X4 Foundations: All Missions Guide 2021 (Version 4.0)

A guide to X4: Foundations mission system: what they are and where you can get them. Current as of version 4.00.



At heart, X4: Foundations is a sandbox style game where you make your own story by doing what you want to do. However, it does have a little structure in it. Missions provide short term (or sometimes rather long term) goals for you to achieve and rewards for doing them.

To see missions being offered, press M to bring up the map then click the “!” icon on the left. You’ll have a much shorter list of missions when starting out but they will look something like this:

There’s actually three classifications of missions: important missions, upkeep missions, and guidance missions. To see them, click the “!” with the checkmark on it. There will be some tabs along the top. The right most is for guidance missions, the middle one is upkeep, and the one on the left is for important missions.

Guidance missions are simply mini-missions you create. When you pilot a ship, you can right click on the map and select the ‘guidance’ menu option. That will create a guidance mission and make it active. Then you can shift-A to start the autopilot and go wherever you right clicked. Note: you can get rid of these by selecting it in the mission list then clicking the abort button, but it’s a lot easier to right click on the golden line and pick the abort option.

Upkeep missions are created automatically to remind you to do things. For instance, if you own a ship without a captain, an upkeep mission will be created to assign a captain to the ship. Once the ship gets a captain, the mission will be completed. I’ve found that it’s good to look these over every in-game day or so but you’ll get several of these missions which you don’t care to finish. For instance, I’ve got two stations close to each other that use methane so each got an upkeep mission to assign a gas miner to the station – but I’m providing methane by having a single miner on repeat orders mine the gas and dump it on both stations, so they don’t need one assigned. That means two upkeep missions that aren’t going to get finished any time soon.

The important missions are what this guide is about. Important missions are further divided into important missions (yeah, same name), guild missions, and other missions. The important missions are typically big missions which move the story along. Guild missions are often multi-part missions given by a guild or a military once you get good relations with them. The others are one-off missions you can get without special reputation.

(Because it’s terribly confusing to have an “important” classification and an “important” type, I’m going to call the latter “story” missions in this guide from now on.)

You will have quite a few story missions at once. You can also have any number of “other” missions at the same time. However, you can only have one guild mission going per guild. So, if you have already accepted one mission to fight the Xenon from the Argons and another mission to deliver a trade ship to the Teladi trade guild, then you take another mission to fight the Xenon from the Argons, you’ll find your previous mission for the Argons has vanished. The Teladi mission won’t be affected at all. Also, when you accept a guild mission, all other missions from that guild in the sector immediately expire, so you can’t go through the list of missions and accept/abort until you find the mission you like best.

Terraforming missions are special. They appear under the ‘guild missions’ option and, like guild missions, you can only have one going at a time. However, all 7 will always show up as an option until completed. Accepting one will not make the others vanish.

As near as I can tell, there is no penalty for aborting a mission. The mission giver doesn’t even cuss you out! Well, not where you can hear it, anyway.

Mission Sources

Starting the game: As soon as you start out, you’ll have a story mission assigned. You probably won’t even know it, you’ll just be following what the game tells you to do the same as any other game.

Mission Offers: Push M, click the “!” on the left, and there’s some missions you can do! Probably not many missions, though, and maybe not any at all. No problem, move on to the next sector and there will be a new set. Even moving around within the sector can generate some. Of course, they can expire, too – you might want to hit the Pause key while reading through the offers.

Guild missions come in this way, too, but you won’t see them at the start of the game. Once your reputation raises up to +10, you’ll get a “trivial” difficulty mission to talk to the guild leader. After speaking with the guild leader (and posssssibly paying a fee), you’ll be given access to missions from the guild. The more militant factions will have military guilds, the others will have trade guilds.

Guild missions are mostly found in or near the guild’s territory. Military missions can also be found in or near enemy territory.

Sparkles: If you scan a station, you’ll occasionally find orange sparkles like the image on the left. When you get close to a sparkle with your scanner on, you’ll start to hear the mission giver speaking. Once you get close enough, you can decode the message and talk with the mission giver. These are sometimes desperate people looking for a ride, but are most often criminals looking for somebody to do their dirty work.

