06 December 2011
Love them or loath them, missions form a large part of the EVE-playing experience. Whether you are grinding missions for a Navy ship offer, simply to earn piles of ISK or just passing time waiting for corporation members before embarking on a mining expedition, chances are you will run a fair few missions during your career.
Missions can be an important source of ISK and minerals, but, as well as these benefits, the associated corporation and faction standing changes have a significant role to play in the current game mechanics. You may get special treatment if you are favoured by a certain faction, or get shot on sight if you let your reputation drop too low.
Even if mission running can be a very lucrative occupation, a pilot has to constantly keep in mind there are still risks, and underestimating the dangers may lead one to quickly lose a ship. The purpose of this guide is to prevent this from happening, by not only describing the base mission mechanics but by also providing some advice in the same vein.
There are four types of mission agents available. Each one of these agents provides their own specific type of mission.
Security agents offer encounter, or kill, missions. These missions require ship captains to fly to a location and destroy some or all of the ships or structures found there. There are currently two types of encounter missions: those located in deadspace pockets (a.k.a. 'dungeons') where you warp to an acceleration gate prior to engaging with the NPCs, and those where you warp directly to a particular engagement.
Distribution agents offer courier and trade missions.
Courier missions entail moving goods from one station to another. These goods may be specific sealed cargoes or common market commodities. You may need to make multiple deliveries across many systems using an industrial transport ship, or the delivery may be able to fit into the hold of a frigate and only involve a quick visit to the next system.
Trade missions differ from the courier ones as they need a pilot to provide the agent with the goods requested in the mission briefing. These goods need to be purchased (or produced) by the pilot and delivered to the destination station.
Mining missions consist of delivering volumes of minerals or ore to a certain location. These items can either be mined and reprocessed directly by the pilot or purchased on the open market.
Research Agents provide research points that can be redeemed for data cores. Running missions for these agents increase your research point payout for a short period of time.
- Storyline missions: After every 16 regular missions completed you will be offered a storyline mission. These will be one of the regular mission types but will differ by having a great impact on your faction as well as corporation standings. The initial 16 missions can be completed for any agent, as long as those agents are aligned with the same faction and are at the same level as each other. The number of missions is not altered or reset by rejecting or failing an accepted mission.
- Cosmos missions: Most of the Cosmos missions may only be done once, but they provide unique rewards and give a significant boost in standings. However, pilots have to find Cosmos agents inside complexes to receive such an offer.
- Epic Arc missions: Epic mission arcs are composed of a series of branching missions that present the player with choices. These choices will determine how the Epic Arc concludes. These missions also increase your faction standing considerably.
Agents are distinguished by their level, location, corporation, and division. Most agents are located in stations, but there are some agents that are found in space.
Level: The higher the agent level, the harder the missions. For combat missions, this means for level 1 agents you will face Frigates, with level 2 agents you will mostly fight Frigates but with some Cruisers added, at level 3 you will see mostly Frigates, Cruisers and Battlecruisers. Level 4 agent missions will see you face off against everything from Frigates to Battleships.
For courier missions, this means larger deliveries and more jumps.
Higher level mining missions involve much larger quantities of ore.
Corporate division: Each agent belongs to a corporate division. The agent's division determines the type of mission they will offer.
- Distribution (Courier missions)
- Mining (Mining missions)
- Security (Combat missions)
- Research (Research and Development)
All NPC corporations have agents. Agents working for corporations loyal to CONCORD, InterBus, or the Jovian Directorate are unavailable for now; however, all other agents are available to anyone who meets their standings requirements. Agents can be found using the Star Map. This is perhaps the easiest way for new players as it shows you all agents currently available to you throughout the EVE universe. On the Star Map control panel, there is a tab labeled "Star Map". Under this tab is another tab labeled "Stars". In this tab, you may select "My Information" and then "My Available Agents". Doing this will change your map so that any systems that have agents you can use are colored green. Hovering your cursor over these star systems will list the available agents along with their respective corporation, level, quality, and division.
Agents can also be found in a corporation's info window. There, you can navigate to the “Agents” tab to view all of the corporations' agents and whether or not they are available to you. More information about this can be found in the Finding a Better Agent section below.
