A guide to X4: Foundations mission system: what they are and where you can get them. Current as of version 4.00.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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!
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:
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.
- 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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
Getting Rich Quick(ish) Using Missions
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.