Its been months since I've posted or uploaded a video. Today its time to rectify that! I've got a video uploading now that should appear HERE that has my newbie pilot Tamarid complete a combat Community Goal in a stock hauler, quite possibly the worst combat ship in the game. As in my previous couple of videos, its about spending an hour or so in a High RES site "assisting" the local police ships for bounties. If you watch the video you'll see a couple of failures and visits to the rebuy screen but I still managed to pull in ~850k credits under less than ideal circumstances.
I've flown many different ships in High RES sites both pre and post the release of ED patch 2.4 with fairly consistent results. If you get an instance with lots of the larger, higher ranked ships it is possible to pull in around 1.8 million per hour just following the police ships around and sniping their targets before they pop. With worse luck for ship spawns, its still easy to get 1 to 1.5 million per hour. These values are almost entirely dependent upon the type of ships that spawn and not at all on your combat prowess or the type of ship you fly.
Patch 2.4 seems to have changed spawn rates in High RES somewhat. It seems that the nicer, high value instances are significantly rarer than before, often requiring 4-5 instance resets to get a worthwhile one. As such my average credits/hour seems down a bit at the low 1 million per hour range rather than nearer 2 mil that I was consistently getting pre patch. Police spawns seem to be more frequent and often with larger ships which can both help and hinder things. It is not uncommon for 2 out of 3 ships from a hostile wing to be popped before you get a chance to safely engage them.
When I fly a combat focused, A-rated ship that can actually fight I am still making money within the same range - 1 to 1.8 mil. Survivability is a lot better in a proper combat vessel than in a hauler or a little toy Sidey but I'm not really seeing much increase in kill rate or the rewards that go with it.
Perhaps paradoxically, using a ship launched fighter slows things down. The added DPS is welcome but the micro management of the fighter actually reduces the income per hour. My npc pilots are still pretty green though so not too good in a fight.
All this stuff about RES sites is because it is reliably the fastest way to get started making money as a brand new commander. Missions at the early stage of the game tend to be less than 100k each so you could get something like 400k per hour if you are really lucky. The forums and Reddit talk a fair bit about Road to Riches, which is an exploration based way to get 10-20million per hour early in the game - but you really need about 3 mil cash to get started. Trading and passenger missions are both fairly rewarding but you still need something to get started with. The starter sidey, or any of the early ships smaller than the Cobra III simply dont have sufficient space to earn the big sums.
The current money making method seems to be running passenger transport missions. You need a ship with a lot of economy class seats and a pair of favorable systems. Rhea to LQ Hydrae was one such pair but has been significantly nerfed about a month back. It worked because the station in LQ Hydrae is a significant distance from the star and the mission system gives you a bonus payout for travel time. Before it was nerfed, a large ship could pull in about 200 million credits per hour.
The factors that made this work so well are still there, but you are instead looking for places that are more than 1 million lightseconds from the main star. Youtuber Down To Earth Astronomy has a video that details such a system and there are others listed in the comments.
The big money comes with big ships and high faction rep but there are other systems that can be done with smaller ships and less reputation.
I suspect it is possible to go from zero to a trade-fit Anaconda in about 6 hours. Once you have the anaconda you can make large sums per hour quickly.
1: take the starter sidey to a local High RES. Collect about 2 mil in bounties.
2: Buy a type 6, equip as many economy passenger cabins as possible.
3: fly to your pair of systems and board flip to get at least partially filled with decent paying missions.
4: upgrade ship as its possible. A type 7 or a python may be a slightly better ship than the t6 for bulk passengers.