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.
You can follow along, if you want...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Solo L4 Missioning, Part 3

This guide continues the L4 Solo Mission Guide started in Part 1 and Part 2.

Warning: this is a ridiculously long post.  Those of you who have been waiting for it will understand when you see it.  ;-)

Once you have a properly fit L4 mission ship, it'll be time to do some missions.  Your best friend as you do this will be the EVE Survival Guide.  Even the most experienced mission-runner keeps this website up at all times as a reference, particularly for lesser-known missions.

Below, I give very short overviews of all the most common L4 missions, with the solo mission-runner in mind.  If you routinely do missions in groups (even if they are groups of your own alts), then these notes will be less useful.  They're intended for the solo pilot.  I rate each mission in three categories:
  • Worth doing: Is the mission worth your time from an ISK/hour, bounty, or loot stand-point?
  • Difficulty: How hard is the mission to solo?  This is rated from "Very Easy" to "Easy" and "Moderate" to "Hard" and "Very Hard".
  • Worth salvaging: Is it worth it, after you've completed the mission to dock, reship to a salvager, and return to the mission to loot and salvage?
Again, the focus here is on players with a single account.  Most L4 missions are worth doing and salvaging if one has two accounts.

For whether they are worth doing, many missions are tagged as either "Yes/Complete" or "Yes/Blitz".  A "Yes/Complete" indicates that it is worth doing, including any and all bonus rooms, and worth salvaging.  A "Yes" tag indicates less valuable missions that still should be completed for their full bounties but perhaps not salvaged.  "Yes/Blitz" missions are worth doing if one follows the instructions on how to blitz the mission in the EVE Survival guide.  And finally, missions tagged "No" should be Declined if possible (though you may receive two such missions in short order and have to do one of them anyway.

All difficulty ratings are given based on a pilot with moderate skills (20 million skill points or so) using a navy faction battleship, strategic cruiser, or command ship.  If your skills are below this par or you are in a standard T1 battleship, increase the difficulty factor by one level each: a "Moderate" mission for someone with par skills in a Raven Navy Issue becomes "Hard" if you attempt it in a T1 Raven, "Very Hard" if you attempt it with low skills in a T1 Raven.  If your skills are above this threshold or you are in a pirate faction battleship, reduce the difficulty factor by one level (total): an "Easy" mission becomes "Very Easy" if you are in a Nightmare or if you have 40 million skill points.

The difficulty rating for each mission assumes that you trade out active hardeners for ones appropriate to that mission's rats.

Many missions have variants for different pirate factions.  The Blockade, for instance, can appear for any of the five pirate factions.  The variations are treated the same unless there's some reason to treat them differently.  Blood Raiders missions, for instance, tend to be more difficult than those for the other factions because Blood ships neut or NOS their targets, which makes active tanking much more difficult.  Guristas missions tend to be worth salvaging less than for the other factions because Guristas salvage is not particularly valuable and their loot value tends to lag significantly behind the other factions.

Not every single L4 mission is covered below, but these are the 25 or so mission varieties that you'll become most accustomed to...

Angel Extravaganza.
Worth doing: Yes.  Difficulty: Easy.  Worth salvaging: Yes.
This mission is beloved for the large number of battleships it throws at you in small, easy-to-manage groups.  Manage aggression carefully and you'll have no trouble at all.  As a result, it is one of the highest-paying and yet easiest-to-complete L4s for a solo player.  Angel salvage is some of the best there is, so it's worth coming back to salvage everything.  Remember to shoot the silo in the fourth pocket for a 3% implant.  The bonus room is nearly impossible to do without help or multiple accounts.

Assault, All.
Worth doing: Yes.  Difficulty: Moderate.  Worth salvaging: Semi.
There's some difference of opinion about this mission.  On balance, the bounties in this one are worth 20 million ISK or so, regardless of which variety you get.  However, it's an annoying and time-consuming 20 million, particularly in the Guristas version, which offers missile battleships sniping you for good damage at 100+ km range.  Aggression management is important.  As a result, tanking this one can be tricky for a soloist and it's really best done with a pair of ships.  Recognizing this, a lot of people just blitz these, and they are remarkably easy to blitz.

