EVE Correspondent - Salvaging Guide
MMORPG.com EVE Online Correspondent Andrew Wallace writes this guide for Salvagers in CCP's EVE Online.
Salvagers are the carrion-eaters of New Eden; they drift through the stellar battlefields, picking at the wreckage of NPCs and players alike. The salvaged components, from smashed trigger units to contaminated nanite compounds, are the key materials for rigs that can be permanently fitted to a ship in order to further increase its capabilities. So, how does one go about it?
Well, every ship in the game leaves a wreck when it is destroyed. Players normally loot these metal corpses for whatever items they contain, but there is a way of getting that little bit extra from them: Salvaging. Any ship can fit a salvager module and "fire" it at a wreck in the hopes of getting some decent salvage. Depending on the quality of the wreck, and your salvaging skill, you should find yourself with some components, or the dreaded metal scraps. There are two main types of salvage, defined by the background colour of its icon. Orange salvage is what you are going to be seeing a lot of; it's the most common, and therefore least valuable, type of material. Blue salvage is the good stuff, and generally only appears on the "elite" wrecks of tech two ships. As well as the quality of the wreck, the size is also a factor in what you get. On frigate sized wrecks you can only expect to find a few components, while a battleship will have considerably more. Once you've got the salvage you can then sell it on the market, or, if you have the manufacturing skills (or know someone who does), use it to produce rigs for a bigger profit. With rig building, it will take a bit longer until you see a payoff, though, as even one rig can require a fair chunk of salvaged materials.
Now, as with anything in EVE, you are going to need some skills for your character to be able to operate salvagers. However, the requirements are reasonably low, and you only need to get Survey and Mechanic to level three and Electronics to level one before you can train the Salvaging skill. Tractor beams are another module that's worth considering for anyone considering salvaging, especially if you intend to salvage mission sites. These require Science level four, but for low skilled players they aren't essential, they just help speed up the process. Then there are other non-essential items, such as salvage tackle rigs and the salvaging hardwirings. These all help boost the chance of a successful retrieval, as well as reduce the cycle time, and are definitely worth it for salvaging mission sites in high security space, if you are willing to spend the money.
So, now we come to probably the most important thing to know about salvage, where to find it. First, let's look at high security space:
High Security Salvaging:
You can just hunt though asteroid belts for the NPC wrecks left behind by ratters (they don't normally mind, but it's polite to ask first if they are still ratting in the belt), but missions are the only real way of getting lots of salvage in high sec, unless you know of any wars going on. So salvaging becomes that extra thing you do as you loot the wrecks, and on top of the loot and mission rewards it's fairly decent money. Of course, if you want to dedicate yourself to salvaging entirely, then help out a friend by salvaging the wrecks in their missions and splitting the profits.
Here's a rough salvage ship fitting for use in high security space, which can be used on any destroyer class ship:
- High Slots: 4x Salvagers and 4x Tractor Beams.
- Medium Slots: 1MN Afterburner.
- Low Slots: Inertia Stabilizers and Nanofiber Internal Structures.
This is what I use when salvaging missions. Again, the tractor beams are entirely optional, but a destroyer constantly running tractor beams and salvagers is absolutely monstrous for clearing the large number of wrecks you can expect to find in a mission. Now, it doesn't have a MicroWarpdrive because some mission sites are "dead space" zones and will deactivate your MWD, so I'd just go with an AB, unless you can fit both. I-Stabs and Nanos are for getting the hell out of trouble as fast as possible, but really you are relying on having cleared the area first, or a friend drawing all the aggro, to keep your ship safe.
