Salvaging is the process of turning ship wrecks into items. After a ship is destroyed (NPC or Player), a wreck is left behind. This wreck may contain loot, and can be turned into further items by salvaging it. Salvaging can add a lot of extra value to PvE operations. NPC wrecks can drop valuable modules or items, and the salvage from wrecks is used to manufacture rigs.
Salvaging does not require a lot of skills, expensive ships/modules, and is relatively safe and suitable for new characters. The starting skills include everything necessary to start salvaging, though it takes a few more hours to train into a ship better suited for the process. There are only a few skills that impact salvaging, and a player can reach max efficiency much faster than other professions. The salvage in level 4 (and some level 3) missions is on par with and can sometimes surpass the worth of bounties and mission rewards. Also, you're not (usually) being shot at while salvaging. Low skillpoint characters can become salvagers for level 4 locust fleets and individuals and gain higher profits than doing their own relative mission levels.
To use Salvager I you need:
For the tech 2 version which is Salvager II, you need Salvaging V. Expanded Cargohold I needs:
For Expanded Cargohold II , you will have to train Hull Upgrades II.
Small Tractor Beam I requires Science III.
To fly a Noctis, ORE Industrial skill must be trained to I or more, which needs Spaceship Command III. Also Science I. The tertiary skill required is Salvaging I which you should have already trained to use Salvager I. Training ORE Industrial is useful as each level increases the tractor beam speed by 300 m/s, its range by 12km and each salvage cycle half a second faster.
Salvaging is easy to train into and can be done in almost any ship.
Any ship with high slots can be used to salvage, but the best ships have a lot of high slots to fit salvagers and tractor beams (if not using an MTU), decent speed for travelling closer to wrecks, and a good cargohold.
Destroyers are a very good choice for a starter salvager. They have 8 high slots, for 4 tractor beams and 4 salvagers (or 5/3 or 3/5 depending on preference). Destroyers are also fast and very reasonably priced. So, don't throw out your dessie. It can double up as your salvaging ship until you can afford a Noctis.
The Noctis is the gold standard of salvaging. This ORE ship has been designed specifically for salvaging. It has 8 high slots and bonuses to tractor beam range and speed and a reduction to salvager cycle time. With a high level in ORE Industrial skill you can sit still and tractor wrecks from over 70kms away. Salvaging with a Noctis becomes very pleasant and fast. The only down side is a price of about 50 million isk, and its rather clunky align time.
It is debatable if the Noctis is better than a Destroyer for salvaging. The Noctis has longer align time, slower warp, slower top speed, and with the addition of Mobile Tractor Units it can be argued that Tractor Beams are near worthless.
Every time a ship is destroyed, a wreck is left behind. If you have enabled wrecks in your overview you should be able to see a downward triangle with the name of the wreck. If this triangle is full it means the wreck has loot and if the triangle is empty the wreck has nothing. If it is grey, it means you accessed the wreck and opened it and took a look inside. You can loot every wreck if your distance to it is under 2500 meters.
Approach the target or lock it and tractor it to your location using the tractor beam. When it is under 2500m (because you want to loot it too). Disable the tractor beam and fire up the salvager. Salvager I has a range of 5000m while Salvager II extends this to 6000m (in my opinion these are not very useful because if it has loot, you have to be under 2500m to loot it). After each cycle of Salvager, you can get any of the 3 messages:
Don't worry if you have not looted the wreck yet, when a wreck disappears after salvaging, its loot will appear in a storage container in space where the wreck was. You can then open each container and pick up what's inside. Salvaging will not destroy the loot.
The loot and salvage in each wreck are calculated at the time of destruction, so a higher salvaging skill and rigs will not guarantee you higher salvage. Other than enabling you to salvage higher level wrecks, salvage tackle rigs and salvage skill only make salvaging faster.
You did all the above and now have a load of salvage materials.
There are TEST Services where some people will buy salvage materials at 90-95% Jita Buy or even Sell if you're lucky.
Salvage materials are used to manufacture rigs. You can start manufacturing them if your industry skills and additional skills for the blueprints are high enough and you have access to the blueprints. Be advised that you will be competing with near-perfect industrialists with researched blueprints, so it may be more profitable to sell the materials directly. When in doubt you can always make spreadsheets.
All wrecks have a base access chance, which is likelihood (for each cycle of your salvaging module) that you will successfully salvage the wreck.
Access chance can be modified by salvaging skill level, and using rigs, implants, and tech II salvaging modules.
Each level of the Salvaging skill with a Salvager I module improves your access chance by 5% per level (up to +25% at level V). Once you have trained Salvaging V, you can use the Salvager II module, which improves your base access by 7% per level (up to +35% at level V).
Salvage Tackle I rigs improve your access chance by 10% each. Salvage Tackle II improve your access chance 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 (it fits into slot 9) improves your access chance 5%. The Poteque 'Prospector' Environmental Analysis EY-1005 implant (it fits into slot 10) reduces cycle time of salvage, hacking and archaeology modules by 5%.
If you're using Salvage Drones, their access chance is 3%, and is increased by 2% for each level you have trained in the Salvage Drone Operation skill (up to a maximum of 13% at level V). This means they should be able to open anything except Sleeper Large Advanced Wrecks.
The chance to salvage is not affected by stacking penalties. Also, improving your chance to salvage does not give you better salvage; it merely reduces the number of cycles it takes you to salvage a wreck (or, in the case of very difficult wrecks, allows you to salvage them at all).
According to CONCORD, anyone may legally salvage a wreck. Salvaging a wreck does not affect your criminal or aggression status in any way. If the wreck contains loot, the loot container that drops when the wreck is salvaged will belong to the corporation that owned the wreck.
Looting an owned (yellow) wreck or can will flag you towards the owner's corporation, allowing them to shoot you. Salvaging will not.
You can tractor containers and wrecks owned by your corporation or by no-one (abandoned). You cannot tractor containers or wrecks owned by other corporations.
The rule that makes ninja salvaging possible in high security space is that salvaging someone's wreck is not a CONCORD offense. You will not be flashy to the owner of wreck and they can't shoot you but taking the loot will result in you becoming flashy (the same as Can Flipping).
Wormhole NPCs are called sleeper drones (usually sleepers for the sake of simplicity). They don't have bounties like K-Space rats, instead each type of sleepers drop a certain number of tags from specific type(s). These tags are called blue loot (because they are blue in color) and there are NPC buy orders at fixed prices for them in stations. The sleepers won't drop any modules or loot other than blue loot and each and everyone of them will always have at least 2 pieces of blue loot in their wrecks.
The main income of WH site runners comes from this blue loot and sleeper salvage. Sleeper salvage is used in T3 (strategic cruisers) production. Unfortunately most of sleeper salvage is worthless because of the high drop rate, the only valuable sleeper salvage are Melted Nanoribbons which can be sold higher than 6 million isk at time of writing.
When salvaging in a Wormhole, beware that you are the treasure ship and a solo stealth bomber can destroy you easily. People should remain with salvagers on site to help protect them when a threat suddenly appears. For smaller sites, a salvaging destroyer can be used but for higher class wormholes, a Noctis is the better option. Salvaging ships usually have warp core stabilizers in their low slots to be able to flee and warp out. Expanded cargoholds are usually not needed as sleeper loot and salvage is low on volume.