Attack of the Drones.
Worth doing: Semi.  Difficulty: Easy/Moderate.  Worth salvaging: Semi.
If you do any rogue drone mission, this is the one to do.  However, whether you do rogue drone missions at all is going to depend on your interest in gathering drone alloy.  Bounties from rogue drones are non-existent and the mission reward is sub-par to say the least.  In terms of time expended, you will get your ISK out of this mission if you salvage it.  Aggression management is very important in this mission.

Blockade, All.

Worth doing: Yes/Complete.  Difficulty: Moderate/Hard.  Worth salvaging: Yes.
In terms of bounties, the various Blockade missions are some of the most profitable L4s there are.  However, all of them are relatively difficult to complete solo, particularly the Blood version which neuts the player ship heavily.  The Sansha version can also be difficult (owing to Tracking Disruptors) if it is attempted in a turret boat.  The best way to complete this mission is with a friend, keeping in mind that each wave will aggro independently.  This mission used to not be worth salvaging due to the time it takes; the Noctis with its long-range tractor beams, however, now makes it worth-while.  Aggression management is critical in The Blockade.

Cargo Delivery, All.
Worth doing: Yes/Blitz.  Difficulty: Moderate (if not blitzed).  Worth salvaging: No.
This is the ultimate blitz mission and there really isn't much point to doing these missions any other way.  The bounties, loot, and salvage really aren't worth a soloist's time.  My preferred method on this one is to go in in a cloaky frigate such as a fast bomber.  You can MWD toward the can, and then cloak when the enemy ships appear.  Slow-boat the rest of the way in, let the Warehouse decloak you, grab the Quafe, warp off.

Damsel in Distress.
Worth doing: Yes/Complete.  Difficulty: Moderate.  Worth salvaging: Yes.
The bounties and salvage components off "Damsel" are no great shakes, but the loot component of this mission is why people do it.  Every wreck will have loot, and much of that loot will be at least moderate (if not high) value.  The mission itself is tricky in terms of aggression management, which is very important.  The initial spawn will do some damage, and you might want to rebuild your tank some (letting Kruul plink away at you) before you shoot him back to trigger the first spawn of six battleships.  After that, the rest of the mission is a downhill run.  It's a good idea to keep your drones in as much as possible during this mission.  They take damage from a variety of sources.

Duo of Death, All.
Worth doing: Yes.  Difficulty: Easy.  Worth salvaging: No.
The initial minute or so of this mission will probably give you a pounding if you complete it solo as twin high-bounty battleships snipe at you, probably from beyond your effective range.  The trick to this one is long range weapons linked to a Target Painter, web, or both to deal with the stasis drones this mission throws at you.  Armor ships will therefore have the advantage in this mission. 

Enemies Abound.
Worth doing: Never.  Difficulty: Hard.  Worth salvaging: Yes.
The fifth part of this mission is nearly impossible for a solo player, and the entire string comes with standings loss with the Gallente and Minmatar factions.  It's the rare missioner that wants to have anything to do with this mission.

Gone Berserk.
Worth doing: Yes/Complete.  Difficulty: Moderate.  Worth salvaging: Yes.
This is arguably the overall best L4 mission there is: high bounties, relatively easy to complete solo, and with great loot.  Aggression management is the only tricky part of this mission.  If you play it correctly, you'll have plenty of time between waves to rebuild your tank and you'll rarely if ever have more than five rat battleships on the field shooting you.  Once you learn how to manage aggression, you won't have any trouble with this one, and it's well worth docking up to bring in the salvage boat.

Guristas Extravaganza.
Worth doing: Yes/Complete.  Difficulty: Moderate.  Worth salvaging: No.
Similar to the Angel Extravaganza, the Guristas version offers easy to manage smaller spawns of battleships separated into pockets.  As with the Angel version, aggression management is important.  The Guristas jamming is happily kept to a minimum, but the long-range missile weapons are a bit more annoying to counter.  Guristas salvage is generally not worth coming back for, and surprisingly, the loot is often not worth it, either.  The bonus room is much simpler than the Angel version and can be relatively easily done solo.

