Returning player. Questions about LvL 4 ships

Hey, I am a returning player (after 3 so years). I was thinking about doing some level 4 missions from time to time and I was wondering what are the best ship options for me. I own a Rattlesnake, as well as CNR with decent skills to run both of them. I also have pretty good Armor and Drone skills and can use Gallentean battleships pretty well too. 1. So I was just wondering what are my best options, as well as some possible fits for those ships? 2. Also I remember I was going for Marauders to run those more efficiently and I am pretty close to being able to use Kronos. However, I remember that Kronos was pretty bad compared to other options like Golem or Paladin. Is this still the case?
Thank you

You can complete any L4 easily in a rattlesnake.
Kronos isn’t terrible, but the vargur and paladin are a lot better.

If you have your character profiled on, shoot us a link.

Which type of BS partially depends on your play style. If you like to loot and salvage almost every L4 you run, Marauders are the way to go in the long run. Training racial BS to V is non-trivial, though. (Each racial marauder depends on that race’s BS skill to V.) Some Marauders, such as the Paladin, perform better against specific rats. (Paladin is a laser boat, so rats with EM and Therm weakness.)

If you like to blitz L4’s (minimize clock time from mission-accept to mission-hand-in) then it’s very hard to argue against the Mach.

If you’re already skilled for the Rattlesnake, use that.

You said ‘once in awhile’, so it sounds like you might be a casual mission-runner instead of hard-core. In that case, any BS you’re skilled for should suit you just fine. If you decide to make L4’s your bread-and-butter, decide on your play style:

  • Full clears with loot and salvage: Marauder
  • Blitz: Mach or Barghest - Google search for Anize’s blitzing guide for reasoning

Personally, I skilled into a Golem and haven’t looked back. I hop back and forth; Golem when I’m in the mood to chillax and do some serious killage; Mach when I need to blitz and rake in the LP. (But this also requires an investment in several burner-capable ships, and that’s another subject entirely.)

Thanks for your reply! I decided to go with Raven Navy Issue and I am completely satisfied with its performance until I can get to Golem. If you don’t mind, since you seem to have way more experience than me in this, I just have couple of more questions along the way.

  1. I noticed there is a new module, that didn’t exist when I left - Missile Guidance Computer. And I was wondering if its’ worth using couple of those instead of the Target Painters that I currently use.
  2. I was always a casual mission runner and I always did the missions for Spacelane Patrol which is Caldari corporation in 0.8 system. However, I feel like the LP rewards for me are extremely lackluster and I was wondering maybe the corporation that I always did the missions for is simply bad.

Happy to help. It’s almost like talking to myself from the past.

I will encourage others to chime in if they strongly disagree with any of my comments, but the following observations are based on 10 years of on-and-off again gameplay, 95% of which was L4 mission-running.

  • Caldari factions and corps really seem to have some of the worst LP payout ratios in Eve. I personally speculate that this is somehow tied to the fact that a lot of Caldari space is near Jita and the center of the high-sec world. It seems like a majority of new or not-super-old mission-runners are be doing Caldari missions. Hence, the market gets saturated with Caldari stuff. I don’t think you’re imagining things.

  • Regardless of what corp / faction you run missions for, do your best to find a 0.5 system, or as low as possible, that is reasonably distant from low-sec. (If you search the web, there was a really good article / blog post / explanation of how to roughly predict the average number of hops an agent is going to send you on for missions.)

  • If you haven’t already, it is absolutely worth it to max out these Social skills to level V. And until you have the month or so to do that, get them to level IV. The list is:
    –> Connections
    –> Negotiation
    –> Security Connections
    –> Social

  • While you will probably need to grind standings, Servant Sisters of Eve is an outstanding faction / corp to run missions for. (I forget which is the faction and which is the corp - similar names.) SoE is great to run missions for because you get heavy standings increases with Gallente, modest increases with Minmatar, neutral with Caldari, and only slightly negative with Amarr. And as a bonus, their LP has had, historically, an outstanding payout ratio. (Primarily due to the heavy demand of Sisters Scan probes and probe launchers.)

  • Ah, the missile guidance computer. I run one religiously on my Golem. I have 7 mid slots, and the 7th slot I call my ‘auxiliary’ slot. By default, it gets an MGC. Honestly, I have never tried an MGC with Cruise missiles. (I’m guessing your Navy Raven is cruise-equipped?) However, you already have exceptional range, so I’m pretty sure if you decide on using one MGC, you’ll want to script your MGC with a Precision script for some additional DPS. It’s not a ton, but every bit helps. There have been threads dedicated to the heated debate of what’s better - target painters or MGC’s. A bit of experimentation will be required, but fortunately they are not that expensive.

