EVE Online is very much a sandbox game. It’s a game environment with no set path, easy to change what you fancy doing and perhaps even creating totally new paths. You are only restricted by the limits of the game environment. However, EVE’s environment is so rich and complex, built up over the years, there’s plenty of options to explore.
Similar to many game mechanics, there’s a need to gain the game’s central currency, ISK (Inter-Stellar Kredit) and within EVE mostly this is either through combat or selling things such as mined ore or items gained through manufacture, found in exploration or recovered salvage and loot, and it the latter that’s become one of my favourite play styles particularly if I only have a short time to play EVE.
All ships (both NPC and player-owned ships) when they are destroyed leave wrecks and sometimes also ‘loot’. Wrecks show up as a collection of moving broken collection of scraps on the main screen and bigger ships leave bigger wrecks. However, in the overview and on-screen (if enabled in settings) they have their own icons (rough, larger scale approximations shown below) which are useful for identifying what type of wreck it is and whether it is worth investigating.
Wreck without loot
Wreck with loot
Wrecks consist of 2 components the wreck itself and possible loot. These remain in space for a limited time. Although the supposed time is around 2 hours, I’ve been finding this time is much shorter (20-30 minutes?). It is a little frustrating to be working through a load of wrecks only to start seeing them steadily vanish. It then becomes a race against the clock.
All ships are able to access loot, so long as you fly within 2500 meters of the wreck. You can then access the loot by right-clicking the wreck and selecting ‘Open Cargo’. You can then choose to move it to your cargo or not. However, there’s a colour coding that is worth keeping in mind. White will be the wrecks of any ships you have destroyed, any yellow-coloured wrecks were destroyed by another player, while any blue were destroyed by another player, but they have made them available for anybody. Collecting yellow wrecks in High or Low-security space puts a 15-minute suspect timer on you in which other players can engage you in combat without Concord (the NPC police) coming to your rescue. That being said – depending on the situation you may find it very worthwhile looting other’s wrecks. Loot from NPC’s varies quite a bit from ‘metal scraps’ to high-value warp disruption field generators worth around 5,000,000 ISK. Although those are uncommon.
Bonus spawn loot. Occasionally Hideaway and Burrow combat sites or drone cluster combat sites, have a bonus spawn at the end, a ship which is labelled differently from others. Eg for the Serpentis faction the normal ships are labelled Coreli and Corei, but the bonus spawn will be labelled Serpentis, with drones it will be labelled ‘Sentient’. These invariably do drop different and usually high-value loot when destroyed. In the past, this could be a rare drop, sometimes something of very high value eg around 300,000,000 ISK, but I’ve not come across any exceptionally high-value drops recently.
Wrecks. However, wrecks themselves have value and can be salvaged using salvaging modules or salvaging drones. With the bonus that salvaging can be applied to any colour wreck without penalty. If a wreck also has loot, that loot gets left in space in a cargo container.
There are a lot of players that just engage in combat and move on without collecting loot or bothering to salvage. It does depend on what you want to get out of the game as salvage takes time even with drones. However, what I am generally finding is that certainly for combat in High-Security space (systems rated 1.0 – 0.5) is it much more profitable to salvage after a combat than the bounty rewards for combat. A hideaway or burrow might provide around 20,000 to 100,000 ISK in bounty, but salvage can often recover items worth close 1,000,000 ISK or more in total each site.
It is quite possible to play EVE just finding wrecks, collecting the salvage and/or loot. Wrecks can not be scanned down, so a good way to play it this way is to bookmark combat sites as you come across them, then visit the bookmark a while after it vanishes from your scan view. Of course, the ship that did wipe out the NPC’s at the combat site might still be around collecting loot and/or salvaging things themselves.
It’s worth bearing in mind that if any of your own ships get destroyed, there’s always a chance of being able to go back to the wreck and recover a proportion of what was lost. Just remember to bookmark where you lost your ship.