Low Budget Salvaging

Last Update: 06.06.2019

Before you start reading:
This (short) guide was written with the assumption that an MTU (Mobile Tractor Unit) was set and bookmarked in the site to pull all wrecks together at one spot. So no Tractor Beams in the fittings.
Also keep in mind that you can not use Salvage Drones with an Alpha Account.

Choosing a ship

At first you need to fit a ship for the task. Most people use a destroyer such as the Algos. It has the advantage of 6 high slots for salvage modules and the drone bay as well as the bandwidth to use the maximum of 5 Salvage Drones. Also it makes your drones 25% faster, which is nice. (I use it mostly because of the awesome looks.)
The even cheaper hull is the Magnate. The reason this ship really shines at salvaging is the 5% Bonus per skill level on the duration of salvage modules – that’s 25% on Amarr Frigate Level V. It reduces the cycle time of your 3 Salvagers from 10 down to 7,5 seconds. And you can also launch up to 3 Salvage Drones. These advantages in puncto salvaging apply also to the Heron, Probe an Imicus – but what makes the Magnate stand apart are 4 low slots. That means even more cargo (than any Destroyer) and less warping around.

That’s how a dedicated salvage fit could look like:

Algos* Magnate
Type-D Restrained Expanded Cargo
Type-D Restrained Expanded Cargo
Type-D Restrained Expanded Cargo5MN Cold-Gas Enduring Microwarpdrive
Small Compact Pb-Acid Cap Battery
Small Compact Pb-Acid Cap BatterySalvager I
Salvager I
Salvager I
Salvager I
Salvager I
Salvager ISmall Salvage Tackle I
Small Salvage Tackle I
Small Salvage Tackle I

Salvage Drone I x5

Type-D Restrained Expanded Cargo
Type-D Restrained Expanded Cargo
Type-D Restrained Expanded Cargo
Type-D Restrained Expanded CargoSmall Compact Pb-Acid Cap Battery
5MN Cold-Gas Enduring Microwarpdrive
Drone Navigation Computer I
Small Compact Pb-Acid Cap BatterySalvager I
Salvager I
Salvager ISmall Salvage Tackle I
Small Salvage Tackle I
Small Salvage Tackle I

Salvage Drone I x3

*In concern of cargo capacity the Catalyst is actually the better choice, but can’t use drones. The Dragoon has also slightly more cargo capacity than the Algos, can use drones but just loose out at all the style points, imo.

Despite salvaged stuff usually is not very big in m³, you want a big cargo hold. It’s not required just for salvaging – but if the MTU on which you’re hanging out is your own, there will be the loot from the wrecks in there. And that can be quite a bit of volume. It’s not worth a shit load of ISK, but it adds up over time. Also, the MTU, which you normally want to pick up, has it’s own 100 m³.

Now if you can’t fly Gallente or Amarr, despair not! Just copy the fittings above to your Minmatar or Caldari ship and adjust the modules to their slot layout.

Debris in Space5
There is actually a Machariel in this picture.

Chewing with chance

(No, not that guy from Wingspan.)

Keep in mind that a Salvager I module has a greater base chance for successful salvaging something form a wreck than a Salvage Drone I! That’s why you in general want to salvage by hand with the module instead of just tell your drones to do their thing.


  • Drones: 3% base chance to salvage successfully (Note that rigs don’t affect drones!)
  • Salvager I: 5% base chance to salvage successfully
  • Salvager II: 7% base chance for a successful salvage – best module to do the job, but also needs Salvaging skill at level V. If you salvage sleepers, that might be worth it.

These chances can be improved by rigs and skills:

  • Rigs: Small/Medium/Large/Capital Salvage Tackle gives you 10% more chance at T1, 15% at T2. But keep in mind, that there is a diminishing return for fitting more than one of the same rig.
  • Skills: Salvaging gives you per skill level a 100% Bonus on the chance getting something out of the scraps.
  • Implants which can reduce salvager cycle times and chance:
    Time: Poteque ‘Prospector’ Environmental Analysis EY-1005
    Chance: Poteque ‘Prospector’ Salvaging SV-905

These chances only dictate on how much cycles you have to do until you successfully have salvaged a wreck. But it doesn’t change the quality of loot you get.

A good read for all the details about salvaging can be found at eve.uniwiki.org. If you wan’t to know why you weren’t able to salvage something, read this.

Assigning your minions

There are basically three ways to tell your group of Salvage Drones what to do. How you do it effects they way they do it and their effectiveness.

  1. You launch the drones with no target locked and an give the command to start salvaging.
    Your little yellow minions will start to look closely on every wreck they can find within your drone control range. But your little helpers aren’t as smart as your ship computer. They will most likely look all at the same wreck at the same time, double and triplecheck a wreck but still miss something.
    Their base chance is just not as high as the one you get with ship modules.It is still good method if you don’t like salvaging, since you can go AFK during the drones do their thing.
  2. Launch drones, lock up wrecks and assign single drones to every wreck. While the drone is handling the task, you can unlock the wreck, lockup another and salvage it with another drone or module. Usually this involves a lot clicking but is also very effective.
    The drone will idle around when it has finished the task, which can be seen in the drone control window.
    Note that the drone will need to return to you and deliver the remains of a successful salvaged wreck to your ship first, before you can reassign a wreck to the drone. Otherwise it will just drop the loot somewhere in space, never to be found, before moving on the next wreck.
    This method works also, if you fly a ship with no salvage modules fitted. It’s theoretically the most effective way to do it – but also a hell of micro-management. If you fly a destroyer with more than 4 Salvagers fitted, you can’t lock as quick as you run out of wrecks and assigning drones and modules to them.
  3. Assign your drone swarm with nothing locked up. They will go for the closest wreck. Meanwhile lock up the farthest wrecks (within 5 km) and start salvaging yourself. This way you avoid that drones and you salvage the same wreck until the job is done.
    This is the method I use most of the time.
Salvaging with the Algos; All modules up and running – Klick here for full size.

