Economics of EVE

I am a bit confused by economics of scale and Return on Investment in this game.
Here is the thing:

  1. It’s a sandbox mmo and the currency of the realm is the currency. A player needs to earn ISK to buy bigger/better ships. End prize in all mmos is better gear.

  2. Hence one would want to go for highest ISK/hour activity. In my short time in EVE and a bit of research I found out 1st is PLEXING in Faction Warfare (haven’t tried, can’t say much about it), 2nd best is exploration - Data/Relic sites. Mining/Industry is too boring for me. Planetary interaction - I am interested as passive income.


  • Exploration:
    2mln frigate can yield 20-30mln/hour easily => RoI 1000% Risk/Reward = 1/10.
    300mln Stratios CANNOT yield 3bln/hour to maintain same RoI. In fact ISK/hour in stratios might go up to 50-70mln/hour tops.
  • Faction warfare: Pleas tell me if it is possible to ensure 1000% RoI if I go PvP in a 500mln rig will I be able at least to break even the cost of the ship in 10hours of gameplay?
  1. Which brings me to PvP: the mechanics are such that it looks like nowhere else rather than 1v1 you can have a chance of winning. Which is why again investing in a bigger ship is pointless - if attacked by 2-3 players 500mln rig has same chances of survival as 2mln frigate.

  2. Ships are expendable in this game. Which is why if I fly 500mln rig I want to be sure that it can yield same return on investment and I can make up for the loss proportionally same time as with cheap frigate.

Because this is a video game and people think flying ships bigger than a Frigate is fun?

No, it’s not possible.

For you.

You’re not going to survive long in this game if the only thing you care about at the end of the day is “return on investment”.


You should watch some PvP vids where a large solo ship takes on roaming gangs…those are great and will answer your #3 question…

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I think you made the biggest mistake in your point #1. The high end gear in Eve is dangerous to use and also fantastically expensive. Unlike most games, whoever blows you up will get to keep your stuff. They can scan your ship and attack you because your have fancy gear.

absolutely agree

the whole game is about making money: RoI is the only gauge of measurement

pls provide the link. If it it is possible to survive 1vsX it’s great. all I see Is 1v1 max 1v2

You are going to burn out REAL fast.


It’s not really. Given that EVE Online is a sandbox, you are allowed to make the game about money, as far as it’s a personal goal you set for yourself.

But not everyone sees it that way.


but you need like 500mln to 1bn to buy a decent rig. And it would be nice to know that I can survive in it and it won’t be waste of money.

Unless your only goal is to fly cruiser you get for free

I’m not sure what you mean by “decent rig”.

You’ll get to that point eventually, but that first requires that you get out of this “ROI” focused mindset, imo.

I don’t know of a circumstance where you get a Cruiser for free, unless you’re talking about the Gnosis you’ll be getting later during the Capsuleer event.

It doesn’t seem like you fully understand what this game is or how to play it, but have come up with a pre-conceived idea of what you think it is. I would recommend you take some time to learn the game first before coming to conclusions like the one you came up with in your OP.


a ship with more guns so that I can instil fear in ppl’s heart in which ever system I fly. but the mechanics of pvp are such that it looks like that a frigate can take on a battle ship

sry, corvette

ok. I have ship in mind that will cost me circa 400mil with all fittings. I can make money for it in few days of casual exploring in 2mil frigate. But then I have no incentive to fly my expensive ship, because of risk of being blown up and because it doesn’t give me anything more than I already get from a frigate.
So what should be my mentality then?

This is not how the game works. There are only very specific circumstances where you’d be able to pull this off, with like 90% of situations ending with your frigate dying immediately.

Your mentality should be, “this bigger and more expensive ship lets me do the things I want to do that my previous ship had difficulties with, therefore, I will fly it and do these things.”

You’re giving yourself an immense mental handicap if the only thing you focus on it whether or something makes a return. You might succeed on the market, but you’ll never able to get out and actually fly your ship, which is basically like 70% of the game.

You can mitigate the risk of getting blown up by developing your skill as a pilot. Both in-game and out-of-game skills. But you’ll never develop this if you don’t actively fly. Your better bet is to start by flying cheap ships. You can fit up a very strong PvP Frigate for 20m and go get into a bunch of fights in order to develop your skill.

If you’re thinking of just saving up, and buying that 400m ship right off the bat, you’re just asking to lose it immediately. At which point, you’ll come straight back here to the forums and whine because the very thing we warned you about happened.

I cannot see that.
For exploration 300mln stratios will only increase target lock on cans by couple of sec, yield inside the cans stays the same. so startios cannot do 100 times better in exploration than 2mln frigate. Stratios obviouly has better fighting abilities but.

For PvP. Its a different topic. But main thing since I can lose my ship I have to be able to make up for it. And it’s a game - I don’t want to grind 1bln for days in a frigate everytime I lose a battleship and need to buy a new one.

Then I don’t know what else to say, EVE Online probably isn’t the game for you. Everyone plays by the same rules and have been for the last 16+ years. Don’t fly what you can’t afford to lose.

If your personal definition of what you can “afford” requires you to do this weird ROI calculation, then it seems like you have your answer. Don’t fly anything bigger than a Frigate.

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The guy could probably do exploration with a corvette and civilian analyzers.

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but in fact I did in low, null and wormholes. and it is the same if I was in 300mil ship. only thing hard cans blow more often with civilian analyzer

so you need to make ISK to afford ships. what else do you concentrate on if not ISK/hour to buy ships?

I concentrate on fun per hour. But that’s just me.

I’ve played the game long enough that I’ve developed a strong source of passive income that I don’t have to worry about ISK. But this took me 4 years of playing the game to acquire the knowledge and connections necessary.


There are lots of players that don’t worry about isk at all. Quite a few PVP corps will just give you ships to PVP in. The people who only care about isk are the ones that end up in huge, expensive ships - in an effort to maximize their isk per hour. Nobody talks about ROI because ship losses during PVE are pretty rare.


Not here this is a sandbox.

Those grindy mmo’s are awful. At least here you have the option of just doing fun things without losing out on SP.

Specifically for exploration your best bang for buck is likely the frigate. You won’t get very far in an Incursion with it mind you.

See if you can outstrip a well flown ratting carrier with your 2mil frig in terms of isk. Your 2mil frig may be the most efficient on paper with 15 x return on investment an hour, but unless there’s more than one of you to fly them and infinite resources you’re going to have to accept a loss of cost efficiency in order to access those higher solo income brackets. How many 2mil frigates to bring in the reliable 300-500 million an hour a single alliance capital ratter can generate? You gonna fly all 15 at once?

I don’t think you have much experience of this based on your poorly thought out conjecture.

Become better at not losing them until you feel the larger ships become cost effective.

EDIT : I don’t know why everyone’s mocking the ROI mindset, that’s a clever thing to maintain in EvE. You just can’t expect ROI to be linear like that here or in the real world.

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Your “investment” in Eve is time and effort plus 30-50 cents per day for your subscription until your in game income is sufficient to PLEX the account.

Your return on that investment is enjoyment, satisfaction, social interaction or some other subjective reward. Ships are just pixels on the screen - means, not ends.

There is no defined end game in Eve. You set your own goals. A few will lead thousands of other players in large alliances. Most of us have real world commitments that preclude that level of engagement but can still win if we enjoy what we do in the game and make progress toward the goals we set for ourselves.