All right, so you’ve decided to take the dive into the world of space adventure and subscribe to EVE Online. You might have noticed, during your tutorial, that this MMO doesn’t work quite like so many others out there. You don’t move from city to city with increasing NPC levels as your travel closer to enemy territory, there are no villages full of NPCs to wander around, and there isn’t a massive storyline to follow. With thousands of different systems to visit, each with plenty of things to do, EVE Online makes up the largest and most open MMO online today. So, how do you make ISK (the currency used in EVE)?
One of the easiest ways to make some money is by mining minerals and ice from various asteroid belts around the galaxy. Some systems have one or two belts, each with plenty of ore to fill your cargo hold and line your pockets, and others can have well over a dozen. Mining is typically done using mining lasers fitted on your ship that draw minerals away from the asteroids and collect them in your cargo hold. Once your hold is full, you can head back to a station, refine the minerals, and sell them either at that station or a nearby one where a buy order has been placed by another player for a significant profit. After you’ve built up enough skill, you can advance to a mining barge, and ultimately an exhumer such as a Hulk that enables you to draw a much higher amount of ore from the asteroids in a faster amount of time. By joining up with a corporation that provides hauling support through an Iteron V or something larger (like an Orca), you can greatly increase your profit margin without having to make constant trips to and from the station. If mining isn’t your thing, you could participate in a mining operation as the hauler, and use your hauling ship for trade runs when you’re not helping with mining.
As with most things, the profit ratio increases as you head into lower security space. With greater risk comes greater reward. Low-sec mining requires some added level of caution including possibly hiring guards to keep your mining barges safe from would-be pirates (NPC or PVP).
Ratting is another word for hunting hostile NPCs. These NPCs can be found in asteroid belts, around planets, and just about anywhere in space that isn’t closely guarded by non-hostile NPCs. By killing hostile NPCs, you collect bounties that have been placed on their head by various in-game factions. These bounties can really add up, especially if you’re hunting in low-security space where they can be more challenging to kill. Once you’ve dispatched some rats, you can come back with a salvaging ship and loot their destroyed property. Salvaged parts can be assembled into rigs that help improve player-driven ships, and some NPCs carry decent items in their cargo that can be sold, as well. Ratting is one of the primary sources of parts for rigs, which means there can be a lot of money in doing it to any extensive degree.
Player versus player action in EVE Online is rampant. As far as MMOs go, EVE is by far the most like the wild west. Lawlessness thrives, and there is never a guarantee of safety against PVP. Destroying someone’s ship can yield great profit through salvaging their ship, collecting bounties, and extorting other players into paying a ransom. Yes, in EVE Online, you can capture someone’s ship and hold it ransom.
An active PVP career can lead to profit in many different ways. Professional assassins may take high-paying jobs to take out a specific player or corporation in order to achieve revenge, establish ownership of a given system, or simply discourage them from taking action against your employer. Many players spend a lot of time taking out others for the purpose of building a resume impressive enough to be offered some of the high-yield contracts.
Taking things from point A to point B isn’t very easy in EVE. A lot of the time, the size of the materials being transported can overwhelm normal ships, and freighter pilots train for months to be able to handle loads that big. For some, there can be a lot of money in taking contracts to haul large amounts of material from one place to another, especially if the trip requires a pass through low security areas. Couriers often travel in large armadas in order to be protected through the trip, and because of this, the profit involved needs to be significant.
Trading goods, ship components, ships, materials, and other things can make someone a lot of ISK in EVE Online. By finding a good deal, purchasing the product, and selling it at a profit (in the right location), you can net a large profit with very little risk to your own property. Many traders don’t even leave their port to carry out their daily profit-making activities. Training trade skills, running missions for local agents, and establishing rapport with industrial corporations can give you a great way to leverage a profit with very little actual effort.
Perhaps the most typical MMO activity you can take part in on EVE Online is mission running. By finding an agent that is willing to give you a job (or 20), you can make a substantial amount of money very quickly by carrying out various tasks for them. These tasks can include a range of duties from courier, mining, ratting, and rescue operations. Agents build a rapport with you and may refer you to others as you progress. By building trust with specific NPC factions, you can also get better deals on gear they have to sell and find jobs with much higher payout down the line.
In EVE Online, you can build incredible products ranging from simple mining crystals to the most advanced capital ships in the game, if you have enough skill. By buying minerals and materials (or fishing for them yourself), you can use your skills to assemble them into products other players will purchase, often at a significant profit.
Making ISK in EVE Online can be as dangerous as you want it to be. As with anything in this game, great risk comes with great reward. Lower security areas tend to have the richest minerals, missions, courier contracts, and trade in the game. But you never know when you might get blown up when you cross into those spaces unguarded by CONCORD.