Low Security Salvaging:
Low sec is all about hotspot chasing, and with Factional Warfare up and running it's become a much more wreck-strewn area of EVE. In particular, this is the place to hunt for those valuable elite wrecks, and their precious blue salvage. To find a "hot spot", open up your map and get it to colour stars according to the number of ships destroyed in the last hour. Searching by the last twenty four hours is useless, as wrecks de-spawn after an hour, although it can be good for getting an idea of active areas, and ignore high sec systems because most of the ships destroyed are going to be in mission sites, where you can't reach them. Find the nearest low sec system with a relatively high number of ships destroyed and go check it out. Remember to add wrecks to your overview so that they will show up on your scanner, this saves you jumping all over the system trying to find them.
The best places to check are gates and stations, as a lot of fleets will do their fighting around them. Generally, most fleets are in too much of a hurry to loot and salvage everything and you can pick up what's left. Asteroid belts are also worth a look as many an unprepared pilot has met his, or her, doom at the hands of pirates while they were happily ratting away in a belt. Chances are you'll come across nearly all of your wrecks after the aggressors have departed. Pirate gate camps, on the other hand, are usually there for the long haul and have their own salvagers, if they are smart. Camps are best avoided, as you are just asking to be shot if they see you stealing their wrecks. If you do happen to run into a fight in progress, there are two options:
- Run away and come back when the fight is over, or has moved on, then tuck into whatever salvage is left over.
- Try and salvage the wrecks during the fight and hope no one decides to shoot you. This is what I refer to as "danger salvaging". As well as getting to pick all the juicy wrecks as they become available, you can also nick any fancy tech two drones that get left behind. Just be ready to warp out.
Okay, so there's a third way, you can ask nicely if they'll let you salvage, but I don't trust random strangers in low sec; it's better just to assume they'll shoot you on sight.
Try and make quick expeditions for salvage; don't spend an hour building up a cargo hold full of loot only to get blown up and lose it all. Just locate some wrecks, salvage them, and get whatever you find back to a station. Death can come swiftly once you are outside the safety of high sec space, especially as you are, essentially, stealing other people's "property". Sometimes they will target you as a threatening measure, but as long as you don't have any expensive loot in your hold you can take the loss and flee in a pod. Also, when it comes to bringing your salvage back in to high sec for selling it's worth checking the route out first, even having a friend scout the way. The last thing you want is all of your salvage getting blown up. Right, here's a low sec salvage fitting for a frigate:
- High Slots: As many salvagers as you can fit.
- Mid Slots: Whatever propulsion mod you feel is appropriate.
- Low Slots: At least three Warp Core Stabilizers.
Any tech one frigate will do, but I'd suggest using a mining, or other non-combat, frigate that can fit the above setup. The idea is to look like you aren't worth shooting at, which is why destroyers aren't as good a choice in low sec; they aren't as quick to get out of trouble and could be mistaken for a valuable target with people fitting tech two modules on them for Factional Warfare. You won't need anything beyond salvagers in the highs, as tractor beams aren't necessary with the wrecks littered next to gates and stations; they will just add to the cost of the ship when you lose it. There's no dishonor in fitting Warp Stabs; you aren't there to fight and the targeting delay is worth it for the ability to leg it from almost any encounter.
Not too much to say on this area; unless you are out in 0.0 already, I wouldn't advise anyone go out there just for salvage. There are bigger battles out there, and no doubt lots of battleship and elite wrecks, but, the place is too sparsely populated for salvaging to be profitable solo, unless you have friends out there that aren't going to mind you tagging along to salvage anything they kill. Although, it's definitely worth squeezing a salvager, and even a tractor beam, on to a ratting ship if you are heading out to make some cash killing NPCs, or trying to get your security rating up. If you don't want to go too deep in 0.0 space you could always try your luck in the various chokepoint systems, but these are going to be heavily camped.
Outside of missions it's not a consistent source of income, but it is a nice chunk of extra isk for those willing to put in the effort to hunt down the wrecks. The best thing is that, along with the low skill requirements, getting started with salvaging is as easy as slapping a salvager module into a spare high slot. Anyway, I'd better wrap this up, because Old Man Star is glowing like a small sun on my map, and those wrecks aren't going to salvage themselves!