Tip #1 - Gaining faction standing
As high faction standing unlocks the agents of every corp in an entire faction rather than just from one corp, faction standing gains are very desirable and often the ultimate goal of early mission-running. In addition to a few other methods discussed later in this article, faction standing gains can be had from COSMOS missions. These are special once-only missions, like quests in the standard MMO paradigm. They are given out by special agents-in-space located within EVE's COSMOS constellations, some at designated agent sites and some hidden away at moons or sites only able to be found with probes. Each of these missions counts as an important mission for the purposes of faction standing gains and their rewards can be extremely good. Using COSMOS missions, it's possible to boost your faction standings from around 4 to up to 6 or 8 in some of these areas.
Read on as I give my top five mission-running tips to maximise your income from mission-running.
Tip #1 - Gaining faction standing (continued)
Another unusual avenue for gaining faction standings is Faction Warfare, a mostly PvP-oriented system that I've covered in several previous column posts. Capturing complexes in faction warfare helps to increase a player's rank and each rank increase comes with a sizeable faction standing boost. With a few weeks of dedicated play, a player could go through most or all of the ranks and gain a large boost to his faction standings. The interesting part of this is that you can join a player-run corp that's signed up to faction warfare even if your personal standings with that faction are terrible. As long as the corp's average standing stays above 0.5, they can remain in the militia and you can then use the system to help improve damaged faction standings.
Tip #2 - Derived standing modifications
The various NPC corporations and factions of EVE have set lists of their friends and enemies. Whenever you gain a standing boost with one corp or faction, you get a corresponding derived increase in standing toward their friends and a decrease from their enemies. For example, gaining standings with the Gallente Federation will yield an increase with ORE, the Servant Sisters of EVE, the Minmatar Republic and a few others. It will also decrease your standings with The Syndicate, Serpentis, the Angel Cartel, Thukker Tribe, the Amarr Empire, the Caldari State and many others. Be careful when accepting a mission which involves Navy ships as each kill will also net you a decrease in faction standings with that navy. If your standings with a whole faction get too low (below -6.0), you'll be attacked by that faction's navy any time you're in their space. Repairing this damage can be difficult and there's a point of no return beyond which hostile standings will be impossible to repair.
Tip #3 - Important Missions
After every 16 missions you complete, you'll be called on by a nearby agent to complete an important storyline mission in service to your chosen faction. These missions are as important as they sound, giving a bonus to your faction standing on completion. Since high faction standing unlocks the agents of every corp in an entire faction, these rare opportunities to gain it are important to take. The storyline agent that requests your help is always the closest one belonging to your faction. So if you can find a storyline agent for the corp you're interested in gaining standings with, you can just run your 16th mission nearby and you should be called to that agent for your important assignment.
Another interesting part of important missions is that they can give absolutely massive bonuses to corp standings with the storyline agent's corp. The resulting increase in corp standing will help you rapidly unlock higher level and quality agents for that corp. The boost depends on the mission type you've been assigned and its level. Courier missions tend to give a small boost while the biggest increases (which can be over a whopping 40%!) come from important level 4 combat missions. The level of the important mission selected is equal to the level of the 16th mission you run, so make sure it's the highest mission level you have access to.