This method was done over several weeknight play sessions before and after the release of game patch 2.4.09. Testing after the patch indicates that the spawn rate of the relevant passenger missions is a lot slower but the payouts seem unaffected.
There are two stages to this method. The first is taking your starter Sidewinder into a High Resource Extraction Site and help the local police kill pirates. This stage should take about 2 and a half hours to earn 3.8 million credits. See my earlier posts on this site for details on how to do this. You then buy a Type 6 like THIS one, featuring D-rated internals except for Frame Shift Drive and many Economy class passenger cabins.
In Stage 2, the Type 6 runs bulk passenger missions from a source station to a system nearby that has a very distant orbital station or planetary base. A system that has a destination ~300,000 light seconds will earn you about 3-4 million per mission, whereas one that is 1.8 million light seconds distant can get 10 million + for the same number of passengers. This stage requires half an hour or so of searching the passenger boards, accepting relevant missions, then swapping game modes from open to solo or back to generate a new board. The 1.8 million LS trip is then about 40 minutes of flight time. You drop off passengers then return to your starting station. About 3 hours of this should net you enough to buy THIS Type 7 which again features D-rated everything except FSD and lots of passenger cabins. Filling up this baby should net you about 50 million per trip, so roughly 4 hours later you should have enough money to buy a shiny new Anaconda, again D-rated with passenger cabins. After than you can continue to print money for however long it suits you.
I used the following systems:
Start in LHS 3447 with the non-horizons sidewinder (No SRV bay). Ignore any mission offers and fly to LTT 15574 via Kini. Land at Haxel port to reset your save location. Fly out to the High Res near Yaping Dock and carefully fight pirates there. Be sure to let the police ships do most of the work!
Once you have about 3.8 million credits, upgrade to an A-rated FSD then fly to Kirk Ring in LFT 1103, which will take several jumps. Be sure to refuel, or fit a fuel scoop.
At Kirk Ring, buy the Type 6 linked earlier then fly to your new home system: 45 c Bootis at Ride Hub. Hand in any cartographic data to help boost your local reputation but even at neutral you should get SOME passenger missions on offer.
The main target is missions to Samos Depot in the Dea Motrona system, a 1.8 million light second journey to a planetary base - so this requires the Horizons expansion. There are two other systems nearby with stations at ~300,00 light seconds. Lovelace Terminal in LFT 1209 is probably the better option but missions to either of Pawelczyk Orbital or Nusslein-Volhard Station in LHS 371 are acceptable alternatives.
Note, some of the systems are initially undiscovered, so I have fit an Advanced Discovery Scanner on my suggested ships. You can get the same results by visiting the nav beacon right near the central star and targeting it, scanning it for data.
Some sample ship details. D-rated everything except FSD. Smallest viable shield is fitted. A minimum of 4 tons cargo and an advanced discovery scanner is also fitted. The type 6 and Type 7 are best bang for buck in their size range.
|Cobra Mk III||18||5,190,836|
Swapping from Solo to Open game modes generates a new set of mission and passenger boards. A Private group board is the exact same as Open. Mission boards reset missions after 5 - 15 minutes anyway so if several swaps between boards isn't generating anything new, just do something else for a short time. Most of the passenger missions have 3 hour completion timers but there is no need to obsessively spam the boards until completely full. As your reputation with the local faction grows, and as your trade rank increases, your payouts per mission should improve. In my testing, this method was viable with neutral reputation and minimal trade rank to start with. Both improved fairly quickly but I had made my 240 million long before any local faction had improved relations much beyond cordial. Its painfully boring waiting for missions to spawn but is nevertheless a viable quick money method.
Any genuine newbies who find this guide should NOT follow it. It describes a mind numbingly boring method of grabbing credits that will destroy your enjoyment of the game. Go play in your small ships for a good while THEN come and use this to get money for mid-and high range toys.
Edit: Frontier Developments have nerfed the distance based payouts on passenger missions so this method no longer works quite as described. They MAY reinstate a distance-based payout but it is very unlikely to generate the large sums it has previously.