Mission ships

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This page discusses which ships are especially well suited to run security missions. You can find information about mining and distribution missions on their pages. For general information about missions, see the missions page.

General Ship Preferences

Encounter missions are about killing enemies, and you can use any kind of ship that has enough offense to get that done. (For example, I once started a character by training Covert Ops to a high level, for reasons having nothing to do with missions. Later, when I decided to start running security division missions with that character, I used a Minmatar Hound stealth bomber. This is not a particularly good mission ship, but I had no problem completing level I and II missions.) The point is: it's all about killing enemy ships – don't let somebody else's opinion of what's "best" get in the way of your own preferences, experience and skills.

That said, although any kind of ship can be successful in running missions, because PvE targets come in waves, and because survivability is one of your goals, brawling tactics are somewhat less desirable in encounter missions than are sniping and/or kiting. Faster ships, in particular missile and drone boats, tend to give better support to these kinds of tactics.

Immage of a Minmatar Breacher frigate

Particularly if you are just starting to run missions, you probably want to emphasize speed:

  • Mission NPCs will target and chase you until you warp out or they die. And there will be multiple enemies, all focused only on you. So you may want to use a fast ship with longer range weapons and try to kite your enemies. There's nothing wrong with brawling; but kiting is safer.
  • Some missions will have surprising twists, or more targets than you expected, and you will want to get some distance between you and your enemies while you rethink your approach.
  • Some missions require that you obtain an item, but do not require you to kill every enemy at the site … getting quickly in and out is a benefit in these situations.

Loosely speaking, you want enough defense (armor, shields, speed) to give you time to maneuver, and time to escape if things go badly. And then you want as much offense as you can pile on – because the faster you kill the NPCs, the sooner you get to collect your rewards.

Missiles and drones are often preferred as mission ship weapons. One reason is range - drones, in particular, can operate at range against larger targets while the ship uses its main weapons to finish off the smaller/faster enemies. A second reason is damage selection. Missiles can be easily switched on the fly, and the same is true of drones if the ship has a drone bay large enough to carry multiple flights.

On the other hand, many players prefer to get in close with a slower, heavily tanked ship that has massive turret power. This approach has less margin for error, but it does have its advantages; one being that the dead NPCs tend to be in one place, and so easier to loot.

EVE has balanced the characteristics and fittings of the ships to make both approaches viable. You will probably be happiest if you simply rely on your experience and go with the approach that best fits your skills and preferred combat style.

General Fitting Preferences

You should choose your fittings, and plan your tactics, based on the mission objective. For example, if the mission calls for you to "investigate" an area without necessarily killing any NPCs, you will likely want a faster, more defensively oriented fitting. On the other hand, if the objective says "clear the area of pirates", you will want to bring your best offense to the party.

Dead mission NPCs can be looted. Assuming you want the loot, and that you do not have a friend who will do the looting for you, you will need to fit a salvager or carry a salvage drone or two. (You can also bring two ships, one to complete the mission and one to clean up afterwards - but this is usually not worth the effort until you get to Level IV missions.)

Since you do not intend to die, and since missions pay off in various ways, you should be willing to fit your ship with top flight gear. This is not just for vanity or fun … the faster you kill the enemies, the sooner you can loot them and move on to the next mission.

There is no specific "mission gear" - mission ships use the same fittings as all other ships. The key is to fit your ship to match your tactical style.

  • Kiting: enough speed to stay ahead of the pack, longer ranged guns or missiles, targeting assists, faction ammunition
  • Drones: drone type should match enemy damage weaknesses, high drone damage and range, ship weapons to kill the smaller targets
  • Brawling: exceptional tank, heavy damage weapons, enough speed to break off the encounter
  • and so on ...
Immage of a Gallente Vexor cruiser

Each type of enemy does a particular kind of damage. And each enemy is susceptible to a particular kind of damage. You want to choose your ammunition, and sometimes change your fittings to match the enemy's damage type. This page provides the NPC information, and includes a chart formatted to be copied to your in-game notepad for quick reference.

Some enemies also use one or more forms of electronic warfare. But with the possible exception of some Level IV missions, these normally will not require any special refitting.

NPCs are more or less immune to most electronic warfare. For example, capacitor warfare cannot drain an NPC's capacitor, but it can replenish yours. And you can jam an NPC, technically, but their sensor strength is so high as to make this impractical. On the other hand, target painters work … presumably because they improve your capacity without affecting the NPCs. The bottom line: unless you have some very specific purpose in mind, don't bother to fit electronic warfare modules to your mission ship.

