NOTE: This guide is based in part on the original “The Plan” article that was at one time hosted at the EVE Online Wiki but has now, sadly, been lost. The guiding principles haven’t changed at all, but some of the details work differently due to recent updates.
My own goal in EVE is to gain the maximum advantage from trading in every region, and to do so with the least amount of effort. The objective is minimum taxes and broker fees in any high-sec at any Empire corporation station — a derived standing of well over 6 with everyone that’s not a pirate faction.
In order to accomplish this, there are some general rules to follow:
- Decline any mission that requires you to kill ships or structures belonging to any corporation or high-sec empire.
- Complete missions whenever practicable.
- Don’t decline two missions from an agent within a four-hour window.
- Non-kill missions (Distribution, Mining, Research, et cetera) provide the best standings-to-loss balance.
- Every sixteen missions you complete of a given level, you’ll be offered a Storyline mission that can drastically influence faction standings.
- If you wish to do kill missions (usually Security or Storyline), you should rotate between empires.
- Social skills are mandatory, particularly Social, Connections, and Diplomacy.
There are a few groups like the Sisters of EVE that maintain positive relations with everyone. It is always good to run missions for them, particularly the SoE Epic Arcs. And every major faction will have Epic Arcs available for you every three months or so, each of which will provide a massive standings increase at the cost of only minor negative consequences with other empires.
The first task will be to get positive with each major empire. Before doing this, it’s important to have your Social skill trained — L5 is important, but L4 will still give you a solid advantage. You’ll also need Diplomacy to at least 1, and a Security Status above -2.00. (If your Security is too low, you’ll need to spend some time killing pirates in belts, on missions, and at sites in order to improve it.)
For any new character, there won’t have been an opportunity to go very negative with any other empire (not counting pirate factions), and a Diplomacy of 1 is all you’ll need in order to begin. Older characters may need to work harder in order to recover from larger deficits, following the rules in the preceding section. Remember that gaining standing with one empire will cost you a small amount of standing with other factions, so be prepared to take turns between empires — and, most importantly, to avoid killing ships or properties belonging to other empires.
Phase One: Schools and Circles
At each faction’s starting schools, the five Career agents will be available. There are three schools per empire and four empires, making a total of twelve schools and sixty mission chains. Do them all. They can be found at the following systems:
- Amarr — Conoban, Deepari, Pasha
- Gallente — Clellinon, Couster, Trossere
- Caldari — Aikianavas, Jouvulen, Uitra
- Minmatar — Malukker, Hadaugago, Embod
This will occupy your time for a while, but it’s of vital importance.
Then, immediately after this task is finished, or possibly even while just passing nearby, the SoE L1 Epic Arc “The Blood-Stained Stars” is available at the SoE Bureau, Arnon IX, Moon 3. A note on this: It’s not just one mission, but instead a chain of fifty — many of them simple courier runs, but with some challenging combat interspersed. It’s probably the single best faction standings method in the game, and you can choose which faction gets the benefit.
Finally, each empire will have one unique “Circle” event agent. This should be done only after standings for all four empires is raised above zero. Note that each agent will offer a one-time-only set of missions; they are unique, and cannot be repeated if quit or canceled. Once completed, they will lead you to additional agents which will direct you in a large circle, each leading to the next; these missions are often repeatable, but with no great reward. The final mission in the circle will grant a hefty standings boost.
The “Circle” agents can be found at these systems:
- Amarr: Ain Ikani, Amarr Navy Logistic Support, Youl 7 Moon 10
- Caldari: Furas Vaupero, Caldari Navy, Maurasi 9 Moon 12 (in space, outside the station)
- Gallente: Iole Radin, Federation Navy Assembly Plant, Luminaire 7 Moon 6
- Minmatar: Half Triat, Republic Fleet, Lustrevik 7 Moon 7
These will all be very low difficulty and simple to run almost to the point of tedium. The cash rewards are not terribly high, but the standings gains are well worth the effort for any would-be trader, industrialist, miner, or other high-sec player.
NOTE: If your character has run the “Circle” event agents before, you may still be able to access the first missions, but the chain will be glitched. While this may be irritating, it’s only fair, since you can only gain the standings bonus from them a single time.
Phase Two: Data Centers
Near each of the twelve Empire starting schools is a system which contains a beacon in space bearing the label “Data Center”. Here can be found agents in space, each willing to offer missions to capsuleers in good standing with their Empires.
- Minmatar: Emolgranlan, Engosi, and Arlulf
- Gallente: Eukenbiron, Abenync, Muer
- Caldari: Atulaima, Kamokor, Saikanen
- Amarr: Ferira, Kudi, Polfaly
One agent at each location will offer a simple courier mission, to transport a graduation certificate. (This mission will then direct you to a side mission, a multi-part Event storyline which is interesting and provides a small standings boost.) The other agents will each give a reward for outlaw tags. It is of vital importance to have the tags before accepting the missions, which are time-sensitive. Most can be found easily on the Market (though sometimes with a high price tag).
The effective standings needed to complete the higher-level missions here are quite high, so you will probably need to come back to each location more than once.
