Mission running in EVE Online is one of the more lucrative activities players can spend their time doing, at least while in the safety of high security space. The cumulative rewards from NPC bounties, loyalty points, salvage, and loot -- in addition to the mission rewards from NPC agents -- make Level 4 missions a decent ISK/hour income for many of EVE Online's pilots. Level 4 missions are the most popular, due to their relative ease and multiple battleship (high bounty) NPC spawns which yield better loot drops and more salvage components, as well as optimal loyalty point gain. However, the grouping of agents that give the best missions leads to 'mission hubs' where hundreds of players operate in the same solar systems.
The latest dev blog by EVE's lead content creator CCP Molock is simply titled "New Level 4 Agents", and deals with dispersing the crowds (and clutter) from some of the high sec mission hubs in New Eden. CCP Games has added twenty-three new level 4 agents to the game in locations a bit removed from the heavily populated mission hubs, hopefully encourage more mission runners to fill quieter solar systems in the galaxy. Molock lists the new agents, along with their corporation and quality, as well as system security ratings for each location.
This is part of CCP's larger plan to improve PvE content in the game. "EVE has always been, and must remain, beautiful," CCP Molock says, but the changes being made to missions aren't skin deep. He says, "Some legacy complexes have literally scores or even hundreds of structures in them, most serving little purpose other than to clutter up the overview; similarly, some missions have massive numbers of small, fast NPCs in them, which is a nuisance especially in level 3 missions and beyond. So we've been sorting through old dungeons, changing out, rebuilding and reducing the numbers of structures; tweaking NPC numbers; and so on, all with a view to making things run more smoothly."
Some players are commenting on the introduction of the new level 4 high sec NPC agents, with emphasis on 'high sec'. Quite a few of the commenters have noted that the changes made thus far do not provide more incentives for low sec (ostensibly, higher-reward) mission running, hence most mission runners will continue to do so where they're protected by CONCORD. While the PvP crowd isn't pleased by this move, it's likely to be viewed positively by many of EVE Online's PvE'ers, and the ninja looters and salvagers scanning them down. Have a look at CCP Molock's "New Level 4 Agents" and decide for yourself if they're taking the right approach to improving the game.