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Back in the days when I started playing EVE someone told me to go to Minmatar space and do their agent missions because they are better somehow than the others. Now I resumed playing EVE and I was wondering about this. Where should I go to do agent missions? Which faction? My character is Caldari but I have relatively good standings with the Minmatar agents.

Edit: My main goal for mission running is to get ISK so I can buy a PLEX. If I remember right it used to be a good way to quickly farm up one.

Edit: I'm Caldari by default but if there is no significant difference between the different factions' R&D agents I do not really care which one I run.

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I thought I'd comment rather than amending my answer. As discussed below, different datacores are worth more on the market. Additionally, not all R&D agents will research all data core types. I'd suggest looking up prices of datacores in a market hub to determine which bring in the most ISK. You can then use the EVE agent search I linked in my answer to find R&D agents that will produce that datacore type. As for farming missions for plex, it can certainly be done. It just depends on how much time you have to put into the game. :) –  RESPAWN Jul 11 '12 at 21:16

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I've always thought of this as a bit of personal preference, but if you're looking at being a hardcore mission runner, a good suggestion is to pick a faction that has multiple Level 4 mission agents in a station. Additionally, since you gain standing with an NPC corporation more quickly than with a faction itself, multiple L4 agents from the same corporation in the same station is preferable. It will take much longer to grind up your faction standings to be able to pull missions from all agents in all NPC corps allied to a particular faction, so it's generally best to focus on running missions for that one corporation at first. Once you manage to get 5.0 or better standing with a faction, you'll be able to run L4s for any corp allied with that faction.

It is for this reason that I personally used to run missions for Theology Council in Amarr space. Theology Council has two L4 agents located in Sasoutikh, allowing you to pull multiple missions at once and run both of them before returning to station.

Next, if you're running missions you'll probably want to review a mission guide for tips on what ships will trigger new spawns and/or how to blitz the mission if your goal is to increase standing. Eve-Survival is generally regarded as the best mission guide around.

Lastly, don't take my suggestion of Theology Council as an absolute. It's merely the only system that I can think of off the top of my head that offers multiple Level 4 agents in one location. If you've got the time, I would encourage you to do some searching through the Eve Agent search to see if there are any other systems with multiple agents which might be better for mission running.

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There are several aspects you should consider when chosing the corporation you want to run missions for:

  • Availability of level 4 security mission agents
  • Distance to the closest trade hub
  • Items in the LP store

Having a decent selection of level 4 agents in close proximity is very useful, you can accept multiple missions and have a bit more leeway in declining missions if you have alternative agents close by.

The further you are from a trade hub, the more effort it is to supply yourself with ships, ammunition and everything else you need. This can be an important factor for a very new player that frequently upgrades modules and ships and quite often needs to buy skillbooks. It's far less important for an older character that only needs some ammunition once in a while. If you plan to salvage missions often, this factor becomes more important again.

The LP store of different factions and even corporations varies. This means that the LP store of popular corporations is often less profitable than the LP store of the less popular corporations, where fewer people sell those items.

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This is a tricky question to answer without a better idea of what your overall aims are, because it's those that will decide which faction and which agents you should do mission running for.

In general, when you run missions for a faction you'll be improving your standings for that faction (and its allies) and reducing your standings for the opponents of that faction (and perhaps their allies). By avoiding the "blow up ships of this faction" mission types, you can really reduce the amount that your standings go down with opposing factions, but there will always be a slow general decline.

So this question (in essence) seems to boil down to "which faction should I aim to improve my standings with?". The answer to that one should be "the faction you want to do R&D with". Reason being; all mission rewards can be considered more-or-less equal, but faction standings give you a solid base for R&D corp standing which can be improved by running missions for that corp which then gives you a really nice standing with their R&D agents.

What if you don't entirely understand R&D agents? No idea why they seem to be my main point? Here you go: http://wiki.eveonline.com/en/wiki/Research_agent

The reason I would call this (standing with R&D agents) the most important thing to develop via mission running is because there's no other way to get it and because it's so valuable to have. R&D agents are pretty much synonymous with "free ISK", so the value is right there. Are you not working towards R&D agents? Why not? Is there something else you're working towards? Like a certain item reward or BPC from the mission rewards store? Well then, run the missions that will get you there. If you don't have any kind of a long-term goal with your mission running (trying to get high faction standings so you can launch a POS? Want to have an empire jump clone?) then congratulations, now you've got one: Develop R&D Agents for income purposes! Find which R&D agents are available in your local hangout (or the portion of empire space you visit most often, even if it's only once a year that's fine) and work towards them. Not sure which of the many available R&D agents are best? Check out the current market value of the Datacores they produce, go for the most valuable one(s).

As with most things in EVE, 'what way should I do it?' questions are always answerable with 'well, what's your goal?'.

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Actually, with the most recent release of EVE, they are beginning to transition data cores (the free isk I believe you're talking about) to the faction warfare LP stores in a bid to make faction warfare more relevant. You now have to pay a fee for each data core retrieved and future updates to the game are supposed to remove data cores from R&D agents entirely. Currently the fee for cashing out is already high enough that I haven't bothered since the release of the last expansion. –  RESPAWN Jul 10 '12 at 15:53
    
There has certainly been a recent change to the game whereby it now costs 10,000 per Datacore; but seeing as how you can sell them for 250,000 (a 'mere' 25x ROI instead of 100% profit) I fail to see how they're any less relevant then they ever were. Perhaps at some point in time R&D agents will be changed; but that hasn't happened yet, and they aren't just going to become valueless. –  Task Jul 11 '12 at 5:46
    
Heh. Depends on the Datacore, really. Amarrian Starship Engineering Datacores are selling for about 90,000 in Amarr. That price is actually up from a month or so ago but I can still make more ISK doing other activities in the hour that it will take me to collect datacores from all of my agents. So, obviously, some datacores are better than other. I just hesitate to recommend that somebody spend a month training for skills in order to access a passive income scheme that may become obsolete in the near future. –  RESPAWN Jul 11 '12 at 19:01

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