Last Spring I quit EVE for the umpteenth time. In an attempt to make it permanent I donated the majority of my ISK to various NPSI organizations. It wasn’t much, maybe 2 or 3 billion and I didn’t liquidate anything other than my station trading operation in Jita. I was still very new to trading (still am, too) and I enjoyed it but real life obligations were bearing down on me. EVE just wasn’t a priority. Inevitably, things settled down and I found myself wanting to play EVE, kicking myself for not having any isk to get back into the market.
Fortunately I discovered two things when I logged back in:
1) I had two accounts worth of Geckos that I hadn’t sold and the price was spiking to 30mil each (it was high for the time).
2) Michi’s Excavation Augmenter was worth around 1.1 billion isk.
I knew about this implant from my time in a high sec mining corp; a rare 5% boost to mining yield that fits in a slot not normally occupied by industry implants that stacks with other mining boosts. It’s a min/maxer’s wet dream when it comes to mining yield and the price reflects that. I was told it is seeded by an eccentric NPC who refers to himself in the third person, located deep within the Caldari COSMOS storyline. At the time I had no idea what COSMOS in EVE was so I asked and was given links to a couple full-length guides. Though they were made in an entirely different era of EVE, the guides still hold up as not much has changed.
The COSMOS mission arcs are one of many parts of EVE that feel like a dead end. Unchanged for a number of years now, there is potential there but it feels untapped and forgotten. The missions are given by NPCs located at warpable beacons in space, often in secluded high sec systems. The missions include the standard courier and combat mission types most people are familiar with but also include fetch and gather missions that feel like quests from other MMOs; sending you to kill waves of NPCs that respawn in deadspace complexes and pick up certain loot. It’s interesting and feels unique to anything else EVE…. for about 17 minutes…. but it’s a variation from other content in the same way that getting punched in the testicles is a variation from getting punched in the nose. The COSMOS agents bounce you back and forth to one another as you complete several individual storylines in a chain, rewarding you with Caldari faction rep, isk, and bizarrely named modules that nobody uses.
As I had done a Caldari rep grind for trading in Jita I picked up the whole COSMOS story thing midway through in order to polish off the 6.00 standing one needs to talk to Zabon Michi. After several days of getting used to how COSMOS missions worked, I finally made my way to the Rush Town Ruins beacon to talk to Michi himself. The main combat mission he sends you on is a notch above the average level 4 mission in difficulty. The last room is quite tough but the a Golem with a micro jump drive was able to survive quite easily. Unsurprisingly, what once was challenging content, created years before the marauder rebalance or MJDs and bastion modules were added to the game was simply unable to maintain its difficulty.
I was able to activate the mission with 2 characters (and eventually a 3rd). That and the Geckos was enough for me to regain almost the exact 2-3 billion I had originally donated. I was able to get back into trading and have been messing around with markets ever since. I haven’t run a COSMOS mission since then, though.
The COSMOS missions were an interesting side project for me and served their purpose well. Besides the isk some of the rewards are worth, there is zero incentive to do them. If the modules rewarded were rebalanced to be useful, if the content was updated to reflect changes to the game in the last 5 years and if players were informed that they exist COSMOS missions could be quite a viable PVE path in EVE. The ideas of having NPCs give missions in space, individual storylines and a faction themed arc are good ones. As they stand now, it’s just a lot of ‘what ifs’ and squandered potential, something not uncommon in EVE.