A question about PVE income for solo beginners (L1, L2 missions, rookie mining, etc)

Note for potential readers: this post has a longish introduction. If you’re a “TL:DR” type, please just don’t read the post.

I could possibly be classed as an “expert beginner” at EVE: I’ve done somewhere between 5 and 10 EVE trials, the first well over ten years ago, the latest right when Alpha Clones were first rolled out.

This means I know what I personally like about the process of getting started in EVE, and what I don’t like.

And of course I’ve learned that nobody cares why new EVE players stop logging in (except perhaps for the opportunity it provides for gratuitous insults /lol). This isn’t a “swan song” :slight_smile:

This time around I find I CBA even downloading and starting the client unless there’s been a significant change in one of my “gating factors”: PVE ISK income between approximately week 3 and week 6 of playing EVE.

Last time I trialed it was still impossible for me to follow the principle “only fly what you can afford to lose” while earning ISK from L2 missions and/or mining in HiSec. Think of this as my personal balance between covering by in-game expenses (ships, modules, skill books), doing things I enjoy, and grinding (i.e. doing things I find boring) for ISK. I don’t mind other people seeing things differently of course, but “boredom thresholds” are personal.

My specific question:
Do L2 missions still generate 1 to 2 million ISK per actual hour playing, or have CCP increased the direct mission payouts i.e. the ISK you get on completion)?
Last time, I was flying a PvE-fitted Vexor (drones and long range guns), and aspired to a Gnosis. For me, the numbers just didn’t add up.

A reminder:
After so many trials I’ve seen many wild claims about potential ISK income: magically ISK-efficient activities (e.g. DED space the last time I actually played); how any rookie can make 1 billion ISK a week trading" after 2 weeks play, etc etc). I know they’re not true, and I know why: EVE is a competitive game. If would be strange if there was any “easy ISK income” for solo beginners.

Except being boosted by well-established players of course - that pays really well - but it’s not the way I want to get started in the EVE sandbox, so it’s not the question I asked.

its been a long time since i did level 1 or 2 missions so not sure on the income but I do know that the loot table (ie the salvage you get from the wrecks) has been nerfed over the years. But I think that those missions are more a stepping stone to show the basics of getting used to your ship whilst heading towards level 3 and 4 missions.

plus you have the loyalty points, which whilst low at those levels may add up to something of value.

If it is strictly the ISK your are looking for then you would probably gain more doing exploration and/or gas huffing in a venture.

Thanks for the input.

I tried all kinds of different things, but I actually never found anything that paid better than asteroid mining, which (after the novelty wore off) I found boring.

Activities I tried out included the (then new) hacking mini-game, gas, DED sites, scanning for and recovering abandoned drones, pirate locations found via scanning, etc.

In each case they paid much less than mining.

BTW some of the scannable sites would have been great, but there were rich players in multi-billion ISK ships speed-grinding even the ones that could be completed in a Cruiser. The hacking game was the same: I think they would have paid ok if you ever got to complete one alone, but as I remember it I never had one to myself.

BTW I’m not complaining. It’s all “works as designed”, and EVE is a competitive game. If’s more efficient for someone else to harvest ISK from an activity, it won’t pay me (the less efficient participant) as well as mining trit does.

I am that level 2 security mission beginner, and I tend to find it’s something like 1 mill per hour payout, 1m per hour bounties, and up to 3m per hour salvage. Something like that…

Overall, something like maybe 3-5m per hour…?

Thanks for the input.

It may have changed, or (more likely) you’re better at fitting PvE ships than me :slight_smile: 3 million+ per hour is more than I was making last time.

Just for clarity: last time around I timed my grinding fairly carefully for about a week, including the time it took to get to and from locations, pick up payouts, sell salvaged loot, etc. This significantly reduced the ISK/hr for missions compared to mining.

FWIW what stopped me was a “threshold issue”, based on how many hours of L2s I’d need to grind to cover a 40-50 million ISK cheaply fitted Gnosis, factoring in the increased probability of losing a few of them (to mission rats and/or PvP).