Infiltrated Outposts.
Worth doing: No.  Difficulty: Easy.  Worth salvaging: Semi.
As with Attack of the Drones, this mission is only worth doing if you're interested in rogue drone alloys.  Damage is very easy to manage, particularly in the first room.  Still, the entire mission only drops about 20 million worth of alloys and you'll have to devote fairly significant time to getting them; the ships (and later wrecks) are not in the nice tight clumps that Attack of the Drones offers.  Overall, probably not worth your time.

Intercept the Saboteurs, All.

Worth doing: Semi.  Difficulty: Moderate.  Worth salvaging: Semi.
There is no easy way to blitz this mission, and the total mission bounties aren't all that impressive.  Salvage is even less impressive, particularly for the Guristas version.  Aggression management is important when running this one solo.  A group of two to three battleships is ideal here and can wipe out this mission in a few minutes, making it worth-while.  Solo, though, you'll have a slog.  It's probably not worth wasting a precious "Decline" on, but it's a mission that will make you groan...

Massive Attack, All.
Worth doing: No.  Difficulty: Easy.  Worth salvaging: No.
This one should really be a level 3 mission.  That honestly tells you everything you need to know about it.  Annoyingly, the rats are at very long range.  As a result, if you do choose to do this mission, a fast battleship, a ultra-long-range battleship (Raven with a Sensor Booster, for instance), or a strategic cruiser are indicated.

Mining Misappropriation.

Worth doing: Yes.  Difficulty: Easy.  Worth salvaging: No.
You'll need a long-range boat to do this one, since virtually all of the rats come in at range.  Either EM cruise missiles or Tachyon Beam Lasers will be your best friend.  As a result of where the wrecks end up, salvaging this mission is time-consuming and annoying, but the bounties from 11 battleships make actually running the mission well worth your time.

Pirate Invasion, All.
Worth doing: Yes/Complete.  Difficulty: Hard.  Worth salvaging: Yes.
This mission, with Worlds Collide, are the most difficult missions in terms of aggression management.  Read the EVE Survival notes on it closely before attempting this mission.  The Sansha version, in particular, can be tanked without too much difficulty as long as you're smart about aggression.  Play it dumb, though, and you'll be facing 3000 or more incoming laser DPS, which can be hard to manage.  ;-)  Tanking and managing Pirate Invasion is a rite of passage for L4 soloists.

Recon, Part 1, All.
Worth doing: Yes/Complete.  Difficulty: Easy/Hard.  Worth salvaging: Yes.
Recon is actually quite difficult to solo.  The full group is seven or more high-end battleships, which in groups, aggressed independently, wouldn't be a problem.  However, these battleships come in on a set timer.  As a result, if you have to warp off and return, you may find that all groups have entered the field, making the mission much more difficult.  The second room is equally difficult for the same reason.  IF you attack Recon Part 1, you'll find lots of good salvage.  However, a lot of players just blitz this mission with a shuttle or interceptor.

Recon, Part 2.
Worth doing: Yes/Blitz.  Difficulty: Easy.  Worth salvaging: No.
Recon part 2 is best blitzed.  You can attack it with a battleship, and if you do, you'll find it an easy mission to solo.  However, the great distance that must be traversed in this mission is quite annoying even with a battleship with a prop mod.  It's simpler to just blitz it in a shuttle or frigate with a MWD.  However, be careful of the final spawn: it can and will scram and web you if you don't warp out immediately after triggering it.

Right Hand of Zazzmatazz.
Worth doing: Yes.  Difficulty: Moderate.  Worth salvaging: Semi.
If this mission is handled properly, it's not particularly difficult.  If you've tanked for mercenaries properly against kinetic and thermal, the battleships don't actually do all that much damage.  If you kill them first, you'll let the mission's cruisers get close to you, and they'll really start to hurt with their more mixed damage.  Take the cruisers out first instead and you'll have an easier time of it.  As a result of this strategy, though, salvaging this mission probably isn't worth it.

