Brand new player, After 1 whole week of experience I’m confused with how difficult it is to make ISK in security missions when compared to basic mining.
I can make a little under 1 million ISK in about 30 minutes by mining dense veldspar in high sec with no risk or overhead costs. Security missions pay less that 100k ISK(with bonuses), come with a high risk of losing my ship due to being inexperienced and incur ammunition, repair and insurance costs.
I stared playing with a combat based character with the intention of doing security/combat but the economics of the game have forced me to become a venture riding asteroid zapper.
Co-Head of the United Standings Improvement Agency [USIA] here. For over 11 years we’ve been hiring mission runners to service our clients and paying them based on performance; as such, we’ve refined the art of mission blitzing since it is in our best interest to complete them as quickly as possible.
So first of all, I want to make it explicitly clear: even if you aren’t being paid to run missions like we are, it is possible to generate a respectable amount of income from missions. You can make more than 150 million ISK per hour from L4 missions, for example (I think I’ve heard of some players making 300 million per hour from doing L4s for pirate factions, which sounds about right - more on that in a bit). The revenue comes from the bounties you score killing rats (the mission ISK reward itself is negligible and not worth mentioning, but the rat bounty ISK adds up VERY quickly) and in the value of the Loyalty Points earned from completing missions (which can be VERY valuable after conversion to ISK). In some missions, the loot itself is also very valuable (some missions will drop 30 million ISK worth of loot). In general, it is NEVER worth looting L1-L3 missions and it is NEVER worth salvaging L1-L4 missions. (I don’t actually know if the loot or salvage is worth getting L5 missions; I would imagine it is not if for no other reason that you are putting yourself at risk operating in lowsec and can get the loot/salvage elsewhere in safer ships.) In L4 missions it is not worth looting unless you are using a mobile tractor unit, and even then you would only deploy it if it doesn’t slow you down, and you would only pick it up and whatever it has looted by the time you cleared the room - don’t bother waiting for it to finish looting (and don’t help it finish either).
Once you get high skills and high end ships, you’ll be able to run special missions called “burners/anomics” that pay out a considerable amount of loyalty points but are also very quick to complete. These will make you very space rich very quickly, particularly if you run them for pirate factions where they get an LP multiplier AND their LP store is worth more than empire LP store. (Not only that, but like… half of the missions offered by pirates are burners… it’s crazy…)
If you’re running lower level missions, I want to point out that you will still generate more revenue running lower level missions (possibly at L1, but certainly at L2 and L3) than you would blasting rocks simply from the bounty revenue alone. So while the mission reward ISK is laughably low (even at L4 and L5), those bounties do in fact add up quickly, much more quickly than the mission reward ISK would suggest otherwise. And never ignore the value of the LP itself. You can use Fuzzwork’s LP Store tool to get an idea of how much the LP is worth. (There’s a right way and a wrong way to use this tool, so further guidance may be required.)
If you’d like to learn more about mission blitzing, or would like to get paid to run missions, head on other to the USIA Discord to discuss further.
lv1 missions are rather underwhelming. That said if you skill up and learn the missions the risk of ship loss should become near zero, and at that point you can blast through them. Last time I remember running lv1s I was locking targets as fast as I could as I was blowing them up that fast.
Mining doesn’t scale that well. With better skills, and access to Exhumers, you could turn your 2M/hour to 20M/hour on veldspar, maybe a little more if you mine ice or have a fleet. If you take mission running, the higher level missions will pay more, instead of the <1M hour, they can get up to over 100M/h if you bltiz and min/max.But L1/L2 pay particularly poorly, and you should do your best to get standing with a NPC group to access L3 missions, but this will require a cruiser or battlecruiser to run.
To be honest though, there are better options out there. Missions are old content, rather linear and solo. Mining, well, it will prevent you from starving, but just mining solo in highsec is repetitive and not worth the time after your first days/weeks in the game. If you really love mining, there are more adventurous things you can mine outside of highsec that are way more lucrative (and exciting!) to collect. You can also “mine” wrecks and go loot (or maybe steal!) stuff in invasion systems or the sites of other big battles.
Instead of missions, maybe try Abyss sites or exploration/combat anomalies? Exactly what other ISK-making professions are out there is beyond the scope of your question so I will stop there.
The TL;DR to your question then - get to L3 missions if you want to make some ISK with missions. You need standing and you can get it faster with Social skills, and you need to be able to decently fly cruisers or battlecruisers.
To expand on this, “decently” doesn’t mean you train up to Racial Cruiser I and you’re done. Just having the skills to sit in a hull is never ever enough to fly that ship effectively.
The magic 14 set of essential skills apply to every single ship in EVE online, and it is imperative that you get them trained to as high as possible. These are the skills that would benefit most from by getting them trained to level V, for most other skills, level III or IV is adequate.
and yea blitzing lv 1 abyss in a frigate probably pays more than most early level missions. Search for the zero fittings has a bunch of easy to get into frigates for doing electrical sites. https://www.eveworkbench.com/u/hateless
been watching hateless do lv1s in a frigate on a new alpha character and get a mil or two each can with a chance at better drops. That’s at least 3x what the OP is making. overall sure it’s not great money but pretty good for a new player. Don’t think you are going to top that til at least decent skilled lv3s.
Add to this a higher level of investment, know-how and skills (both in-game and real experience) required plus a chance to lose ship to disconnect.
Venture mining is ~3m/hr (assuming you are selling compressed ore) for doing almost nothing AND you can do Project Discovery while mining. So overall payout can be comparable with L1 abyss with way lower risk.