Developed by Archer en Tilavine
The Original Plan and The Extension
There are numerous existing guides on repairing and improving faction standings, the most well known being the “Faction Standing Repair Plan” (aka “The Plan”). These guides usually place emphasis on the same things: epic arcs are great for raising standings with the four empires, Syndicate (instead of Gallente), Sansha (instead of Amarr), Angels, and Guristas every three months, and COSMOS and Data Center missions (ie. turning in “tags”) gives you a great one-time boost with the four empires, Serpentis, Blood Raiders, Angel, and Guristas. Epic arcs and COSMOS/Data Center missions are fantastic for raising faction standings, but they are limited by how often they can be done (every three months for arcs, one time only for COSMOS/Data Center), and their unavailability for certain factions. Fortunately, there is a third mechanism for raising faction standings: Storylines.
While existing guides explain what storylines are and how they work, they do not discuss how to take advantage of their mechanics to rapidly raise standings – that’s where this guide comes in. The purpose of this guide is to describe how to rapidly generate storylines and describe the order in which they should be completed in order to simultaneously maintain standings with a limited set of factions in which some of those factions dislike each other. In effect, this guide supplements all of the material found in the original plan.
Overview of Storyline Missions
Storyline missions are the only mechanism in the game for raising faction standings which are available for every faction and can be generated at any time. It is worth noting that numerous storylines can be generated and completed in the time it takes to complete an epic arc, thereby raising faction standings to a greater extent than an epic arc could in the same time frame. They are also less tedious than many COSMOS missions and less expensive to complete than Data Center missions.
The disadvantage of using storylines to raise standings is that completing storylines yields negative derived standings with other factions: completing a storyline to raise standings with the storyline faction will lower faction standings with other factions negatively inclined toward the storyline faction. For example: completing a storyline for Gallente will lower standings with Caldari, who view Gallente negatively. (Note there are also positive derived standings as well, but with fewer factions and to a lesser extent than standings as lost.) Fortunately, it is possible to take a group of factions, some of which dislike each other, and raise and maintain their standings simultaneously using only storylines; the method for doing this is explained later in the guide.
(Data Center missions also benefit/suffer from derived standings like storylines do. Given that most storylines give substantially larger faction gains than Data Center missions and cost nothing to complete, Data Center missions are generally not worth completing given storylines as an alternative.)
Below is a Pros and Cons table comparing the use of Epic Arcs, COSMOS/Data Center, and Storylines for raising faction standings; the first three are addressed in the original plan, and the last one is addressed in this extension.
|Epic Arcs||– Fun|
|– Limited to 8 factions|
– Limited to repeat at most once every three months
– Harder than L4 missions
– Two Faction Pairs are Mutually Exclusive
|COSMOS||– Low Level Agents have no requirements||– Limited to 8 factions|
– One-time only
|Data Center||– Have positive derived standings which make it easier to maintain standings with certain factions simultaneously||– Very expensive to acquire tags|
– Have negative derived standings which may make it more difficult to maintain the standings with certain factions simultaneously
|Storylines||– Available for all factions which have regular mission agents|
– Can be generated at any time without restriction
– Have positive derived standings which make it easier to maintain standings with certain factions simultaneously
|– Have negative derived standings which may make it more difficult to maintain the standings with certain factions simultaneously|
Generating 10+ Storylines per Day
Storyline missions for a faction are earned once every 16 regular missions of the same level for the same faction. The storyline agent and storyline mission you receive (and therefore the magnitude of the faction boost earned by the mission) is not affected by the missions you complete to generate the storyline mission: 16x 6-hour security missions and 16x mining missions could earn you the same distribution storyline mission from the same storyline agent, for example.
(If desired, it is possible to manipulate which storyline agent you receive, and therefore the type of agent, ie. security/distribution/mining, and corporation of the agent, but that is beyond the scope of this guide.)
Therefore, if the objective is to generate as many storylines as possible as quickly as possible, then missions need to be completed as quickly as possible. Of all the kinds of missions available, distribution missions can be completed most quickly – in a few minutes each (only 5 minutes at L4, even less at lower levels). Blitzing distribution missions is the fastest way to generate storyline missions. The nice thing about distribution missions is that they require low skills, cheap fits, and are highly multitaskable – you can complete them while doing other things in EVE, on or physically near your PC. (If you only have one Omega account, you are limited in what you can do, but options include Project Discovery for generating ISK and earning rewards while missioning, and managing your trade slots.)