Rogue Drone Harassment.
Worth doing: No.  Difficulty: Moderate.  Worth salvaging: No.
This is the most annoying of the rogue drone missions, the "mother drone" mission.  If you have a strong tank, you can just blast through her, then mop up "her children."  This will allow you to apply all of your DPS, including heavier drones.  If you do not, you'll have to keep your drones docked and go after each group independently with your main weapons.  Overall, though, unless you're a completist or have no other choice, this mission is really a waste of time.  There are very few drone battleships to loot.

Rogue Slave Trader / Down the Slavers.
Worth doing: Yes/Complete.  Difficulty: Easy/Hard.  Worth salvaging: Yes.
The first part of this mission is ridiculously easy.  The second part, however, is very difficult for a soloist.  You'll need a strong EM/Thermal tank, and as a result, armor ships will have a much easier time with this than shield ships.  There are different theories about what targets to take on first.  I tend to focus on the battlecruiser rats, then the missile batteries.  The frigates are very likely to scram you, so if you think you might have to warp off, make destroying them a priority.  The close proximity of all the wrecks makes this one worth salvaging.

The Score, All.
Worth doing: No.  Difficulty: Easy.  Worth salvaging: No.
The long distance between gates combined with the low bounty rats make this mission a good one to avoid unless you do it in a fast battleship or strategic cruiser.

Silence the Informant.
Worth doing: Semi.  Difficulty: Moderate.  Worth salvaging: Yes.
This is a difficult mission to tank, and is actually best handled with a friend.  The opening room alone puts out more than 800 DPS in the form of five very tough rogue drone battleships at long range.  The second room is even tougher, and demands very close aggression management.  It's all doable, but count on spending a lot of time with this one if you try it alone.  The biggest annoyance is the split in damage, between the Thermal/Kinetic damage of the rogue drones in the first room and the EM/Thermal damage of the Mercenary Commander cruisers in the second room.  Salvaging is annoying due to the great distance between wrecks, but the Merc cruisers all drop good loot.  This mission is often your best chance of picking up 'Arbalest' Heavy Missile Launchers, which are quite lucrative.

Smuggler Interception, All.
Worth doing: Semi.  Difficulty: Easy/Moderate.  Worth salvaging: Semi.
Aggression management is important in this one, with a lot of groups scattered over a fairly wide area (which makes later salvage probably not worth your time).  If that wasn't bad enough, the mission also features long travel times between acceleration gates during the mission.  That said, you can kill the rats as you travel and most soloists will find themselves pretty close to the gate by the time the last rats are falling.  As long as you're smart with your aggression as you do this, this mission won't give you much trouble.  Bounty in this one is middle of the road.

Spies, All (Angel Cartel Spies, Blood Raiders Spies, etc.).
Worth doing: Yes/Blitz.  Difficulty: Easy.  Worth salvaging: No.
The various Spies missions (there are five varieties) are the bread-and-butter mission of the blitz set.  Almost all of them feature three ship groups.  And in almost all of them, all you need do is destroy the group of ships with "Spy" in their names and the ones in the immediate area with them, then warp out to complete the mission.  Neither the bounties nor the salvage make doing anything else with these missions worth your time.  Turn it in and move on to the next one.

Stop the Thief.
Worth doing: Yes.  Difficulty: Moderate/Hard.  Worth salvaging: Yes.
This is a tricky mission.  You'll warp in at close range to a single mercenary battleship with ten or so rats coming at you from both directions.  The moment you destroy the battleship, you'll be surrounded by an additional 10-15 ships, all at their perfect optimal ranges.  No fewer than 10 of the ships can potentially scram you, too.  Most pilots warp into this mission at range and snipe the initial battleship, then kite the resulting spawns.  If you do it this way, the mission is relatively easy (though with mixed incoming damage making it annoying).  If you try to take on the whole mess at short range, you'll likely have much more difficulty.

Unauthorized Military Presence, All.
Worth doing: Yes.  Difficulty: Easy.  Worth salvaging: Semi.
Long-range battleships will have no problems with these missions, the Raven Navy Issue in particular.  Virtually all rats will be at long range and damage is very easy to manage.  There will be an assortment of good wrecks when it's over, but their long range makes salvaging this one annoying.