Agents and Stations

In some cases, especially if your skills are not highly developed, it may be necessary to refit for each new mission. And you will be collecting loot. So you will probably want to base your mission ship at the agent's station for the duration of the mission level. With this in mind, try to pick a station that offers repairs, as you will almost certainly need them.

Also keep in mind that Loyalty Point rewards accrue to specific corporations. If you are running missions for an agent of CreoDron, for example, the points you gain will only work in the CreoDron storefront. Because of this, you probably want to choose your agents from one or two corporations. Loyalty points let you purchase faction ammunition and a variety of enhancement plug-ins, so check out the store before you decide.

Your missions will surely take you to an adjoining system, and sometimes further. It is considerably more dangerous to run missions in low sec space, so as part of this selection process, be sure to look at the security level of the systems within two or three jumps of the agent's home base.

Have a Plan

There are a wide variety of activities available to every EVE player, and most of these require different skills. If you are just starting out, you will find life in EVE much easier if you develop a skill plan for your character. The process of deciding which of the many skills to train, and in what order, will help you think through your approach to the game.

Image of a Caldari Drake battlecruiser

If you are planning to do missions, for example, then in terms of ships you may want to consider:

  • are you also doing PvP and want to train fully in frigates ... i.e., learning the frigate skills in each race ... or do you want to move quickly to larger ships?
  • do you want to gain access to advanced ships by training one or more spaceship skills to Level V?
  • how much training time are you willing to allocate to combat and ship handling skills?

In general, missions require lower levels of combat skills than does PvP - because once you can kill the NPCs at a given level, you need no additional power. And, it usually makes sense to train one particular weapons systems (e.g., missiles, drones, projectiles) to a high level and then look for a ship that uses those weapons. Most of the races have a number of drone and missile ships ... which is one of the reasons why these are a popular choice.

However, if you focus on developing skills for mission running, you will inevitably short change skills needed for other activities ... such as PvP, exploration, mining and so on. THIS is why it is a good idea to develop a Skill Plan. Such a plan will help you decide which ships you want to use, and the plan can be modified as you gain experience and discover other things that you want to do.

Standard Ships by Mission Level

These are not requirements, but rather general guidelines. You can do Level III missions in a destroyer if you want to, and if your skills and abilities will let you pull it off. And although it seems like massive overkill, if you are coming to missioning later in the game and have well developed skills, and want to go fast, you could use a cruiser for both Levels I and II - or a battlecruiser for the first three levels. (Note that a few missions have special "Ship Restrictions" that limit the type of ship that you may use.)

The ships listed here are not a complete set of all "good" mission ships. But these are ones that players often use. Keep in mind that your skills are a BIG factor in missioning. The Minmatar Hurricane, for example, gets a five percent bonus to turret damage and rate of fire per Spaceship Command skill level. This means that the damage this ship does at skill Level V is huge compared to what it does at Level I. The need to selectively train the skills that help you the most cannot be overstated.

(Ships listed in italics are advanced models. These are discussed further down the page.)

Level I

In level 1 missions, you mostly fight frigates with occasional destroyers. As those are small ship types, you want weapons which apply well to small ships. Further, the missions are pretty short and thus traveling makes up for most of your time. This means that you best use a small ship yourself as it applies well due to its small weapons and also travels fast.

When you do level 1 missions you usually quickly progress to later missions so it's not worthwhile to dedicate a lot of training time for a level 1 mission ship. Thus Assault Frigates or Tactical Destroyers are probably not worth it even though they are theoretically the best options. T1 destroyers are actually the most suited as they are easy to train into and deal significantly more damage than T1 frigates.

While certainly some T1 destroyers are more suited than others, it doesn't matter too much and the question which you can already fly is more important for a new player. You can find fittings by CCP ingame under community fittings. Those are rather designed for the SoE epic arc but that epic arc also counts as a level 1 missions. Also rather don't spend a lot of training time on skills which are exclusive to that ship but rather train general support skills as well as missile or turret support skills depending on which weapon system you rather use.

Level II

In level 2 missions, you still mostly fight small ships (frigates and destroyers) but there are also some cruisers and battlecruisers mixed in. A T1 destroyer can still do those missions if carefully piloted even with low skills. Assault Frigates and Tactical Destroyers won't have any issues. If you are a new player and don't feel comfortable to use a T1 destroyer, you can upgrade to a medium sized hull. Any DPS bonused T1 cruiser would work as well as combat battlecruisers. You should have a look at the suggested ships for level 3 missions and consider to make the jump to lower skilled option there right away if you can afford it. It doesn't take much longer to train a battlecruiser to three than it does cruiser.

Level III

In level 3 missions, you mostly fight medium sized opponents (cruisers and battlecruisers) but small opponents are still numerous, battleships occur in only very few level 3 missions. It doesn't surprise that now medium sized ships are good options as their medium sized weapons apply well. The small targets still pose a challenge for your application though.

