All this data is potentially out of date, and should be taken with a truckload of salt
The act of scanning down mission runners in high sec and salvaging their wrecks against that mission runners will. This action should be distinguished from salvaging wrecks which are explicitly abandoned by their owner and also situations where the wreck owner agrees to the salvaging of their wrecks.
As a Profession
Ninja Salvaging higher level missions can be extremely rewarding and can provide low-SP players with access to lucrative Level 4 wreck fields which often contain many high-value 'large' (battleship) wrecks. One of the most attractive aspects of Ninja Salvaging as a profession is its low SP requirements - new players can quickly train the skills required to scan down the average Level 4 mission runner (Battleships).
Despite a drop in the value of some salvage due to CCP updates (namely the introduction of small & medium rigs and associated changes to the drop rate of some salvage components) Ninja Salvaging remains an excellent source of income for beginning players who lack the skill to run their own Level 4 missions.
Ninja Salvaging can be both a solo and fleet activity. Some corps in the game (e.g. Suddenly Ninjas) specialize in Ninja Salvaging and run Ninja Salvaging operations that can involve 20+ "Ninjas" warping en masse into a mission and clearing entire wreck fields in moments.
By its very nature, Ninja Salvaging is a controversial activity within the Eve Community and Eve-related forums are rarely without a thread decrying Ninja Salvaging and calling on CCP to make changes to eliminate the practice. Despite this, CCP has repeatedly stated that Ninja Salvaging is considered an official mini-profession and the game mechanics that allow it are working as-designed.
- A mission runner to scan down and wrecks to salvage.
- A ship equipped with at least one Salvager I.
- The ability to fit an Expanded Probe Launcher.
- The ability to have at least 3 Combat Scanner Probes in space at a time.
- Skills: Survey III, Mechanic III, Astrometrics II, Electronics I, Salvaging I
- Astrometrics - Used to determine the number of probes deployed in space. Now only affects scan strength, scan deviation and scan speed by 5% each level.
- Astrometric Pinpointing - Reduces scan deviation, which increases your ability to get a 100% (warpable) lock on a target when using scan probes. Level III is usually enough to scan down most Level 4 mission runners.
- Astrometric Rangefinding - Increases scan strength, allowing you to get better hits and scan down sites faster. Level III or IV is highly recommended.
- Astrometric Acquisition - Lowers your scan time by 1 second per level. This can be a useful time saver, particularly if you choose to scan down a number of mission runners before switching to a salvage ship. If you consider scan speed important, Level IV is recommended.
- Salvaging - Level IV is highly recommended as it greatly reduces salvage time. Level V allows the use of T2 Salvagers, further reducing salvage time, but can take a long time to train.
- Speed - Speed, though not absolutely necessary, makes a Ninja Salvagers' job much easier as you are effectively racing against the mission runner to salvage their wrecks. It can also allow you to 'speed tank' any large NPC ships still in the mission. Skills that increase base speed (Navigation), afterburner use (Afterburner, Acceleration Control), and maneuverability (Evasive Maneuvering, Spaceship Command) are highly recommended to Level IV or V.
- Salvage Rigs - Salvage Tackle rigs can greatly increase the speed at which one can salvage wrecks and are therefore extremely useful for Ninja Salvagers. Salvage Tackle rigs require Jury Rigging III and Armour Rigging I. Note that these rigs will reduce your ships' speed and could increase the total amount of time it takes to clear a full field of wrecks - Ninja Salvagers should strike their own balance between salvage speed and ship speed.
- Unlike ninja looting, Ninja Salvaging doesn't criminally flag you, greatly reducing the risk of mission runners attacking you (and if they do, Concord will kill them).
- Doesn't require much skill training and gives new players access to highly lucrative Level 4 wreck fields
- Salvaged materials don't take much cargo space.
- Well-known mission hubs can have hundreds of mission runners, making it possible to Ninja Salvage missions back-to-back for hours.
- You won't need weapon modules unless you're in low security systems or you decide to defend yourself against NPC ships still in the mission.
- Ninja Salvaging can greatly upset mission runners, often resulting in tears (complaining/whining/emo-raging in local or private convo), which can provide entertainment, quotes for your bio, and bragging rights for you and your corpmates.
- Ninja Salvaging is not an inherently 'safe' profession and mission runners use a variety of tactics to discourage the practice, including warping out of the mission in hopes that the Ninja Salvager will be aggro'd and destroyed by any remaining NPCs.
- Since they are not your wrecks, you can't use tractor beams to bring wrecks to you. You will need to get your ship within 5000m with a Salvager I, or 6000m with a Salvager II of the wrecks.
- Although highly profitable relative to the low number of SP required, once a player has trained some more Ninja Salvaging is generally less profitable than other professions such as high level missions, mining and trading.
- Ninja Salvaging may upset players and any player-owned corporations they belong to, which may decide to; place a bounty on your head or declare war (or hire mercenaries to declare war) on your own player corporation so they can shoot at you without Concord interfering. Some consider this to be an Advantage.