13 min read

Mission types

Missions in EVE fall into five general categories: Courier, Kill, Mining, Trade, and Special missions. Courier, Kill, Mining, and Trade missions are further categorized into five different levels: level I through level V. Let’s take a closer look at each category to see what each type of mission entails.

Courier missions

Courier missions are simply delivery missions where you move items from one station to another. The type of items can range from common items found on the market to mission-specific cargo containers. The size and quantity of items to move can vary greatly and can either be moved using whatever ship you are currently flying or may require the use of an industrial ship.


While the ISK reward for courier missions is a bit on the low side, it having no negative standing impact on opposing factions is a huge positive. This, added to the fact that courier missions are quite easy and can often be completed very quickly, means they are generally worth running. Every so often you will receive a courier mission that takes you into Low-Sec space and with the risks involved in Low-Sec, it is best to decline these missions.

You are able to decline one mission every four hours per agent without taking a negative standing hit with that agent. Be very careful when declining missions, since if your standing falls too low with an agent you will no longer be able to receive mission offers from that agent.

Kill missions

By far the most common, the most profitable, and let’s be honest, the most fun missions to run are kill missions. The only thing better than flying beautiful space ships is seeing beautiful space ships blow up. There are currently two types of kill missions. In one, you warp to a set of coordinates in space where you engage NPC targets and in the other you warp to an acceleration gate which takes you into a series of pockets all connected by more acceleration gates. Think of this second type of kill mission like a dungeon with multiple rooms, in which you fight NPC targets in each of the rooms.

Kill missions are a great way to make ISK, especially when you are able to access higher-level agents. However, as you can guess, kill missions also get more and more difficult the higher the level of the agent. Another thing that you need to be very careful about when running kill missions is that you run the risk of having negative standing impact on factions opposed to the faction you are running missions for. For example, if you were running missions for the Caldari state and you completed a mission that had you destroy ships belonging to or friendly with the Gallente Federation, then you would lose standing with the Gallente. A great way to negate the standing loss is to run missions for as many agents as you can find and to decline any mission that will have you attack the ships of another empire. But remember you can only decline one mission per agent every four hours, hence having multiple agents.

Agents and how they work

Now would be a great time to take a closer look at the agent system of EVE. Each agent works in a specific division of a NPC corporation. The division that the agent works in determines the type of missions you will receive (more on this later), and the NPC corporation that the agent works for determines which faction your standing rewards will affect. An agent’s information sheet is shown in the following image:

As you can see, the agent Aariwa Tenanochi works for the Home Guard in their Security division and is a level 1 agent. Aariwa can be found in the Nonni system at the Home Guard Assembly Plant located at planet III Moon 1. You can also see that the only requirement to receive missions from Aariwa is that you meet his standing requirements.

Doing the tutorial missions will allow you to access all level 1 agents for your chosen faction.

All agents are rated level 1 to level 5. The higher the level of the agent the harder their missions are, and the harder the mission the better and bigger the reward. The difficulty level of each agent level can best be described as follows:

  • Level 1: Very Easy. Designed for new players to learn about mission running and PvE in general. Frigate or destroyer for kill missions, short range and low cost items for courier and trade missions, and small amounts of low grade ore or minerals for mining missions.
  • Level 2: Easy. Still designed beginner players, but will require you to start thinking tactically. Destroyer or cruiser for kill missions, slightly longer range and higher cost items for courier and trade missions, and higher amounts of low grade ore or minerals for mining missions.
  • Level 3: Medium. You will need to have a firm understanding of how your ship works and have solid tactics for it. Battlecruiser or Heavy Assault Cruiser for kill missions, much longer range and higher cost items for courier and trade missions, and large amounts of low grade ore or minerals for mining missions.
  • Level 4: Hard. You will need to understand your ship inside out, have solid tactics, and a solid fit for your ship. Battleship for kill missions, very long range and very costly items for courier and trade missions, and very large amounts of low grade ore or minerals for mining missions.
  • Level 5: Very Hard. Same as level 4 agents but only found in Low-Sec systems and comes with all the risks of Low-Sec. It is a good idea to only do these missions in a fleet with a group of people.