The total tags needed to complete all of these missions are as follows:
- Blood Copper: 3
- Blood Bronze: 20
- Blood Silver: 20
- Blood Brass: 20
- Blood Palladium: 20
- Blood Gold: 20
- Blood Electrum: 20
- Blood Crystal: 20
- Blood Platinum: 20
- Blood Diamond: 20
- Sansha Copper: 6
- Sansha Bronze: 20
- Sansha Silver: 20
- Sansha Brass: 20
- Sansha Palladium: 20
- Sansha Gold: 20
- Sansha Electrum: 20
- Sansha Crystal: 20
- Sansha Platinum: 20
- Sansha Diamond: 20
- Guristas Copper: 9
- Guristas Bronze: 20
- Guristas Silver: 20
- Guristas Brass: 20
- Guristas Palladium: 20
- Guristas Gold: 20
- Guristas Electrum: 20
- Guristas Crystal: 20
- Guristas Platinum: 20
- Guristas Diamond: 20
- Angels Copper: 9
- Angels Bronze: 20
- Angels Silver: 20
- Angels Brass: 20
- Angels Palladium: 20
- Angels Gold: 20
- Angels Electrum: 20
- Angels Crystal: 20
- Angels Platinum: 20
- Angels Diamond: 20
- Serpentis Copper: 9
- Serpentis Bronze: 20
- Serpentis Silver: 20
- Serpentis Brass: 20
- Serpentis Palladium: 20
- Serpentis Gold: 20
- Serpentis Electrum: 20
- Serpentis Crystal: 20
- Serpentis Platinum: 20
- Serpentis Diamond: 20
The total standings gains from completing all of these missions is quite large, though as mentioned previously, the expense may be prohibitive. Still, the effort required is tiny compared with the gains.
Phase Three: Cosmos Agents
Within Cosmos sites can be found important information on EVE, including lore about the origins of the cluster, long-defunct civilizations, et cetera. While some are in high-sec systems, others are in low-sec, and there are eight massive complexes based in 0.0 space.
A complete Cosmos guide would be huge, and well beyond the purview of this article. Indeed, as many of the highest-level agents require top standings with their employers for access, most of the sites aren’t even of interest for our purposes, and so will not be documented here.
The high-sec sites, however, (all located in 0.5 space) can be very useful for advancing empire standings. The missions offered are interesting and complex, and can be quite challenging. To complicate matters, some will be inaccessible based on standings or keys earned at other sites; other missions will cost standings with competing empires when completed. In order to exploit these sites for standings, therefore, it’s important to do the following:
- Complete each mission you accept.
- Research each mission before you accept it, in order to ensure it’s possible to complete before it expires. In fact, given that the expiration timer may start instantly upon first opening conversation with the agent, begin your researches before then. These are only available once per character.
- Accept every multi-part mission.
- Accept every mission that is labeled “Important Storyline”.
- As your standings increase and various keys are awarded, be prepared to revisit sites that were previously inaccessible to you. As G.M. Iceberg puts it, “Sometimes you’ll need a specific item or standing to talk to an agent, and this may not always be the most obvious.”
- “Some items that are needed to complete missions can be obtained in advance as the sites that they spawn in are static, meaning that they never despawn.”
- “Both for these sites and for the sites that spawn for specific players, bear in mind that other players are able to access the sites and steal the items that you need to complete the mission and that this is completely according to game mechanics. This may lead to them sending you a ransom note or selling on the market…” (which is, of course, perfectly OK within the rules of EVE.)
- “Agents will often start a chain with you, then refer you to another who will start another chain and then refer you once more. When this third agent is satisfied you’ll be able to continue the second chain, and then the first. In this process, some sites are revisited multiple times and some items that you do not initially need will be provided.”
(Thanks to G.M. Iceberg for the advice and permission to quote.)
