Tobold's Blog
Thursday, April 29, 2010
 
Running missions in EVE

A lot of players in EVE Online spend a large amount of time running missions. Missions are PvE content which is instanced. Now somebody is going to protest that there are no instance portals in EVE, but for all practical purposes missions are instances, that is only you and people you invite can reach them. Another player who by chance has the same quest in the same solar system will come out in a different instance, and not turn up in yours. Now there are 4 different types of missions, but mining and trading missions are very rare, so in over 95% of cases your mission will either be transporting something from A to B, or going somewhere and killing NPC ships. You can influence what type you get by what kind of agent you talk to. But the actual mission you get is a random one, out of a list of over 400 different ones.

Missions are rewarded with three things: ISK (money), standing (a reputation score with the faction you work for), and loyalty points, which can be used to buy things in a special loyalty points shop. How much you get depends on what agent gave you the mission, there are 4 levels of agents, and each agent has a quality from -20 to +20. The higher your standing with the faction, the better agents you get access to, and the more rewards you get.

Nevertheless there is a trap for new players, the difficulty of missions goes up enormously from level I to level II. While the level I missions were rather a bit too easy for me flying in my destroyer, my first level II mission Damsel in Distress turned out not so well. I warped in and was immediately surrounded by 8 frigates and a cruiser, all in range to shoot at me. I thought that if I could take out the cruiser I could warp out, repair, then come back for the easier enemies. What I didn't know was that killing the cruiser would spawn 10 more frigates, elite ones, and before I could warp out I was pulverized. I tried with a cruiser to recover the stuff from my wreck, but was forced to flee before losing that one as well. I'd need a better ship, which in EVE means waiting for the skills, to reliably do level II missions. Of course some people do them in smaller ships, but using much higher skills in everything relevant and tech 2 modules.

The annoying thing is that I did the missions for the standing, and the standing only increases at snail pace from level I missions, even with the relevant social and connections skills. I would need a standing of 8.00 to enable the use of jump clones (hearth stones), but each level I mission only raises my standing by 0.01 or 0.02. In fact I lost several missions worth of standing for not being able to complete that level II mission. So right now I'd either have to grind a huge lot of level I missions (and I'll certainly do some to learn to fly my new cruiser), or I'll need to wait for the skills for a bigger ship and do level II missions. Or I could join a group from my corp, but they usually do level IV missions, and I would be just leeching.

In summary, missions in EVE are where the game most closely resembles classic MMORPGs with quests. And curiously enough the instanced nature of the combat mission targets makes the missions feel more like a single-player game than doing quests in World of Warcraft in an open world where you might see other players on the same quest killing the same quest mobs.
Comments:
Now somebody is going to protest that there are no instance portals in EVE, but for all practical purposes missions are instances, that is only you and people you invite can reach them.

That's not true. It is not a big deal to scan down mission runners to steal loot and/or salvage. So it isn't instanced at all, anybody who bothers to scan you may enter your missions deadspace pocket.
 
I'd need a better ship, which in EVE means waiting for the skills, to reliably do level II missions. Of course some people do them in smaller ships, but using much higher skills in everything relevant and tech 2 modules.
Or you could switch tactics. Think of Eve missions like oldschool instances in WoW, where proper pulling and crowd control were used to limit the incoming damage, and trying to tank everything was a recipe for disaster unless you vastly outgeared/outleveled the instance.
 
What Hirvox said. Now that you know, you could kill the frigates first and leave the cruiser for last. Or fit the ship to resist their damage types, or run like a mofo at the beginning :) That's what seems to work best for me in tough missions... until something webs me QQ

Also, note that this particular mission seems to be one of the hardest ones. It's not really just because it's a level 2, even among the same level not all missions are equal. So you can still do level 2s, just steer clear of this particular one until you've got the hang of it. You can decline missions without loss of standing from the agent once every 4 hours.
 
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Or I could join a group from my corp, but they usually do level IV missions, and I would be just leeching.

Not really true. I've done many missions with my corp, while I was in my destroyer doing the salvaging, and they just let me know when it's safe to warp in.

You can get quite some money from it, plus if you are in the same system when the missionrunner turns the mission in, you get quite a nice increase of standing.

This means you are gaining at 3 points:

1. Skills (time flies, thus skills increase)
2. Money
3. Standing

Most experienced IV runners won't salvage, because it's not worth their time. Therefore, it's a win-win!
 
[quote]
Missions are PvE content which is instanced. Now somebody is going to protest that there are no instance portals in EVE, but for all practical purposes missions are instances, that is only you and people you invite can reach them
[/quote]

You are really wrong on this one, anyone can probe you out and find you while you do your missions, this is how ninja salvagers make their living and how pirates shoot down people in low sec while doing missions.
 