The standing requirements to access the different level of agents are shown in the following table:


Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

Level 4

Level 5

Standing required





While you can use larger ships to run lower level kill missions, it is generally not a good idea. First, there can be ship limitation for a mission that does not allow you to use your larger ship and second, while your larger ship will be able to handle the incoming damage much easier, the larger weapons that your ship uses will have a harder time hitting the smaller targets. And since ammo costs ISK, it cuts into your profit per mission.

I generally like to use the cheapest ship I can get away with when running missions. This ensures that if I ever get scanned down and killed by player pirates, my loss is minimal.

Understanding your foe

The biggest key to success when running kill missions is understanding who your targets will be and how they like to fight. Whenever you are offered a kill mission by an agent, you can find out which faction your target belongs to inside the mission description, either in the text of the description or by an emblem representing your target’s faction. It is important to know which faction your target belongs to because then you will know what kind of damage to expect from your target. In the mission offer shown in the following image you can see that your targets for this mission are Rogue Drones:

There are four types of damage, EM, Thermal , Kinetic, and Explosive, and each faction has a preference toward specific damage types. Once you know what kind of damage to expect you can then tailor the defense of your ship for maximum protection towards that damage. Knowing which faction your target belongs to will also tell you which type of damage you should be doing to maximize your damage output. Each faction has weaknesses towards specific damage types.

Along with what types of damage to defend against and what types of damage to utilize, knowing which faction your target belongs to will also tell you what kind of special tactic ships you may encounter in your mission. For example, the Caldari likes to use ECM to jam your targeting systems and the Amarr uses energy neutralizers to drain your ship’s capacitor, leaving you unable to use weapons or even to warp away. The following table shows all the factions and the damage types to defend and use:

NPC faction

Damage type to defend

Damage type to deal


Kinetic, Thermal

Kinetic, Thermal


Thermal, Kinetic


Blood Raider

EM, Thermal

EM, Thermal

Sansha’s Nation

EM, Thermal

EM, Thermal

Angel Cartel

Explosive, Kinetic, Thermal, EM


Mordu’s Legion

Kinetic, Thermal, Explosive, EM

Thermal, Kinetic


Kinetic, Thermal

Thermal, Kinetic

Republic Fleet

Explosive, Thermal, Kinetic, EM

Explosive, Kinetic

Caldari Navy

Kinetic, Thermal

Kinetic, Thermal

Amarr Navy

EM, Thermal, Kinetic

EM, Thermal

Federation Navy

Thermal, Kinetic

Kinetic, Thermal

Rogue Drones

Explosive, Kinetic, EM, Thermal


Thukker Tribe

Explosive, Thermal



EM, Thermal, Kinetic, Explosive

Explosive, Kinetic

Equilibrium of Mankind

Kinetic, Thermal

Kinetic, EM

You will most likely have noticed that several factions use the same damage types but they are listed in different orders. The damage types are listed this way because the damage output or weakness is not divided evenly. So for the Serpentis pirate faction for example, they prefer a combination of Kinetic and Thermal damage with a higher percentage being Kinetic damage than Thermal damage.

What ship to use to maximize earnings

The first question that most new mission runners ask is “What race of ships should I use?” While each race has its own advantages and disadvantages and are all very good choices, in my opinion Gallente drone ships are the best ships to use for mission running, from a pure ISK making stand point.

Gallente drone ships are the best when it comes to mission running because of the lack of ammo costs and the versatility they offer. With drones being your primary method of dealing damage you do not have to worry about the cost associated with needing a large supply of ammo like the Caldari or Minmatar. What about the Amarr you say? They don’t need ammo. While it is true that the Amarr also do not require ammo, the heavy capacitor drain of lasers limits the amount of defense your ship can have. Drone ships do not need to fit weapons in their high slots and therefore you can fit your ship with the maximum amount of defense possible. Drone ships can also utilize the speed and range of drones to their advantage. By using modules such as the Drone Link Augmentor you can increase the range of your drones so that you can comfortably sit outside the attack range of your targets and let your drones do all the work. Being outside of the attack range also means that you are outside the range of electronic warfare, so it’s a win-win situation.

