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How to invest 500m ISK - your guide to making money in EVE Online

How to invest 500m ISK - your guide to making money in EVE Online

How to make loads of ISK and become a New Eden billionaire

InterStellar Kredits, or ISK, are the lifeblood of New Eden. And by ‘lifeblood’ we mean, of course, cold hard cash. ISK is EVE Online’s primary currency and the thing you want to possess in large quantities if you want to experience everything the galaxy has to offer.
Get-rich-quick schemes are as common in EVE Online as in real life, and, in the wise words of @orikKado, “if someone offers you such a thing, it’s most likely a scam”. That said, it’s obviously possible to make money, and some methods are more efficient than others. As we build our trove of essential EVE Online guides, we’d be remiss not to ask our community of expert players the most essential question of all: what’s the best and fastest way to make money?
We’ve assumed that you’ve got a little starter fund - a modest 500 million ISK - to reinvest in making yourself some serious cash (most real-life billionaires started out as millionaires, after all.) Here’s what our community advises you do next.
All images credit: Razorien on Flickr.

Know all your options

We’re kicking off with @AlexGra, who gives us a nice overview of several investment opportunities.
Manufacturing: Invest in blueprints and resources to manufacture items that are in demand. Monitor the market to adjust your production accordingly.
Exploration: Equip a ship for exploration and venture into wormholes or nullsec space to discover valuable data and relics.
Planetary interaction: Set up planetary colonies to produce valuable resources that can be sold on the market.
Moon mining: Join a corporation with access to moon mining operations and earn ISK by extracting and processing moon materials.
Mission running: Complete PvE missions to earn bounties, rewards, and loyalty points that can be converted into valuable items.
Trading hubs: Establish trade routes between different regions to take advantage of price disparities.
Invest in assets: Purchase ships, modules, or other items that are expected to appreciate in value over time.
You can read the original post in full here, but we’ve quoted it almost in its entirety because it’s so concise. We had several upvoted submissions echo Alex’s counsel against putting all your ISKs in one basket - as orikKado puts it, don’t “invest all your ISK in a single activity. Diversifying your investment can protect you in case something goes wrong” - so we’re grateful for this range of options to start us off.
Let’s delve deeper into a few of these.

Research and playing the market

@orikKado has a few more tips on trading and manufacturing. More specifically, get hold of a few Blueprint Originals (BPOs) and upsell them, provided you can do the necessary research.
Trading is an excellent option if you know how to play the market. If you have doubts and you’re unsure, it’s better not to take risks, or if you do, start very slowly until you learn.
You can also look for contracts in remote regions at reduced prices and transport them to trade hubs to sell at a higher cost. Here’s a tool that can help you.
If you have research queues available, you can buy BPOs from NPCs, find a suitable station to improve them, and then resell them through contracts at a higher cost. A good example could be BPOs for Fuel Blocks.
Original post here. For aspiring traders, @ANTIJHINN has some handy hacks to help you play the market in New Eden, which “can seem very unpredictable to new players. Why do some things go up in price while others seem to go down compared to trends and inflation? It can be pretty confusing trying to figure out where to start building your portfolio.
This guide is going to straddle the line between investment and speculation. The only thing I make money on is limited-edition cosmetics. When a new pack is released, the cosmetic items will get seeded to Jita market at ludicrously low prices. Skins, clothes, you name it. I prefer clothes because they seem to be one of the hardest assets in New Eden; you can take them off and sell them. Skins are much more predictable money, though.
Let’s make this focus even more narrow.
Here’s the Luminaire Rising Skin for the Hubris. This is the only skin in existence for a dozen-billion ISK hull. It WILL appreciate, it’s just a matter of time. Buy the dip!
 
 
Buy five of the skins now, sit for a bit and sell. See how volume is starting to increase again as people get skilled into it? Enjoy. :D
Original post here. @Schadsquatch echoes this tip on limited-edition skins, saying they are “routinely safe investments for the long hold, as long as you have the 💎✋ for it.”

Gas harvesting and exploration

If trading, research, and playing the market is a little too spreadsheet-dense for you, @greybill has this shopping list of hardware for a range of lucrative activities that’ll get you out into the galaxy a bit more - not so much direct get-rich-quick schemes as the “teach a man to fish” concept applied to EVE Online, as greybill puts it:
A Covert Ops exploration frigate to scan and hack data and relic sites. T2 fitted, that should not be more than ~50 million ISK
A T3 Destroyer to blitz highsec combat anomalies which can escalate into DED-sites. A Light Missile Jackdaw or Rail-Hecate can also run the resulting 5/10 DED escalation, although a bit slower than a dedicated cruiser could do it. Such a T3D will usually cost less than 100 million ISK.
 
A Tech 3 destroyer can also probe down lost drones and MTUs that often are worth looting.
A cruiser that can comfortably run the 5/10 DED escalations with one may get from farming anomalies. an Ishtar or Cerberus can do that for ~250 million ISK. Such a Heavy Assault Cruiser can also reliably run combat missions or complete abyssal pockets.
 
