In Elite Dangerous I picked up a combat mission that was along the lines of:

Go to location X and kill Y number of pirates on behalf of group Z.

I jumped to the necessary system and started checking for ships flying around, any that I scanned and had a 'Wanted' level I would interdict and attack yet it still always said I had 0/Y kills. I even flew back to a station to claim the bounties on the off chance that would update the list, but with no result.

As the instructions didn't specify a particular faction why did the kill levels not increase? Is there anything specific that marks an NPC / player as a pirate and not just a wanted ship?

2 Answers 2


When tasked to kill a number of Pirates, Bounty Hunters, etc in a specific system scan targets in that system and any that show up as unreadable "Mission Target" in blue text next to the "Wanted" indicator will count towards the mission.

Signal sources tend to be more likely to contain scenarios of the type that contain these targets, so you're more likely to find some if you enter an Unidentified, Weak or Strong source (though still not guaranteed).

However, for most of these the best place to go is the Nav Beacon or Resource Sites (if there are any). Mission targets are far more likely to spawn in those than in open Super Cruise, so you should be able to rack up your kills quicker.

Finally don't take on any missions like "Go to X and kill Y of..." where Y is more than 5-10 or so unless you know system X contains a Compromised Nav Beacon or a High/Hazardous Res Site - doing one of these missions in a quiet safe system will be very time consuming and not very profitable.


When you target the correct ships, they will shop as mission objectives. From my experience, if you're doing a lot of looking but are not finding what you're looking for, there's a good chance you've not read your mission objectives closely enough. You may be in the wrong system. (It's happened to me more than once)

  • Yeah I get that, but it doesn't answer my question. I checked my location several times against the objective.
    – MattR
    Apr 22, 2016 at 15:43
  • If you're definitely in the right system, then you're just getting messed about by the gods of Random Number Generation. You will see wanted ships that aren't of your target faction, mixed in with those which are. The only thing you can do is to go to high traffic areas (Hazardous Resource Extraction sites are the best) and smash targets as they appear. Is there a time period on your mission? Sometimes targets are not due to appear until a certain time...
    – Dave M
    Apr 22, 2016 at 16:22
  • The mission I got didn't contain a High Res so that wouldn't have been an option, and as a I said the mission didn't specify a particular faction to target. And no there was no time limit other than the standard one.
    – MattR
    Apr 23, 2016 at 1:41
  • 1
    As Dave M Said if the target ship is part of your mission objective you will see the indicator just below the wanted sign. Please note that this is actually newly introduced as previously you would have to scan the ship and check its subsystem to distinguish targets (e.g pirates always have cargo scanner), so now it is much easier. Also the mission doesn't need to specify that you have to go to the resource extraction site but nothing stop you from going there to find pirates. it is the easiest way to eliminate the pirates. if you still cant see any targets i would say it is some kind of bug.
    – Pawel
    Apr 23, 2016 at 9:01

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