The best feature of drone ships is the ability to carry different types of drones. Light Drones for frigate-sized targets, Medium Drones for cruiser-sized targets, and Heavy Drones for battleship-sized targets. You can even carry Electronic Warfare Drones that can jam your targets, drain their capacitors, or even provide more defense for your ship by way of shield or armor repairs.

How should I fit my ship?

The second most common question is “How should I have my ship fitted for mission running?” Ship fitting is very subjective and almost an art form in itself. I can easily go on for pages about the different concepts behind ship fittings and why one way is better than another but there will always be people that will disagree because what works for one person does not necessarily work for you. The best thing to do is to visit websites such as eve.battleclinic.com/browse_loadouts.php to get ideas on how ship fittings should work and to use 3rd party software such as Python Fitting Assistant to come up with fittings that suit your style of play the best.

When browsing fittings on BattleClinic, it is a good idea to make sure the filters at the bottom right are set for the most recent expansions. You wouldn’t want to use a completely out-of-date fitting that will only get you killed.

Basic tactics

When you start a kill mission you will likely be faced with two different scenarios. The first is as soon as you come out of warp, targets will be on the offensive and immediately start attacking you. The second and more favorable scenario is to warp onto the field with multiple groups of targets in a semi-passive state. No matter the scenario you come across, the following are a few simple tactics will ensure everything goes that much smoother. These tactics are as follows:

  • Zoom out. I know it’s hard because your ship is so pretty, but zoom the camera out. You need to be able to have a high level of situational awareness at all times and you can’t do that if you’re zoomed in on your ship all the time.
  • Finish each wave or group of targets before engaging other targets. This will ensure that you will never be too outnumbered and be able to more easily handle the incoming damage.
  • Kill the tacklers first. Tacklers are ships that use electronic warfare to slow your ship or to prevent you from warping away. Since flying out of range or warping away is the best way of escape when things go bad, killing off the tacklers first will give you the best chance to escape intact.
  • Kill the largest targets first. Taking out the largest targets first gives you two critical advantages. The first is you are taking a lot of the damage against you off the field and the second is that larger ships are much easier to hit.
  • Save structures for last. If part of your mission is to shoot or destroy a structure, save that for last. The majority of times, firing on a structure will cause all the hostiles to attack you at once and may even spawn stationary defenses. This tactic does not apply to defensive towers, such as missile and tackling towers. You should always kill these towers as soon as possible.

Mining missions

Mining missions come in two flavors. The first will have you travel to a set of coordinates given to you by your agent, to mine a specific amount of a specific type of ore and then return to your agent with the ore you have mined. The second will simply have you supply your agent with an amount of ore or mineral. For the second type of mining mission you can either mine and refine the ore yourself or purchase it from the market.

The ISK reward for mining missions is really bad and in general you will make more ISK if you had simply spent the time mining, but once again, having no negative standing impact on opposing factions is a huge plus. So if you are a career miner, it can be worth it for you to run these missions for the standings gain. After all, you will have to increase your standing in order to maximize your refine yield. It would be best to only accept the missions in which you already have the requested ore or mineral in your stock and to decline the rest.

Trade missions

Trade missions are simple missions that require you to provide items to your agent at a specific station. These items can either be made by you or purchased off the market.

Like courier and mining missions, the only upside to trade missions is that they can be completed without the negative standing impact on opposing factions. But with the high amount of ISK needed to complete these missions and the time involved, it is best to avoid these missions. If you choose to do these missions, check to see if the item required is on sale at the destination station. If it is on sale there, you can often purchase it and complete the mission without ever leaving your current station.


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