Elite Dangerous Missions Guide

Elite Dangerous Missions Guide by cold-n-sour

Mission Parameters

Each mission has several parameters, the most important ones are:

  • Associated with: this is the minor faction that gives te mission.
  • Reward: how much credits you get by completing it.
  • Effect on reputation (low, medium, high): how your reputation with the giving faction will improve after completing it.
  • Effect on influence (low, medium, high): how this mission will affect minor faction’s influence in the system.
  • Required … rank: mission can only be given to a player with specified or higher combat/trader/explorer rank. Different types of missions require different ranks.
  • Relationship required (hostile/unfriendly/neutral/friendly/allied): mission can only be given to a player with specified or higher relationship with the giving minor faction.
  • Time left: how much time you have to complete the mission, after which it fails.

Basic mission types

  • Buy and deliver commodity. Icon has two arrows in opposite directions. Rank requirement: trader. Player is required to buy something and bring it to this station.
  • Charity. Icon has an asking hand and a (red?) cross. No rank requirement. There are two types of these missions: 1) buy and give a commodity or 2) donate money. High effect on reputation. Commodity can be illegal at this station. Donation missions should always be done to improve relationship with the minor (and sometimes major) faction.
  • Courier. The icon has a one-direction arrow. Rank requirement: exploration. Player has to deliver to a certain system/station something that does not require cargo space. These missions usually have short expiration (under an hour). Not highly paid missions but you don’t have to have any cargo space to do them.
  • Haul cargo. Icon has a cargo canister and an arrow. Rank requirement: trader. Player has to pick up some cargo at this station and bring it to another station. Pays better than just buying/selling and does not require initial investment.
  • Bring stolen commodity. Icon has a scull. Rank requirement: combat. The cargo in question can be freely bought at commodities market but mission giver wants it to be stolen. People say it can be pirated from NPCs. I personally never completed a mission like this and don’t know where to look for this cargo. But if you have a friend, they can buy the commodity in question and jettison it for you to scoop. You cannot be in a wing to do it – cargo jettisoned by your wing mates is legal salvage for you.
  • Bring non-commodity. Icon has three cargo canisters. Requirement rank: exploration. The goods required cannot be bought at commodities market and can only be found in Weak Signal Sources. The hardest to find are Black Boxes (1 per WSS), the easiest are Trade Data and Ancient Artifacts (up to 7 per WSS). Low reputation effect but good rewards. There’s a trick to these missions: you don’t have to go to the system specified. It’s enough to just leave the dock, go to supercruise, set throttle to 0 (30 km/s) and wait for a WSS to appear 350 km in front of you. Sometimes there might be some Eagles or Sidewinders there trying to get the same goods. If you get there first, they will attack you. If they get to the goods first, you will have to attack them to recover the goods, or just look for another WSS. The goods will always be illegal, so it’s best to take these missions at an outpost where there’s no police to scan you.
  • Assassination. Icon has a single target. Rank requirement: combat. Player is required to go to a certain system and kill an certain NPC, name is given. The targets can be wanted or not wanted (see below). Killing a non-wanted target makes you wanted in that system. High effect on reputation. Killing a wanted target allows you to collect the bounty, sometimes higher than mission reward. The most profitable assassinations are those of Pirate Lords, with mission reward between 100 and 200+K and bounty up to 300+K.
  • Kill multiple targets of the same type. Icon has a target and three ships. Rank requirement: combat. Targets can be wanted and not wanted (see below). Killing a non-wanted target makes you wanted in that system. High effect on reputation.
  • Smuggle cargo. Icon has a scull, a cargo canister, and an arrow. Rank requirement: trader. Player has to pick up some cargo and bring it to another station. Cargo is usually illegal at both ends, and it’s best to avoid being scanned by the police. Ideally these missions should be done from an outpost to an outpost, in which case you’ll be paid very handsomely just for flying from point A to point B.
  • Mining missions. Icon has three asteroids. Rank requirement: trader(?). Very good rewards, plus some materials can be bough at some other stations, the only ones that have to be mined are Platinum, Painite and Osmium.

Getting Good Missions:

1) Find a good cluster of systems/stations. Good location is one with multiple inhabited systems within 15-20 ly radius. The spectrum of missions given by a station varies greatly and depends on several factors, like state of factions, system security level, economy type, govennment type, etc. So there are “good” stations and “so-so” stations. I haven’t figured out how to look for a good station based on these factors, so I just do it old-fashioned way: go there and look. Even in the same system, I think there are stations/outposts that consistently give more and better missions than other stations. That might be my observer bias, more research is needed.

2) Get friendly with the locals. At each station, there will be some minor factions alighed with major factions (Alliance, Empire, Federation), so it makes sense to select stations which are aligned to whichever major faction you are allied/friendly with. It also helps to be allied/friendly with all major factions for obvious reasons. Stations will also have independent minor factions – those are the ones you have to befriend. For that you may have to do some less lucrative missions for them first. There will always be factions to which you will be neutral/unfriendly – usually pirates.

3) Increase your rank. Combat rank is most important, but certain trader or explorer rank can also be a requirement for certain types of highly paid missions.

Getting more missions:

When collecting missions for a playing session at a “good” station, it makes sense to refresh Bulletin Board several times rather than picking up missions later or in different places. BB refreshes once every 5 minutes, and you can often get different set of missions just by switching between open/solo/private group.

Tip: Pick the missions from the bottom of the list first, because new missions appear at the top, and once you picked a mission from the top, the board refresh might happen, and a very tasty mission at the bottom will disappear.

Selecting the right combat missions:

1) Be legal. Try not to get wanted – the security forces can be seriously helpful when/if they show up, but if you’re wanted in the system, they will shoot at you instead of helping you. So, take no mission targets that will make you wanted (see below).

