Salvaging Guide

The following guide is derived from a syllabus of a class that I teach at EVE University. I wrote the original version of this syllabus in June 2011, and it has since been improved and updated by my fellow professors and teachers at E-UNI – my heartfelt thanks to all of them.

This guide was last updated on December 6, 2014.

What is salvaging in EVE Online?

Salvaging is the process for recovering useful components from wrecks. Wrecks are the remains of ships that have been destroyed in combat in space. Wrecks are shown in space as triangles pointing down.

If the triangle is filled in, that means there is loot to be found there. "Loot" are components and ammo that survived the destruction of the ship. You retrieve loot by moving within 2,500 meters of a ship, opening the wreck, and moving items from the wreck into your cargo hold.

If the triangle is only an outline, there is no loot.

Regardless of whether there is loot in a wreck, any wreck can be salvaged. Looting and salvage are two different things. Salvaging retrieves unique salvaged components, which are very different than loot.

Salvaged components are used in producing rigs, otherwise known as ship modifications. Rigs enhance and adjust ship capabilities, and are therefore very useful to capsuleers. This means that there is always a demand for salvaged components. Salvage can be sold directly to the market for a profit, which is what most players do.

For more details on salvaging, consult these online resources:

A salvaging Catalyst destroyer    

A salvaging Catalyst destroyer


How to Salvage

Salvage can be conducted by any ship fitted with a salvager module in a high slot, if the pilot has the required skills.

Salvaging consists of moving your ship within 5,000 meters of a wreck, achieving a target lock on the wreck, and activating your salvager module, which searches the wreck in a 10-second cycle.

Pilots in ships with adequate drone bay space and bandwidth can use Salvage Drones to salvage wrecks, either independently or in conjunction with ship-fitted salvage modules.

  • Salvage Drones are mall: 5 m³ in size. They require only 5 MB/second bandwidth use.
  • Speed: 500 m/second - the same as Mining Drone II.
  • Base salvage success chance for salvage drones is 3%. This increases by 2% per level for the Salvage Drone Operation skill, up to a maximum of 13% at Salvage Drone Operation V.
  • Cycle time is 10 seconds; same as for standard ship-fitted salvaging modules.
  • A salvage drone's base chance for successful salvage does not appear to be affected by ship-mounted rigs or pilot implants.

Skills needed to use Salvage Drones are light. They only require Salvage Drone Operation, which requires:

  • Drones IV - note that this skill determines the number of drones you can deploy, so you'll start with the ability to field four salvage drones once you learn Salvage Drone Operation I.
  • Salvaging II
The Salvage Drone I

The Salvage Drone I

How to use salvage drones:

  • When you first deploy the drones, they go idle, but you can activate them to start to salvage wrecks automatically. In this automated mode, they will only salvage your own and neutral wrecks -- not wrecks belonging to other characters. You can manually order them to salvage wrecks belonging to other players, though.
  • Salvage drones never loot, they only salvage.
  • Also, there is no difference in the quality of the salvage received. Salvage drones can salvage the same items as the salvage modules, the only difference being that because of lower chance they are much worse at salvaging difficult wrecks (and are incapable of salvaging the most difficult Sleeper wrecks).
  • Compared to salvaging with either a Noctis or a destroyer, fitted with Salvage Tackle rigs, salvage drones are inferior performers. However, they provide a lot of convenience for the casual mission-runner, or for cleaning up wrecks after PvP engagements.

Whether you use salvage modules or drones, there are three possible messages that will display while salvaging – two success messages, and one failure message.

The two success messages are:

  • “Your salvage attempt was successful” - you got something, check your cargo hold!
  • “Your salvage attempt was successful; unfortunately there was nothing to salvage” - you didn’t get anything.

In either case, your module will shut off, or your salvage drone will go idle (or move on to the next target wreck), and the wreck will disappear from the overview and the field.

