Running level four missions is the acme of the mission-running profession. It takes a lot of time and effort to gain access to them, including months of grinding. Or does it?
This is the second guide in a series on speeding your way through the mission grind. For the first part of the guide, go here. The first part of this series dealt with training skills, career agents, and the Caldari data centers, all with the goal of getting access to level four Caldari missions in a fraction of the time that would be spent grinding one's way up normally. This portion deals with the Amarr data centers, Sister Alitura's epic mission arc, and some of the ways that people circumvent the grind through cooperation with other players.
Amarr Data Centers
style="font-style: italic;">Amarr data centers are handy if you are grinding Caldari as well.
As mentioned in the first part of this guide, getting the Amarr and their buddies the Ammatar to like you will boost the Caldari's opinion of you as a side-effect. It is therefore a good idea to use their data center agents, at least insofar as you are willing to spend the ISK to do so. Like the Caldari data center agents, the Amarr/Ammatar want stacks of pirate tags or offer small courier missions.
Unlike the Caldari and their single-minded focus on the Guristas, the Amarr agents want a combination of Blood Raider and Sansha's Nation tags (rather than just a single tag type). Note that the in-game distribution of the copper tag agents is a bit odd, and not a mistake on my part.
Here are the Amarr and Ammatar data center agents:
Ferira Data Center
- Shafra Gulias: Courier mission.
- Taspar Zolankor: x3 Sansha Copper Tag.
- Hazar Arjidsi: x20 Sansha Bronze Tag.
- Sish Iaokih: x20 Sansha Silver Tag.
- Darubu Harva: x20 Sansha Brass Tag.
- Derqa Mandame: x20 Sansha Palladium Tag.
- Cimalo Mahnab: x20 Sansha Gold Tag.
- Bamona Pizteed: x20 Sansha Electrum Tag.
- Rolnia Houmar: x20 Sansha Crystal Tag.
- Migart Anunat: x20 Sansha Platinum Tag.
- Tizeli Reymta: x20 Sansha Diamond Tag.
Kudi Data Center
- Sevan Fagided: Courier mission.
- Nikmar Jyran: x3 Sansha Copper Tag.
- Selate Kalami: x20 Blood Bronze Tag.
- Jur Zehbani: x20 Blood Silver Tag.
- Subin Barama: x20 Blood Brass Tag.
- Timafa Esihiz: x20 Blood Palladium Tag.
- Hatia Madase: x20 Blood Gold Tag.
- Odoosh Teroul: x20 Blood Electrum Tag.
- Matna Meri: x20 Blood Crystal Tag.
- Juki Khoun: x20 Blood Platinum Tag.
- Urat Mehrekar: x20 Blood Diamond Tag.
Polfaly Data Center
- Hefaka Chubid: Courier mission.
- Demi Lazerus: x3 Blood Copper Tag.
As described in the previous guide, you will need sufficiently high standings to talk to data center agents, just like you would to get missions from real agents. If you turn in the tags in the correct order you will usually have high enough standings to talk to the next agent, though the recent changes to mission agents seem to have mucked that up a bit. In all likelihood you will need to grind some missions before you are able to speak to the higher-level agents. This is especially true if you skip the more expensive tags. Still, it is definitely worth it.
Sister Alitura's Epic Mission Arc
Though Ten Ton Hammer will likely do a guide on Sister Alitura at some point, it is worth noting two things about her mission arc in relation to this article. First, if you choose the pro-Caldari path when given the chance you will receive significant standings boosts. Second, the mission gives rewards that are disproportionately high for newer players.
This takes a bit longer than other options (it is a fifty-mission arc) but is good if you need some spending capital and/or can use a general high-sec tour. We'll come out with a more in-depth tutorial to this arc some time in the near future, but I wouldn't worry: it's very easy. Just head on over to Arnon and talk to her. She'll get you started. For the last four missions in the arc you will probably want to bring a friend: a single frigate or destroyer is likely not enough to deal with the NPCs involved. A little bit of cooperation with even a single friend in a frigate makes it a snap, though.
style="font-style: italic;">As in most things relating to EVE Online, cooperation makes things much easier.
Another option is available for those that are very rich or have friends that run missions. Any time a mission is completed by a player in a fleet, he will have the option of sharing the mission rewards with other fleet members. This includes ISK, loyalty points, and corporate standing increases. This does not include faction standing, so this is only useful if you want to run level four missions for a particular corporation rather than an entire faction. This is good enough for running level fours or using R&D agents, but will not let you set up POS in high-sec.
There are occasionally posts on EVE-O offering this service for people, with prices ranging from wince-inducing to reasonable. Do an EVE search and and see what you can find. There are also plenty of players that run the missions and only care about the ISK, not the standings. If you have a friend matching that description it is very possible that the two of you can work something out.
The Single-Agent Cooperation Trick
Any time you succeed at a mission, your standings with your agent's corporation (and perhaps faction) increase a slight amount. That agent in particular will also improve his personal standings toward you, and not just a little. This is generally not very important unless you refuse a lot of missions or are right on the cusp of not having access to that agent. Like the other standings increases, the personal standings will also be split if mission rewards are shared as described in the section above.
This is incredibly helpful. It means that if you know a person that can access level three missions, he can help you quickly gain access to that particular agent. Just fleet up with a mission-runner friend that already has access to a level three agent you want to use, and get him to share the rewards. Repeat the process over the course of several hours and you will quickly be able to access that same agent, though not other agents of the same corporation or faction. Still, this is enough to get you started without wasting time on first- or second- level agents. Even a poorly fit battlecruiser can usually handle level three missions (though the drake is usually best). By running the level three missions you will quickly be able to gain enough standings to broaden your access.
The Traditional Grind
So you've done as many career agent missions as you can stand, turned in as many tags as you can afford, and generally pursued as many alternative options as you dare. Yet the way the numbers shook out, you still only have access to level three missions. That means it's time to start grinding.
Fit yourself a Drake battlecruiser and find a level three agent working for your chosen corporation. Ideally, you want several agents of the same level, that work for the same corporation, and that are near each other. That way if you need to decline a mission you can go to another agent without risk.
It is safe to refuse a mission from an agent once every four hours, but is risky to talk to the same agent after refusing a mission: if you refuse a mission from an agent and he then assigns you an even worse one, you could be forced to run it (ugh) or decline it (and suffer a standings loss). The usual reasons to refuse a mission are that it involves fighting a high-sec empire faction (and would result in a standings penalty to that faction) or that it is an inefficient use of time (the arduous Angel Extravaganza mission comes to mind).
Note also that the storyline missions are much, much better for your standings than your normal missions, as well as offering more significant rewards. Run them at any cost.
Tying It All Together
The whole grind could theoretically be done in less than a week, depending on how methodically you can grind missions and whether or not you are willing to shell out for tags. More practically, just get yourself access to level three missions with skills, tag agents, and a few missions, and spread the grinding out over a week or three.
There remains one more option as well: COSMOS missions. Check back with us later this week for more about that.
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