Blundering in: Many story missions start at unpredictable times. They might require you to get to a certain reputation before triggering, or they may pop up a few hours after another story mission ends. I’m not looking to make a walk-through here, but I will say that there are two characters that give the vast majority of story based missions. One appears after helping the Hatikvah league, the other as part of the Headquarters mission.


This is where the full details are. You won’t get many details before starting the mission, but you will get titles. Once the mission is accepted, you’ll get filled in on the details. Those details can make a serious difference! For instance, I once accepted a mission to scan a Xenon ship. It was set to easy so I figured I would be scanning a mining ship. Not quite:
Yeah, that got aborted.

That does bring up an important concept in the X games: the game is happy to give you missions you can’t complete yet. If you want to try to win a board-the-warship mission when all you have is a scout ship and one marine, you’re welcome to try. Expect to see “please repair my satellite” missions when you’ve got stations that are churning out 5 satellites a minute, too.

Mission titles add some nice flavor to the mission but they are confusing. I originally wanted to organize the mission description section by category (each type has a little icon type indicating if it’s categorized as think, fight, repair, pirate, and so on) and mission titles but it turned out that missions have many titles and even show up with different classification icons! For instance, a mission to cover 95% of an area with satellites could be called “Improve Satellite Coverage,” “Watching the Watchers,” “Satellites Required in Hostile Area,” “Behind Enemy Lines,” “Watcher Reinforcement,” “Sensor Gap Needs Plugging,” “Bring Satellite System Online,” “Satellites Required in Hostile Space,” or whatever it is that the Split call them. It can show up with the “think” light bulb or the “placement” arrow-pointed-at-circle icon. The guide turned into a big mess.

Mission Rewards

What rewards can you get? Money, materials for doing ship modifications, money, a bonus to reputation*, money, training materials, money, ships, and sometimes a whole lot of money! The reputation bonus will only work for missions given by a faction that lets you increase reputation. A mission from a civilian, for instance, won’t do a thing for your reputation.

Note that the rewards shown for missions that consist of several steps are only the rewards for completing the full set of missions. The individual missions in the bundle may give even more rewards. Sometimes those rewards are much bigger than the reward for completing the set! You’ll need to open the briefing to see what those extra awards are. You can see them before before accepting the mission.

One special sort of reward can only come from criminal missions: a criminal contact permanently placed on the station. This person will be found in the bar and will sell (and sometimes buy) illegal goods.

╔ The Missions

Here’s all the non-story missions I’ve seen so far.

╟ Satellite Repair
Doesn’t pay much but all you need to do it is a ship and a little time. Drive over to the satellite (try not to bump it – come on, you’re supposed to be a professional!), pop out in your space suit, and use the repair. You have to get within about 25m for the repair laser to work.

╟ Pick Up/Fly To (aka Taxi)
You’ll get guidance on where to pick the person (or sentient or dude or whatever you want to call everyone) up. Tell them what ship to board then take them where they want to go. Easy stuff, right? Well, normally yes. Make sure the ship has one crew space slot open or the passenger won’t be able to get on board. Also, if this is the “I missed my ride” variation, you’ll need to land on some other ship. Only the largest ships let M-class ships dock and there’s no way to tell a passenger to go to a different ship. Make sure you check the mission briefing!

╟ Repair Data Leaks
You’ll find two or three data leaks on the station to repair using your repair laser, just like repairing a satellite. If you scan the data leak instead of repairing it, you fail the mission.

Given that blue prints are worth millions and the mission only gives you a few tens of thousands of credits, I’ve failed quite a few of these.

╟ Destroy Criminal Traffic
The pay isn’t so great but this can be a really nice mission for improving your relationship to a faction in the earliest parts of the game. Even a scout ship’s weapon is plenty.

When you’re near a station, you’ll sometimes hear the radio complain about a smuggling drone or some such and you’ll see a tiny, little ship marked in red, flying around with the rest of the traffic. If you shoot one, you’ll get a small reputation boost with the station’s owner. (Yes, this sounds extreme, but rest assured that the advanced computer systems in your ship will never draw a ship’s icon in red unless all sentients on board are extremely evil and irredeemable. Or so I’m told.)