A T1/T1 drone-optimized Vexor turned out to be slowish (time-wise) but safe for L2 missions, and not a popular target for PvP. But I figured I’d need to be able to afford to lose 5 x Gnosis (say 225 million) and I couldn’t see myself saving that much.

Luckily for EVE other people are braver than me :slight_smile:

Exploration (relic sites in sansha space) pays very well in the long run (aim at ~100M/hour average), and you can avoid competition … but you have to leave highsec. Either nullsec or lower class wormholes. Same with combat sites, 4/10 are quite common in lowsec, and can be done with a T3D (with some skill).

Another option is PI … in low or better (NPC) nullsec.

There are other options, but those need much higher SP and ISK investment.

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My first Vexor made 50m by ratting in less than an hour. Is there a secret?
Well, fly into nearby Lowsec, kill some juicy rats and get killed by surprising PvP. Return to salvage your own ship with a looting frig and get shot by the same guy. Start/accept a convo and ask why you were not podded and how he found you, some humble newbie talk. In the end you’re quite likely to receive some starting money :slight_smile:
At least that’s how I made my first 50m after 5 days.

And ratting in Highsec: Travel to more remote areas of New Eden. The less players are around, the more rats are left for you. Or you stay in a quite crowded area and ask in local if you can join up mission runners (lvl4) just for salvaging and looting purposes. The wrecks can be quite valuable. When in a corp, you can just ask corpmates if you can go with them and learn.
Any way you will see, 3 millions an hour is not much at all.



I know the usual way to get started in EVE is via help from other players, but it’s not a path that suits me. In every game I play, I use the informal test “Is it fun to get started by playing the game as it is?”

Of course I’m aware this might mean I’m really not suited to play EVE :slight_smile:

BTW I’m not claiming “every other EVE player has been mean to me” either. It’s varied from trial to trial of course, but last time I played I received quite a lot of help. Notably:

  • The “Magic Bus” player who gives rookies new ships (via the “Rookie Help” channel) was new to me. He certainly takes the edge off getting basic ships during the first couple of weeks, and he provides the service to every rookie
  • I was given a billion ISK via rookie help (someone said “first to reply gets 1B ISK” and paid when I responded). Not something a new player should plan on, but it certainly proves that some “ISK-rich” players are randomly generous with their in-game wealth
  • A player in rookie help offered to let some rookies salvage their missions (L3 missions I think, but maybe even L4). A lot of ISK/hr by my standards anyway, over 3 or 4 missions.

TL:DR :grinning:

I tend to let rookies salvage my most of my L4’s… only a few I don’t let anyone salvage.

Highsec mining is about 3-4 mil/hour, not counting the possibility of partaking on someone else’s moon goo. Relatively safe and boring passing of time.

WH gas huffing is about 10mil/hour for alpha pilot, but requires scanning and ~10mil fit venture to succeed. Has the possibility of accidental PvP (you lose 100% of time) or ship loss to sentry guns in some gas sites if you go there unknowingly.

Data/Relic sites are relatively safe but require scanning and hacking skills and experience to not bork-up the mini-game. Havent tried it much but people say it pays well, even better if you wander into low/null sec (with a chance of PvP, which is likely because alphas cant fit cloaking devices). Safest (and fastest?) way to get into null is via WH space.

Combat Anomalies/Signatures/Expeditions. Require quite a bit of isk invested in ship and time to skill your character, but have a possibility of very high payoff via ded-space/faction modules plus all the bounty for rats. 4/10 are present in high-sec but scarce.

Abyssal space. An alternative to farming greens/expeditions. Require even more investment into ship/skills and understanding of game mechanics and personal flying skills. Payout for level 3s is about 20-30mil/hour. Doable on alpha.

Market PvP. Well, good luck with that. It works, but to be profitable you will need standings with factions/NPC corps to decrease fees and those take a lot of time to grind.

Lvl 3 missions… havent done those in ages but they are pretty trivial in a cruiser/BC.

That is about all the isk earning solo activities that you can do on alpha and many of them require knowledge of what you are doing to be efficient.

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