Hi Tobold

Good post but here are a few points

1. There are actually level 5 missions which require a very well co-ordinated group and carefully planned tactics. They even give ph4t Loot and are the closest thing to Raiding in EVE but are not very popular because you lose your stuff if you get killed.

2. Missions look like they are instanced because you are sent to a far off region of space but people can scan you down and rob your mission loot.

3. Agreed on the difficulty jump to level 2s. Most people fit out a cruiser to do level 2s but you can do them in a well tanked destroyer. You don't actually need tech 2 modules but you do need to spend quite a while playing around with EFT adjusting your tank for the specifics of each mission. Only do this if you enjoy it though - the cruiser is definitely a quicker route.


4. If you plan on getting seriously in to missions then sadly you need to do a bit of forward planning. I wasted quite a while building up faction with a group who had no decent level 4 agents. Ideally you want a faction that has a level 4 combat focussed agent in an easy to get to 0.5 region of space. http://www.eve-agents.com/ is a good reference. Yet another spreadsheet to play with!
 
I don't think it's fair to say that missions are instanced as technically they're not and it's also possible to find missions runners using scanners as the commenter plague pointed out.

Still, as an EVE newb myself, I agree that the mission system is pretty clunky. It reminds me a lot of old school MMO mechanics and it really lacks the slickness of questing or dungeon running in WoW.

I've been grinding T1 missions for a long time now just so I can afford a better ship to do T2 ones and it can be pretty dull. I'd really like to see an expansion that offers some more interesting missions and a bit more variety.
 
You only think they are instanced. They are not. Surprise Ninja Salvagers!
 
Also, use this site: eve-survival.org

They give a run down of all the missions, for example, it would have told you that killing that cruiser was the trigger for the next spawn.
 
On instancing: although you're technically wrong at level 1-2 missions in practice you're right.

Unless you provoke someone (eg by talking smack in Local) no one will scan you down for a level 2.

I met my first ninja salvager the other day when I was doing level 4s. After some 10 months of playing.

On tactics: a ranged cruiser with an afterburner is the best mission runner I found for level 2s. It can be a bit hairy if they're waiting to gank you at the start but once you get past 20km you eliminate most of the incoming damage. I'm Caldari which let me use the superb Caracal. I never needed to check Eve Survival.

Now that I'm doing level 4s I live or die by Eve Survival. It grates slightly that you can't really play just using the client, you need third party sites.

The three key pieces of information gleaned from Eve Survival are:

- incoming damage
- best damage type to do
- which ship triggers a wave of reinforcements (it's generally the one with the highest bounty for pirate missions)

Good luck and don't worry too much about dying, it's part of the game!
 
You could also run courier missions instead of kill missions to raise your standing with a corp/faction while you wait for skills to train up.
Also, your tank is very important to how well you're going to manage the mission's aggro. Each faction has a different damage type and you can typically harden to massively reduce your incoming damage. Each faction's damage type also happens to be their damage weakness so you can specialize yourself even further to wrap up your kill missions more efficiently.
One other thing, the major navies are your best bet for kill missions, as the major mission hubs are also the major trade hubs(also where you get the worst 'ninja salvagers'). You can also run courier missions for R&D corps(there's three per faction). This will get you access to R&D agents. R&D agents do research for you so long as you have the proper skills, this gives you an amount of research points depending on the agent's level and your skills. Research points can be traded for datacores, which typically sell anywhere from 150k to 400k. R&D agents are essentially afk ISK, not much mind you, but that's what it is.
 
Tobold,

"Damsel in Distress" is, indeed, one of the hardest missions. If you see "The Blockade", stay away from it, it's even worse ;)

What i would suggest is either running lvl 4's with your Corp, or do what someone said, and prepare for the mission in advance, by looking at eve-survival.org or refitting for the correct damage.

Also, i am sure your Corp would probably be very happy to bring Cruisers and frigates to help you clear that Damsel in Distress mission.
 
You dont need to grind missions to get jumpclones. There is a free player-run service for that, forgot the corp name. Basically you get in a corp, setup your clones and get out (or get kicked).

Also i think noone will argue that missionrunning in EvE is dull/uninspired PvE. People do it for ISKies mostly.
 
I used to think the same about Eve's missions but they really aren't instanced. Or, rather, they are as instanced as any other place is in the Eve universe.

Anyone can, with a bit of effort, scan you down and crash your mission even using the same acceleration gates that you do to get from point to point.
 
A few comments:

The instancing thing has been covered..

