It could be the first thing you do in Elite:Dangerous, sliding into the seat of your brand new and rather shiny Sidewinder. You look at the mission board pick a mission then the rest fades into history. As with a lot of the occupations in Elite many ships can fill the role, I’m going to have a look at beginning as a mission runner.
Most people don’t bother to upgrade the sidewinder and are itching to get out of the ship into something big and better. I can’t blame them, I did the same, I rushed to own a Cobra, then my play style chilled out and I’ve not worked much past only going up to the Vulture, T6 and AspX. The choice of missions can be used to complement your play style, be your playstyle or used as a way to earn material, reputation etc.
You can choose to just run missions where you are when you log on, nothing wrong with this but if you want to work for a while in one area you might as well choose somewhere suitable. As I’m living in Fed Space my normal mission running area is the Galactic South of Sol, the Groombridge 34 area. The reason for this is part historic, that’s where I spent a lot of time in Elite II. I Know the systems the names are familiar and I didn’t have to really scout the area. The local systems around Groombridge 34 are single stars with small/smallish solar systems, you will find this to be a boon, for example never take a mission to Alpha Centuri you only do it once and decide it’s not worth doing it more than once! The time it takes from Alpha to Promxima is measured in many minutes. I will leave that as a warning, but I will make the pilgrimage to the system at one point in my career. The stations normally have a good quantity of mission givers, reduces the chance of turning up into a system and there been nothing for an outward leg of a mission.
Data type: No Cargo, generally low paying but short trip.
Cargo Delivery: Ship needs cargo holds, but Cargo is supplied.
Cargo Wanted: a certain volume of goods is wanted you must source the cargo from the local area.
Destroy skimmers: As the mission says you need an SRV to land on the planet to kill drones
Smuggling missions/Snake. Get cargo to a destination without been scammed, generally good payouts. High risk and reward.
Bounty hunt a pirate. Attack a ‘unique’ pirate in a certain system.
If you are going to be a mission runner normally a multi-role ship is preferred. Because if you take missions there is a chance that the mission will trigger a pirate that will hunt you down and do multiple interactions. Generally something with a good boost speed and shield strength is a benefit a reasonable cargo hold for lucrative cargo delivery missions. Another benefit of running missions is the ability to acquire certain of the rare materials if you run missions a lot in one area you improve your relations with the local factions which gives you access to more missions.
The multi-role ships make the best mission runners, you could say the sidewinder fits this bill but is really hampered by the small cargo hold. But for running data missions it is great. After the Sidewinder the mighty Cobra MkIII which just keeps making an appearance in all these articles. Nothing to do with it been one of my favourite ships, honest guv! The next ship is a little step up to the AspX, which is a great ship for smuggling (so I’ve been told, I don’t really smuggle!) It can carry a good amount of cargo without hampering its jump range. An SRV hanger can be easily added without nerfing the fit so if you like base assault missions it’s a great vehicle as well. The Asp also allows a big jump in cargo capacity easily to 64 tonnes without any strain. After the ApX it’s a big jump for the multi-role ships to a Python, but as there are ships in-between that could serve but not in a true multi-role way.
This cobra setup has plenty of overhead for upgrades before you even need to touch the powerplant. You could tweak the build to give you a FSD scanner to get those wake data types.
If you want to be topping up you materials/data as you are doing a lot of jumping around and spending a lot of time cruising in many systems hitting up Unidentified Signal Sources can reap you many materials and some dubious (illegal) commodities. This can be useful if you end up in systems that are under going some special event systems undergoing boom will populate extra missions. Some system states can trigger special USS’s which can help you pick up certain materials.
At the far end of the scale the anaconda works as a good multi-role ship as well i’ve heard.. haha.
See you on the other side…