With ~100 million ISK left, the 21 million for the Gas Harvesting skill book and a Venture with a Gas Harvester are easily affordable. That goes well with our exploration frigate.
 
If there is ISK left, a Sunesis can be fit to warp in less than 2 seconds and have a cargo hold of 1000 m³ - the perfect ship to ninja-loot valuable wrecks of player ships in lowsec with.”
Original answer in full here. Just as orikKado developed AlexGra’s answer on trading, so did @BrotherGrimoire echo greybill’s thoughts on exploration and gas harvesting (or ‘huffing’), setting out a handy step-by-step guide so that you, too, can maximise the return from these two activities. Here’s what Grim would do:
To begin, I would fit an Astero. This would take a significant portion of my resources, but I would be able to recoup my losses pretty easily. This Astero would then be used to run any 3/10 or below DED sites in my region, along with running Limited Sleeper Cache sites. The rewards for completing DED sites and Sleeper Caches would build up a war chest pretty quickly.
 
In addition to running these sites, I would also be scanning empty lowsec systems in search of gas sites. Another sneaky ISK faucet is hunting belt rats in the Araz constellation for Blood Bronze tags, which are worth 10m each. Recommended Astero fit.
When I find gas sites in a suitable system, I would use a relatively cheap but well-tanked Venture to huff the gas and carry it away. Each gas site can net hundreds of millions, so even losing one venture per full gas haul is an easy trade off. Recommended Venture fit.
The goal is to make enough ISK for a Stratios to continue my exploration adventures. With a Stratios, Running Standard and Superior Sleeper caches becomes easy and I make hundreds of millions of ISK relatively quickly while also having fun with my favourite activity in the game. I estimate that I could easily be back in my Stratios in under a month of casual play.
Original post here. We figured we’d see some answers mention gas harvesting as it’s widely regarded as one of the most efficient ISK farms in the game right now (August 2023), so much so that we put out a bounty dedicated to it, and used your fabulous answers in our gas harvesting guide. Check it out if you fancy giving this particular wheeze a shot.

A little piracy

This is all very well, but maybe it’s just a bit too… honest? Returning to @Schadsquatch, we’ve got a high-risk, high-reward, yet low-cost strategy for players who like a bit of action and skulduggery:
Hunt for Intact Armor Plates in Stain. New players will learn that dying is ok in EVE, as well as the value of using their d-scan effectively and keeping an eye on local. Invaluable skills for anyone who aspires to become an excellent pilot.
 
Using a lowly Heron, you are able to make tens of millions fairly quickly in the Stain, Paragon Soul, and Esoteria regions of low-sec. Just be forewarned, you will die to Sabres and other interdictors; these areas of space are frequently hunted.
I would use the remaining ISK to buy Small Skill Injectors to get into Cov-Ops IV (so you can use a covert-ops) and train into either an Astero or a Buzzard asap. The initial investment might be large, but the ROI on flying inexpensive exploration ships in low-sec is impressive.
Schad’s original post is here, and concludes with some more practicable advice. If you’re looking for ROF (return on fun), “pay for a night out on the town! Buy everyone a Rifter and go do FW or “yeet fleet” into null-sec using a Noise Filament. A night flying around and maybe catching an unsuspecting Ishtar would be awesome! Memories>ISK.”
Memories > ISK. Now there’s a sentiment we can get behind.

Experience is everything

We’ll wrap things up with our most-upvoted reply, which is in a similarly philosophical vein. @EVEILOnline says:
The most important investment in EVE, as in real life, is in yourself. More experienced players are able to make ISK faster and with less effort because they understand the game and the mechanics that they are limited to.
So how should you invest 500 million ISK? Use it to fund your exploration of everything the game has to offer. Take an exploration frigate into Pochven, see what the locals are up to, and salvage their wrecks. Snooping on the locals is how I discovered that you could piggy back their fleets and scoop the loot crates they leave behind:

While you’re in Pochven, learn to use the Pochven Express to safely extract your loot back to high sec. Now that you understand how to extract your loot via Pochven, why not use the knowledge to buy cheap ships that are stuck in hard-to-reach corners of the galaxy? Bring them back to safer space and sell them for profit.
 

These are all examples of ISK making methods that I have stumbled across during my time playing Eve with curiosity. The best way to get ahead is by experiencing the game for yourself. Get off the beaten track and you might discover something for yourself. After all, the best ISK making method is the one nobody else knows about.
A combination of life advice with asset/spaceship flipping strategies - we love it. Original post is here.
And that concludes our guide to making billions upon billions of ISK in EVE Online (provided you have a few hundred million to start with). A massive thank you, as always, to everyone who contributed to the bounty request. New players: did you find these tips useful? If so, which ones and how? Let us know in the comments!
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