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Scavenging can be a great way for newbies to make money. At a basic level, scavenging is the act of taking discarded item drops from wrecks that ratters have left behind. This is very fast and efficient way to get ISK, particularly for newer characters who may not have the ISK or skill points to rat or mine effectively. This is differentiated from Salvaging, which is activating the Salvager I module on a wreck, which yields components for constructing rigs.
Basic scavenging requires no advanced skills or equipment. You can scavenge quite well with a frigate, particularly if you equip an afterburner to it. Because frigates have small cargo holds, equipping cargo expanders is a good idea. If you really want to step things up, consider using a Coercer or Hurricane.
Where and what should I scavenge?
Warp from asteroid belt to asteroid belt in order to find wrecks, or set up an overview to just show wrecks and belts and use your directional scanner to find them. If there are wrecks in an asteroid belt, look around to see if anyone is ratting. If nobody is ratting, then you are free to take any unnamed wrecks (which are labeled "<RAT TYPE> <SIZE> WRECK"). As of the latest Revelations patch, all unlooted wrecks show up as lighter grey than their looted counterparts. As long as any loot is still in the wreck, it will show as a solid triangle. An open triangle is a wreck with no loot that can still be scavenged.
If there is someone ratting, then they may wish to pick up their wrecks once they finish with the targets. As most ratting vehicles are slow and heavy, this may take awhile if they even do it at all. Feel free to ask nicely if you can pick up after someone; most ratters are happy to let newbie characters take loot from the lower spawns. Do not loot wrecks from someone who is present and actively ratting in the belt without their permission. This can make people very angry -- some will accuse you of stealing.
If you open up a wreck and it is full of minerals you should probably leave it alone, as it has likely come from a hauler rat, and you won't have the space to transport enough minerals to make it worth your while.
With regards to wreck renaming/ownership: you can rename any wreck you are the owner of (got the killing blow on the NPC) from any distance, and you can check to see who owns a wreck by right clicking a wreck and looking at the show info page; the owner pilot's picture is to the right of the wreck picture which you can click on to see their name.
What do I do with the loot I pick up?
It depends on the type of the loot. Most unnamed loot (the lowest level of loot) should just be refined or donated to the corp, unless it is of use to you. This is also true of some named stuff, although a lot of named equipment including first or second-best named modules are worth selling. To find out if something is first or second best named, check the "Meta Level" in the attributes tab. Most items go up to meta level 4, so 3 and 4 would be the best. Some items like shield hardeners only go up to 2. For a full list of the different types of an item, open up the "Variations" tab on the information screen.
If you think something might be valuable, right-click it and select "View Market Details." This will open the market browser and show open sell/buy orders which will help you decide on whether to keep it or not. If you are unsure about how much to sell an item for, ask in chat.
One of the most valuable forms of loot dropped by Serpentis are cargo expanders. Angel rats drop named speed mods (Inertia Stabilizers, Nanofibers, Overdrives), which currently sell well. Battleship-sized Artillery guns, Autocannons and 1600mm Armor plates are a good source of low-end minerals to sell or use for production. Best-named armor plates and ECM jammers are constantly in demand. Some named 1400mm guns can go for as much as 10 million in empire, check the price before you chuck it into the smelter.
If you are considering selling a lot of rat loot, it is probably worth your while to train up the Trade and Retail skills to a few levels, as this massively increases the amount of things you can put up for sale on the market.
Keep an eye on the GSIntel and Local channels for the presence of enemy activity. If a hostile does enter local space, stop scavenging and safespot. If many hostiles enter the system, log out until they are gone as they can now probe you out very easily. The money gained from looting is not worth the loss of a ship, and nothing pisses off Sesfan more than a newbie giving a hostile an easy gank.
The other threat is rats. Angel rats spew missiles at you, depending on their type, which can be especially dangerous if they are cruiser/battlecruiser rats, and you are in a frigate. In this case it may be worthwhile to leave the belt. If you're not sure if you can tank a certain rat type, then you probably can't so get out quickly. In particular, be aware of which rats pack warp disruptors and scramblers, since getting pinned down by one without a way to get rid of them is certain death. Rats idle for a few seconds before engaging, giving you time to warp off if you spot them quickly.
Basic Scavenging Gear
Although you can do quite well in a frigate with an afterburner and some cargo expanders, you can do much more with a small tractor beam. Tractor beams lock onto wrecks and pull them in at 500 m/s, which allows you to use a larger ship. A hauler equipped with 2 tractor beams, an afterburner, and a nanofiber internal or two can move a lot more stuff than a frigate. Please note that the slower turning ability of the hauler will make it far more susceptible to rats and hostiles, so WATCH LOCAL and be prepared to leave immediately. Fitting WCS is a good idea for any hauler, particularly since you're dealing with relatively low volume items.