Amarr (Araz constellation):
- Civic Court Plaza, Aphi system
- Governor’s Audience Chamber, Chanoun system
- Nossa Farad — Complete these missions first
- Lord Manel’s Mansion, Chanoun system
- Manel Kador — Should complete Port Maphante and Governor’s Audience Chamber first
- Port Maphante, Garisas system
- Kofer Karveran, Jakri system (high standings required)
- Gate (Garisas), Jakri system (high standings required; final goal)
- Contested Amarr Basion of Blood, Koona system
- Munory 5 Moon 3
- The Bonfire, Munory system
- Carchatur Outpost, Nidupad system
- Imperial Palace Complex, Nidupad System (high standings required)
- Imperial Administration Complex, Zimse system (high standings required)
- Museum Arcana, Zimse system
- Fort Kumar, Kenobanala system (low security)
Caldari (Okkelen constellation)
- Grand Crag Watch, Airmia system
- Station Foundation Site, Airmia system
- Bandit Hideout, Friggi system
- Some are Gurista’s pirate faction standings
- Clear Water Spring, Friggi system
- Sentinel Rise, Friggi system
- Hangman’s Hill, Ihakana system (low-sec)
- Gurista’s pirate faction standings
- Shady Acres, Ihakana system (low-sec)
- NOH Recruitment Center, Ishisomo station
- Rusty Ridge Mine, Ishisomo station
- Devil’s Dig Site, Otitoh system
- Gate (Friggi), Otioh system (high standings required; final goal)
- The Diamond Ace Den, Otioh system
- Foul Creek Ranch, Otomainen system (low-sec)
- Red Rock Outpost, Otomainen system (low-sec)
- Rush Town Ruins, Otomainen system (low-sec)
- Prison stage of Gurista’s complex, Otomainen system (low-sec) (high standings with Amarr Navy required)
- Frontier Stockade, Sakkikainen system
- Settler’s Waystation, Sakkikainen system
- Abandoned Astro System, Vahunomi system
- Archangels pirate faction standings
- Cactus Mill Lookout, Vahunomi system
Gallente (Algintal constellation)
- Arid Park, Alsottobier system
- Natura Seminary, Audaerne system
- Nickel & Dime Store, Augnais system (Thukker Tribe)
- The Ebony Tower, Barmalie system
- Survey Station, Colelie system
- Contested Azure Chasm, Colelie system (3rd stage, rare spawn, high standings)
- Municipal Junkyard, Deltole system (Thukker Tribe part two)
- Deltole 6 Moon 1
- Central Administration, Fluekele system
- Grand Future Information Center, Jolia system (one Gallente, one Caldari)
- Gate (Augnais), Jolia system (high standings required; final goal)
- Latent Transmitter, Parchanier system (Thukker part three, Angels pirate faction)
- Parchanier 6 Moon 5 (ORE)
Minmatar (Ani constellation)
- The Carnival, Barkrik system (also one Amarr Empire agent)
- The Hyperbole Nexus, Barkrik system
- Gate (Hjoramold), Barkrik system (also high standings required; final goal)
- Lord Bastion, Hjoramold system (one Amarr Empire agent)
- Machine Head, Hjoramold system
- Dream Port, Inder system (also one Gallente agent)
- Rich Man’s Run, Inder system (one SOE, one Caldari agent)
- Sanctum Psychosis, Lanngisi system (also one SOE agent)
- The Asylum, Lanngisi system (also one Caldari agent)
- Reactor Factory, Nakugard system (Caldari)
- The Glass Edge, Nakugard system
- Reclamation Wreck, Traun system (Amarr Empire)
- Sister Camp, Traun system (also one SOE agent)
- Thin Red Line, Traun system
- Margin Of Error, Tvink system (also one Amarr Empire agent)
- The Crystal Dust Compound, Tvink system (Thukker and Angels agents)
- Assassin’s Overhang, Uriok system (Amarr Empire)
- Culture Recess, Uriok system (also one SOE agent)
- Insurgent Encampment, Uriok system
- The Alliance Barracks, Audesder system (low-sec, high standings required)
Phase Four: Agent Missions and Storylines
This is marked Phase Four, but you’re going to end up doing most of your missions through standard agents in between the other steps. Social skills and completing the first and second phases will give you a fast boost in available mission level, which will save a vast amount of time grinding — but you’re still going to need to do a lot of missions. Which is fine; missions can be a lot of fun; run properly, they can also be quite profitable.
I mentioned this earlier, but it’s worth getting into more detail. Most agent missions grant standings only with that agent on completion, but every sixteen completions of missions of a given level will provide a referral to a Storyline mission near that agent. Completing Storyline missions will have a major impact on faction standings — increases from the offering faction, with derived changes to every other faction based on their alliances. Some factions, such as the InterBus, have no Storyline agents; standings with them can be gained through derived modifications as well as from individual agents. And then there are some factions with no agents at all, such as CONCORD. You can only go negative with them; don’t.
Storyline agents work for corporations, just like every agent, but the faction standings they grant for a completion can be quite high. When they offer a mission, it’s important to check and make sure they don’t require you to destroy ships or installations belonging to another empire or faction; the cost in standings will be greater than the reward. Finally, it’s important to rotate regions and empires occasionally between Storylines, so your standings with rival empires don’t drop too low while you’re concentrating.
The missions offered by R&D and Mining agents will also contribute toward the 16-mission count. The fastest way to 16 by far, however, will be running high-level Distribution missions around a region; this also has an advantage over combat missions in that moving goods rarely involves attacking rival empires.
Nevertheless, it’s your game; the bottom line is that you should play it in a manner you’ll enjoy. Otherwise, you won’t last long in EVE, and what good is that?
NOTE: Documented contributors to the original “The Plan” page have been lost in the mists of time. The more recent incarnation in the now defunct EVE Forums was apparently largely composed by DeMichael Crimson, DeMont Cruiser, and ISD Iceyabo. This present version owes much of its content to Justin Martel, with important information in the COSMOS section provided by GM Iceberg and an early article by Serenity Steele.. Doubtless there are several other important contributions which I’ve been unable to recover; get in touch with me if you want your name mentioned. And, of course, EVE Online is the property of CCP and not me; all rights reserved, including that of copyright.