Generally good options are T1 (combat) battlecruisers, Heavy Assault Cruisers, faction (pirate and navy) cruisers and battlecruisers. T1 cruisers work too but battlecruisers generally deal more damage which makes them the better choice. As level 3 missions are a bit more challenging than 1 and 2, it's worthwhile to have a more in detail look which ships in those classes work especially well.

The Gila works especially well. It has low skill requirements to work and the relevant skills (mostly drone and support skills) are useful for a wide range of other ships. It can also run level 4 missions. The downside is that the Gila is expensive compared to most other options. Its drones are the primary damage while rapid light missiles launchers (RLML) are used as a secondary type. The drones work from biggest target to smallest, while the RLML clear the smallest targets first. As a tank you would usually use a shield regeneration tank.

Some other options which are especially noteworthy when you have trained into certain weapon systems:

  • For medium hybrid guns, a railgun fit Ferox works well. You can usually clear a few frigates before they get under your guns and your light drones can finish off the remaining frigates (true for all turret based ships). A Brutix would also work but the Ferox works out a bit better.
  • For medium projectiles, the Hurricane is a good choice. For missions, it could either be shield or armor tanked, you could also use either autocannons or artilleries. Its plus point is that you can switch your damage type to some degree.
  • For medium energy turrets, the Harbinger is a good option. On the plus side you can quickly switch ammo, but you are locked to EM/thermal damage which is bad for some missions. The navy issue is a straight upgrade but the Phantasm would be even better but much more expensive.
  • For drones, you can use the Myrmidon. You have your best DPS with heavy drones but for smaller targets those will struggle to apply and you have to switch to lower DPS smaller drones. The many frigates also mean that the NPCs more often target your drones.
  • For missiles, you have the Drake and Cyclone as T1 battlecruiser options. Medium sized missiles struggle with application though. T1/faction missiles just about apply to NPC cruisers at maxed skills without any bonus to them. If you have suboptimal skills, you want to fit for additional application. T2 high damage missiles need additional help for application all along. When dealing with cruisers and battlecruisers the selectable damage types make up for it to a degree. But the numerous frigates and destroyers are especially annoying as the application is obviously even worse there. Sadly the light drones are usually not enough to clear them efficiently in level 3 missions. The Drake Navy Issue is a serious upgrade to the Drake in level 3 missions as it gains an application bonus and is no longer soft damage locked. The obviously downside is its price (similarly the Caracal Navy Issue).

Level IV

In level 4 missions, you face mostly battleships supported by all the smaller ship classes. This means the incoming damage is generally significantly higher than before. Also in many missions some of the frigates warp disrupt you.

While the previous levels are mostly run to progress to higher levels, level 4 missions are widely run for profit as they're usually the highest level available for an NPC corp. (Level 5 missions only exists for a few corps.) We're discussing here ships and their fits who are good all-around level 4 mission runners that means you use one ship for all mission and do pretty much all sort of missions. This means we don't discuss ships for blitzing in detail, please check there for those. Also some people might extensively switch between ships to achieve the best possible results. This is also not considered because it's not very common as the benefits aren't that big and it requires extensive investment in skills and ISK. There is an important exception to that and those are anomic missions aka burner which require specialized fits which are widely used.

There are a lot of options for level 4 missions. We'll start the discussion with the best options which are expensive and require a lot of skills, then move on to some less skill intense and cheaper options, to then discuss a wide range of options and in how far they're less optimal than the before but still interesting to you.

Marauders

Marauders are the strongest all-around level 4 mission runners by a large margin. There are extensive discussions which Marauder is actually the best. This mostly depends on the mission you run. As each agent has his own pool of missions, people might have a very different experience on how a specific marauder performs depending on their agent's mission pool. It's usually considered better to fit short range weapons on a marauder as even with those it can reasonably project its damage to 100 km and more with long range ammunition plus appropriate fitting. At the same time you are highly mobile due to the MJD bonus. That said in a few missions long range weapons perform better; you could refit for those. There are also a few advocates for long range weapons all around but they are certainly in the minority.

Warning: Marauders are frequent gank targets just for their base hull value. Do not use them at ganking hotspots such as popular mission hubs like Lanngisi and refit for tank when travelling when you relocate to another agent. Also obviously do not use them when you are wardecced.

