3 Ways For New Players To Enjoy Eve Online For Free

Matt Smith 21-10-2013

Recently I wrote about five reasons gamers should give Eve Online 5 Reasons To Give Eve Online A Second Chance Over the past few years CCP Games have made changes to help newbies dig into Eve’s massive universe, and they’ve paid off. Read More , a notoriously intimidating space MMO, a second chance. One reason I cited is the game’s unique monetization, which allows players to pay for their monthly fee with an in-game items called a Pilot’s License Extension. If you can buy these, you can play Eve free, forever.


They’re not cheap, however; currently about 600 million ISK (Eve’s currency) and rising at a slow but steady rate. New players with a dinky ship and a few million space-bucks may look at the cost of a PLEX and believe it far too expensive to afford. In fact, it’s not hard to come up with the money if you know how. Here’s three ways a newbie can earn enough to play for free 5 Initially Premium MMO Games That Are Now Free To Play [MUO Gaming] It's hard to say where the gaming industry is heading, but freemium games are likely playing a big part in it. Where traditional games ask for your sixty dollars up front, freemium games take their... Read More .

Station Trading


The core concept of station trading is very simple. You sit a character in a station, you have that character train trade skills, and you buy items low, than re-sell them high. The difference goes in your wallet.

To start station trading you first need to have a character in one of the major trade hubs. These are, in order of largest to smallest, Jita, Amarr, Dodixie, Rens and Hek. Smaller trade hubs see a lower volume of items, but also have less competition, so you should pick a hub based on how frequently you plan to check on your trades. Players who enjoy trade, and want to do it for hours on end, should go to Jita. Those who only want to check on trades once a day (or less!) should go to Hek or Rens.



You also will need to train the character you trade with, who is likely an alt, in some basic skills. The Trade, Retail, Wholesale and Tycoon skills impact how many orders you can have, and you’ll probably want to at least get the first two to level 5 and Wholesale to level 3 (that will let you run up to 108 orders). You should also plan on training Accounting and Broker Relations to level 5, as these skills reduce taxes and broker fees (that’s more money in your pocket). None of these are pre-requisites, however; you can start trading while you wait for your skills to level up.

Once your trade character arrives at the hub of your choice you need to start purchasing items with Buy Orders. These orders tell other players you want to purchase items at a certain price. Ideally your buy order will offer more than anyone else; if it does, players will sell your order first when they’re looking to move that item. Once you’ve acquired items through buy orders (which can take hours or even a few days), you re-sell them using Sell Orders. Again, having the lowest price is usually best, though obviously you want to make some profit.


So, what items should you trade? While there’s a ton of theory surrounding the answer to this question, I suggest that you just download Elinor, a fan-made utility that can automatically analyze any item. With Elinor running, you can export data to it by clicking “Export to file” when you have an item selected in the game’s market window, and Elinor will calculate margin, volume and profit for you. You should look for items with a margin of at least 10%. Also pay attention to the volume numbers; if they’re in the low hundreds you may have to wait awhile for a buy or sell order to be filled.


Once you have these basics in place, there’s not much to do except monitor orders. Make sure your buy orders pay the best price, then re-sell the items you buy at the lowest price, while also maintaining 10% profitability or better. You’ll sometimes need to switch the items you buy and sell as other players enter those markets, and you’ll make more money the more frequently you check your orders. Still, it’s entirely possible to check orders once per day and make a daily profit of 5 to 10% of your total worth, which means you’ll double your money about every week or two. A player who does well can buy a PLEX within a month, while those who spend less time may need two. But once your trade empire has started, you’ll reap greater and greater rewards; a player will a billion ISK in trades can often make 100 million ISK on a daily basis.

Players who want to trade should also read the blogs Markets For ISK and Merchant Monarchy. Both are penned by players who started with nothing and now have tens of billions of ISK sitting around. The writer of the latter blog has over 300 billion ISK, enough to play Eve free for 500,000 years!

Inter-regional Trade


While station trades sit in one place, inter-regional traders make their money by purchasing items at places where they sell low, then hauling them over to a place where they sell for more. There can be a lot of profit in this, but it’s also more work.


To be an inter-regional trader you’ll want the same skills as a station trader (see above). In addition, you’ll want to pick racial industrial ship piloting skills, like Gallente Industrials, which will let you pilot basic hauling ships. The basic industrials are the Tayra, Bestower, Iteron Mark V and Mammoth. Each has a large cargo hold, which can be made larger with Expanded Cargohold equipment from the market.