And finally, re: the Golem:

  • I’ve been flying a Golem for 8 years. Never lost it. (Came close once when I had the stupid idea to try and engage the ships in ‘Cargo Delivery’. I learned that Bastion module does not protect you from neuting!!) Come find me when you get Caldari BS V. We’ll talk. I’m not exaggerating in the slightest when I say that I can 3-shot almost any BS out to 65 km. (And 2-shot the weaker ones out to 54km.)

Out of curiosity, do you try to fly a cap-stable Raven where you can just perma-run a shield booster, or do you pay attention to range and position, and opt for DPS mods?

Best of luck!


First of - thank you very much for your response, it’s all extremely helpful.

My one issue, well, observation rather, is about the Sisters of Eve corp. Since it is so well known that it pays off so well, wouldn’t that essentially engineer it to be very popular and make it proportionally worse? I am going to try to research a bit and see which faction I should do the missions for, since as I said I feel like I should be getting higher rewards currently.

I do in fact use Cruise Missile Launchers with on the Raven, is that odd? Are torpedoes a more appropriate choice for lvl 4 missions?
Also, yes, when I started again just few days back I made a cap stable Raven, because I was afraid to mess something up - to be more safe. However, I refitted it slightly since I realised that cap stability is completely unnecessary and I rather have more DPS.
Which brings me to one more tiny question if you may. I put couple of Capacitor Flux Coils in my low slots when I was looking for cap stability, however I do not really need that anymore and I was wondering what else I can put into the low slots. I already have 3 Ballistic Systems and the fourth one wouldn’t do anything much so I felt like that would be a waste of slot.

Once again, thank you very much!

I think cruise missiles are fine for the raven. You probably also have a MJD fitted to snipe from further away? Then cruise misisles are the obvious choice. However, if you are more of a brawler, going in to close range combat then you want to look into Torpedos.

As for the low slots… I generally use max 4 BCU’s so that could be an option, that 4th slot should add about 5% extra DPS which is not too bad. But if you really want to try something else a Damage control or Missile Guidance Enhancers module would be an option. Damage control for some extra tank and the MGE for a bit of extra missile speed, which really is just a nice to have thing :slight_smile:

Cruise launchers are fine.

4BCU (later you can swap 3 BCU2 to faction) and a MGE2.

TP gives better apply but needs to be switched to target and also can’t be put to range . Since you don’t care about range …
Also TP has no issue stacking with rigor/flare rigs. I personally enjoy rigorII + flareII + cap rig.
Then mjd , shield boosting/invul/cap battery in mid ; 3 BCUs and signal amplifier/DC in low

Hah - excellent. Others have chimed in and you might get some good debate / thought. I’ll echo what they said - cruise missiles on the Raven is a fine choice, especially since you have chosen not to perma-run your SB. (You’re making the exact same evolution I went through - I had a cap-stable (regular) Raven, and my DPS was so weak that Worlds Collide would take me 2 hours to get through.) I would say the time to switch to Torpedoes is when you make a transition to the Golem.

Remember, eve-survival is your friend, especially when making the transition to a style where you pulse your shield booster instead of just letting it run. Knowing aggro triggers is more important than ever. (In my cruise-fitted cap-stable Raven, I didn’t really have to care. I could kill stuff from so far away I’d just pick ships and start killing.)

I do want to disagree with a slight point made above; it was said that target painters don’t have range I believe. With Frequency Modulation and Long Distance Jamming skills both at 4, my Republic Fleet Target Painters optimal is about 50km, and their fall-off is all the way out to… I want to say 130-150km? You’re not going to be able to lock targets (nor need to) from any further out than your TPs can reach, so TPs are a fine addition to your mid-slot setup.

I also disagree with routinely fitting a Micro-Jump drive to your cruise-fitted raven. Not sure if MJD’s were around when you last played, but the gist is they jump you 100km in the direction you’re facing, and then you can’t use them again for 3 minutes. (54 seconds for Marauders I believe.)
Your cruise missiles are to allow you to hit from outside the rat’s ranges. MJD is mainly useful in a) escaping a sticky situation where you over-estimated your tank b) hopping across an entire pocket while blitzing specific missions. Theoretically some missions will have gates that are 50-80km away, and you do a triangular jump using a MJD, but the cooldown timer on the MJD chews up half the time you’re trying to save. You’re often better served with a micro-warp drive or even after-burner.
Also, MJDs are very CPU-intensive, and CPU is the bottleneck resource on missile boats. That extra CPU is probably better spent on a fancier shield booster now that you’re pulsing it and not perma-running.

