Vanilla Level 4's
I use a mix of ships. Typically this is the Golem, but I also keep a N-Apoc, Sacri, Drake, and Nighthawk handy.
Over the years, I have done various modes of lvl4's. Blitzing, kill-all-no-loot, kill-all with an alt salvager trailing behind. For a long while, I simply looted the large wrecks looking for large meta4 guns and left the rest. (Not optimal, but I'd rather SHOOT STUFF than LOOT STUFF).
Right now it depends which ship I'm in and what mood I'm in. CCP has also removed most Blitz triggers, resulting in a need to clear most pockets completely anyway.
- If I'm in the Golem, I typically use a Bastion to defeat Jamming and Damps.
- I typically run one account and no alt trailers. If I'm going to Loot/Salvage it means an MTU and Salvage Drones + Golem Tractor and Salvagers. Not optimal, but my PC setup doesn't let me run multiple accounts as easily as it could (and I'm lazy).
- I aggro the full pocket as quickly as I can to get things moving towards me (easier loot, faster MTU pickup).
- Often, I loot and salvage fully, but sometimes I only loot and salvage while there are still targets on the field, and then I pull chocks and move on.
- If I am in the Sacri (my #2 ship), it's typically a grab and go. This is the ship I grab want I want to be fast, nimble, and not get bogged down trying to wring every last isk out of every pocket. So, I kill everything and don't loot. Running in the Sacri means speed tanking helps and I'll orbit the beacon or some structure in a manner that won't make me run into stuff.
- The N-Apoc is my ship for the Rogue Slave Trader. Don't ask me why, but it's what I grab almost every time. It badly needs a refit, but the setup works for that mission.
- My ships generally have an omni-tank to avoid screwing around while docked. You make isk while undocked, not at station fussing with the fitting window.
- Declining Missions: I decline any (normal) mission that has a negative standing hit for the Empire factions. If an empire icon shows up in the mission text, it's a Decline. Empire faction standing is too hard to farm in the current mechanics and the penalties stack up quickly. I accept almost all other missions, even the ones I despise (Buzz Kill, looking at you). (Note: There are ways to min/max missions by chain declining and picking only the most lucrative, I don't personally do that).
- Storyline Missions: My standings are where I want them across the board (very high Caldari, pretty high Amarr, and slightly positive Gallente and Minnie after skills). I run SOE missions often, which give Storyline missions that hurt my primary standings and help Gall/Min. So, similar to above, I decline most Storyline offerings - UNLESS the payout is 20M isk or more (typically an implant). And now that my Gall standing is back to positive and Caldari is slipping a bit, I might increase that threshold.
Lastly, pay attention to your LP payout. Try different agents. Spend some time over at Fuzzworks LP Store and look at the more lucrative exchange rates. Most of my isk actually comes from the LP that I get and not the actual bounties, loot, or salvage (altho those are nothing to sneeze at). My high LP/isk yield is a combination of higher LP payout for the agents I use (lower security systems in backwater areas pay better!) as well as a more efficient LP/isk conversion ratio for the corp I mission for.
- I run an off grid link ship most runs.
- Check and recheck your fit. This is a case where being successful is 90% preparation and 10% perspiration. Get your ship ready, then go and take a walk, come back and look at it again. Repair your burnt modules. Have the right ammo. Have enough cap boosters. Be in the right ship(!!).
- My ship fits and strategies are listed on the tab above.
- If you want help/advice, jump into channel STRING THEORY or evemail me.
Don't Be a Statistic
You can and will get ganked anywhere. Yes, even in highsec. I'm not stating this as a good or bad thing, and not starting a debate about it. The bottom line is that it's a part of the game and it should be part of your mentality to avoid getting roughed up.
So be smarter than the average mission grinder and...
- Don't sit at the undock.
- Don't sit afk at gates.
- Don't use autopilot in/around highway systems, especially 0.5s.
- Choose blingy fits carefully.
- Don't rely on a paper-thin active tank. Run a little buffer.
- If you run out a popular station, have a warp-off bookmark or two to get you moving after undocking. (Basically, take a fast ship, undock and let it continue to fly. Get it off grid a ways and bookmark the spot. Might take some trial and error).
- Be aware of what group(s) may be working your area of operation.
- Choose areas that are less densely populated, if possible.
Anyway, that's basically me. I don't claim it to be the most optimal, and I've intentionally not given you a step-by-step instruction on what missions, factions, and setups are going to be "best" because you're going to have to figure that out for your personal needs.
But most nights, this is how I approach things.
What's Playing: Interstellar Soundtrack