You also should have small, fast frigate. Not all the goods you carry will be large, and small loads can be transported more quickly in a frigate than a big industrial.

Once you have your ship, you need to find items worth selling. Fortunately, Eve market fansite Eve-Central has a comparison tool [No Longer Available] that does it for you. Just enter the system you want to haul from, and the region you want to haul to, as well as the maximum price you can afford to pay for an item. A list of candidates will be generated for you. Jita, the biggest trade hub in Eve, also tends to have the lowest prices, so you’ll probably want to enter it into the “from” field. The system you’re hauling to can be any of the other trade hubs; Amarr, Dodixie, Rens or Hek.



With the list generated, scan the items for those that move in relatively high quantities. Anything above ten is decent, and an item that moves at a volume of 50, 100 or more is a great candidate. Once you’ve identified an item, visit Eve Markets and search for it. This handy website will generate a supply/demand graph that help you decide if the item is likely to sell once you move it. After moving your haul to its new location you can either sell it to someone with a buy order posted (if that would be profitable) or create your own sell order.

As you earn more money, you’ll be able to move more items worth more ISK, which should mean better and better profits. However, it’s wise not to move more than a 100 million ISK of items at once, because pirates do sometimes harass players even in high-security space. If you need to move very large orders, consider contracting the work out to a dedicated hauling corporation like Red Frog Freight.

While you can have your ship move the items on auto-pilot, your account must be logged in during the duration of the trip, so this profession is best for players who can occasionally check in on the game. You can expect to make a profit of 30% to 50% on a good haul, so it’s possible to afford a PLEX within a few weeks of casual hauling.

Faction Warfare

While station trading and hauling can be very profitable, they may not interest everyone. Some players care little about the economic game and would rather fly into space – the more dangerous, the better. If that sounds like you, then Faction Warfare is a great way to make money.

There are four NPC factions in Eve; Amarr, Caldari, Gallente and Minmatar. Each is allied with one other, and at war with two others. When you join a faction’s militia, you become flagged for PvP combat against whomever your faction is at war with, and you gain the ability to capture complexes in contested systems. You can view contested systems by looking at the Faction Warfare menu, which is available in stations or in space (strangely, it’s under the “Business” section of the sidebar). You can only join a militia when in a station owned by that faction, however.


Systems are won and lost by the capture of complexes, more often called “plexes” for short. These objectives are lightly defended by NPC ships and can be captured by players. They also come in different sizes; novice, small, medium and large. Only basic frigates can enter the novice plexes, while advanced tech 2 frigates and destroyers can enter small plexes. Medium plexes also allow cruisers, and the largest ones do not have ship restrictions.

Capturing a plex provides you with Loyalty Points. The base values are 10,000 for novice, 17,500 for small, 25,000 for medium and 30,000 for large. If your faction is doing well, these rewards can be increased by up to 225%, which means a maximum of 97,500 points pier large plex capture.

This is where the money comes in. Loyalty Points can be redeemed for special ammo, equipment and ships that are only available by earning loyalty with a faction militia. These special items are also superior to everyday gear. And they can be re-sold on the market for a lot of money. Loyalty Points often convert to ISK at a rate of 3,000 ISK per Loyalty Point. Which means capturing a single novice plex can net between 15 million and 100 million ISK, depending on your faction’s current success. That is a lot of money.


There are a few downsides, however. First, the items you buy with Loyalty Points don’t magically convert to ISK; you have to sell them. This means you’ll need to train into an industrial ship and pick up a few trade skills so you can occasionally haul your valuable faction items into a trade hub.

Second, you have to play in a PvP environment New To MOBAs? Here's How To Find Out Which One Is For You If you've not been gaming from under a rock for the past few years, you've caught on to the MOBA genre of games, or have at least heard of them. While there is a handful... Read More . You don’t have to engage other players to capture a complex, but opponents will sometimes show up to try to prevent your capture, and pirates also roam faction warfare systems in search of a fight. As a newbie, you’ll generally want to avoid conflict because your skills probably won’t match your opponent. But if you fly a cheap frigate (one that costs no more than a few million ISK) losing a ship won’t set you back much. Some players may even prefer this; knowing that you’re being hunted can provide a thrill.