This mission type will task you with bringing X-style justice to several criminals around the station, which will start producing criminal drones at a higher rate. Each drone destroyed gives the normal reputation boost and finishing the mission gives a reputation boost, too. You might even want to sit back and let the station make a few extra before dispatching them so you can deal with a few more for even more reputation.

Just make sure that you do NOT shoot the station or other mass traffic! They really don’t like that.

╟ Destroy Mines
There’s a few variations on this one but, basically, go in and blow up a bunch of mines. They’re pretty safe as long as you stop yourself outside of the mine field and slowly creep up on it. If you try to fly in on autopilot, the mines will zoom in on you and you’ll go boom.

When mines are blown up, they do damage in a volume, so hitting one mine will sometimes detonate others. If there’s a ship in the minefield, the ship doesn’t ever seem to get damaged by the mines.

Rarely, the mines will be stuck inside asteroids so you’ll need to blow those up instead. A scout can easily handle most mine-shooting missions but it will take forever to blast an asteroid apart. Mining ships will take them apart much faster but remember to keep them as far away as you can so the mine’s explosion doesn’t damage your ship.

╟ Find Lock Boxes
I’ve only done a few of these. You’re given a general area where lock boxes can be found. You’ll need to go there, switch to your long distance scanner (shift-3), find some, and get them open. Sometimes you’ll need to deliver the contents back to the person that gave you the mission, sometimes not.

It’s best to use a single, low damage weapon when opening locks. And I don’t mean the shotgun! You can even get in your space suit and use its weapon if you’ve bought one for it.

╟ Prospecting
Find a certain density of resources in a sector, like 4.3 ore per cubic km. You do this by placing a resource beacon at that location. Once the mission is done, you can pick the beacon up again or just leave it to help your own miners find resources.

Unfortunately, this mission type has a real problem. Egosoft rebalanced the resource distribution recently, but hasn’t yet updated the location of the actual rocks. For instance, if you follow the highway in Nopileos’ Fortune II to its end, you’ll be flying in a space full of rocks. If you drop a beacon, though, it will tell you there’s nothing there! So, you’re not just looking for a needle in a haystack, you’re looking for an invisible needle in a haystack.

I think the best approach is to just avoid these completely but, if it’s part of a mission chain that pays really well, you might decide it’s worth it. The best way to deal with that is to get a small ship, fill it with resource probes, and tell it to drop them one by one over the whole area until you find one that’s good enough. Then have the ship pick them up again. Hopefully the high resource count will be somewhere close to the plane of the map instead of above or below it! (Antigone Memorial has some high resource counts well above the plane toward the center of the map.)

╟ Improve Satellite Coverage
Cover an area with satellites. (That’s area on the main playing plane, don’t worry about the 3D aspect.) The area size changes mission to mission with the biggest ones paying over 400,000 credits.

The mission suggests that you use advanced satellite because they cover more area. Unless you’re trying to cover the area around a Xenon station, though, I would strongly suggest using normal satellites. With a little practice, you can cover the largest area with 9 or 10 satellites. Each small satellite costs under 4000 each so you can easily make ten times your investment! It’s a great way for new players to earn money quickly.

It can take about five seconds for the game to register that your most recently dropped satellite finishes the mission. When the mission completes, the satellites switch owner ship to the faction that gave the mission. (Missions of this type are often in the same area, so you might end up with quite a few satellites crowding an area if you pick the same mission from the same faction often.)

Another variation on this mission has you placing just a single satellite.

╟ Station Engineers / Pilots / Marines Needed
You aren’t the only one hiring people to do stuff. This mission asks you to hire people for a station. Simply hire people just like you always do and, when it asks you where you want them to work, pick the station. (If you have the mission active, it should make the station icon gold.) Instead of picking captain, service, or anything else, there will just be a single option for the mission written in gold.

Instead of hiring new people, you can also use your own minion… <ahem> …employee co-owners by asking them to work somewhere else then selecting the mission station.

Oh, and don’t get any funny ideas about sending one person over, going to the station, and hiring the same person again. People on the station will take your money but they won’t count for mission progress. I know, I… have a friend that tried.

╟ Static Defense Placement
Place laser towers (so far, I’ve only seen Mk1) or mines (of any type) – probably near a gate. When the mission completes, the deployed items switch ownership to the faction that gave you the mission.