Vengeance, All.
Worth doing: Yes/Complete.  Difficulty: Hard.  Worth salvaging: Yes.
This, like The Blockade, is another mission that really calls for you to have a friend.  Still, skilled soloists can manage it, but will probably have difficulty with the Blood version due to the heavy neuting.  Your ability to warp off from this mission might also be hampered by the many asteroids and large structures scattered around, so maintain situational awareness.  Aggression is a bit difficult to manage because the groups in the first two rooms will all be very close to you, so if you do move around, keep that in mind.  All those close-range wrecks, though, make salvaging a breeze.

Worlds Collide, All.
Worth doing: Yes/Complete.  Difficulty: Hard.  Worth salvaging: Semi.
This mission, with Pirate Invasion, is the premiere aggression management mission.  If you handle aggression smartly, it's not all that difficult.  But if you make even one small mistake in your aggression management, this mission will murder you.  In particular, drones should be kept in a passive mode.  The number of rat battleships involved here means you should read the EVE Survival reports on this one carefully as you run it.  This mission is also annoying because the entry room requires long-range weapons or a fast battleship whereas the follow-on rooms are better for short-range weapons.

And that completes my L4 Solo Missioner's Guide.(1)  I hope it's been useful!

(1) For the time being.  I might do a supplement on armor-tanking L4 missioning at some point.  No promises, though, so don't ask.  ;-)


  1. Not the anon poster that's been bothering you, but I have been waiting for this post for a while, so thank you very much for coming out with it. Especially since, I take it, you probably don't enjoy missioning much so writing about it might not be very enjoyable. So again thank you!

    P.S. I might just have to copy and paste this so I don't overload your site with views haha.

  2. Also not the anonymous that has been bothering you :)

    Nice guide. You are missing my new favorite L4 Mission in terms of both isk and fun (if fun is ever the right word for any mission) - "Dread Pirate Scarlett".

    Also Cargo Delivery has changed so that the spawn does not occur until after you pick up the Quafe (at least the Blood Raiders version has) so can be blitzed in a shuttle.

    When will CCP notice that a large part of their paying subscriber base spend a lot of their play time running missions? I dream of the day when CCP makes use of a "lite" version their existing Sleeper/Incursion AI to generate a set of missions that require a bit more thought than read Eve Survival, fit correct hardeners, watch triggers, collect isk/LP. Missioning game play is almost (but not quite) as mindless as sov null-sec fleet combat.

    1. Pvp is only ever mindless if you make it that way. If you want to be a guy pressing f1 and following fc's orders, then yeah it can be a little mindless. Once you get out of the realm of the follower and into the realm of individual piloting and decision making, things get way more interesting.

      - Brent

    2. Sleeper AI in general missions?
      Oh seems someone heard you^^

  3. Attack of the Drones, Blockade, Damsel in Distress, Gone Berserk, Infiltrated Outposts, Intercept the Saboteurs, Recon 1 & 2, Vengeance: any low skilled pilot can easily complete these mission in a sniping ship with afterburner fitted. The hardest part in Vengeance is getting to range to start sniping, but an afterburner can solve that problem. I have completed many of these missions in a Caracal, Cerberus or Rook.

    Cargo Delivery: NPCs only spawn when you loot the container now. There is no need to be careful, though I tend to initiate warp to a Celestial and wait for speed to hit 50% before actually picking up the cargo.

  4. In the mythical end times, when the armor L4 supplement is gloriously completed, please be sure to give the Hyperion some extra special attention! But, until such a day comes, thank you so much for this post and all your guides. They were/are invaluable to the newbie me.

    P.S. How are the lands of Amalur treating you - dare we hope for a post?