Most players will be able to capture two plexs an hour. Assuming they’re both small, and no factional bonuses are in effect, that’s 35,000 Loyalty Points, or about 50 million to 100 million ISK. A hardcore player can earn a PLEX in a day, while casual gamers can play for free by spending just five to ten hours in factional warfare a month.


There are other ways to earn ISK and play Eve Online for free, but the three methods listed here are the best for newbies. All three require very little start-up capital and only a handful of skills, none of which are pre-requisites. A new player can realistically earn enough money to buy a PLEX within a month using any of these methods, which means you’ll only have to pay for your first month of play.

Do you have any tips on how to earn money in Eve? Leave them in the comments!

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  1. Jim
    December 30, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Trying to earn enough ISK to play for free is only a viable option for a more established player. Even so, you're better off dual-boxing, meaning you should play two characters at a time (meaning two subscriptions), so that one account can be training, mining or selling or whatever you're doing to earn ISK, and you can use the other account to actually play. One account isn't enough to really get anywhere in this game, unless all you do is stay logged onto Eve most of your day, every day. But even then, a new account will take time to train up enough skills to a high enough level to actually be usable.

    That's why, as much as I really like Eve, I quit playing after about six months. It simply took too much time invested just to maintain your ship (including repairs and upgrades, and insurance), or earn ISK, let alone having the time and resources to actually venture out and explore, battle, etc (ie-play the game).

    Eve is a fantastic MMO/simulator, if you understand what you're getting into, but it is not for the casual one- or two-hour a day gamer. If I was homebound (or got payed to play...), I'd be a hardcore Eve gamer.

  2. hakrev
    December 14, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    I think the point of earning free playtime by sacrificing all of your playtime for this one single goal is really unrealistic and will burn any new player out. Instead buy 2 plex at a time, stockpile them each month and in your first year you will have enough to play an entire year free. at the two year mark you should by all means be able to produce 2-5 billion isk by just casual play each month, use this to fuel yourself for the remainder of your eve online career. So, to recap you should only spend about a year paying for the game. If you are paying after this point it is usually because you were being lazy and not playing at all.

    If you want to never pay then you need to dedicate every moment for a few years to getting it. You will not know how to fight, you will not know how to run a corp, you probably wont even have friends in rl or in game because you spent too much time trying to play a pay to play game for free when you can't realistically do it yet. Like anything in eve it takes time to master. Pay for 2 years during your first year while you learn everything. After 1 year you will know enough to start a corp, use the money you earn from corp to partially fuel your own development. After 2 years you will most likely be in a battleship (fully fit and able to be replaced), have access to wormhole space, be able to defend it and really start raking in the cash. If you did it right it will be like a well-oiled machine and you won't have to do anything short of hanging out with your friends in order to make enough isk to fuel your PLEX.

    If you lack rl money to play the game, i'm sorry but you probably just shouldn't attempt. you wont be having any fun.

  3. hakrev
    December 14, 2014 at 6:04 am

    300 billion isk divided by 600 million isk is 500, since there are 12 months in a year divide 500 by 12 and you get 41.6 years, not 500,000 years lol. It's still perfectly long enough to play the game pretty much until the servers shut down though ^^

    • Dave
      January 21, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      There are two definitions of billion, one is a thousand million (aka short scale - the most common though newer definition) and the other is a million million (long scale 'British Billion'). If the former then you're correct, otherwise it's enough for 41,600 years (So the calculation is still wrong, but not by nearly as much)

  4. Jason
    October 22, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    Since I received no response here, I did some research of my own. The character creator is not available as a standalone product. One is required to download the 18GB full-game demo to try it. There is a 14-day trial available.

    • Tina S
      October 23, 2013 at 6:58 am

      Thank you for the update, Jason!

  5. Jason
    October 22, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Is there any way to play with the character creator in EVE without actually subscribing to the game? I've always been curious about it.

  6. Carl C
    October 22, 2013 at 1:34 pm

    I play for games for fun. What is described here is the diametric opposite of fun.

    • Ivan
      February 10, 2014 at 5:21 am

      There are 3 ways of doing it for a reason - some people like being traders. There are CEOs in EVE as well, and they make loads of ISK, play the game for free, etc. The head of Alliances and Corporations oftentimes are CEOs, especially of the mining and industrials ones. If you don't like that, you've got the factional warfare - good old fashioned railgun and missile combat to rack up points. Sure, you've got to spend time trading on the market to rack up points, but if you wanted to play EVE without doing that, you might as well find a non MMO to play, because interacting with others is the point of an MMO.