Elite Dangerous Missions Guide

Elite Dangerous Missions Guide by Errantthought

I’m going to go ahead and put this up before it’s absolutely complete so that those that wish can take advantage of the information I have finished. I’ll keep updating this as quickly as possible.

Here you will find information you need to complete all the different types of missions available from the various bulletin boards of the galaxy.


I.) General Mission Basics
II.) Assassination Missions
III.) Bounty Hunting Missions
IV.) Charity Missions
V.) Courier Missions
VI.) Goods Location Missions
VII.)Piracy Missions
VIII.) Smuggling Missions
IX.) Transport Missions
X.) Varied Missions

I.) General Mission Basics

Missions can provide you with more structure and concrete goals than you might find by just randomly flying around the galaxy trading, fighting, and exploring. In the beginning of your time with Elite: Dangerous missions are an excellent way to make your first steps towards becoming an Elite ranked Commander.

It’s important that you know what each missions requires to be completed successfully, what danger you may be putting yourself into, and the possible repercussions your actions may have.
Below you will find specifics on each of the mission types, but first lets cover some general information.

When you select a mission on the bulletin board the mission description will be displayed along with important information relating to the mission and it’s effects.

Don’t just accept based on the mission reward. Take notice of the time to complete, cargo involved, the star systems involved, distance to travel, faction effects, and the penalty for failure. Only once you have reviewed the consequences both for success and failure should you decide to take the mission.

Alternative Completion:Missions often have alternative methods of completing them, sometimes with better rewards, sometimes with worse. If you are having difficulty completing a mission consider seeking out an alternative completion rather than simply abandoning it. Most alternative missions are offered by ships you’ll find in Unidentified Signal Contacts.

Faction Reputation:All missions have an impact on your reputation. Many missions will provide only positive reputation with one or several factions, while others will provide you with positive reputation with the issuing faction and negative reputation with another. If you take an alternative completion the expected faction rewards shown when accepting the mission will almost always reverse.

When you are choosing a mission pay attention to the issuing faction and the description as well as the mission text as it will tell you what the primary effects of the mission will be.

Your actions have consequences. You may not think anything of smuggling in weapons, slaves, and drugs, or giving credits to a worthy sounding cause but the galaxy is fluid. The actions of players such as yourself have the potential to change the balance of power in the galaxy – choose your actions carefully.

Package Deals: When you are choosing your missions pay attention to the destinations of the missions in the list. It’s often possible to take multiple missions to the same location. If there are multiple missions available for a single destination check the requirements and rewards before accepting any to prevent yourself from picking up a mission that fills your cargo hold rather than a pair of smaller, better combined paying, missions. Don’t leave money on the table!

II.) Assassination Missions

Assassination missions will instruct you to kill a specific NPC, providing one or more target locations. It is important to note before attempting these that currently these are almost always Anacondas – don’t get wide eyed at the mission reward and get yourself in over your head before you are ready to take one out.
Travel to the location of your choice and begin searching for Unidentified Signal Sources. Once you find and enter one check for your target. In most cases you will not find your target or anything relating to the specific mission right away and will have to search multiple Signal Sources across the listed systems. This is the most frustrating and time consuming part of the mission – Hang in there!

Eventually you will either find your target or a different ship which will update your mission information in the transactions tab. You will get a notification on your HUD that this has happened. Check your mission information as it will now either show the system where you target is located or offer you alternative rewards for abandoning the mission.

Travel to the indicated system and repeat the process of searching for your target. Once you find your target be sure to scan them with a Kill Warrant Scanner if you have it as you may get additional bounty money on their destruction, then blow them away.

Once the target is destroyed return to the issuing station and turn in your mission for the reward, remembering to also turn in any bounty earned as well.

III.) Bounty Hunting Missions

Bounty Hunting missions function similarly to Assassination missions but require you to destroy multiple targets of a specific faction or target Type. Be aware that depending on the faction and target status you may become wanted yourself for assaulting the target ships.