╟ Scan a Ship
This is pretty straightforward: go to the ship, get close, switch on scan mode, then right click and pick scan. Keep the ship in range while the scanner does its thing. When it finishes, the mission completes. Scanning ships is illegal unless you own a police license with the faction that owns the sector you’re in.

╟ Station Scan
Scan a station that’s owned by the faction’s enemy. If that enemy is your friend, this won’t be difficult. Just fly up to the station, shift-2 to turn on your short range scanner, and cruise around. (Maybe you’ll find some data leaks while you’re at it.) If it’s a Xenon station, it’s going to be a lot more challenging. The % needed should be pretty low so simply zooming by with your scanner on might work.

╟ Scan a Ship for <something>
I haven’t had much luck with these. Scanning mining ships for a certain kind of ore might not be too bad (you can see their beams from pretty far off in many sectors). If you’ve just dumped a lot of money into a station’s build fund, finding hull parts shouldn’t be too hard. Most of the time, though, you just go to a buyer/seller and start fishing until you get lucky.

Note that Xenon mining ships will not fire on you unless you fire on them first.

(I tried scanning for space weed on the drone traffic for a station that produced the stuff. I never found a drone with any inventory at all. I’m not sure it would have counted, even if I did.)

╟ Rescue a Ship
A ship has been abandoned inside a minefield. You’re tasked with getting the ship out and dock it at a station. You’ll have to decide yourself if you should blast mines or if it would be better to just weave the ship around them.

Taking the ship is done in the standard way: just get in your space suit, turn on the scanner, jet over, find the reddish “data leak” light, and scan it. The ship will switch ownership to you. Then you can simply dock your space suit in it or teleport in and fly to the ship to the station.

Payment is a flat fee plus a bonus that depends on what the ship is worth.

Hmmm, I wonder what would happen if you were to borrow the ship for a few weeks? You’ll have to find that out for yourself.

╟ Escort a Mining Ship
I don’t know how many games you’ve played, dear reader, but escort missions have a pretty bad reputation throughout all of gamedom. (Well, except in the Saints Row games, but those were… special cases.) Compared to other games’ escort missions, including previous X games, these are stunningly good! Compared to other missions you can get, they’re OK.

You’ll want a ship made for battle for sure – a little scout isn’t going to be able to kill enemies fast enough. The mining ship will drift along without using its travel drive or boost. You’ll need to keep incoming attackers away from it. The attackers will prioritize hitting the miner first but, once you attack, they will shift their attention to you. Once the mining ship gets back to its station and lands, you’ll get your reward.

╟ Destroy a certain class of ships
Destroy however many enemy faction ships. You won’t get any guidance on where to find the ships, but it won’t be hard to guess.

These are really good missions to have in the “other” category, where you can have multiple missions. Just accept the mission and play the game like normal. Eventually, you’ll destroy the requested number of ships and get a reward!

╟ Hacking
Lock boxes and Xenon will sometimes have hacking software in them. You can also build hacking software at a crafting table. There are three different types and all three are illegal.

Once you get the software, fly to the station and hack the terminal the mission asks you to hack. To date, nobody has cared at all when I hacked a station turret, even when somebody is in the same room with me.

Tip with a small spoiler regarding what you get via research:

There’s a secure deposit… tube… thing in the HQ right next to the tank. You can safely dump all your illegal stuff in there. If you’ve researched teleportation, you can dock at the station you want to hack, teleport back to HQ (you might need some “stepping stone” ships parked at wharfs), pick up the software you need, teleport back to your ship at the target station, and do the hack with no risk of the cops catching you.
╟ An Open Request
Deliver something to a person on a station. It might be a fine meal, bandages, or something illegal. So far, all of the items I’ve been asked to deliver can be crafted at a crafting table.

╟ Ship Procurement
Buy a ship and tell it to fly to a given location. The location will often be above or below the main plane, so you’ll need to swing the map down then drag your ship’s target location up or down. Once the ship gets there, you’ll get a radio message saying “We need to perform a transfer” and you’ll be able to give the ship away. If you’re in the middle of a battle and can’t answer, the mission giver will wait a few minutes then ask again. If you’re actually on the ship that’s supposed to change hands, you’ll be told to get off the ship. (Easy if you’ve researched teleporting, not so easy otherwise.)