Echoing the other sentiment on the 4th low; indeed seems like stacking penalties should be heavy but a 4th BCU won’t go amiss. But perhaps start with a Damage Control for your first few hours of running missions with your new setup. Then switch to 4th BCU. MGE is a reasonable choice as well.

Getting back to the Golem, since that is what you are training for - you’ll also want to invest the time to get Torpedoes to V. This is to a) be able to train Torp Specialization to IV, giving you a whopping 8% rate-of-fire increase on T2 launchers, and b) you’ll have access to T2 Rage and Javelin torpedoes, which give you enormous tactical flexibility in crushing L4’s. (You know what EoM Hydra’s, EoM Ogre’s, Gist Commanders, Gist Generals, and Mercendary Overlord’s (all Battleships) have in common? You’ll be two-shotting them. It’s sick.)

You’ll continue to see some healthy disagreement on the ideal setup. Just do your thing. Experiment and observe results. Get a feel for the nuances of each mission. Angel Extravanganza is a way different setup than Pirate Invasion.

Oh - back to your observation. In theory, yes, you’d think SoE would start to balance out with all of the other factions since their excellent LP ratio would theoretically be a draw, but this just doesn’t seem to be the case. I think it’s because most new players who get into mission running end up just going for whatever faction they were born into. It took me a couple years before I discovered the SoE and what they were all about.)

Believe me, it’s a nice feeling being handed something like Angel Extrav. worth 9,400+ LP, at a going rate of 1.4k-to-1 payout ratio. (If full clears are your thing.) Historically, SoE has always been an excellent faction to grind and run L4s for. I do encourage folks who have been around more than me to chime in on that subject. (I’ve been on and off since 2007, but on since 2015-ish.)

I am so far doing really nice with my Raven, but as I said I was really keen on moving to working for different faction/corporation and the most obvious choice seems to be SoE. However, I was wondering about additional issue - since it is so popular, wouldn’t it also make it very attractive for the gankers (of which I am very afraid). It may sound slightly delusional, but I am so used to doing my missions in my 0.8 system, that I am worried that if I move to another system which is somewhere else, especially if it is nearby lowsec, I will just get ganked on my first mission.

One more thing I like to do is whenever I do a mission that has a ton of Battleships I drop a Mobile Tractor Unit and after I finish the mission I come back in a Noctis and salvage and collect valuable loot. Would you say that is a waste of time?

Additionally, you mentioned several times Golem and its effectiveness with torpedoes. I am currently using Cruise Missiles and the biggest reason why I do so is that I am able to use T2 cruise missiles and I assumed that Golem is very much usable with those as well. So why torpedoes? My issue with them seemingly is that their range is around 60km, while with cruise missiles I dont have to worry about distance at all, while obviously losing some DPS, but Cruise Missiles still pack a pretty good punch.

Lastly, I have question that you may or may not have the answer to. I have 2x Rigor Catalyst II and 1 Flare Catalyst II rigs and couple of MGC in Mids. My question is since they provide essentially the same attributes, but are not the same things, do the bonuses depreciate? I am asking from a perspective whether this is an overkill and I should rather use Target Painters in mids, given that I already use those rigs?

Regarding the MJD - I did try using it, but I did not enjoy it. Something feels off while I use it and doesn’t feel fun. Again this is just my personal preference and I am not stating that it simply “sucks”.

I disagree a tiny bit with MJD, but you know it already.

However, something that is important when choosing your coporation to work for is not only the LP ratio but also the system truesec, as this factors a lot for LP/isk rewards. eg you have 0% bonus on a 1.0 truesec, and 85% bonus on lanngisi (where soe have a station)
Of course this does not apply to bounties or salvage, and that’s the reason why blitzing missions is more interesting in low truesec systems while chilling and full clear can be interesting in high trusec systems.

For a comparison, the L4 syndicate agent in 98q have a +72% bonus compared to Lanngisi - then you also compare

=> 5 times more rewards from ISP than SOE - for the same mission.

