Crew salary?

I recall a lore story of a guy signing up and subsequently loosing his life on a capsuleer ship. But i can’t recall what the salary was, if the story even mentions it.
Many moons ago a discussion in the matari channel came to be about how much we paid our crews, i stated that i had a sliding scale. The more you rose in rank the better the pay, IE a veteran would earn more than a newly contracted one.
I said that it started at a 100isk, which caused many of the people in the channel to gasp. Apparently that was way to much, the whole discussion came back to me today as i browsed this part of the forum and came across the cost of living thread.

So what does a capsuleer pay the crew?, are they paid at all?..

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Isk is the highest curency in value in New Eden most crews get paid in their local curency equivalent which may vary depending on their home and it is less value able than isk .

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Weird. I would have though that the way crews function on a spaceship would be similar to the way pirates did on the sea. You get paid according to how good the haul is.

I can’t recall any specific lore that addressed capsuleer crew wages, but I do know ISK is mpre than just another currency. It’s a way of knocking a bunch of 0s off of transactions, as well as being a trade currency between different local monies. A few isk tip was enough to let a waiter/waitress from a chronical basically retire, but on the flip side this has been countered by a dev mentioning a shuttle is about the same costwise as a 747. Throw in Mudflation and getting a definitive feel for ISK’s value in terms we can relate to is super hard.

In short, we know one isk is worth a lot. Like, a lot, but not exactly how much for any given local. 100 isk would to me seem an overly generous wage on the balance of it given what we do know, but then again capsuleer crews are signing up for potentially certain death sooo the rewards must be good for their family?

That was my thought Utari, in the lore story i even belive his family recived a one time monetary compensation after his death or something.

And Azazel, i belive there is room for that too. If am am not totally mistaken, in the days of the sailing ships you got a salary and then a bonus if the haul was good.

It’s the Chronicle “Hands of a Killer”, I think. If not that, then perhaps “All These Lives Are Fit to Ruin”.

Kelza, you where right. I will personally make sure no broccoli gets near your dinner plate for a whole year…


TLDR: about 1-2 isk/month seems reasonable for minimum wage workers. 3-5 seems reasonable for capsuleer crewmembers.

so i’ve actually done a surprising amount of thinking on this topic over the years for some reason, and i’ve come up with a theory that I (think) mostly addresses the question. Its entirely head-cannon, but I do pull from a combination of lore sources as well as some simple extrapolation. so strap yourself in.

to start with, lets make a quick distinction between station-dwellers/core worlders, and land-dwellers/outer worlders. much like in the real world, you have a huge amount of disparity of income between first world countries and third, with eve being a dystopia that disparity would be even more pronounced. so the chronicles and missions that refer to planetary currencies being effectively worthless compared to isk, or a handful of isk being enough for someone to retire comfortably mostly being in relation to poorer planets or ass end of no-where stations. much like in the real world where a couple hundred USD could be more money than someone might earn in their life in some impoverished nations.

now for a more realistic and useful metric, anyone who is working a capsuleer ship is going to be a station-dweller, maybe core worlds maybe null, doesn’t matter a huge amount since the disparity isn’t going to be quite as glaring as between planetsiders and spacers. we do know from the chronicles that living on a station is orders of magnitude more expensive even for the lowest rungs, similar to living in the heart of new York. so while for a baseliner a handful of isk would make their eyes widen, on a station, while it would still be a good amount, its more like “thats a couple months rent taken care of and maybe a few debts payed down”

Now for a bit more extrapolation, using the comparison of a shuttle to a 747 or a luxury jet or yacht in cost. in the real world a personal jet costs between 3 million and 90 million, so lets split the difference at 46.5 million. using average jita price for a shuttle we have 21,752 ISK. a touch of math later, and we have a ratio of 1 isk = ~2100 USD. or, approximately the amount that an unskilled worker would earn per month. (~13 USD/HR)
using those numbers, and if we assume that rent on a station is about the same as a city like new york (aprox 3k/month) just to survive there someone would need to earn 2+ isk per month, even working at their equivalent of mcdonalds.

crews on a capsuleer ship, due to the extra skills and risks involved, are probably going to be closer to 4-5 isk per month. which is a comfortable living if nothing to write home about. and most likely that rate is fairly consistent across ship sizes, possibly even going down the larger the ship is since while larger ships require more crew and more skill, they are also appreciably safer. (you earn more on a small alaska crab ship than you do on a cruise liner)

as for how crewmembers get paid and placed. I’ve always envisioned it less like having your own dedicated crew, and more like a temp worker sittuation, where the actual crewmembers are employed by the station manager and get assigned to ships as they get assembled according to their skills/position in line. with the money for those wages coming out of station taxes/market taxes etc. why bother running around, holding interviews etc when you can just contact the local temp office who’s already done the work for you and grab however many out of work and desperate people needing to make rent this month as you could possibly need.


