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Salvaging tips

Right, so, you’re a new EVE player and you just came across your very first salvager, and you’re excited about all the endless possibilities that you’re going to have rushing out into space and finding the derelict escape capsule from the Nostromo drifting right through the core systems and turning it in for some cold cash… er, that was Aliens, sorry… wrong plot-line, but you get my drift.

Yes, you can definitely make money being a salvager, but there are also some simple yet very helpful things that can make your experience easier and safer.

  1. Determine your ship fitting. Are you going to fight and salvage with the same ship, or are you going to have one ship for fighting and then come back and salvage the wreckage with a different ship fitting exclusively for salvaging? There are different schools of thought on this. In the very beginning, you’ll probably do the former – you’ll use a high slot for a tractor beam at the expense of offensive capabilities. And this can make some sense if you’re on a limited budget and can’t afford a separate salvage ship. But when you can afford another ship, I suggest going with the latter method: use one ship for fighting, and a different one for salvaging. Why? This will maximize your firepower and survivability of your fighting ship, and will let you maximize the capabilities of your salvager. All the remaining points below assume you’re using this latter approach.
  2. Make your salvage ship fast. Salvagers are limited to a range of 5,500 meters, so you’re going to need to go from one wreck to another. This will get very freakin’ boring very fast, so get back some of your life by investing in afterburners and other technologies to make your ship as fast as possible.
  3. Invest in a tractor beam. Or two. Or four. Tractor beams changed my entire attitude about salvaging. Yes, they are damned expensive for a new player, typically a million ISK or more unless you get lucky and find a good deal somewhere, but they are so worth it! Tractor beams have a range of 20 kilometers, and allow you to target and pull to you any wreck which you destroyed. Note that last part, it’s really important – you can not use a tractor on a wreck that you don’t own. So if you try to tractor a yellow wreck or container, you’re SOL and the tractor won’t work on it. I presently have a Minmatar Thrasher frigate as my salvage ship with three tractor beams and three salvagers. Why this is so will become evident next…
  4. Then get more salvagers. Ideally it’s best to have one salvager for each tractor beam, assuming your ship has sufficient high slots for it. This way you can thrust to within 20km of four wrecks and/or containers you own, target all of them, and use a tractor on each target to pull them in simultaneously. When they get within 2,500 meters, disable the tractors and enable one salvager on each target. This way you can production-line even big salvaging ops and get on with more important things more quickly.
  5. To cargo scan or not to cargo scan? That is the question. Personally, I’m at a point where I don’t bother using a cargo scanner. I still need the money enough so that I loot pretty much everything I come across that I won’t get pounded for. But, if you’re more selective and don’t want to go though the effort of opening up every single cargohold, then by all means mount a cargo scanner and check out your targets before making any effort on them.
  6. Be very careful about taking cargo from yellow wrecks or containers in hisec! Hopefully by now you know this little rule of thumb: “White is right, yellow is a good way to get your ass kicked.” Yes, you can salvage yellow wrecks at absolutely no risk whatsoever – even though you don’t own it, you can salvage the wreck itself and not violate CONCORD or initiate an aggression timer. If there’s a wreck, regardless of ownership, it’s fair game and you are 100% safe in hisec space. Yellow containers, however, are completely different. The moment you take cargo from a yellow container or wreck, then you are immediately flagged as a hostile to the owner of the cargo (the person that killed the NPC) for 15 minutes, and they have every legal right under the sun to blow your stealing ass into the next dimension without any recourse from CONCORD. Zero. Zip. Nada. Thou shalt be toast, and you will taste good. At least for the next 15 minutes. After that, you’re scott free, and if they come complaining and attack you, then CONCORD will take them out.

    Now, I’ve found a bit of an “exception”, to this. It’s risky, but if you’re tactful and selective, you can get away with it. If you like to salvage in belts where miners often let their drones protect them, there’s almost always yellow wrecks floating around that nobody is touching. You can get away with getting both the wreck and the cargo if you play it smart. First, just salvage the wreck – nobody can do anything about that, just do it – it’s a fact of EVE life and everybody gets used to it. Second, if you want to grab the cargo, first do a “Show Info” on it and find out if the killer is still nearby… if they are, and the killer is a miner, I strongly suggest that you initiate a conversation with the miner and ask permission to grab the cargo; from my experience, every single one of them will say yes, and most will appreciate you asking. It’s better to make friends with miners in big ships, because typically they will also have big warships that can toast you into itty bitty bits. So, make friends. After these miners get used to seeing you around for a few days, it’ll pretty much go without saying that you can loot their kills and they’ll leave you alone.

    If, however, you decide to be brave, you can always swipe the cargo whether the killer is present or not. If they’re not present, grab the cargo, but just fly safe until the aggression timer runs out in 15 minutes. Now this bit is important: if the killer is a miner, you have less to worry about (see also above about playing nice with miners). However, if the killer is not somebody you recognize as a miner, leave the cargo alone unless you have the cahones to get into a fight. Some clever players will intentionally leave a valuable-looking cargo containers laying about and cloak nearby, waiting for some clueless or greedy player to take it, at which time the aggressor has every right to blast you into oblivion. You don’t want to be that guy. So like my dad told me long ago, if in doubt, don’t!

That’s pretty much it for now. Salvaging can be profitable if you’ve got the patience, the right fitted ship, and motivation. Just use your common sense when approaching stuff you don’t have rights to,  trust your instincts, and you should have a long and fruitful salvaging career ahead of you.

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