But, I beg to differ. Although, I personally love to run missions a sure way to make ISK for buying expensive items in EVE, a lot of people think mission running is really boring. Mining is probably the most boring thing you can do in EVE. More boring then hauling freight and using the Market.
I will show you how to Milk L4 Missions, for maximum ISK return. As well as, show you my Uber Dominix fit that can Gank and Tank just about any L4 mission. As well as, which site to use, as a reference, when running missions.
Step One - Finding your Agent
Finding an agent can be a bit tricky. There are a lot of out of game sites that have agent locators. A great site to use is http://www.eve-agents.com/
You can find them in the game, by going to your Character Sheet and clicking on Standings. This method takes a bit of time, and is frankly, a real hassle. So, I recommend using http://www.eve-agents.com/
Step Two - Getting Enough Standings for L4 Missions
A L4 agent will require you to have a minimum amount of stands with the Corporation/Faction the Agent works for. So, if you are just starting out, you will need to begin with Level 1 and work your way to L4.
Level 3 agents are generally best when you want to gain standings quickly, as the missions are easy to finish. This is useful if you want to be able to install a Jump Clone at a station, or you want to anchor a POS in High Sec, or for other reasons.
While Level 4 missions take any where from 15 to 120 or more minutes to complete, the rewards are 10 times that of Level 3 agent missions. So, L4 is generally where a lot of EVE players make their ISK. They usually stick with a L4 Agent for a long time.
Step Three - Which Ships To Fly
Although, there is a ship in EVE that is specially made for mission running, called Mauraders, these ships are very expensive and take a very long time to train for. Talking upwards of around 800-1,000 Million (1 Billion) ISK for a Maurader. You will have to look into these types of ships yourself, as what I will be focusing on are BattleShips, of the Tech I variant.
Amarr - Abaddon as this ship has an awesome tank and plenty of DPS.
Caldari - Raven as this ship is the staple for running missions, if your Caldari.
Gallente - Dominix as this ship has tank+gank and will be my ship of choice.
Minmitar - Typhoon or Maelstrom
You really need Tech II fittings. If you do not have the skills to fit T2, than named items are a work around to this. You can also go for Faction/Officer fittings, as they have the low skill requirement as Named modules, but be ready to pay a massive price for them.
Below are the various parts you profit from when completely L4 missions
1 - Agent Rewards
2 - Ship Bounties
3 - Loyalty points
4 - Tags
5 - Looting Wrecks
6 - Salvaging Wrecks
The way to Milk L4 missions is to take all 6 of the items above to your advantage. A lot of players skip Salvaging the wrecks, but are seriously mistaken when they do this. Salvaging can be a pain, but doing so can bring in 15% of the total Mission rewards.
Agent Rewards are anywhere from 2-4 Million ISK for completing the mission within 7 days, or a few hours for the bonus time reward. 4 hours is plenty of time, even when Salvaging all wrecks and taking a while to finish the mission in general. If Real Life calls, then do not end the missions, just cut your loss of the Bonus Reward and finish the mission when you can.
Ship Bounties are given at a delay of about 15 minutes. The total can range from less than 1 Million up to 5 Million ISK. Just shoot everything in site, and your Bounty Reward will be issued to your wallet.
Loyalty Points will make you a lot of ISK. Although, LP is not ISK in and of itself, LP can be converted into ISK by simply buying Basic (+3) or Standard (+4) Implants. You than sell them on the Market. The trick is to not sell them out right, but rather set up a Sell Order. You can set the price at a competitve amount in relation to the current market value for the region you are in. Setting up a Sell Order does require you to have some basic Marketing Skills. Obtaining Implants and selling them is the quickest way to get high conversion of your LP to ISK. There are reports of saving up your LP for Blueprints, but you can try this at your own time and risk, as I do it with Implants only.
Note: It is highly recommended that you get the skill book called Military Connections and train it up to Level 4, right away. You can get the skill book in the LP store. It does cost a lot of LP, but what it does it increases the amount of LP an Agent will issue you. So, in the long run the investment to get the book and train it to Level 4 is absolutely worth your while.
Tags are not given out in every mission. Instead of lots of random modules found in wrecks, you will find tags. They look like Military Dog Tags, and belonged to which ever enemy you killed. Collect these tags and sell them on the market. I simply sell them for which every price I immediately get. But, another use is to save them and use them in the LP store to obtain other rare items. It takes a lot of tags for one item, which in my opinion is not worth the effort to save up for. So, I recommend selling them off on the market right away.