After finding an agent, you must travel to the station that they are based in. When you dock at their station, click the "Agents" tab in station services and double click on the agent to start a conversation with them. The agent will greet you somewhat morosely and offer you a mission.
When an agent offers you a mission, it will appear under "Agents > Missions" in your NeoCom Journal, which you might want to keep open during missions. Double-click on the journal entry and you will get a more detailed explanation of the mission such as your task, the promised reward, the bonus (if any), and the time frame for completion to claim the bonus.
All mission offers expire 7 days after they have been offered. Missions expire 7 days after the offer has been accepted. Refer to your NeoCom journal to double check missions' expiration deadlines. Expired mission offers don't count against you in any way; however, an accepted mission must be completed. If you accept a mission and let it expire, or report back to your agent that you failed to complete it, then you will suffer a standing loss.
You can reject a mission offer once every 4 hours on a per-agent basis. This is a good way to get rid of a mission offer that drives you into lo-sec systems that you may not want to risk. Remember also that since agent missions are given at random there is a chance, however small, that you may end up being offered the very same mission the next time you talk to the agent. If you reject an offer earlier than 4 hours after your last rejection with the same agent, you will incur a standing loss. This loss of standing may mean that you no longer qualify to receive missions from that particular agent again until you've raised your standings back up.
When you accept the mission, the agent will confirm your reply and expect you to report back when the mission objective has been met. To report completion of a courier mission, you can contact the agent from the destination station. To report completion of a combat mission that doesn't require you to bring any items back to the agent, you can contact the agent from any other station. To report completion of a combat mission that requires you to bring certain items back to the agent, you need to be in the same station as the agent and have the requested items either in your cargo hold or in your hangar. If you happen to have the requested non-specific items in your hangar at the agent's station, the combat mission can be reported without you being physically present at that station.
Some missions require the deposit of collateral as insurance for the items that your agent entrusts to your care until you have achieved the mission objective. Make sure that you have enough money in your wallet to cover the collateral. When you achieve the mission objective and report back to your agent, they will refund the collateral without interest.
There's always a time where you will want something bigger, more challenging, or just better rewards for your missions. As the mission level depends on the agent level, you will need higher level agents when you want to get harder and more rewarding missions.
Higher level agents are accessed by meeting standing requirements with the agent's corporation or the corporation's faction. Higher level agents won't EVEmail you or contact you in any way when they become available; you will have to check the agent's standing requirements manually. This can be done by opening the show info window of the corporation you are running missions for under the "agents" tab.
If the agent that interests you is not yet available, you need to raise your standings with the agent's corporation by running lower level missions for the corporation in question. There are several skills that make it easier to acquire good standing with a corporation. See the Helpful Skills section below for further information.
Remember that missions of higher levels can be much harder and that you should prepare properly or bring wingmates to be sure to succeed.
Standings affect many features in the game. At the simplest level standing controls which agents you have access to. Beyond this, standing impacts upon a pilot's access to jump clones, their ability to anchor Player-Owned Structures in Empire space, amounts of minerals lost in the refining process, and a whole host of costs including sales taxes, research, and factory costs.
Furthermore, if you have -5.0 standing or below with a given faction, you run the risk of being attacked by their navy when entering their space. You can view your faction, corporation, and agent standings via the "Liked By" and "Disliked By" tabs under your "Standings" section on your character sheet. Agent availability is dependent on your corporation and faction standing, each agent requiring you to have a certain standing to be able to work for them. The standings you need for a particular agent can be found on their "Agent Info" tab under "Mission Services".
There are three different levels of standings. The more widespread a standing is, the harder it is to increase it:
- Agent: such standings only work for a single agent. Every time a mission is completed you receive personal standings with the agent who offered it to you as well.
- Corporation: these are your personal standings toward an NPC corporation, and not your own corporation standing toward another NPC. Corporations contain numerous agents and by increasing standings with them you will be able to access more agents inside them. Such standings may be augmented by missions.
- Faction: faction standings remain the most general but most difficult type of relationship to increase. Each faction possesses numbers of corporations inside it, so if you raise your faction standings you will be able to access all corporations linked to it. Faction standings may only be augmented by storyline, COSMOS, or Epic Arc missions.
As you can see, it is a lot more beneficial to have high faction standings, as you can directly access all corporations and all agents under that faction by doing so, instead of increasing the corporation standings one by one.