Where Milk and Honey Flows

In the bigger nullsec blocks it is very common to rat with capitals and super captials or even Titans. These ships can clear out sites rather quick. If more than one of them are ratting in the same system, they often organize themselves in dedicated chat channels. In there the IDs, or at least parts of the IDs of the anomalies are being posted. That way the big ships avoid to run into each other.
As a salvager, it makes your life much easier to join these channels as well. Then go and sit in the according system at the undock of a citadel with your probe window open. Bookmark the sites that get mentioned in the ratting-channel from within the probe window. As soon as the person that has posted a site before posts a new one, you can assume the previous site is clear or about to be. You can also verify this with a dscan of 5° in the direction of the site. I recommend doing this because you don’t want to warp into a Titan using his Bosonic Field Generator. This area-of-effect-weapon does not distinguish between friend or foe, and will just kill everything in its reach – including you. If you don’t have access to a ratting-channel or there simply is none, dscan is the only way you know what sites are being ran at the moment to make your bookmarks.

When a site was cleared of all NPCs, it will despawn shortly after. This is why you need to bookmark them beforehand.

If there are multiple ratters active in the same system, Mobile Tractor Units (MTUs) can save you some time. Just go to a finished site, drop a MTU and let it tractor the wrecks in one spot. Bookmarking MTUs is always a good idea. They can get scanned down with Combat Probes but creating the habit of bookmarking them can spare you this hassle. Then go to another finished site and salvage there while the MTU does their work. When you are done in one site, the MTU usually has gathered all wrecks in one spot making salvaging that site much quicker. Of course, you can deploy more than one MTU in more than one site. Personally, I found 2-3 MTUs a very good number to keep track of depending on how many ships are out ratting.

TIPP: Once you have launched a MTU into space, you can set a name for it. When you create a bookmark with the radial-menu or with a rightclick of the MTU, the bookmark will have the name you chose for the MTU. This is very handy when using multiple of these deployables.

You will find, that this method of salvaging requires some advanced level of managing bookmarks. I would recommend creating a sperate folder in your People & Places window. It may also be worth to have this window open to see which bookmark is how old.

Oh, and it is also a good idea to ask the people who are ratting in the system if you can take their salvage before you do it. Some might want to salvage themselves, but most won’t bother if you do. Still, rather ask before getting exploded. ;) 

A lot of alliances offer a buy-back program for NPC-loot and salvage via contracts you may consider for some quick cash. The T1 salvage you will get from this activity is needed for the production of T1 rigs – a chance for you if you are interested in getting into the industrial aspects of the game. 

Useful short keys

  • F1 – F8 = activate fitted salvagers
  • F = “Attack target!”-command for all drones in space. For Salvage Drones it’s like “Salvage this!” (Works not on living things, sorry to disappoint you.)
  • Shift +  R = Call drones back to drone bay
  • Ctrl + Leftclick  = Lock target
  • Shift + Ctrl + Leftclick  = Unlock target
  • Shift + Lefclick in Space, hold + Drag square over targets  = Locks multiple objects at once (you might end up locking stuff up you didn’t intend to)
  • Alt + Arrow Key = Navigate between your locked targets

That’s it

Well, that’s basically it. You lock up thinks, hit an f-button on your keyboard or klick it and after a while, roasted things end up in your cargo.

Or you do it like this smart fellow mainly using your keyboard:


It  may not be the most profitable way to earn ISK, but it surely is a way. Personally I enjoy doing it, because it’s just something different than ratting.

Oh, and keep in mind that wrecks only stick around for about an hour. Then BOB comes by, picks them up and brings them to his heavenly junkyard, where they are chasing happily after each other and having lots of fun. But for you, they are gone forever.

Fly safe. o7

If you found this a useful guide or any typos/mistakes, please let me know in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Low Budget Salvaging”

  1. Love the blog! Very interesting.

    As a max skill alpha, can’t use salvage drones.

    I decided to set up a bulk salvage destroyer when I can use a MTU, and a speed salvage frigget for cleaning up spread out wrecks that couldn’t be tractored in.

    [Catalyst, Salvage Bulk Alpha]
    Expanded Cargohold II
    Expanded Cargohold II
    Expanded Cargohold II

    1MN Y-S8 Compact Afterburner
    Small Compact Pb-Acid Cap Battery

    Salvager I
    Salvager I
    Salvager I
    Salvager I
    Salvager I
    Small Tractor Beam I
    125mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Iridium Charge S
    125mm Prototype Gauss Gun, Iridium Charge S

    Small Salvage Tackle I
    Small Salvage Tackle I

    I decided to go max high slots, but as an alpha, you can only have 6 lock ons so no 8 salvagers, and so for the extra slots for a tractor beam, just in case and a couple guns just in the odd rat shows up. The whole cost 6-7million isk, not bad at all.

    See you around the forums.

    Liked by 1 person

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