This one is a great money maker as the ships being requested are typically medium sized trade ships. (Surprisingly, they always get the ‘fight’ classification.) You need to pay special attention to the text on this mission type, though. Most of the time, the ship doesn’t need anything other than the minimum load out, but sometimes they’ll need a turret or a certain type of engine. Also, it’s very easy to confuse the “sentinel” and “vanguard” versions. If the mission asks for an Ides Vanguard and you send an Ides Sentinal, they’ll refuse to take the ship! You’ll need to find a use for it yourself, sell it (at a big loss), or store it somewhere and hope a mission requesting an Ides Sentinal shows up.

If you buy extra weapons/shields/whatever for the ship, you won’t be compensated for them. You’ll get the agreed-on price and that’s it. If the ship needs to go through dangerous territory, though, it might not make it at all without shields, a cut rate engine, and a pilot that can barely navigate around his captain’s chair. Thankfully, most missions are to safe territory.

╟ Construction Wares Needed
Deliver a few things to a station, like 40 smart chips and 7 weapon components.

╟ Learning Your Lesson
This one is complex!

  • First, you need to get a mining ship of whatever size to a given station and pick up a passenger. The passenger takes up a space so you may need to fire somebody to make room.
  • Once the passenger is on board, you need to find a suitable spot for mining using a resource beacon. This is just like Prospecting up in the Trade section.
  • Having found a suitable spot, mine a little bit of ore/silicon.
  • Take the passenger back to the station. (You can keep the ore/silicon for yourself.)

You have to invite the passenger on board personally. I think you have to be there when the material is mined, too. You definitely don’t have to be there when the ship is travelling to/from the station.

╟ Kill Somebody
Unless this is part of one of the story arcs, this one is probably going to hurt your reputation with the target faction. There’s been mention that attacking outside of faction borders can help but I’ve never bothered to try – there’s so many other missions that pay as well or better! Of course, if the faction hates you anyway, that’s not going to be a concern.

╟ Station in Need of Supplies
These tend to be a lot bigger than the missions asking for construction wares. These are more like “fill 75% of the station’s capacity.” I haven’t done one yet as the rewards didn’t seem worth the trouble but being based on a percentage is interesting. Stations are buying and using resources all the time. Will you have to deliver more if you take a long time to come up with the goods? Can you get credit for completing the mission if some NPC trader sells wares to the station?

╟ Xenon Threaten Food Supplies
Deliver food & medicine to stations in the sector. You’ll need to deliver the kind of food stations in the sector will actually eat, of course. Dropping snail meat on a station full of methane-on-the-rocks drinkers isn’t going to work.

The ones I’ve done have required quite a bit of food so you’ll want a few M-class traders or an L-class.

╟ Destroy station turrets
Destroy all the turrets on a given section of a station. Destroying the entire section does NOT count as a completion! If you’re really good at zipping in to a station’s blind spots and shaving off turrets, you can do this with a medium sized ship. Or you can snipe them from long range with destroyers.

╟ Build a Station
This is a bit similar to the missions requesting ships. You’ll be given some bare bones specifications for some sort of station. You will need to buy a plot, design the station, hire a build ship, get all the needed materials into build storage, and wait for the station to get built. I’ve found it’s best to write down exactly what is needed because, at least as of version 4.0, there’s no way to see the requirements while you are building the station. (A screenshot can work, too. Just please don’t upload half a dozen mission briefings to Steam.)

Military missions will very often request a ‘defense’ station with a dock, ten turrets, and 40K container storage. You can do this with a cheap 1M6S dock and two small Argon container storage units. The container storage has plenty of room for 10 turrets. The parts for the whole base should fit in any but the smallest of L trade ships. The end result looks like this:

See! What a frightening station! Even Xenon will emulate fear when they see that!

Pay is pretty good but, depending on where they station is wanted and how many trade ships you have to spare, they can take some time. Stations may even be requested within Xenon territory, which will mean a defense force to protect your new station while it builds.

When the station completes, it will automatically switch ownership to the faction requesting the mission. (There’s a story mission that asks you to build a station in Argon Prime that you do keep afterwards.)

