Among the several options available to a new player is that of the mission runner. At almost every NPC-controlled starbase in the galaxy are characters, called agents, that have ties to a particular faction and corporation. By talking to them, you are offered a mission, one that may ask you to move a set of goods from one area to another (courier missions), kill a group of opponents (kill missions), enter a deadspace complex and usually kill a number of enemies (deadspace missions), or acquire some items any way you deem fit (trade missions). Depending upon what department the agent works in, your probability of receiving a certain type of mission increases or decreases - for example, agents working in the Security department of a corporation usually give kill missions, while public relations agents are more likely to have you haul cargo around on courier assignments.
- In the beginning, you may access only level 1 agents - this is in order to acclimate the new player to how missions work, and to give them a taste of what later missions will be like.
- Level 2 agents give higher rewards and standing increases, in return for addition risk to yourself and your ship.
- Level 3 is a stark contrast to level 2 in that some opponents may web you or manoeuvre tactically, once again with greater reward.
- Level 4 objectives often require a group of corpmates all in battleships to complete, again with an increase in reward.
Suggested ship classes for each type of mission are:
- L1: Tech 1 Frigates
- L2: Destroyers, Tech 1 Cruisers
- L3: Cruisers, Battlecruisers
- L4: Heavy Assault Cruisers, Battlecruisers, Command Ships, Battleships
The availability of an agent depends upon one of three standings that you have with them - personal standing, corporate standing, or faction standing. Personal standings come from working for that agent repeatedly, and are the fastest of the three to rise; corporate standing, on the other hand, rises more slowly. By raising your standings with a particular corporation high enough, you are able to eventually reach the next level of missions, i.e. from level 1 to level 2 - this will only enable you to use level 2 agents for that same corporation.
Standings deteriorate over time unless your relationships with your agents and corporations are maintained. Higher standings tend to degrade faster than moderate standings, and moderate standings degrade faster than low standings. In addition, it is imperative that you keep your standings with important factions and corporations (i.e., the 5 empires, CONCORD, etc...) above -2; below this value you will begin to be fired upon, on sight, when in the presence of their forces.
The award given for the completion of a mission depends on the characteristics of the agent from whom the mission was obtained and in part on the skills of the player.
The Effect of Agent Characteristics on Rewards
Agents are rated by two parameters; quality and level. Level is more important, as an L2 is higher than an L1 agent, followed by quality; the best quality is positive, and between two agents of the same level, a higher quality agent will offer better rewards.
The Effect of Player Skills on Rewards
Faction standing operates differently to other kinds of standing in certain ways.
Accumulating Faction Standing
A player's standing with a particular faction accumulates as missions are completed for that faction, though this accumulation is very slow. Once standing with a particular faction has been raised sufficiently high, it is possible to obtain missions from a great number of agents within that faction.
Due to the tense relationships among empires, repeatedly performing missions for any one faction will lose favour with their adversaries, for example if a player works consistently for the Amarr, they will lose favour with the Minmatar and Gallente- likewise, if if the player works for the Gallente, expect the eventual wrath of the Caldari.
It is often considered good to take missions equally from each empire in order to maintain standing with all factions, so that the player is not attacked whilst in a certain faction's territory. With the advent of Faction Warfare and the importance of navy tags for LP store offers this is becoming less common through.
There is one type of mission that a good mission-runner must excel at; the Storyline Mission. More interesting than most of its counterparts, and lucrative, the Storyline Mission adds a massive standing boost with the corporation for whom it is completed (on the order of 0.4). After every 16 normal missions completed consecutively a Storyline Mission becomes available. If a mission is failed, the count is reset and a further 16 missions must be completed before a Storyline Mission can be obtained.
On the table for the future are level 5 missions, and the possibility of running missions for CONCORD and the Jove Directorate, both of which, at present, are not available.