If you get the message “Your salvage attempt is unsuccessful”, then your module failed to find anything during its cycle. However, the salvager module or drone stays active and tries again. There is no need to re-activate it. You’ll notice that the wreck is also still viewable. If you no longer wish to salvage from the wreck at this point, you can either shut of your module manually, un-target the wreck, or move out of range of the wreck.

How does salvaging work?

All wrecks have a base access percentage - the likelihood that you will successfully salvage the wreck.

  • Small basic wrecks (Frigates and Destroyers) have a base access of 30%
  • Medium basic wrecks (Cruisers and Battlecruisers) have a base access of 20%
  • Large basic wrecks (Battleships) have a base access of 10%
  • Small advanced wrecks (Wormhole NPCs, Faction or officer NPCs, or T2 player ships) have a base access of 0%
  • A Sleeper Large Advanced Wreck has an Access Difficulty Base of -20%

Base access can be modified by raising your Salvaging skill level, and using rigs, implants and tech II salvaging modules.

  • Each Salvaging skill level with a Salvager I module raises base access by 5% per level. Note that a higher salvaging skill does not give you better salvage. It just makes it more likely for you to succeed.
  • Salvaging V unlocks the Salvager Tech II module, which raises base access by 7% per level, and also extends salvaging range to 6,000 meters.
  • Salvage Tackle I rigs raise base access by 10% each. Salvage Tackle II rigs raise base access by 15% each, but they are hideously expensive and usually not worth the additional investment unless you plan to do a LOT of salvaging.
  • The Poteque 'Prospector' Salvaging SV-905 implant raises base access by 5% - it fits into slot 9. The Poteque 'Prospector' Environmental Analysis EY-1005 implant reduces cycle time of salvage, hacking and archaeology modues by 5% - it fits into slot 10. Neither of these implants appear to affect Salvage Drones, however - they only work on ship-fitted salvage modules.

Why salvage? 

Salvage provides an opportunity to earn income. Salvaged components sell for a wide variety of prices in the market, depending on the demand for those items for manufacturing certain rigs.

Market list of salvaged components

Market list of salvaged components

In the game client, click on the Market button on the NeoCom to open the market window, then click on the Browse tab. Make sure that the "Show Only Available" box in the lower left corner is NOT checked. Then, look under "Manufacture & Research" to find "Materials" - under "Materials", click on "Salvaged Materials".  You can then see the wide variety of prices of different salvaged components.

Valued among the commonly found salvage components are: Alloyed Titanium Bar, Armor Plates, and Tripped Power Circuits - however, prices can vary from region to region, and some of the rarer components can be very lucrative indeed.

Different types of salvage are dropped by different types of NPC pirates, as summarized here:

Salvage also provides an opportunity to manufacture rigs. Rig production is a manufacturing process, where the raw materials are salvage components.

For more about what salvage components are used in different types of rigs, see this link:

Using the aforementioned resources, one can see what kind of rats to hunt in order to salvage the components needed to build certain rigs.

Example: I want to build an Anti-EM Pump I, and I typically hunt Angel Cartel rats near Aldrat.  Using, I see that I need 72 Armor Plates, 44 Contaminated Nanite Compounds, and 83 Fried Interface Circuits (lower quantities required if I have researched the rig BPO for more material efficiency).  Using, I see that Angel Cartel rats can drop those components, so I'll be OK doing my hunting in Minmatar space.

How to start salvaging

First, fit a Salvager I module in a free high slot. The required Skills to run a salvager module are: Electronics I, Survey III, Mechanic III, Salvaging I . 

The fitting requirements for a Salvager I module are not difficult, so you should be able to fit the module on just about any ship you possess. It needs a high slot, 20 CPU and 1 MW, and consumes 20 capacitor points for every 10 second cycle.

Since salvage materials take up very little volume - typically 0.01 m3 per unit - you can do it after destroying NPC enemies in missions or ratting, in any ship with free space in your cargo bay.

Any ship that has a free high slot can be a salvaging ship. Therefore, the more high slots available, the more useful a ship can be for salvaging.