Let me tell you : you play to have fun, not to follow other people . You tested it, it doesn’t fit you, okay.
There are three main uses for a mjd

  1. jump on the target. eg “pirate invasion”, you warp in, you jump to the “carrier wreck”, you butcher the 7 BS, you warp out.
  2. escape a situation where you may have more in your mouth than you can chew. eg shooting the trigger (damn drones …). Or doing the epic gallente for the first time. or getting neut+point+web.
  3. travel. You can double jump with a bit of practice . if the gate is 70-120 km away jump directly to it.

woot. that must be as u are very unskilled.

for op. dont scare to move to a 0.5 system if needed. salvaging in a noctis this times is a waste of time. your stock of metaitems can be filled which can be nice at some point but later you are should blitz or finish the mission asap. more missions per hour, more isk. gankers should only a prob in mission hubs, but then its time for proper dock/undock bookmarks and several safespots too.

Gankers don’t just focus on SoE; they carry out their activity near many different factions’ mission hubs.

I’ll probably regret saying this and open myself up as a target, but I’ve never been ganked while flying a battleship in the 4 years’ worth of playing time I’ve put in and missions I’ve been running. I believe this is because I adhere to a few simple guidelines, and I encourage you to as well. Here’s a list of things you can do to help mitigate your fear of and the probability of ganking:

A) Before accepting any missions, the first thing I do instead is to assess my surroundings. If there are more than a couple of flashies, yellow, orange, or red in local, I may not even undock.

If things look generally okay in local, I’ll undock in a low-value, slow-moving ship and assess my surroundings. This is because the lag between the screen going black (after I click undock), and being able to see around me in space and take action, can be upwards of 15-20 seconds. I believe, but have not proven yet, that during much of this time, other players can see you and take action against you. (There is an undock invulnerability timer that may not last the full duration of the ‘black-out’ lag.)

Once I’m out in space, I can look around. How many ships do I see? How much yellow, orange, red, and flashy do I see? Do I see 10-15 ships of the same type? The reason I come out in a slow-moving ship is because ideally, I’d like to still be 0km (within the docking radius) of the station after I’ve assessed things. That way I click dock and I’m instantly home. And of course, I want a low-value ship because often times, gankers want a return in value for the time, ships, and sec status they are giving up.

Note, that I don’t do this for EVERY mission; that would be too time consuming. I do it upon initial login. After that, I just generally keep an eye on the scene every time I dock and undock, and occasionally flick my eyes over to local and run down the list to look for folks up to no good.

B) Minimize bling

It’s tempting to always be “leveling” up one’s gear; get better damage, rates of fire, range, etc. Before I knew any better as a new player, I dreamed of a Raven loaded with purple cruise missile launchers.

Use tech 2 and lower wherever reasonable. When you decide you really want or need to go with a faction or deadspace module, use the minimum you can get by with. For example, over time, I bought a Pith-A, Pith-B, and Pith-C X-large shield booster. For each mission I run in my Golem, I have a saved fit that I load, which will pull in one of those specifically. Anywhere I can get by with the lowest value option (Pith-C), I do so.

There are lots of philosophies, rules of thumb, etc. that can help guide you on when to stop blinging. (For example, one school of thought says you should have X amount of effective hit points for every Y million of cargo and modules you are carrying.) My personal rule is very simple: I keep my Golem modules to a total of less than 450 million market value, give or take.

C) When possible, play during off-hours.

If your schedule is flexible, use tools like and Dotlan to get an understanding of when peak and low usage is, and the count of recent kills in your area. You can use this info to decide if now is really the best time to be running missions. (I habitually check dotlan before I even log in to Eve to run missions. I’m paranoid.)

D) If it doesn’t feel right, GTFO.

Number of folks in local just jumped by 8 and that seems odd? GTFO. A white ship just showed up on your overview in your mission site and you have no idea how to respond? GTFO. People may poo-poo this philosophy, but you told us you’re a casual mission runner. You’re not logging in to grief the griefers, or get into high-sec suspect-initiated PvP, or see if you can pop a ninja-salvager. If it feels wrong, grab your MTU if it’s close by and dock up. Wait it out a little bit.

E) Never auto-pilot. Ever.

F) Once you’re back into the flow of Eve, what someone else suggested is an excellent idea: for any station you run missions out of, you’ll want an insta-undock and insta-dock bookmark. There are guides on how to set these up and what makes a good bookmark. It’s probably been two years since I clicked the ‘dock’ button for my mission hub; instead I always warp to the ‘instadock’ bookmark I have set up.

