Salvaging is the indelicate art of harvesting usable parts from the wreckage of exploded ships. The wreckage may be left behind by the remains of dead players or NPCs, with larger ships yielding larger quantities of salvage and wrecks left behind by more advanced ships containing more valuable varieties of salvage.
These harvested parts are used to manufacture rigs, which are semipermanent modifications to ship hulls that yield an important bonus in exchange for a mild penalty. They basically allow particular ships to be somewhat customized, and are an essential tool for most players in EVE Online.
If you have some friends that run missions, salvaging can be the most profitable activity for newbies to pursue.
The best thing about salvaging is that the skill requirements involved are very low, and the ISK value of the parts can be very high compared to other newbie-friendly professions.
What You Need To Salvage
In order to salvage, you need a few things:
- Train the following skills in order to use the main module involved: Electronics I, Survey III, Mechanic III, and Salvaging I.
- A ship with a spare high slot that can fit a 'Salvager I' module and safely zoom around a battlefield to grab wrecks.
- A ready source of wrecks.
A couple other things can really help salvagers rake in ISK:
- The ability to a 'Small Tractor Beam I' so that you can more rapidly pull in wrecks that belong to you or a corporation member.
- In order to do so, you only need train Science III.
- Having ready access to a large number of wrecks produced by other players. A sample set up might be if you have a couple friends running missions in the same solar system, you can flit back and forth between their mission rooms, salvaging wrecks without any downtime.
How Salvaging Works
Salvaging itself could not be easier. The short of it is that you activate the special module on a wreck, and wait until your salvaging attempts meet with success.
The long of it is that you equip your ship with one or more 'Salvager I' modules, fly to within 5k of a wreck, lock the wreck, and activate the salvager on it. Give it a few seconds. Each time your module cycles, you will receive a message that your salvaging attempt has been met with failure or success. If your attempt succeeds, the wreck will disappear and whatever salvage was to be had will appear in your cargo hold. It may take several attempts for you to successfully salvage the module, and sometimes you will receive a message that there was no salvage to be had. Once you are out of wrecks or space in your cargo hold, you can just dock up, empty your hold, and repeat the process.
There are a few more things to know about: First, different kinds of wrecks drop different kinds of salvage, and not all salvage is as valuable. Second, you will make more ISK by making rigs out of your salvage and selling them, than by just selling your salvage on the market. Third, if you really like salvaging, you can train the 'Salvaging' skill to level V, and gain access to the 'Salvager II' module, which has a higher chance of succeeding than the tech one version of the module, and is sometimes requisite for salvaging very rare wrecks, such as those left by some of the denizens of wormhole space, or tech III ships. Fourth, the more valuable the wreck, the higher your salvaging skill needs to be trained in order to salvage it, and the less attempts each wreck will require. For example, you could not salvage the wreck of a tech II ship with salvaging only trained to level I (it usually requires salvaging III). For anything shy of wormholes, having salvaging trained to IV should suffice.
The exact salvage in each wreck will vary. It is kind of a crap shoot. As a general rule, the larger the ship that the wreck is from, the more salvage there will be and the more advanced (i.e. tech II or faction) the wreck, the more valuable the salvage will be. The best salvage generally comes from the wrecks of faction battleships. Because these are fairly rare, most of the salvage in the game probably comes from the wrecks of dead NPC battleships.
The first thing you should do if you take salvaging seriously is put together a dedicated salvaging ship. With such a ship, you can quickly hoover up wrecks from missions or battles and make much better use of your time. Players that run level four missions will often kill all the NPCs at them, then switch to a specialized salvaging ship to clean up the wrecks.
The best salvaging ships in EVE Online are those of the destroyer class of ships. This is because they have 8 high slots, each of which can potentially be equipped with the salvaging module. The more salvagers you have fit, the less time it will take to salvage a given wreck because you can have multiple salvagers active on the same wreck. You can also have the salvagers split up amongst different wrecks too, so as to quickly convert large numbers of wrecks into salvage in your hold.
The Cormorant is the best tech one salvager for most peoples' purposes.
Amongst the destroyers, the Cormorant reigns supreme where salvaging is concerned. It has the most CPU, and can fit either an afterburner or microwarpdrive in a mid-slot, to make travel times between wrecks shorter.
If you have a ready source of wrecks that belong to yourself or people in your corporation (and you are not in an NPC corporation), then you can use a 'Small Tractor Beam I' module or two to pull those wrecks in, and speed things up. The way the tractor beam works is that you lock a wreck that is within 20km of you, and the beam pulls that wreck toward you. This is far more efficient than flying between every wreck, especially if you get a couple of tractor beams going at once. With a destroyer that is equipped with six salvagers and two tractor beams, you can clear the wreckage out from most level four mission in five or ten minutes. That is an excellent ratio of time spent to ISK earned, even for many veteran players.
Another practical concern is if you want to salvage a mission while there are still NPC pirates in it. Let us say that your friend is running a mission and you do not want to wait for him to finish it. In such cases, a destroyer will not cut it because, especially in larger missions, pirates can switch targets without warning, and destroyers cannot take the kind of punishment that those missions dish out. In such cases, a cruiser or battlecruiser will better suffice. Anything that combines a bit of tank with a good number of high slots is fair game. The Caracal or the Harbinger are common solutions to this problem. Fly either of those and you can generally get out before things get too hinky, or even just ignore whatever minor fire power is coming your way, assuming your friend is still running the mission and absorbing most of the punishment.
