a page specifically for new players to get them oriented to the game as a whole. Finding what you like before you invest time and money on a "high profit" job you hate will make your time in EVE Online much happier.

Who are you?

Identity Jobs
Combat Pilot Security contracts, PVP, Abyssal runs, fleet actions
Cargo Pilot Delivery contracts, commodities trader
Blockade Runner Low/nullsec delivery contracts, commodities trader
Exploration Wormholes, recon
PvP Fleets, wormholes, Abyssal proving grounds
Captain of Industry Science, construction, planetary interaction

What do you want?

To fly a specific ship

Ships in EVE are both consumables and a complex combination of both character skills and player planning. Purchasing a ship is only part of the process. Every component on the ship costs money, and every part of this requires character skills. Nobody wants to hear about how "it's a journey," but fitting a ship can be a major task, and if you're struggling to pay for it, you shouldn't fly it. If you're pushing to pay for a specific fit, and you're certain you want to do it, find a less expensive ship for ISK generation that uses similar skills. Early grade rigs, weapons, and equipment are a fraction of the cost and require similar skills.

An example is if you want to run the Golem Battleship as a missile boat, you can start with the Ibis, move up to the Corax destroyer, the Caracal cruiser, and then the Drake battlecruiser. Each of these is a Caldari ship using a shield tank and missile weapons. By sticking with a specialty, your skills can be trained in a more targeted, meaning faster or cheaper, way, and you can field the heaviest ship you can afford to lose using similar tactics. Each new skill will improve your performance in each ship, and you'll be shockingly more effective when you finally field your chosen ship.

To be great in PvP

Practice. Practice. Practice.

Find a corp, find a fleet, and do what they tell you. To be great means to know every ship, every fleet role, and every tactic used by and against you. This only comes with experience and that only starts when you jump in with a fleet.

Flying with a fleet lets you learn from your allies as well as your foes, and often ends up making life easier with fitting or even financial support. Fly as often as you can with as many people as you can.

If you want to break off on your own or into a small crew, that can come later, but the best way to gain experience is flying with people who've been there. Start in fleets, make your choice from there.

To be part of a community

Lesson Learned
Frozen corpse.png

In a Magic Merlin training flight in low-sec a new player in an Ibis began firing at one of the Merlins. It wasn't a target until it fired on the fleet, but it didn't survive. One of the fleet (with the FC's go-ahead) contacted the player explaining the mistakes made.

We've all heard (and maybe have seen) how toxic EVE can be, but usually you see nothing but friendly faces in your corporation and even in the public as a whole. Yes, you may get shot out of space on your first day, but the chances are if they notice you're new they'll let you know what you did wrong.

Join a community sooner rather than later. No matter what you choose to do, someone's been there, and so many people are willing to help. Start on any path and people will help you become what you want to be.

To make an efficient business

EVE Online is an amazing choice for people who like business management simulations. Pure market systems exist, along with natural fluctuations, speculation, and manipulation, but from mining raw ore and refining it (or extracting it in planetary interaction), researching the blueprints to improve quality or yield, manufacturing the goods, and transporting goods to areas of high demand, the entire supply chain is player-driven. If you feel joy in making a deal or smile at the phrase "Vertical Integration," profit is yours for the taking.

To lead an army

Get in a corporation, get in a fleet, learn every step in the process, take notes on everything your commanders do right and what they do wrong. Be an expert. If you think you can do a job, volunteer. When they ask you to step up, step up. Be the person they'd ask to lead a mission. EVE Online has a way of rewarding good leaders and punishing those who seek to lead for the wrong reasons.

Be exceptional. People will notice.


Mining is not safe.

To get the best ore, you will be mining in lawless areas, and either targeted attackers or simple passing fleets can and will destroy you for entertainment purposes. Even in high security sectors, people can and will kill you, only to be killed by authorities. Mining is less putting your feet up with a good book and more a rabbit eating in a wolves' den, constantly looking for new arrivals in local and putting your finger on the warp button the second your scanners pick up ships near you.

To be profitable, learn to mine and then find a mining fleet to organize a profitable run with the proper support. Remember, EVE is a community-centric game, and mining alone is not as profitable as mining with a team.


Salvaging is generally a secondary activity, as a ship must be destroyed before it can be salvaged. Since salvaging ships sacrifice some offensive power and L4 security contracts are typically the only way to turn a reasonable profit, a pilot should find a team running L4 contracts that are willing to slow down and allow you to salvage their wrecks for a cut of the profit. Salvaging abandoned wrecks is possible, but they may not be entirely abandoned.



One of the few ways to amass ISK directly using a transport ship, transport contracts can be accepted from a station and fulfilled automatcially. A courier contract is simply being paid to haul someone else's cargo. It is very important to use due dilligence and familiarize yourself with contract scams prior to accepting any contract, as things such as inaccessible stations or ganking will leave you unpaid, possibly down a ship, and out the collateral.

This is also an excellent way to double dip on transporting your own cargo using excess capacity or help out your corporation.