To your other points:

  • If your style of missions includes loot + salvage, an MTU is a great addition to the picture. HOWEVER, there have been many debates on whether a Noctis is worth it. More to the point, the debate revolves around the question of whether the time it takes you to go back to your mission hub, switch to the noctis, fly back to the site, salvage, then fly back to the hub is worth it.

In my personal experience, with Marauders, the answer is a clear ‘No’. A separate dock-switch-undock-salvage-dock cycle is not worth it at all. I flew with a Noctis for a year or so, and then when I got into my Golem, I realized that Marauders aren’t just designed for killing; they are designed for increased looting / salvaging ability.

But this philosophy doesn’t necessarily apply to your Raven. With a Marauder, you can dedicate three high slots to the salvaging effort. (some combination of tractor beam plus salvagers.) In any variety of Raven, if I remember correctly, all of your highs are dedicated to offense.
So a Noctis may be your best bet. It’s worth it to bear in mind that, occasionally, there are ‘MTU griefers’; the MTU can be scanned down, people will fly to it, and shoot at it or destroy it in an attempt to get you to retaliate. It’s happened to me once or twice in the last few years.

Re: cruise missiles vs. torps

Good arguments can be made for both. And if you have fun with Cruise, you absolutely should play that way. What makes the Golem so exceptional with Torpedoes is a combination of factors:

  • The insane target painter bonus, plus
  • The ability to use tech 2 torpedoes.
  • The ability to take massive amounts of abuse close-up via wicked bonuses to shield boosters, both via the Marauders skill and the bastion module. (I kid you not; I pulse my Pith-A x-large shield booster once and get back 2,360 HP.)

I like to go back to the classic D&D or retro graming analogy:

The Raven is the ranged attacker. He hits with a respectable amount of punch, and is far enough away from the action that his/her lack of heavy armor isn’t endangering them. They can disengage easily.

A marauder is the quintessential tank. (I think of the Warrior in Gauntlet.) He’s not designed to move fast, if at all. He’s not designed to run away from the action. He’s designed to get himself into the middle of the fray, to hunker down, to hit hard, and to be hit hard.

I used to be satisfied with the killing power of cruise missiles, but psychologically I can’t go back having lived with torps for so long now. Your point about range is valid, but keep these numbers in mind:

  • T2 Rage torpedoes, assisted with bastion module, good skills, and a range script in an MGC, can reach out to 54km.
  • T1 torpedoes, assisted by the above, can reach out to 65km
  • T2 Javelin torps, assisted by the above, can - get this - reach out to 95+ km.

Honestly, range has NEVER been a problem for me, because it seems most of the L4 missions offer up at least one or two groups of rats that are within your range. I had the same concerns as you - that I wouldn’t be able to shoot stuff out at 80-100km, but it turns out that a) it’s rarely necessary, and b) If you really want to, just load up on javelin T2 torps.

Re: rigs and MGC -

I have read in many places that stacking penalties almost always apply across modules and rigs. So if you have, for example, both a rig that reduces thermal damage, and a module that reduces thermal damage, a stacking penalty is applied to the resistance total.

Let me put your mind at ease with this: Between whatever combo of rigs, TPs, and MGCs you use, I don’t think you can cost yourself a ton of DPS with the “wrong” choice. I think without going all hardcore on the numbers and calculations, the best thing to do is run lots of missions with a few combinations and see what feels most efficient.

Re mjd: it took me awhile to get comfortable with it. Triangulating a double-jump took me a lot of practice. (To get to something 60km away, you jump 100km in a direction, such that your next 100km jump puts you as close to the object as possible.) I would dare say that if you never used an MJD ever on a missioning boat, you’re not costing yourself any major opportunities. (There are a few choice spots; one poster made an excellent observation that MJD is perfect for blitzing Pirate Invasion)

Overall, just make sure you’re having fun. Don’t worry about gankers - just follow any guidelines above that seem reasonable.The increased payout in a 0.5 system is absolutely, totally worth it, compared to the increased ganking activity.

Fly safe!

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Look at a Machariel with auto cannons. It’s not the best boat for every single missions in all space but it’s one of the best all rounders. It instant pops frigates, warps fast, moves fast, has selectable damage types to a degree. Only mission i wouldn’t take it in is Serpentus blockade and the only boats that are worth doing that mission in are Marauders in bastion mode due to the ridiculous amount of EWAR (damps).

If you’re going to run L4 though i highly suggest you blitz burner missions and skip missions like blockade anyway.

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