Posted Mon, Nov 15, 2010 by Space Junkie
Over the past few months, Ten Ton Hammer has published several guides on how to earn a steady flow of ISK in EVE Online. In EVE, ISK is often more important than skill points, and it is the primary motivation for most activities that players pursue. If only there was some way to stop worrying about it, some way of making enough ISK to meet your needs without spending every day slaving away at mining asteroids.
Some of our guides have covered activities that are particularly accessible to new players, like salvaging. Others, like moon mining and alchemy, are more of a high-end activity. In this guide, we will take a look at how to combine several of the more surefire methods of earning ISK into a larger plan. The idea here is show how all of these methods can fit together and fill your bank account. Even if ideas in here are not quite your style, I hope that I can at least inspire you.
Fun Versus Profit Versus Effort
The most important consideration in EVE Online is whether you are having fun playing it. After that, it is whether your time spent earning ISK could be better spent doing something else. For example, if you enjoy mining scordite asteroids and running missions equally, you are generally better off running missions because of the higher profits. Thirdly, it is important to note whether the ways that you enjoy yourself as a player and keep yourself in gear are easy, or strenuous. Effort-intensive activities may not be worth the increased profits or fun that they produce, if you could be having only slightly less fun or profits doing something else that did not involve so much hassle.
Developing a holistic income plan in EVE Online can make all the difference in the world.
The plan that I describe here assumes that you have a single account. Many players have more, but one is plenty, and can easily pay for enough ISK for subscription PLEX purchases or reasonably expensive equipment.
The Big Picture
This plan relies on three things: a mission-running character who will also likely be your main character, a production character, and a market character. Each of these characters will perform their role in keeping you well supplied with ISK.
The Mission Runner
Running missions is the best, most accessible way of actively earning ISK. In essence, you convert your time as a player into mission rewards, that are then converted into ISK. As you run more missions for the same corporations and factions, you will gain standings that allow you to reprocess things in their stations without being taxed, set up jump clones, and will eventually gain access to R&D agents. This last is the best source of passive income in EVE, resulting in a constant supply of valuable datacores, with no further work involved beyond periodically picking them up and moving them to a market.
Skills Needed: In order to run missions, you will need the usual complement of combat skills. In order to grind standings as efficiently as possible, you should train Social, Connections, and Negotiation fairly early on in your plan. Once you have access to level four agents in your corporation of choice, you should begin training up the pre-requisites for Research Project Management so that you will be able to use the R&D agents.
In order to make the most efficient use of your time possible, you may also want to train planetary interaction skills so that you can cycle your extractors during the slow parts of missions.