Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Moving to a New Mission Area

If you've been following the previous mission guides, then you've always been on the lookout for higher level, higher quality agents. As you do missions for a corporation, your faction will steadily increase, giving you access to better agents every few missions. If you fly to the better agent as soon as one becomes available, then you'll find yourself changing mission areas a lot. That's a lot of moving from system to system.

It seems like some people stay with a less than optimal agent because they're laboring under a false assumption. This assumption is that if they relocate they have to take all the ships and modules they've accumulated with them. This simply isn't the case. There's a better way.

I've done a lot of big moves in my missioning career. I'm constantly looking for better quality agents, and as soon as I get access to one, I pack up shop and move. Because I do it so often, I've become quite efficient at it. I have 2 styles that I use, depending on how long I plan to be in the next area and how far away it is (and whether or not I think I'll be returning to where I'm already at).

Here's something to keep in mind--you really only need one, or at most 2 ships to run missions--your mission ship and a salvage ship. If you're having to do a lot of long moves, or just want to save a lot of time, use the same type of ship for both. I'm assuming you're doing primarily combat missions here. This setup doesn't involve dragging a mining ship with you wherever you go. If you get a mining mission, you can either just buy the ore for the mission and get on with your life, or you can decline the mission (just remember not to decline more than one mission per agent per four hours). I also tend to decline courier missions because of the low payout, but you will be able to do the occasional courier mission if you want with this setup.

A lot of people seem to have this weird sense of pride about missions. They say, "I'm not going to buy the ore for this mission, I can mine it!" Well, that's great. But if you're staying in one system with a crappy agent just so you can have your mission ship, salvage ship, mining ship and hauling ship, you're missing the point. You're never going to get rich doing low level missions with low level agents. If you want to make ISK in this game, you want to get to higher quality agents with higher level missions. Don't sweat the small stuff.

Method 1 - The Quick and Easy 1 Ship Method

Find a good mission ship that will also make a decent salvage ship. The priority here is having a good mission ship. Almost any ship can be a decent salvaging ship. Come up with a good mission fit and a good salvage fit for your ship. When you're ready to move, fit your ship for missioning, except swap out lows for expanded cargo holds (however many it takes to pack your gear). Pack your hold with all your fittings for your salvage fit, and all the extra fittings for your mission ship (hardeners for all damage types, extra drones, ammo, etc). Remember to repackage all your fittings to save some space. Make sure to save both your fits in the fitting menu.

Please Note: I'm assuming here that you're taking the "safe" route to your new mission area--that is you're traveling through high sec only. If you're going to take the "short cut" through low sec (which is fine, I do it all the time), you're going to want to make sure your ship is fitted for PvP on the journey. At the very least put a couple warp core stabilizers in the lows. I'll do a guide on this in a future episode.

Fly to your new system. Empty your hold, swap out the expanders (and/or warp core stabilizers) for your mission lows. Run a few missions. Now, when you're ready to salvage, fit the salvage fit using the automatic option in the fitting screen. Go salvage the missions, come back, refit your mission fit, and continue on.

This method is nice because it only involves one trip. However, it's a little annoying because you have to occasionally refit your ship. This is especially annoying if you use weapon groups because you have to regroup the weapons every time you refit.

For example, right now I recently did level 2's to work up standing with Ministry of War. I used an Omen. It's a great mission ship, and makes a decent salvage ship with 4 salvagers, 1 tractor beam, and a microwarpdrive.

Method 2 - The Slightly More Involved 2 Ship Method

This is a little more involved, but you won't have to switch ships to salvage your missions. I use this when the trip to the new mission area is relatively short, or I plan to be in the new area for a while. Again you're going to use two ships--a salvage ship and a mission ship. However, in this method you will have two separate ships instead of constantly refitting one ship.

First, fly whichever ship has the biggest base cargo hold to the new mission area. Fit it with cargo expanders (and warp stabs if you're going through low sec). Put all your extra mods in the hold, as well as at least 1 repackaged shuttle. Make sure you leave enough expanded cargoholds behind to be able to pack a shuttle in your other ship. (a shuttle can carry two repackaged expanders in its hold, so you can bring two back if you need to).

Fly to your new mission area. Assemble the shuttle, fly back to the old area. Pack up your shuttle in the second ship and fly it to the new area.

It's that simple. I'm able to use the one ship (or two sometimes) to do all missions. My ship is set up for combat missions, and if I do a courier mission, it's a simple thing to swap out some lows with expanders.

A last note: The reason I don't simply repackage my ships and put them into a hauler is because my ships are all fit with rigs. If you repackage a ship with rigs, it destroys the rigs. If you don't use rigs, packing all your ships and mods into a hauler may be an option for you. However, just keep in mind you're making your hauling ship quite a prize for suicide gankers if you do this. I don't personally recommend this method for the above reasons.

I hope this guide helps you with those moves between missioning systems. As you can see, such a move can be very easy and efficient (down to one or at most 2 trips). If you're doing level 1 or 2 missions, I recommend you use the 1 Ship method. You're not going to be at that agent very long--oftentimes after only a few missions you'll get a better agent. If you're really powering through the missions, you may want to consider blitzing them and forgetting the salvage until you get to higher level missions. Once you get to level 3 missions, you can make pretty decent money. At that point, I'd recommend using the 2 Ship method and collecting all salvage and loot for all missions. You will also tend to spend a little more time with each agent at this point, so the 2 Ship method becomes more viable.

Please feel free to comment on this and the other episodes. Feel free to ask questions and make requests for future episodes. Series One is getting very close to wrapping up (unless I get some new requests), and then we'll be moving on to Series Two.

Fly smart.

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