There are a lot of corporations filled with kindly people willing to let you vacuum up their wrecks. This despite salvaging a level four mission sometimes being worth nearly as much as the payout for the mission, especially if one is also looting choice modules from the wreckage. Still, it takes more work, and many players are unwilling to put that work in. If you are having trouble finding players willing to let you salvage their missions, you can sweeten the pot by fitting a 'Tracking Link I' or other teamwork-themed module, or just tithe a portion of your salvage profits to that player.
Be wary of strangers offering to let you salvage their wrecks, without you asking. Though the majority may be well meaning, there are certainly a good number of players who make that offer hoping that you will be silly enough to also take a module out of their wreck, thus opening you up to attack without CONCORD intervention.
The Legality of Salvaging
Salvaging is legal in the eyes of CONCORD. It is not covered by the aggression mechanics that stealing from someone else's wreck is. This is a bit of a fine point. If there is a wreck that belongs to another player floating in space, and you take something out of it, that player will be able to shoot you without CONCORD intervention.
If, however, you salvage that wreck, any of the gear inside of it will be left in a container hovering in space, but you will get the salvage without any risk to yourself. The container full of that the wreck's contents still belongs to the player that owned said wreck, so you still can't take stuff out of it without risking attack.
With a little imagination, you can see how this can give griefers a field day. There is an entire subculture in EVE Online devoted to warping into other peoples' missions and salvaging all of their wrecks out from under them. On any given day, there are also probably three or four threads on the main EVE forums complaining about this practice, which should give you an idea of how unpopular such "ninja salvagers" are. Often, these people are also a smoke screen for people trying to trick mission runners into shooting at them. If a ninja salvager steals from you and allows you to fire a shot at him, it is likely because he is planning to escape, and return in a much more dangerous ship. Then again, there are plenty of people that just want to steal the lucrative wrecks.
left over from dead players or NPCs. On the other hand, it is a way to directly profit from PvP, especially if any tech two ships are destroyed. The neat thing about salvaging is that it is a very accessible profession for newer players, and extremely lucrative compared to other early-game options, like mining.
Varieties of Salvage
The following is a list of all the tech one varieties of salvage in EVE Online. Note that some are only obtainable from particular wrecks. For example, the two most profitable kinds of salvage as of this writing are the 'Alloyed Tritanium Bar' and 'Melted Capacitor Console' which are largely exclusive to Angel and Blood Raider NPC wrecks. Though it is likely that many player wrecks drop them as well, these are not primary sources.
Not all salvages are created equal. If you have a say in the matter, go after Angel or Blood Raider salvager.
- Alloyed Tritanium Bar
- Armor Plates
- Broken Drone Transceiver
- Burned Logic Circuit
- Charred Micro Circuit
- Conductive Polymer
- Contaminated Lorentz Fluid
- Contaminated Nanite Compound
- Damaged Artificial Neural Network
- Defective Current Pump
- Fried Interface Circuit
- Malfunctioning Shield Emitter
- Melted Capacitor Console
- Scorched Telemetry Processor
- Smashed Trigger Unit
- Tangled Power Circuit
- Thruster Console
- Tripped Power Circuit
- Ward Console
Each type is used in the manufacture of different categories of rigs. If you are curious what you can make, there exists at least one online calculator into which you can enter your collected salvage, and it will tell you what it is possible to make with those ingredients.
Rigs are an essential part of every ship's setup. They are easy to make, and the blueprints used in their manufacture are cheap to obtain. Rigs come in three sizes: small, used for frigates and destroyers; medium, used for cruisers, battlecruisers, and industrials; and large, used for battleships and capital vessels. There are also tech II rigs, which are manufacturable only with salvage obtained from the wrecks of tech II ships (or from certain exploration complexes). The blueprint copies used for tech two rigs are usually invented, though large tech two rig blueprints can sometimes be found in certain exploration sites.
Vertically integrating your supply chain will make a tidier profit than selling the raw salvage. My advice to you is to build up a stable of blueprints for salvage and to manufacture the most popular rigs, which can then be sold at a suitable location. Even if you are not looking to become a dedicated salvager, it is still a good idea to obtain blueprints for the rigs that you use yourself, on your own ships. This way as you slowly accumulate salvage, be it from running missions or otherwise, you can keep yourself supplied with rigs. It is sort of the next step up from making your own ammunition from mission loot. This is especially true for newer players, who tend to use smaller ships. The salvage ingredients used in small-sized rigs are so low that many of the rig blueprints do not even need to have material research in order to be profitable to use.
As of this writing, some of the most popular rigs include the following:
- Medium Cargohold Optimization I - Used by nearly all industrials.
- Large Trimark Armor Pump I - Used by many PvPers, which keeps the price pretty high.
- Small, Medium, and Large Capacitor Control Circuit I - Used by pretty much everybody to make their ships more cap-stable.
- Small and Medium Auxiliary Thrusters I - Probably the most commonly used module by players that wish to have fast ships.
- Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I - Used on the covert ops ships that scour space for exploration sites.
- Medium and Large Ancillary Current Router I - Useful for getting more powergrid on many ships.
As a final note, rigs are often the finishing touch on any particular ship setup. Many players will even forego their use until they come up against a particularly challenging mission or situation. For this reason, players are often willing to purchase rigs at a premium if they are conveniently located. Particularly with smaller rigs, prices can be fifty percent higher or more outside of a market hub system. In short, find a mission hub and sell there rather than in Jita.