Edit: Please do not kill the frigates or smaller spawns left behind by the ratters, if you see any battleship wrecks. This is known as breaking the chain. See Chaining for more details.
An easy way to tell if rats are being chained is to ask: how many rat types are there? If there is only one type of spawn (For example, Angel Seizers) then there the belt is probably being chained. If there are two - for example, Angel Seizers and Angel Legatus, then the belt is not being chained.
Remember that your directional scanner (hit Ctrl-F11) will pick up cans and wrecks, allowing you to zero in on valuable wrecks and avoid warping into empty belts.
Scavenging With Cans
One way to even off the problems with frigate/destroyer cargo capacity and hauler vulnerability is to use jetcans to store items and pick them up later with a hauler. In particular, dropping cans more than 150km away from wrecks means that you can warp out to them, immediately breaking the locks of any rats. Rats will also not attack for several seconds after warping back in, giving you time to tractor or burn to the next wreck. Battleship rats take up to 20 seconds to attack smaller ships (and do very little damage once they do lock if you're moving), giving you time to salvage the wreck as well.
Since the can is 150km out, you can safely ignore rats in the belt when you come back with your hauler.
Battlecruisers are about as good as it gets for scavenging, combining strong tanks, multiple low slots for cargo expanders, plentiful high slots for tractors and salvagers, good base cargo capacity, reasonable speeds with a MWD, and low skill requirements. The Hurricane tends to be the best choice, combining the largest cargo, highest speed, eight high slots, and a good shield buffer. This fitting has earned much acclaim from its users, and works effectively enough with best named modules (use T2 expanders though, OK?) that they're extremely easy to jump in to. Caldari pilots should consider crosstraining, as their battlecruisers are the worst at everything scavenging involves except shield tanking.
Remember to train Drone Interfacing up a few levels so you can make warp scrambling rats fuck off when necessary, drop a tractor beam for a cloak if you're worried about hostiles.
A scavenging Hurricane running solo can scoop about 2 Giant Secure Containers worth of loot over the course of an hour and salvage every wreck in its path. Depending on the market, this can produce significantly more than a mining battleship or cruiser ratter (often more than battleship ratters), making it one of the best ways for newbies to make money.
The most efficient way to grab loot is to use a Blockade Runner fit out for agility and warp to bookmarked cans. You'll want to do this in a well farmed system full of untouched BS wrecks, the kind that isk farmers create. Once you enter system:
- Warp to belt 1 and bookmark a BS wreck or go to the next belt.
- Warp to belt 2 and bookmark a BS wreck or go to belt 3 until you find BS wrecks.
- Once you have your second bookmark warp to your first bookmark and delete it while in warp.
- Grab loot once you land (with the new 2500m scoop range this should always work) and bookmark another unlooted wreck
- Warp to your second bookmark, again deleting it while in warp and repeat.
Because you are never slowboating in a belt and align like a frigate you can loot belts full of rats just as easily as empty ones. Make sure you delete all your bookmarks to avoid going to emptied wrecks and creating useless piles of bookmarks.
Scavenging By the Numbers
The following is a table of items you may find as scavenged loot, listed in order of the value of the minerals they reprocess into. Keep in mind that this will change with the changing market value of various minerals. If you're trying to decide whether to pick up X or Y or Z, check this table.
I have copied/edited the spreadsheet above with some simple alterations to current mineral values and added the ability to fill in a new quantity column in order to work out the rough value of your dropcans. http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=rW4Gl1cz3Oynae-rf73BHFQ
1 Giant Secure Container of unsorted loot (i.e. everything picked up) reprocessed at 95% net yield produces about:
- Angel Cartel: 1,764,292 Tritanium, 758,887 Pyerite, 228,253 Mexallon, 35,682 Isogen, 5,979 Nocxium, 757 Zydrine, 479 Megacyte
- Blood Raiders: TODO
- Sansha's Nation: TODO
- Serpentis: TODO
- Guristas: TODO
Tips for Scavenging in Delve/Querious
- Blood Cardinals and Popes drop Tachyon Beam Lasers, the most valuable T1 mod that drops from Bloods.
- Named Beam Lasers of all types give 50% of the minerals at 40% of the volume. If it's named Modulated it's worth quite a lot on the market.
- 1600mm Steel plates are 100 m3 while all other types are 20 m3 and give the same minerals. Rolled Tungsten plates are worth quite a lot.
- Named Heavy Energy Neuts are only 5 m3 and are per m3 the best value together with Large Laser Crystals.
- Do not collect the following: Large Armor Repairers, Heavy Cap Boosters, Heavy Cap Batteries and Cap Booster Charges unless you really want to fill your cargo with crap.