Begin by noting the faction/target type indicated in the mission then traveling to the indicated system and searching for Unidentified Signal Sources, resource extraction sites, searching for appropriate targets in Super-Cruise with you, or visiting the Nav Beacon. You may want to scan the ships you find and determine if they fit your target profile, as well as gaining the benefit of potentially increasing your rewards for killing the target due to bounties. This part can be confusing because you may be directed to destroy pirates but given no further guidance beyond the system to look in. Pirates or Traders isn’t an actual faction. Instead look for obviously related faction names such as ‘The Purple Syndicate’.

If you are looking for pirates consider taking a chance and allowing yourself to be interdicted. Assuming you can take the interdicting ship you may very well be able to check a target off of your list.

If your targets are System Authority ships you may simply wish to interdict them as they fly about in super-cruise as this will aid you in avoiding attack from excessive reinforcements or a nearby station opening fire.

In either case the next step is the same – destroy the ships and continue until you reach the target number. You will get a small notification on your HUD that the contract has been updated and your transaction will update as you destroy the correct ships so keep an eye on it to make certain you are destroying the correct targets.

Once you’ve destroyed the requested ships you can either return immediately to turn in the mission or you may want to find a station where you can dock and pay off any fines you may have earned to resolve your wanted status (depending on your target’s status you may not be wanted at all).

A last word of advice: If you are finding that you are losing out on the killing hits due to the interference of System Authority Ships, or getting yourself wanted because the careless pilot placed himself between your lasers and the target ship, turn off crime reporting in your Functions Panel.

IV.) Charity Missions

Charity missions are simply requests for you to give credits or deliver good you’ve purchased to a station for reputation gains. These missions can provide with some significant gains to your reputation, and thus can help you recover from a negative ranking.

V.) Courier Missions

Courier Missions require you to deliver a message to a specific station. These missions can be an excellent way to make other trips or missions more profitable as they do not require any cargo space. It’s always good to take these mission along with another mission or trading run as they usually don’t pay much.

VI.) Goods Location Missions

These missions require you to find, purchase, and return a specific number of a requested commodity to the requesting station.

Before accepting the mission it is important to consider the number of items being requested given their cost. While the mission should always work out profitably, a 40,000 credit reward is in exchange for the items purchased out of your own pocket – stolen goods are not acceptable for these missions – so estimate the cost of the requested good before deciding to proceed with the mission.

Assuming you don’t already know a location to purchase the requested goods you can use utilize the trade galaxy map. Alternatively you can use one of the excellent 3rd party trade tools. There is a list of these tools available in this forum.

Using the Galaxy Map:Coming soon

VII.) Piracy Missions

Piracy missions require you to return stolen goods of the requested type to the requesting station. These can be retrieved from any source, but will usually come from attacking ships for their cargo. Cargo that is NOT stolen will not work. To complete these missions efficiently you will want to outfit your ship with a Frame-Shift Interdictor, a Cargo Scanner, and possibly a Hatch Breaker Limpet Controller. Whenever possible lift these goods from other pirates as it will not be an illegal act to shoot wanted ships.

Finding The Goods

The difficulty in finding the required number of tons of the right cargo is why these mission timers tend to be so long, giving you time to find ships who are both carrying the cargo and in a position for you to relieve them of it.

Scanning: Unless you encounter a ship in normal space you will need to employ a trial and error approach of interdicting ships and scanning them to determine if they have the cargo you are after. To check what they are carrying move within the range of the scanner, target their ship and begin the scan. Be sure to keep them within range and in front of you. If they move out of your scanning range or get behind you DON’T STOP SCANNING! The scanner progress will slowly decrease as long as they are out of range and position but as long as you don’t stop the scan or take too long you can continue without starting over entirely. You can see the scan progress on both your HUD and your reticle.

Taking The Goods

Once you know that your target has what you want start stripping their shields so you can get to their hull. You now have a choice to make.
I’ve ordered these in my preferred order:

A.) Use a Limpet Drone
Limpet Drones function like a guided missile, attaching themselves to the target’s cargo hatch, providing their shields are down. After a short delay the cargo hatch will open, triggering cargo to be ejected from the hold. Limpet drones do not always work perfectly and

they do take ammunition so keep this in mind when choosing your method.