Doing level II missions is more about player skill than what you've trained. I could create a new character and within 24hrs easily be wrecking level II missions. A properly fit (all tech 1) frigate is capable of most if not all level IIs.

Regarding standings and missions:

There is faction standing, and corp standing; and any particular agent belongs to a corp that is a member of a faction. For instance, the Caldari Navy is a corp under the Caldari State umbrella - and you'll want to make sure the corp you choose has a variety of level 4 agents in highsec space.

Another way to increase your standing is to train the Connections skill. The Social skill will also speed things up a bit.

When it comes to combat in missions, having a properly fit ship makes all the difference in the world. Use specific hardeners for the incoming damage (kin/therm for Guristas for example). Be sure to group your weapons and put them all on one target until it's down - don't split them up until you're more comfortable. If you can kill a certain class of ship (frigates for instance) fastest - kill them first as the less ships you need to tank the better. Just be mindful of spawn triggers - and take a look at Mission Reports before you leave the station for the damage to tank, the damage to shoot, and the triggers...
 
The website eve-survival.org has up to date mission guides for all the various missions and levels.

If you are a purist you want to avoid it as it is spoilerific. If, however you are like me and don't like losing your ship you will check it out.
 
I suspect the jump in difficulty between T1 and T2 missions is because the destroyer is not part of the original set of T1 ships. Originally one went directly from a frigate to a cruiser.

And really, the destroyers have never really been good for much of anything. I think the only solid use they have is suicide ganking for hulkageddon.
 
I believe for everything 13 or so missions you do for a faction, you get a unique story arc mission for that faction.

You need to do that one immediately as it provides MUCH larger faction gains.

It's also not random as to which agent gives that faction mission. It will actually be the one closest to where you are running missions.

Also, it will be of any NPC corp for that faction. So if you are trying to raise a specific NPC corp, you want to make sure the story arc agent closest to you is part of that NPC corp.

With a little offline research, you can use these story arc agents to greatly increase how quickly you can standing with an NPC corp.
 
"The Social skill will also speed things up a bit."

This is a big lie as i intend to prove.

So, lousy missions system, boring mining sessions, slow skill progression, queue list for login, useless micromanagement... is there anything good about EVE or you're writing these posts to calm down the EVE-lovers while raising your social skill and reputation with them?
 
No, of course I write these posts only to give fake trolls something to complain about.
 
They give a run down of all the missions, for example, it would have told you that killing that cruiser was the trigger for the next spawn.

He's basically telling you that you're a noob, because you entered the 5-man dungeon without prior reading of bass tactics.
NOOB! :)
 
No, seriously, if you were to convince anyone to play EVE you wouldn't start with "mining is boring" or "you grandson will raise your skill".

So, what are the main advantages of EVE? What's great about that game? WoW has gear, lore, raiding, RP, ETC. What about EVE?
 
"or I'll need to wait for the skills for a bigger ship and do level II missions."

I just wanted to point out that to me this is a great example of the WoW-like level based progression mentality.

As has been stated in the above comments when you run into an issue where you are unable to complete a mission for one reason or another an average EvE player goes back and reexamines his/her tactics looking for ways to improve efficiency to be able to make it through. Your average WoW player thinks "I'm not high enough level for this" or in EvE terms "I need a bigger ship for this". I think that when you have an obvious next level to hit it becomes easy to just assume thats what you need to accomplish your goal rather than improving tactics.

I don't mean to belittle either class of player I just think its an interesting example of differing mindsets and how they are influenced by the player's gaming experience/history.

Also destroyers are a bit of the red headed step child in EvE. They do fit certain roles very well but I don't think missioning is one of them. Due to their larger signature radius, minimal tank ability and lower speed they become a bit of a glass cannon. I'd recommend sticking with a frigate until you make the jump to cruisers.

Anyway I'm glad to hear you are still pushing forward in EvE. If you get in a bind again feel free to message me in game and I'll be happy to come give you a hand.
 
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@Gevlon:
I know your blog started as "play the wow AH" kind of blog. In terms of economy/market PvP eve is really where its at, with absolutely no themepark MMO being anywhere near. What was your argument not to try eve again? I think you mentioned "PLEX sale by CCP is lame" at some point, care to elaborate on that?
 
No, seriously, if you were to convince anyone to play EVE you wouldn't start with "mining is boring" or "you grandson will raise your skill".

I am not here to convince anyone to play any game, not EVE, not WoW, nor anything else. I play games, and write about my experiences and thoughts. If I start with not-so-positive posts, it is probably because the new player experience in EVE is not so positive. For which EVE is actually famous for.
 
So, what are the main advantages of EVE? What's great about that game? WoW has gear, lore, raiding, RP, ETC. What about EVE?