Gila

The Gila can run level 4 missions reasonably well. The important part is that it already can do so with relatively low skills i.e. the relevant skills at three or four. This is because its drone bonuses aren't linked to any skill. As it is a cruiser, you can dissipate a lot of the incoming damage from battleships by fitting an afterburner. A shield regeneration tank works well on an Gila and is easy on fitting and capacitor skills. If you have low skills, you probably want to switch your shield hardeners according to the incoming damage though. Rapid light missile launchers allow you to quickly clear webbing or warp disrupting frigates.

That said at maximum skills the better T1 battleship options outperform an Gila in mission running. But as a low skill option to check out missions it is very well suited as it can also be used for a number of other PvE activities such as abyssals or combat sites. The skills trained are also beneficial to a lot of other ships.

Cruise missile battleships

Cruise missiles have general attributes which make them strong in level 4 missions. They have sufficient range to cover the whole room in a mission. So you do not have to move towards targets to deal damage. They have choosable damage types so you can adapt that to increase your realized damage. There are downsides though, one of them is the travel time of missiles. When you just put damage on a far away target it might die while the next volley is still in flight and thus you lose DPS. You can mitigate that by switching to the next target in time but that requires more attention than with turrets. Cruise missiles also struggle to apply well which means you have to fit for additional application and ideally have an application bonus on your hull.

There are three T1 battleship hulls which work well with cruise missiles: the Praxis, the Raven, and the Typhoon. The Raven is more suited to a shield tank and the Typhoon rather an armor tank. The Praxis can use fits very similar to either. If the Praxis is shield tanked it usually needs one or two co-processors in the lows for enough CPU.

The Praxis is the best low skill option as its bonuses don't depend upon skills. The Raven nicely leads into the Golem as a progression. The Typhoon is the best if you see it on its own as the application bonus (expl. velocity) is rather beneficial.

Meta 4 launchers ('Arbalest' Cruise Launcher I) are sufficient for the start but it goes without saying that T2 launchers are obviously to be aspired for to achieve the best performance.

The Raven Navy Issue and Scorpion Navy Issue are straight upgrades from the Raven. The Raven NI gains an application bonus and the Scorpion NI has a mid slot more which can also be used for more application. The Barghest can also be used with cruise missiles. Nevertheless, it's probably more worthwhile to go straight from a Raven to a Golem than to go for the navy versions.

Other battleships

All battleships are able to run level 4 missions if fitted accordingly. Navy and pirate faction battleships are strong but they are also expensive and Marauders are significantly stronger still. Thus faction battleships are mostly an option when you can't fly a marauder but really feel the need to upgrade from a T1 hull. The Machariel and Barghest have their places when bitzing. And the Rattlesnake is the strongest option when you have committed to drones. The Dominix is a good T1 option there. Blaster based T1 battleships struggle with range and battleships are slow to move around; railguns also don't work out especially well; still they both work if you really want to. Energy turrets have the issue of being damage locked but again you can make them work. Autocannons on T1 hulls struggle again to project damage; artilleries have much less damage and don't track well; still you can make things work in like artillery + MJD setups.

Other general options

Heavy Assault Cruisers should all be possible if fitted accordingly. The Ishtar would be among the better options and perform similarly to an Gila. They are more skill intense to get into than an Gila or T1 battleship. Thus HACs are mostly an option if you're character has narrowly trained into one of them.

Strategic Cruisers often come up probably because before their rework a long time ago they used to be very strong. People are often impressed by the Tengu's 1k DPS with scourge rage heavy assault missiles. Their range is comparably short and, if you don't deal kinetic, your DPS goes down to 800. A T1 battleship generally outperforms a Tengu, at the same time being cheaper and easier to skill into. That said there is a niche for them when you are blitzing in nullsec as they can be fitted cloaky and nulli.

Command Ships are very skill intense and generally don't provide more DPS than a T1 battleship.

At least some T1 (combat) battlecruisers work for level 4s such as the Drake or Myrmidon but their DPS is usually a bit low compared with the alternatives. As they are cheaper than the alternatives, they might be decent options for new players to fleet up together. Similar for some T1 cruisers which are able to survive but just don't perform well due to lacking DPS.

Level V

In level 5 missions, you face a significantly higher number of hostile NPCs. Many missions also include energy neutralizing towers which put significant pressure on your capacitor.

Most commonly level 5 missions are blitzed with carriers which you can use in some of the ungated missions. Carriers are sometimes complemented with long range battleships (usually cruise missiles) for a few blitzable missions which don't allow carriers. Sometimes such long range battleships are also used instead of carriers.

If you don't want to blitz, you could solo those missions in Marauders. There are also mentions of passive tanked battleships which do not use capacitor to run some missions.

Another option would be to form a fleet. Even though those are rarely heard of, they might be the best option for lower skilled pilots. Due to the huge amount of energy neutralizers, logi with cap transfers are probably a good idea.