2) Be choosy. Try to take missions with the highest combat rank requirement first, they have the highest reward as well as provide high-bounty targets. The exception is Pirate Lords – their bounty seems to be higher for low-reward missions. But “kill N pirate” missions where the rank requirement is “dangerous” can produce up to 50% of wanted Anacondas as mission targets. Cannot speak of higher rank as I don’t have it yet.

3) Be opportunistic – If there’s a mission to kill N pirates and you already have another similar mission in this system, each killed pirate will count toward both. The same with Pirate Lords – each Lord is a pirate, after all.

4) Be even more opportunistic – if there’s a smuggling mission to an outpost in the same system where you have to kill somebody, there’s no reason not to take it since you’re going there anyway. There’s a downside, though: if police show up and they scan you, you’ll be fined. That’s ok, the fine is but a fraction of mission’s reward, but once you get a fine in a system you have to be really careful – any friendly fire will turn this your fine ito a bounty that lasts several days. So, it’s best to pay the fine ASAP, but if you still have one and there’s police around – take extra care not to shoot one of them by mistake.

Tip: if you are going to another system and still have some cargo space left, use it for normal trading! Visit http://elitetradingtool.co.uk/ – go to “Trade calculator”, enter appropriate parameters, and find the best commodity to take there.

What to expect on combat missions(and who to kill not to become criminal)

Non-wanted single targets:

  • General/Local Hero/Military strategist. A Python with two escorts, ranging from Viper to Vulture.
  • Celebrity. A guy in an Orca, sometimes with a couple of Sidewinders as escort.
  • Religious Leader. Type-6 with two Sidewinders.
  • Enemy Of The People. Type-6 with two Sidewinders

Wanted single targets:

  • Pirate Lord. Anaconda with no escort.
  • Terrorist/Agitator. Python with one or two Vipers or Eagles.
  • Prison Escapee. An Eagle in a wing of two.
  • Deserter (in systems with a war). An Eagle/Viper in a wing of two.

Non-wanted multiple targets:

  • Traders, Civilians, Authority, Smugglers, Bounty Hunters, Nomads. Simple folks who don’t deserve killing.

Wanted/Lawless multiple targets:

  • Pirates. Need killing.
  • Military targets. When there’s war in the system, each of warring factions usually has missions to kill N ships of the opposing faction. You can take several missions for the same faction, each killed ship will count towards all of them.

Where to find your targets

The system is specified in the mission parameters. The easiest way to find your target(s) is to look in supercruise. All types of wanted targets can be found there. You need an FSD Interdictor module to take them out of SC.

If you don’t see your target in SC or don’t have the interdictor, it’s possible to look unUnidentified Signal Sources (Pirates, Pirate Lords) or Strong Signal Sources (pirates only, usually in bigger quantities. No pirate lords there). Of course it’s also possible to search for pirates at the Nav Beacon or in Resource Extraction Sites, although I didn’t have much luck with beacons or RESs lately. I might be subjective but in my experience supercruise provides much “juicier” pirates.

All the non-commodities (trade data, black boxes, ancient artifacts etc.) for “Bring non-commodity” type of missions can be found in Weak Signal Sources.

When looking in sources, it makes sense to put throttle to 0 and come to minimal speed (30 km/s), so that the sources will spawn right in front of you (350-400 km) and all you have to do is target the source and immediately drop out of supercruise. This approach saves a lot of time getting to sources tens of ls away.

Alternative endings

Sometimes when you jump to a system you can see a message in chat window, telling you to follow someone’s wake. You don’t need any special equipment to follow a wake from supercruise. Just approach it normally, keeping throttle in the blue zone, and the “Safe to disengage” message will appear. Other times those NPCs will be in a USS. They will talk to you, offering to do something else, and offer you the alternative reward. Most of the times this reward is significantly less than the original price, but once in a while they offer you a very big sum of money, several times the original price. My personal record is 800K+, and I saw a screenshot of a 1M+ alternative reward. Once the NPC speaks to you, the message will appear in the comms panel, and you can acknowledge it, thus accepting the altarnative, or discard it and get on with your mission. I usually don’t bother with the alternatives, mostly because it’s not entirely clear from the text if the new target will be wanted.

Handling logistics

When you have a couple of dozen missions to complete it becomes difficult to keep track of them using in-game transactions tab. For me the best solution is a spreadseet with the following columns:

  • Completion (empty for a mission just received, 0 for a mission that;s completed but not handed in, and 1 for the paid mission)
  • Where to go. System and sometimes station (for smuggling)
  • What do do. Target type (and number) for combat, Commodity and amount for procurement missions, or just “smuggling”.
  • Where to return for reward. System/station. Obviously empty for smuggling/hauling/courier missions
  • When expires. I only use it for missions with short expiration.

I try to pick up all my missions at one station, because it greatly reduces the number of travels. Sometimes two stations. So, once I’m done selecting the missions, I sort them by “Where to go”. That makes it easy to see that in one system I have to kill 3 Pirate Lords and 4 pirates, and also smuggle some stuff to one of the outposts there. Once the mission is done, I mark it either with 1 for smuggling or with 0 for killing. The ones marked 0 are then moved up the list and sorted by “Where to return”. So, in every system I first do the killing, then head to an outpost for smuggling and handing in local bounties, then jump to the next system. Once all the combat missions are done, I head back to my employers and cash in some more.

That’s it, folks!

I hope this short guide will help you become more proficient in one of the most fun activities in the game. Thank you for reading, and don’t hesitate to comment with corrections and suggestions.


CMDR Victic.

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