Buy low and sell high. Using external tools, moving raw materials to trade hubs and finished goods to point of use can have a return on investment of 25% without trouble. Knowing future demands, such as festivals or fleet actions, can make huge amounts of profit, and while this can make the most amount of consistent profit, the returns are generally slower at first.

There is also a risk of losing a ship to pirates, as they specifically target high value cargo ships, but to a skilled pilot, the higher the risk, the more profitable the route.

Combines very well with Science and Construction. See Trading for further information and assistance.




Planetary Interaction




Security missions provide a low level, low effort early income. The payoff is fairly low for low level missions, with level 4 missions being the most likely to provide a reasonable income. These missions also provide loyalty points, which can be used to purchase goods for sale or redeemed for desired faction rewards.

Including these faction rewards, level one missions produce only a few thousand ISK per run, even assuming the optional speed objective is completed. These produce a fraction of the rewards of a level 0 Abyssal run, but given any caution they are the closest thing to a "safe" PvE experience. Grinding faction reputation to get level 4 missions can provide missions with a one million ISK reward, as well as potentially providing valuable salvage. This pay is on top of loot, but this income requires significant time investment for both the faction reputation and the skills and money required to field an upgraded battleship.

For further information, check out both security missions and more generally mission-running training in Missioning 101.


T0 Uriel's Uni Abyss
ISK per run 2.65 mil Initial Investment 1.2 mil
ISK per hour 15 mil Risk Med
Player Skill Med Character Skill [[1]]
Solo Friendly Yes Alpha Friendly Yes

Abyssals are one of the best tracked activities in terms of profit per hour. Abyss Tracker allows pilots to view effective loadouts and real-world data. As an opt-in system, accuracy is not guaranteed, however it provides real world data to allow for reasonable analysis.

Uriel Tkarmminni has posted an excellent day 0 to T4 guide here and it allows for a low buy-in high reward system, which also drives up tranquil filament prices and floods the market with loot drops. Expect payouts and requirements to change dramatically. As of 07MAY2021, a single run has a 600k buy-in in the Forge region.

T4 Uriel's Uni Abyss
ISK per run 28.5 mil Initial Investment 418 mil
ISK per hour 99 mil Risk Med
Player Skill Low Character Skill [[2]]
Solo Friendly Yes Alpha Friendly ?

This is an excellent way for PvE pilots, particularly solo pilots, to generate large amounts of revenue, but initial investment and properly shopping the drops around to get a good price makes this an actual effort. Similarly, while skilled players have very low fatality rates, Abyssals are unforgiving of mistakes and new pilots are likely to lose ships in their first few runs on a difficulty or if they become complacent.

To take part an Abyssal, you need to collect the right type and level of filaments, form a fleet, and use the filament from your inventory. From there, each sector must be cleared before jumping to the next, and timing out will cause the loss of ship and capsule. There is no way to abort a run once the gate has been entered.

Further guidance and information is available on the Abyssal Deadspace page.


Proving Grounds

Note: Need to make sure these actually still exist.


One of the easiest ways to make money using PvP is joining a fleet. While player skill matters, a frigate and minimal skills are all that's required to be useful in a fleet. Larger fleet actions will quickly amass a good value of loot, and a lean share for a battleship pilot is a fortune to a frigate pilot.

The fastest way to get into fleet actions is acting as tackle. These ships are part of the first contact, and are tasked with keeping the enemy from escaping once overwhelming firepower arrives. Electronic Warfare (EW, EWAR) makes the hostiles easier to hit and less likely to hit friendlies, while Logistics (Logi) keeps ships shielded and in repair. These become progressively more skill (player and character) intensive, but also more valuable to the fleet.

Recon is a special branch of Tackle, designed to find targets and tackle them while the fleet is still outside of the system. Since smart targets will notice a fleet jumping in and decide to simply leave the area, recon is the difference between a good day's hunting and going home hungry (or meeting a superior force and not going home at all).

Not to be confused with sensor-based recon ships or strategic reconnaissance.

I don't want to read all this!

Lesson Learned
Frozen corpse.png

When drones are not recovered or a module overheats and breaks, ships and clones are lost. There is no escape from an Abyssal unless it is completed. No matter how experienced a pilot is, mistakes happen. If you spend all your ISK trying to fit a ship and then lose it, you're out of luck. Never fly anything you can't afford to replace!

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you go off half-cocked and not research what you're about to do, you will lose your ship and maybe more. If you can't afford to replace the ship you lost, you're stuck flying a Corvette until you can build your resources back up, and you'll lose days of profit.

But, if you just want to know "the fast way to make ISK," Uriel's Uni Abyssal Track is an excellent option. Spend a day or two finishing up your Career Agent missions, roll about 3 million ISK into a ship and filaments, run four T0 missions (two hours) put your spoils up for auction (20-40 million ISK depending on skill and market). Come back the next day, run about 50 missions (12-25 hours) and make several hundred million. You'll have experience running Abyssals and can afford a Gila to make 100 mil+ per hour.

It's not that simple, but if you want the quick "100 million ISK per hour for a newbie" answer, there's one.