╟ Board/Seize Ship
You’ll be asked to capture some sort of large ship. Naturally, unless you catch the ship far from help and destroy any distress drones, you’re going to get a big reputation hit. You do get to keep the ship when you’re done.

As of 4.00 there is a cheesy way to do this without the reputation hit. Turn off all your weapons and fly your boarding ship(s) close to the target ship, preferably when it’s going slow – maybe docking at a station. Start boarding and tell the attackers to board when enemy defenses are strong and the hull is strong. The boarding pods will immediately pop out and head for the ship. The target ship will get angry and start shooting at the pods and your ship(s). Get your own ship(s) out as fast as you can. Your marines will latch on to the ship and start thinking about drilling into the hull. About half an hour later (yes, really that long), they will announce that they have started drilling into the hull. Several minutes after that, they will make it in and the battle will start. The ship will probably drop its aggression long before that point so you can actually just follow the ship and wait for it to turn.

Because you only did one aggressive thing (launched boarding pods), the target never gets angry enough to report you so there’s no permanent reputation loss.

╟ Destroy a station
Destroying a station takes quite a while so you’ll need at least one strong destroyer to do this. The pay is really good if you’ve got a fleet that can burn down a station. If the target faction doesn’t hate you before you start the mission, they will by the time it’s done.

╚ Assemble a Fleet
This one is the mother lode! You’ll need several million credits to do it (or a station that can build ships, which costs several hundred million credits) and you’ll need to have a reputation with the faction that’s 20 or higher so you can buy their top military ships. You should be able to get two or three times the money you spend on buying the ships, though. For the Terran version of this mission, that’s over 100 million credits! (Sometimes they will even throw in a mining ship with a good crew and 2500 units of nvidium in the cargo hold, too. Other times it will be a 2 star management training manual.)

If you’re going to do these frequently, be sure to use the ‘save template’ system when building your ships. The fleet requested will be different depending on what faction they are meant to attack but that isn’t going to be many different variants. The template will let you load up the ships quickly and accurately.

The fleets are big enough that you’ll probably want to dock ships within other ships for the trip to the destination. You will not get the prompt to transfer the fleet unless all the ships are out in space.

Story Missions

Unlike previous X games I’ve played, the story missions in X4 often have no direct rewards. Instead, you’ll be given options that will let you have a major influence over how the game’s factions view each other. The big exception to this is the Terran vs. Yaki plot[/url] which is only available if you have Cradle of Humanity. Depending on your choices, you could earn 15 million credits and a very big war ship!

Getting Rich Quick(ish) Using Missions

When you start out, you can’t do much and you won’t have many mission options, so start by doing simple things for the less militant factions: ferry somebody to another station, repair a satellite, maybe fetch some lock boxes. If you can find a mission to destroy criminal traffic, do that for sure.

If a lock box gives you some hacking software (or the parts to make some), you might want to scan around for some criminal hacking missions. Those will give you hundreds of thousands of credits for using that hacking software!

It shouldn’t take too long before you are invited to join the faction trade guild. Pay the fee and you’ll get access to a lot more missions. Buy a couple dozen small satellites (you do so by upgrading your ship at a repair dock or wharf).

Look for satellite placement missions from the guild that will pay 400K. Remember, the main reward listed on the short description won’t mention the 400K reward, you have to dig into the details to see that! Do a few of these an you’ll have a few million credits.

Now look for missions where you need to buy a trade ship for somebody. These aren’t quite as easy to find but should show up if you keep cruising around your faction’s territory. A few of these and you’ll have millions of credits… and you’re still in your original ship!

Now it’s time to do some story missions. If you haven’t got your HQ yet, go through that series of missions. Finish up Hatikvah’s missions, too, so you’ll have access to all the other plots. You’ll probably not be able to get through those with a little scout but you’ve got more than enough to buy a nice fighter ship now.

You might also buy yourself a large trade ship and do station building missions. (Just hire the builder ship – those things are terribly expensive to buy.)

Now it’s time to get in good with other factions. That will open up lots of missions all over the map. You’ll be able to do many of the missions in the game at this point. If you can get your reputation with a militant faction up to +20, you’ll be allowed to buy the ships needed to complete “assemble a fleet” missions, and the money will start getting embarrassing.

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Post Author: Robins Chew

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