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.

style="margin: 10px; border-collapse: collapse; float: right; width: 300px;"

title=""> src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/34649" alt="EVE Online" width="300"
style="border: 0px solid ; width: 300px;" />

style="font-style: italic;">Developing a holistic income plan in EVE Online can make all the difference in the world.

Why is all of this important? Because when designing an overall plan for earning ISK, you ought to be trying to reduce how much time you actively spend on stuff that you do not enjoy, or at least not enjoy much. You should try to maximize your time spent earning ISK, so you can get back to the good stuff that you most enjoy.

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.


The Captain of Industry

Mission running is all very well and good, as are R&D agents, but you will need more income than than, if you want to pay for your EVE account with PLEXes. A production-specialized character is one of the best ways to do this. In order to minimize your human involvement, you can produce items that produce for days at a time without your involvement. The best example of this that I have discovered is tech two missiles, particularly Scourge Fury Heavy Missiles. Millions of these are traded in Jita, every day, and the market for them is for all intents bottomless. Even more delicious is that the build jobs for making these can take nearly a week for an entire run. That is actually a good thing, because it means that your production slots are turning a profit constantly during that time, and you only need to check in every week to start another batch.

Skills Needed: For inventing Scourge Fury Heavy Missiles you will need to train Caldari Encryption Methods IV, Electronic Engineering IV, and Rocket Science IV. In order to manufacture the missiles and the parts used to make them, you will need Graviton Physics III, Industry V, Mass Production V, Production Efficiency V, and most Advanced Mass Production IV.


The Market Maven

style="margin: 10px; border-collapse: collapse; float: right; width: 300px;"

title=""> src="http://www.tentonhammer.com/image/view/91852" alt="EVE Online" width="300"
style="border: 0px solid ; width: 300px;" />

style="font-style: italic;">Play the market if you must, but your main job is to get supplies cheaper, and sell your products as highly priced as possible.

In order to get the most ISK from selling you mission loot and tech two missiles, you need to be able to sell things on the market, and keep your order prices updated. This means that you need a character to be sitting in Jita (or wherever) pretty much constantly. Then, any time you need to get some new ingredients or equipment for mission running, you can use buy orders instead of just getting stuff off the market, and save an average of perhaps 15% off of everything you buy. Similarly, setting up sell orders for your missiles will net you an extra 10-15% profit. Believe me, that percentage adds up.

You can also while away some of your time playing market games. You may well want to drive prices up or down, invest in speculative products, or otherwise enjoy your market reindeer games. This is not strictly necessary, but is a good way to put some of your extra ISK to work.

Skills needed: Trade IV, Retail III. You may also want Broker Relations IV and Accounting IV.

In order to get your purchases to where you would put them to use, you can use courier contracts or, for bonus points, train the market maven character to use a freighter. That way he can go to pick up your scourge missiles and mission loot without much fear of being suicide ganked, and move large amounts of goods at once.


Putting It All Together

Once you are set up, you should be able to run missions for ISK with your main character, whose R&D agents are meanwhile churning out datacores. At the same time, you should be able to invent and manufacture tech two rockets on your second character, and only needing to check in every few days. Finally, you will be able to get the most out of your effort by keeping things priced competitively on the market, and by getting your supplies at a discount, all with your third character.

If you really want to over-achieve, you can train combat skills your second and third characters, and get them R&D agents as well. I cannot personally countenance doing the level four grind that many times, but if you have the stomach for it then it is a great way to make your account pay for itself. You may also opt to train the skills needed to produce tech two missiles on all three characters.

Training up the skills on each character will take a while, so it is probably best to start with the mission-runner so that you have something active to do while running missions.


Paying for an EVE account with PLEXes costs about 380mil ISK per month as of this writing. Your mission agent will probably produce approximately 90mil ISK per month from his R&D agents whether you are subscribed or not, plus any revenue earned from flying missions. Producing Scourge Fury Heavy Missiles with your second will net you over 300mil ISK of profits, each month. Your monthly subscription is paid for, right there. Any ISK you earn over that can be spent on implants, PvP gear, or whatever it is that helps you have fun in EVE Online. And that's what it's all about: fun, not worrying about where your next chunk of ISK is coming from.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our EVE Online Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016