You either get it or you don't, I play WoW (albeit not as much anymore), and I play Eve.

Eve has significantly more strategy, no shortage of gear, raids in the form of complexes, no shortage of RP, and plenty of lolore. And memorizing scripted events does not constitute strategy...

As for the Social skill:
Skill at social interaction. 5% bonus per level to NPC agent, corporation and faction standing increase.

So yeah, it speeds things up.
 
@all the speed things up controversy about the social skills.

This all depends on whether you're missioning for LP, Standing or Isk. If it's isk, well nope social skills won't help you. If it's LP or standing (whether you're wanting standing for higher level mission access, 0% tax on refines, jump clone access or ability to anchor starbases in high sec) then yes social skill speeds things up. You don't finish the missions faster, but you need less missions to get what you want.
 
That Gevlon is an imposter, just FYI. His blogger account doesn't match.

And like a lot of people are saying, a Destroyer isn't the best for lvl 2 missions. Best to either read up on the missions from eve-survival.org and try with your destroyer, or train up Social and Cruiser skills, and maybe do Courier missions for now.

It is boring, but EVE missions are really only to make ISK. If you play a lot and only do missions, like I used to, you'll get bored of EVE fast.
 
"If I start with not-so-positive posts, it is probably because the new player experience in EVE is not so positive."

Why continue to play a game with such horrible new player experience? You have trie other games before and stopped right there. Why is EVE different? Because it looks more inteligent? What?
 
The only reason missions are boring is because you have to grind the same missions over and over again to build up faction in order to advance to the next level of missions (in order to grind them over and .....) .

This is a big pity really because I have always thought that the missions are interesting and challenging PVE content the FIRST time you do them. Trying to do missions in a slightly underpowered ship (level 2 in destroyer for example) is a great way to learn about ship fitting.
 
"The only reason missions are boring is because you have to grind the same missions over and over again to build up faction"

Sounds familiar.
 
Interesting discussion going on here!

I have (yet another) EVE trial account waiting to be activated right now. I *want* to go ahead, I really do. To be subsumed into the universe. I'm hoping!

But Tobold: what's a "fake troll"? Nils?
 
So they're not instanced. But Tobold still has a valid point imo. Running missions feels like playing a single-player game. You won't bump into other players on the same mission killing the same mobs.
 
FWIW, how your ship is fit and your tactics do indeed make a huge difference. I did L1's in a destroyer, and L2's in a cruiser and thought they were pretty easy until I drew Recon. I didn't read the mission guides 1st. Hadn't needed to up until then, so didn't think this would be any different.

I lost 3 cruisers in that mission before a corpmate came in his CNR (battleship) to tank it for me so I could recover the loot from my wrecks.

There's also a few missions where if you even attack a trigger ship (not kill, simply take hostile action) you spawn 10 frigates on top of you. I only lived that time due to having an Afterburner equipped, and even then it was a near thing, as the ships were all missile spewers with about a 40km range. Even now, knowing the missions as I do and using the mission guides for ones I'm not familiar with, I still warp out from time to time to save my ship.

And FWIW, I have run some level 4's in a frigate, though admittedly those are the ones you don't have to kill things to meet the objective, and the frig is fast enough to evade fire and simply blitz the mission.
 
As others have said, the key to missions, or ratting, is to fit the right types of hardners (be they shield or armour - never both) and use the right type of ammo.

I recently had to rebuild my ship for ratting, and incorrectly fitted the wrong hardners, where as before I could tank say 5 battleships, now I struggedl to tank even 3.. All because I fitted EM hardners rather than kinetic and thermal.

Once I switched for the correct ones I was away laughing...

Personally I don't run missions except extremely irregularly, but for those that specialise in them, it seems to become a game of maximising their setup to to do them as fast as possible.

In regards to the destroyer, they are great for salvaging, as you can fit multiple tractor beams, and salvager modules.
 
Tobold, if you send me your character name, I would be more than happy to supply you with the isk to get the ship and mods to help you along. An email would be fine, as I completely understand your desire for privacy and the trolls staying unaware of your character.
 
This post harmonises with your earlier comment about how Blizzard would do it better.

Orange/ red quests are harder.

Skulls over a target's head = they will kill you.

etc.

Again, if any Eve players want to help with this learning curve my guide needs a maintainer.
 
Tobold, if you send me your character name, I would be more than happy to supply you with the isk to get the ship and mods to help you along. An email would be fine, as I completely understand your desire for privacy and the trolls staying unaware of your character

I plexed, so replacing that free destroyer (mission reward) with a bought cruiser was really not a problem. I'm discussing game design problems here, not "oh my god, I can't advance in EVE".
 
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