Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Guide: Solo L4 Missioning, Part 2

This guide continues with the concepts introduced in Part 1.  It continues in the format of a series of tips for solo L4 missioners.  It also assumes that you've chosen a shield-tanking battleship for your missioning platform, as recommended in Part 1.

Before you undock, check your fitting.  Are your damage-increasing mods in your low-slots, or is your ship still travel-fit from reaching the system where you're going to do your missions?  Are the proper weapons fit?  Have you fit mid-slot modules appropriate to the mission that you're about to run?  Most importantly of all, have you actually accepted the mission you're about to run?  I can't count the number of times I've had to remind people to actually accept the mission before undocking.  ;-)

If your mid slots are done correctly, you have at least two to three mid slots devoted to active shield tanking.  Check the types of rats that you are going out to face, and if you are at all concerned about your tank, refit your active mods to deflect that type of damage.  Learn what types of damage each rat does!  For instance, Guristas rats do Kinetic and Thermal damage.  So refit to include one or two Ballistic Deflection Field II mods and one Heat Dissipation Field II mod.  Get used to switching these active shield hardeners after every mission for the mission coming up.  As your shield tanking skills and your DPS increase, this will become steadily less important until you can just fit a pair of Invulnerability Field IIs on your ship and forget about it after that.  But initially, tanking for the rats you expect to face will be vital.

In a similar vein, for missile and projectile ships, load ammunition specific to the rats you're going to be facing.  If you are facing Guristas rats, that means either Wrath Cruise Missiles or Phased Plasma L ammunition (or perhaps, Titanium Sabot L).  If you are facing Angels, that means Devastator Cruise Missiles and Fusion L ammunition, and so on.  By this point in your EVE career, you should have a good understanding of enemy resistances and what ammunition to use to defeat each type of resistance.  Have both Gallente and Minmatar drones available as well.  Use Gallente drones -- Hammerheads and Hobgoblins -- against most mission rats; use Minmatar drones -- Valkyries and Warriors -- against Angels.  Amarr and Caldari drones are sub-optimal for missioning.

Carry a variety of ammunition types in the cargo hold of your ship at all times.  Many missions switch up the damage type that you'll need to do to be effective.  For instance, Silence the Informant puts you up against both drones and Mercenaries, which require different types of ammunition to defeat.  Part 3 of this guide will cover specific missions in more detail.

Buy and load a Small or Medium Secure Container with all of the spare mods and drones your mission ship will need.  This includes all of your extra shield hardeners, an afterburner, an ECCM module appropriate to your ship type, a Target Painter, some Nanofiber Internal Structure IIs, et cetera.  Don't be afraid to switch out for these extras if the mission calls for it.  For instance, if you find that you can tank Guristas missions fine but are frustrated by their ECM, you can now trade out one of your shield hardeners for the ECCM module and try the mission again.  The Score is an easy mission against most types of rats if you remember to fit an Afterburner before you undock, very frustrating otherwise.

Use EVE Survival Mission Reports to determine "triggers" for each mission that you face.  This will allow you to manage aggression, which is critical when soloing L4 missions.  Do not kill the trigger rats until you have completely cleared the other rats in that wave.

Once you're in the mission, shield and capacitor management become your primary concerns.  Both shields and capacitor recharge at their maximum rate at about 33% capacity.  As long as you are carrying a shield booster and have plenty of cap, don't be afraid to let your shields fall toward this maximum recharge.  Save your cap for when you need it, and rely on passive shield recharging as much as is possible for the light attacks in a mission.  Only activate your shield booster as your shields fall toward 33%.  Once you do activate it, activate it in pulses only, deactivating it after a pulse or two.  During the hottest parts of the mission, try and keep your shields near that maximum 33% recharge value.  As your capacitor drops, you don't have to worry about it too much until it drops below 33%.

During your first few attempts at a new L4 mission, once you land in the mission pocket, align back toward a celestial in case you have to warp out.  Once you make the decision to warp out of a mission, you don't want to wait the extra 30 seconds that it's going to take for your ship to align.  If you do need to warp out, do it sooner rather than later.  Remember, some kinds of frigate rats in L4 missions will scramble your ship.  If you think you may need to warp out, clear the frigates first!  Use your drones and your Target Painter (if you have one fitted) to make this process faster.