An exploration frigate can be used to complete L1 and L2 missions, and a T1 agility-bonused industrial ship can be used to complete L3 and L4 missions. These ships can be fitted to do two missions at a time, including T1 agility-bonused industrials carrying two missions worth of cargo simultaneously. Since these missions comprise entirely of jumping systems and the majority of travel time is consumed by alignment and to a lesser extent acceleration and deceleration (in L3/L4 missions), then boosting the agility of these ships with inertial stabilizers on low slots would be the best way to minimize travel time. Increasing warp speed is unlikely to reduce travel time as much since most travel time is wasted in alignment, and since most systems are relatively small so that most time spent in warp is not at full speed but rather at acceleration to or deceleration from full warp. (It is not uncommon to not reach full warp speed at all.)
In general, L2 and L4 missions take longer than L1 and L3 missions respectively because they drop-off destinations may take you to adjacent constellations, whereas as L1 and L3 distribution mission drop-offs are guaranteed to be within the same constellation (which might span across regions). For this reason, always make sure your agents are in the same constellation if you are working for more than one at any given time. (You can use DOTLAN to identify systems within a constellation and adjacent constellations.)
Although L4/L2 storylines grant a larger standing increase than L3/L1 storylines, the rate at which L3/L1 storylines are acquired may make them a better suited for rapid storyline gains over a period of time. Not enough data exists to determine which of the two options are better, so those erring on the side of caution should opt for L2 and L4 missions over L1 and L3 missions respectively. (At the very least, they will get more LP doing so!)
Using an appropriate fit, doing two missions at a time (and manually optimizing routes to minimize the total length of the route at any given time), and rapidly completing missions in quick succession, you can generate several missions in a day. The headline for this section is “Generating 10+ Storylines a Day” – this claim has been achieved by the author on multiple occasions. and is no exaggeration!
Distribution Missions in Lowsec and Nullsec
Distribution missions in lowsec should be avoided: Almost every corp which has agents in lowsec also has agents in hisec – use these instead. Should you operate in lowsec, use a highly expendable T1 industrial ship capable of the MWD-Cloak trick, or a covert-cloaked Astero (for L1/L2 missions) or blockade runner (for L3/L4 missions).
Note that the MWD Cloak trick will fail against carrier gate camps due to a dirty trick employed in which Attack Fighters are MWD-launched at your ship just after breaking gate cloak but immediately before recloaking so that they bump into your ship and force you to decloak upon arrival, at which point they will quickly warp jam and destroy you. Given the decreasing costs of expendable carriers (cheaper total cost of ownership than most T2 battleship fits) and the rising popularity of carrier gatecamps, the MWD-Cloak trick is no longer safe for use in lowsec. It is only acceptable for use by expendable ships traveling through lowsec. If you are ganked, however, you will fail the mission.
Distribution missions in nullsec are even more challenging due to the presence of bubble camps at gates and stations. Blockade runners continue to be the best option, except that they will be forced to drift into and out of bubbles when arriving at a bubble camp; during this time, an enemy may attempt to reveal your location with command bursts and decloak you using MWD frigates, at which point they will warp jam and destroy you. (They may also lay “bump mines” at common angles of approach; to avoid these, you will need to jump to an intermediate entity in system before jumping to the desired entity simply to approach at a different angle in order to avoid them.) Given how expensive blockade runners are and how easily they are caught and destroyed at bubble gate camps, it is imperative that bubble gate camps are detected before departure so that you can choose to destroy them, go around them, or simply wait them out.
(Cynos could also be used for instant and safe travel, but given the need for at least two pilots and the expense and liabilities involved, they are generally not practical for this application.)
Note that a covert-cloaked nullified T3 cruisers can safely pass into and out of bubble gate camps and can be used to complete L1 and L2 distribution missions; they can also be used to clear gate camps for blockade runners to safely pass through for completing higher level distribution missions.