  5. Another thing about Cargo Delivery: You have to loot the quafe to get the objective complete indication now.

    Previously, you could just buy a stock of Quafe Ultra from NPC sell orders, then just fly toward the warehouse until the rats spawn, warp out and turn in the mission. Took maybe two minutes if the mission was in the same system as your station. Now, it isn't quite as fast, but you still can't get much easier LP =)

  6. I am not the Anonymous you are looking for...

    I did missioning for the first few months, graduating to L4s in a Maelstrom and eventually a pimped out Mach...and quite, quite bored :/. Missions got to be so ridiculously short in completion time that the missions turned into death by a thousand paper cuts, much like those incursion zombies. Sure, the income was there. I kept a fairly accurate log of completion times, rewards, salvage, loot, bounty, to determine isk/hour...and it wasn't bad, just boring. So I moved on to dual boxing L5s and now those are starting to feel very short (<30min, <20min in some cases).

  7. Stupid iPhone ate my previous two posts...

    Dread Pirate Scarlett was a nice addition to the list. I think there should be more variety added and an equalizing of value amongst the various L4s. Perhaps something along the lines of a "hard mode" for agents that ramp up difficulty and rewards?

  8. Even if CCP don't put Sleeper/Incursion AI into missions, they could at least have the rats make sense. Why are there Macherials firing missiles and lasers?

  9. A few notes:

    1. There is no Guristas blockade, and we shall all thank god for that

    2. You missed "Dread Pirate Scarlet", which is, if flown with a proper ship, currently the most rewarding L4 non-storyline out there. (30/35 M ISK Bounty + +3 charisma imp)

    3. I don't agree with your rating of Enemies Abound, the tags you loot can be sold for very high sums, or one can use them directly in the LP-shop

    4. Most drone-missions are easily blitzable, so I often do them instead of low-level pirate missions

    5. Blood Raiders Duo of Death is a horrible, horrible mission - 2 long-range bs (orbit at about 50km) and 6 spider drones will ruin your day unless you have a Marauder with T2 tractor beams

    But maybe I should add that I'm far beyonf the 20M SP mark

  10. I didn't see this mentioned on these solo L4's guides, but it seems a lot more efficient to me to run a few missions for about one hour and a half, bookmarking each site, then changing to a noctis and salvaging then in the same order.

  11. 30 min or an hour, missions are so boring that it seems that CCP designed them as such on purpose, so that those who do not want to join a corp will quit from boredom after running these stupid, mind-numbing, boring missions.

  12. Nice job with this guide... I know that making guides like this can be alot of work. I've put thousands of hours into my guides I'm sure over the years.

    Extra tip: If you want some danger head for NPC null sec and do missions for pirates. Usually pays better with the LP items you get.

  13. Angels extra bonus room is easily soloable in a Tech 2/cheap faction fit strat with 20ish million SP. I fly it in a cheaply fit Loki with no issues so long as I am careful. Corpmates fly it in a Tengu with even less risk.

    Given that Strat+20mil SP was (partly) your baseline for determining difficulty, I don't see why you would rate the bonus room "impossible" as you did.

  14. Umm, i may be late here, but Jester... for Enemies Abound, have you ever sold the tags that come with it ? It is MY favorite mission because everytime i do it, i get around 150m from the tags and loot.

  15. Greetings

    I was wondering if you are going to re-look @ these now that the loot drop rules are in effect?


  16. Have you tried any L4s since the Inferno patch? I've noticed that the L3 missions now have NPCs that warp scramble you, so am wondering if its the same in L4s now? I wonder if this is another cynical CCP attempt to nerf income generation.

  17. 20mil SP to run lvl 4's? Good lord! I guess i will be sticking to lvl 3's for the next 12 months O_o

  18. I run every L4 with a CNR and 5mil SP. Don't cut yourself short, these missions are easy. All of them.

  19. Perhaps it's time to update this series? Agent quality no longer matters, rogue drones now have bounties and NPC's now have sleeper AI (no longer possible to grab aggro and then release drones/buddies etc.)

    Although, maybe it'll be better to wait until after Odyssey due to the BS rebalancing. Congrats on making CSM8 by the way.

  20. Hey Jester you mention quite shiny ships and fits in this guide overall but don't mention mission running ganking much at all. Granted in the 2+ years since this was published it has become a LOT more prevelant, but any tips on how to avoid it would go well.


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