  • Destroyers – 8 high slots, decent cargo bays (with cargo expanders), and agility make the destroyer a popular salvager for level 1-3 missions. Most dedicated salvaging destroyers carry multiple salvagers/tractor beams in 5/3, 4/4 or 3/5 configurations in the high slots; cap rechargers and a propulsion module such as an AB or MWD in the mid-slots; and cargo expanders to maximize cargo bay space, or CPU or power generation modules, as required, in the low slots.
  • Battlecruisers – Many high slots, larger cargo bays, and decent agility allow battlecruisers to salvage level 4 missions effectively, but have stopped being popular as salvagers since the release of the Noctis.
  • Noctis – 8 high slots, industrial- size cargo bay, salvager cycle time reductions, and tractor beam range bonuses make the Noctis a beast at salvaging.
  • Battleships – Because the Noctis is cheaper and more efficient, battleships are generally no longer used as salvaging ships. However, Marauder class battleships are specialized Tech II ships include a tractor beam range and velocity bonus, allowing them to salvage acceptably.
The incredible Noctis: the ultimate salvaging machine

The incredible Noctis: the ultimate salvaging machine

The following skills are recommended for serious salvagers, as they help you to salvage more effectively and efficiently:

  • Science III – allows you to equip Tech I small tractor beams that speed up salvaging immensely and make it more profitable - they provide a 20 km tractoring range, and a tractor velocity of 500 m/sec, before any bonuses. Science V allows you to fit more powerful Tech II small tractor beams for additional range and tractoring velocity - their range is 24 km, and they provide a 600 m/sec tractor velocity, before any bonuses. .
  • Targeting V and Multitasking II+ – The higher the targeting skills, the more wrecks you can have targeted, allowing you to move through them quicker. Multitasking allows you to target even more - recommend training to level III.
  • Navigation IV+ – Speed allows you to move from wreck to wreck faster.
  • Energy Management IV+ and Energy Systems Operation IV+ - More cap means you can run all your tractors/salvagers for longer
  • Salvaging IV+ – The higher the level, the easier it is to salvage. Also, Salvaging III grants the ability to salvage Tech II or faction ships, and Salvaging IV grants the ability to salvage Sleeper Battleships.  To use the Salvager tech II module, you need to train to Salvaging V.
  • ORE Industrial IV+ – Required for the Noctis. Each level boosts tractor beam speed by 300m/s, increases tractor beam range by 12km, and decreases salvager cycle time by half a second.
  • Salvage Drone Operation IV+ - Increases the success chance of salvage drones by 2% per level (over the base chance of 3%).

Ninja Salvaging and Ninja Looting

 One way to make ISK without a lot of effort is to be a ninja salvager. Ninjas use probes to find mission runners, and then warp into their mission rooms to salvage the mission runner's wrecks. Salvaging yellow wrecks (those owned by other players) does not flag you for theft - that only happens if you take loot from yellow wrecks. Ninja salvagers need to be able to fly and operate a good probing ship, and a fast combat ship fitted for salvaging.

Useful guides to ninja salvaging:

Ninja salvagers are different than ninja looters, who are looking to provoke mission runners to attack them, so that they can destroy them and loot the mission-runner's wreck. Ninja looters generally fly speedy combat craft, fitted for PvP - with high damage potential.  This gives then an advantage over most mission runners, who are generally fit for PvE, emphasizing cap stability and active tanks.

Ninja looters take loot from a mission runner's wrecks, which flags them for stealing, giving the mission runner the option of attacking them.  Note, however, that the ninja cannot attack the mission runner in high security space without CONCORD taking action against them, unless the mission runner attacks them.  They can then attack and destroy the mission runner without fear.

How best to handle ninja salvagers and looters? Generally, ignore them.  There is not much you can do, except to just salvage faster than they do.  Do NOT attack them. Some good advice for reacting to ninjas:

Fly safe! o7