Looting Wrecks will primarily give you modules, although tags as mentioned above are found in them as well. Collect everything you find in the wrecks and bring them back to a station to sort through. The first thing you want to do is look for modules of the Large Size (sometimes Medium) and named modules. Of the named modules sell any Meta 3 or Meta 4 items on the market, using a sell order. Some named modules, in particular Meta 4, can net you 5-10+ million ISK for that one module. The rest of the modules, especially all the Tech I simply reprocess and either sell the minerals or better still, save up the minerals and manufacture a ship. I personally manufacture Megathrons or Battlecruisers, like the Brutix. You can easily buy a BPC (BluePrintCopy) by search for them using the Contracts system.
Salvaging Wrecks is the most over looked and ignored part of mission running. But, if you do what I am about to explain, salvaging wrecks can make you 20-30% more ISK in L4 missions.
After you kill off all the enemies in a mission. Dock your ship and DO NOT end the mission yet, by going to the Agent. Instead, get into a Destroyer Class ship that is fitted with 5 Salvagers, 3 Tractor Beams, an After Burner, Cargo Expander II's and the remaining mid slots with Cap Rechargers, if any. The Destroyer is rarely used in PVP, but it makes the perfect ship for looting and salvaging all your mission wrecks. Be sure to train your Salvaging skill to Level 3, although Level 4 will make your salving chances even better, especially when salvaging BattleShip wrecks. With this set up, you have loads of Cargo m3 space and a ton of Salvagers and Tractor Beams to make short work of what most people pass up, and that is salvaging the wrecks.
After you have Salvaged and Looted every wreck, bring it all to a station. I already explained how you deal with the looted Modules in the previous section. The focus now is on the Salvaged parts. You have two options, very similar to dealing with modules. You can simply sell them on the market as raw salvage parts or better still, manufacture and sell Rigs! Most Rigs will net you 15+ Million ISK each, while others a little less. But, rigs are always in high demand as no one likes to Salvage! You will need a Blue Print to manufacture rigs, just like everything else in EVE. Fortunetly, Rig BP Originals go anywhere from 100,000 - 1 Million ISK. For a Blue Print Original, (not a copy) this is amazingly cheap! You can buy rig BPOs strait off the market. Some rig BPOs wou may have to travel to remote factional regions to get. Once you get the rig BPO, be sure to research the M.E. (Materal Efficency) of the BP to no less than 20-25. At this level M.E. you will reduce waste costs. Unfortunetly, just about every M.E. Scientific Lab Slot have over a month long waiting queue. But, if you can get a buddy to research it for you, or better yet, get into a shuttle and find a Low Sec (0.4-0.1) station and they will have a much smaller queue time. Once you create your Rigs, sell them, or use them on your own ships, either way the rewards are great, when you Salvage Wrecks.
Dominix Uber Mission Fit
3x Dual 250mm Railgun II
1x Drone Link Augmentor I
2x Large 'named' Smart Bombs
5x Cap Recharger II (swap 1 for AB or Drone Nav Comp if desired)
2x Large Armor Repairer II
3x Active Armor Hardner II (Type depends on mission)
2x Capacitor Power Relay II
3x Armor Nano Pump I
15x Light Tech II
5x HammerHead II
The rest Ogre's or Wasp's (Heavy Drones) Tech I, but Tech II even better! Optionally, you can carry a set of 5x Sentry drones, which is useful when killing structures, as some structures can not be destroyed with regular flying drones.
With the above load out, you can perma-run your 2 armor reppers, Guns and hardeners. Use the Smart Bombs only long enough to kill frigs that get within 5km range. Warning about Smart Bombs! All missions beacons and sometimes an acceleration gate. If you accidently Smart Bomb the Beacon or Gate you will get CONCORDED and destroyed! So, just make sure that you are clear from them before activating your Smart Bombs! Or do not use them at all.
Use your Tech II Light drones to kill Frigates. Use Heavy Drones to make short work of Cruisers, BattleCruisers and to pummel BattleShips in conjunction with your 3x Dual 250mm Railgun II's. I recommend tech I ammo only, as some missions require a lot of it, and tech I ammo is cheap.
This Dominix set up can tank just about everything. If you do need to warp out, do so. Make sure to kill all Frigates first in missions so you do not get Warp Scrambled!
Finally, refer to this site, http://eve-survival.org and look up the L4 mission you are about to run. It will tell you how to complete it, which Hardeners to Fit and what NOT to do, in some cases! It is a MUST READ before being all your L4 missions.
Doing all this will make you anywhere from 20-40 Million ISK per mission or more.