I just picture it like with today’s numbers: the ships IT guy who’s 20-40k ISK in debt to get a nice desk job ends up on a ship with danger pay adds up to $21.00 ISK an hour lol

We capsuleers wipe our butts with their annual salary and education costs

edit: in case it’s needs to be said, this is my head canon, not real canon

It depends what they do and how usefull they are. I may pay them in their local money they wish to choose that option. They have accomodation already while being employed, risk isnt big while serving on my ship so the pay isnt big also. I may pay them in nature too, like potatoes or such. If ISK is talked about as payment, its only 2300 ISK per month. for a cruiser sized crew its only 250000 ISK usually per month. I keep ships understaffed because we dont see very intensive action anyway.

I use these ISK values because they seem right about how the stuff on market in station costs in ISK. Crew is living in space anyway, in stations, so paying them in ISK is a more natural thing for me.
Some calculations:
Crew sizes:

maybe the cost of the crew is taken in account when you buy the ship?

I read somewhere in the lore recently that crew salaries, like other station-living expenses, are negligible. The sense I got from that was that someone wanted to explain why a capsuleer’s account isn’t subtracted for said costs.

Personally, I’m more inclined to agree with Azazel though:

I had figured like a base salary of a few hundred isk (or maybe just a few isk?) plus a portion of whatever was made that trip, if anything.

Admittedly, I have a fondness for classic pirates, so YMMV.

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I would think that with the high mortality rate for “normal” ship crew, any salary would have a large percentage going toward survivor benefits for the family. I think you would get a better quality of crewman by offering incentives that directly effect the family: enhanced medical care, housing, and advanced education opportunities. A crewman would be highly motivated if he was being paid with specialized care for an ailing spouse or for 4 years of college for his children. A better class of crew creates far fewer operational issues,less mistakes, and reduced human resource problems resulting in a much reduced overhead for the capsuleers.

The whip works well enough. For the rest, there’s remote control for their implants. Nuff said.

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This is how i pictured it in my head, oppertunities to rise in rank as well as a pension if they quit out of old age or combat injuries.

That is no longer true if you look at recent news and such from ccp. The figures they gave for rebuilding myrska matched what an earth city would cost in usd fairly well. It’s reasonable to assume a 1 for 1 these days.

On the other hand… look at the value of a single month of pilot lisence. And consider how many crew that could pay for even at 1 to 1 rates. It would be reasonable to assume that a subscription you pay that isk or close to it in game somehow by some other means. such as a sponsor or a baseline business. it has to come from somewhere after all.
Which means that value could then be partly put towards your crew costs. And should easily cover them even with multiple titan losses.

There was a lore note somewhere that there are safety measures in place for the crews and as such they do not always die. Making sure specialities arise among crew.

Else and Sami recently discussed that topic in a different thread, beginning here.

I tend to agree with @Bjorn_Tyrson on the rate of pay.

TL;DR: Show the crew some love …

Given that the larger ships would have a greater crew and would generally be safer, I would introduce a sliding scale of risk/reward.

To understand reimbursement for services rendered you would also have to factor in the skills required of that particular role and the market skill scarcity. Additionally the skill set for a frigate crew of two would be different from the skill set of crew on a titan. The larger crews would allow for specialization, there would be formal lines of command on larger vessels.

Breaking this down to the use case of a frigate crew. In my headcanon I would expect a more generalized skill set split into two areas for my Astero, technical and non-technical. I would need crew to move items from cargo bay into various module pre-prep areas within the ship. Keeping drone bays free from space detritus, fixing things that drones cannot etc. I would also need a technical crew member to replace maintain circuits that have fried, provide comms support etc.

The training for the Tech would be at a higher level than maintenance, I would provide a higher rate of pay there. I also need to trust this crew, the access they have to ship subsystems would be reasonably extensive in order to provide triage and support. At any point in time, they could sabotage my ship jump in an escape pod and be picked up by accomplices. Again in my headcanon, I have a trained and trusted crew everywhere I have a jump clone. I keep them on retainer which is a relatively modest expense for a capsuleer. I trust them with my ship, I do not want anyone inside my ship with access to the sort of weaponry I keep on board. My crew are also paid well to keep opsec and if they are found breaching that trust there would be consequences.

I feel more comfortable elevating the role of a smaller crew to more tight-knit, skilled, trusted and therefore higher paid. I for one don’t view them as expendable as it is hard to find a crew that you can trust and my corporation expects all capsuleers to keep a tight ship. Loose lips sink ships. I also place a bounty on my crews escape pods, again in my headcanon there is a company who recover escape pods for a price.


The Chronicle All These Lives are Fit to Ruin indicates that crew members receive no share of the loot, and that they are thoroughly screened before hiring. So that would seem to imply that they receive salaries. But then again, that story was about one certain capsuleer battleship, not every ship in New Eden.