But if you need to warp out of a mission, then some part of your approach to that mission is wrong.  Is your "tank plus gank" (covered in part 1) more than 1000?  If so, are you tanking for the proper kind of rat damage?  Are you doing the proper counter-damage in return?  Are you managing rat aggression in the mission properly?  Are you shooting triggers too early?  Don't be afraid to let your shields recharge a bit between waves if you have to before you trigger the next wave.

Watch out for your drones!  Each new wave of rats in a mission will often independently choose their targets, and often these targets will include nearby drones.  A full flight of Tech 2 drones can cost two to three million ISK or more.  Losing even a few drones can seriously curtail your profit margin from L4 missioning.  Keep in mind that frigate rats love to web or scramble drones as well, making it even more likely that you'll lose them if you're not careful.  Whenever possible, recall and scoop drones before triggering a new wave of rats.

Use your ship's advantages, and take advantage of the weaknesses of enemy ships.  If you are doing L4s in a cruise missile ship, warp into the mission at long range if you can rather than warping to the site at 0 (you won't be able to do this with Acceleration Gate missions).  If you are doing missions against Angels, use a fast, agile ship and try to slip under the Angel ship guns.  If you are going to fight Guristas, an Afterburner can often mitigate a good deal of the Guristas's heaviest damage, which is in the form of slow torpedoes.

As said in Part 1, get a second account!  A second account can double your rewards for L4 missioning, whether you use that second account for additional DPS and support, or for salvage.  In many cases, the best idea is to switch back and forth.  For instance, additional DPS is highly useful on missions against Guristas, but the salvaging of these missions is not worthwhile.  On the flip-side, a single battleship can easily tank and manage The Right Hand of Zazzmatazz while a second account handles salvaging at the same time.

If you use two accounts for missioning and both concentrate on DPS, pick one of the two ships to act as the primary tank for mission damage.  Raven Navy Issues with their strong tanks are ideal for this purpose, for instance.  The tank ship should always enter the mission first, and should be the first ship to aggress new waves of mission rats.  Once this is done, the primary DPS platform can enter the field.  Once operating in this fashion, it will be useful for your primary DPS platform (and any other ships that come along) to assign their drones to "guard" the tank.  This tactic will rapidly clear frigates and other light ships off the tank while it and other DPS platforms work on stronger ships.

Similarly, it is often quite useful to have the tank concentrate on killing battleships while the primary DPS platform works to clear lighter ships such as cruisers and battle-cruisers.  Since battleships are frequently mission triggers, the primary DPS ship can quickly clear away all the lighter stuff, allowing the two ships to coordinate their attacks on the remaining battleships, including the trigger, once this is done.  This also gives you plenty of time to recall drones from both ships before the next wave is triggered.

In the third and final post on this subject, I'll cover the more common L4 missions that are worth doing, and the ones you should avoid.


  1. looking forward to part 3!

  2. Yeah, awesome work. Keep it up.

  3. Nice articles! I am looking forward to the 3rd installment of this series.

  4. Looking forward to part three :) Great series!

  5. Thank you. Amazing work. If I had read this before I tried L4 solo work I never would have rage quit EVE! lol. Now I'm back and I'm reading ALOT MORE and taking my time (sold the 2 year old toon so I'm a noob again). Don't exactly know why you are bitter but I'd like to hear why.
    Best regards,

  6. You mention that its not worth using a Tengu for L4s due to isk/hr ratio? Is it that much of a dramatic difference? Im stuck between finishing my t2 l projectiles versus getting into a Tengu for multi use of Eve. What is your opinion? (The training times for both are about the same right now.)

  7. Tengus have the advantage of L4 missioning in near-complete safety from both the rats and suiciders. However, even optimally fit with shiny mods and firing Scourge Furies, they do about 700 DPS. A run-of-the mill T2 projectiles Tempest with no shiny mods, firing T1 ammo does about 750 and has drones in the bargain... and of course, a Maelstrom and/or firing T2 ammo will take it higher than 750. Taking the same money you used to buy that Tempest and putting it toward a Machariel instead will push you close to or over a thousand DPS.

    So, you'll have to judge for yourself on that score what's more important to you.

  8. When you say to "switch back and forth" between accounts, do you mean having two computers running Eve so that you can control two different ships at the same time? Or using your one account and switching between two of your characters. If the latter, how does the second character get to the same location in space where the mission is at?


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