B.) Shoot their cargo hatch
You can target subsystems via either the Targets Panel Sub-Targets tab or by simply pressing ‘Y’ with default bindings until the cargo hatch is selected. Once it’s selected you’ll need to shoot it to zero health to cause a cargo ejection. This can be easier with gimballed weapons but even with static mounted weapons your targeting reticle will be moved to the hatch.
The biggest issue with this method is that you may destroy the ship itself or give them time to jump away.

C.) Shoot them and just hope they drop it or some cargo survives their fiery death
This is the least tactful option, but it can be fairly effective if you work slowly. Pouring too much fire into the target at once will risk blowing them up before they can react and dump their cargo. Use short controlled bursts. If flying close behind the target be careful that you don’t crash into or shoot and destroy ejected cargo.

If you are just going to blow them up and hope for the best just do so and be sure not to impact any dropped cargo as you may destroy the few items that come out.

After you’ve gotten the cargo out of their hold be aware of your surroundings so that someone doesn’t fly up and steal your stolen cargo out from under you while you’re still dealing with the target ship.

Once you’re able just scoop the cargo up and head back to the station that issued the mission, being careful to keep away from System Authority scans and their resulting fines and/or hostility.

VIII.) Smuggling Missions

When you pick up a smuggling mission you will be given a target system where you can locate the requested items. Head out to the system you’ve been directed to and begin looking for Unidentified Signal Sources in super-cruise. Signal contacts appear at random so keep an eye out for them on your destinations list and be sure to target any that pop up as soon as possible as they may disappear just as suddenly. If you don’t see any signal contacts simply continue flying around the system until you locate one. You will have the most luck near the local star or around orbiting planetary bodies, so I recommend circling the star a few Ls out then flying to another planetary body – you’ll likely have at least one pop up on the way.

Once you locate a contact be sure to jump in via destination lock rather than simply dropping out in proximity. These usually function as ‘pocket’ universes and will not remain if you miss-jump and have to re-enter super-cruise. The signal sources seem to be weighted to contain the items you are after when you have a mission so persevere if you don’t find it right away. When you find the correct contact you will see white contacts on your radar – these are (hopefully) the cargo you are after. Target the nearest one and scoop it up, then rinse and repeat with each remaining item until you have them all.

Before turning in your mission I recommend flying around in super-cruise a bit more looking for additional signal contacts. As I mentioned previously these seem to be weighted to show up more frequently if you have a mission to find them. You can take advantage of this by delaying turning in your mission if the item in question is something of particular value such as ancient artifacts. It is not uncommon for me to go out for 2-3 of an item and end up coming back with 15-20, selling the remaining ones for extra cash or picking up an additional mission for the same gear and turning it in right away.

IX.) Transport Missions

Transport missions are very simple, clear cut delivery missions. You will be provided with goods that will be listed as ‘haulage’ in your cargo hold. You must deliver these goods to the indicated system. You will only be able to accept missions for which you have enough available cargo space and where the destination is within your jump range.

Cargo marked as haulage cannot be ejected while the mission is active, but if you abandon the mission it will transition to ‘stolen’ and can be ejected or sold to a black market.

To complete the mission simply jump to the destination system, fly to the station listed then dock and access the bulletin board to turn in the mission. You will then be paid, have the cargo removed from your hold, and be informed of the effects of your mission on the economies and factions involved.

X.) Varied Missions

There are two mission types which are identical to the missions above but offer very different rewards.

  1. Faction Ranking Missions
  2. Invitation Missions

Faction Ranking Missions reward you with military ranking in one of the primary factions – Alliance, Federation, and Empire. Beyond the reward they correspond to the other more common missions in all respects.

Invitation Missions are a reward in and of themselves. They provide you with a pass to an otherwise restricted system but currently have no actual mission to accomplish. Traveling to the system you’ve received your invitation to will allow you to take further Faction Ranking Missions which may not otherwise become available.

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