Ultimately, the challenges of running distributions in nullsec might be so great that it may be better to selectively run security missions instead using covert-cloaked nullified T3 cruisers in which lengthy missions are declined. If security missions are preferred over distribution missions in nullsec, consider accepting the standings penalty from declining two or more missions within a four hour period if it means skipping over lengthy missions: the faction penalty is extremely minor, but you will acquire storylines much more quickly and achieve larger gains over time. The primary downside with this penalty is that they can significantly hurt your corp or agent standings to the point that you lose access to higher level missions – if you choose to decline missions, monitor your corp and individual agent standings to ensure this does not happen. (Fortunately, corp/agent standing gains are much higher in nullsec, so a decline penalty is easily compensated for with a couple of missions.) Alternatively, you may temporarily switch agents in hopes of getting better missions while waiting out the four-hour penalty window of your primary mission agent.
Raising Opposing Factions Simultaneously
It entirely feasible to simultaneously maintain and raise some, but not all, groups of factions together even if some factions within the group oppose each other. As a rule of thumb, factions may belong to the same group if none of their standings toward each other is less than -5 (with -10 being the lowest) and if not too many factions in the group dislike any one given faction (not more than half, for example). We’ll call such a group a feasible group of factions. For example, the four empires form a group which can be feasibly maintained because at worst their opposing standing to each other are -5. Because the worst standing is only -5, in general you gain more from completing a storyline with a faction than you lose with other factions in the target group of factions. By contrast, pirates and empires generally do not go together.
While you could theoretically maintain standings with two factions which vehemently hate each other (such as Caldari and Guristas), it is simply not feasibility to do so; you are much better creating a separate character to maintain standings with a different feasibility group. For example, you could have one character which focuses on maintaining good standings with empires, and another character which focuses on maintaining good standings with pirates.
Without getting into the mathematics of how faction standings work, here are a few rules of thumb and other points of interest:
- Factions with high standings experience smaller standing gains and larger standing losses from derived standings
- Factions with low standings experience larger standing gains and smaller standing losses from derived standings
- In practice, you will never achieve a perfect -10 or 10
- With Diplomacy L5, the lowest possible faction standing increases from -10 to -6
- If your faction standing drops below -2, you will not be able to do L2+ missions for any corp in that faction even if your corp or agent factions are otherwise high enough to give you access to those higher level missions. This is important! If you want access to high-level storylines, you’ll need to maintain your faction standing above -2.
Here is a simple protocol to follow that will allow you to simultaneously raise standings for all factions within a feasible group of factions:
- The order in which you complete storylines matter: Always complete storylines for the faction with the lowest standing first.
- If you have several storylines available, hold off on completing storylines for factions which hurt the lowest-standing faction until later.
- If you have a storyline for a faction outside of the feasible group you’re working on, consider declining it entirely. For example: if you only care about empire standings and manage to acquire a Gurista or Angel storyline during the course of completing their epic arcs, those storylines will hurt your empire standings – consider declining them.
- Eventually the factions within the feasibility group will begin to level out, at which point the lowest-first strategy will naturally evolve into a round-robin selection of storylines, thereby raising all the faction standings simultaneously
Archer en Tilavine has written a Faction Standings Change Calculator you can use to get a feel for how a completion of a storyline affects other standings. (For reference, the SOE Epic arc gives a 7% standing gain and the other epic arcs give 10% if you want to input those values into the calculator; storyline gains may be larger or smaller depending on the specific storyline you receive.) The Mutual Worst tab of the spreadsheet can help you identify factions to exclude from feasability groups when creating them.
Most empire factions can be more-or-less maintained together: Caldari, Minmatar, Amarr, Gallente, Jove, Ammatar, Khanid, Interbus, ORE, SOE, SoCT, and Mordu. Ammatar does have mutual -6 standings with Minmatar, which violates the rule of thumb, but its extremely high mutual +9 standing with Amarr compensates for this. Thukker is absent from the list due to having bad relations with most of the listed factions. Pirate factions belong to very small feasibility groups: most factions hate them (including some other pirate factions), and they have very few factions they are friends with.
Note that, in the absence of non-derived standings boosts, there is a limit as to how high a standing level you can raise all of the standings in a feasibility group. Smaller groups, and groups comprised of more ‘compatible’ factions, are able to be raised higher than larger groups or groups containing a lot of opposing factions. For example: if you consider the empire “super group” above, it is easy to maintain positive standings with all of those factions simultaneously, but the simultaneous standings would not be very high. The “Highest Possible Simultaneous Standing” tab of the same calculator can help you determine just how high you can maintain simultaneous standings within a group of factions.
At Connections L5 and Social L5, the highest possible standings you can simultaneously maintain between the four empires is 5.43 in the absence of non-derived standings.