The main type of PVE at the moment is called ratting - killing “rats” (Pirates) for their loot and bounties. This PVE takes place in anomalies. The second kind is called mission running. Doing missions for rewards, drops, and isk
Anomalies are combat sites. Inside you will find NPC's immediately ready to fight you. They are a great source of modules for your ship, and each killed will pay you a small bounty in ISK, automatically deposited in your wallet after a small period of time.
All anomalies have a difficulty level ranging from 1 to 10. An anomaly's difficulty level is displayed as a small number to the right of its name in the Overview. The difficulty level determines the types of NPC ships you'll be up against. Level 1 and 2 anomalies will only have poorly equipped frigates and destroyers, whereas a level 10 anomaly will have cruisers and battle-cruisers, and will have more advanced mods, including stasis webs and warp disruptors. The difficulty of an anomaly is always the same as the base that spawned it. More on that below…
The Base anomaly in a system is what spawns all of the other anomaly types listed below. The level of the base determines the level of the anomalies it will spawn. If left alone to do it's thing, a base will periodically level up to a more difficult base that spawns more difficult anomalies. If a base is destroyed, no more anomalies will spawn in that system. Eventually the base will respawn at level 1 and start spawning level 1 anomalies. There is nothing special about the loot you get from a base. The fight is effectively the same as a Large Anomaly of the same level. Therefore, and I can't stress this enough… DO NOT DESTROY A BASE. EVER! Leaving a base alone to level up means it will spawn better and better anomalies with better and better loot for you to farm. Bases are your friends. Leave them be.
Just as difficulty determines the quality of the NPCs you'll face, the size determines the quantity. Small anomalies will have 2 to 4 waves of 2 to 7 ships each. Medium anomalies will have 3 to 5 waves of 3 to 12 ships each. Large anomalies will have 3 to 5 waves of 3 to 19 ships each.
The Inquisitor is a rare spawning anomaly where you can find rig blueprints and crafting materials to make them! When you warp to it, there will be a gate. Activating the gate will take you to the first fight. After clearing this area, you'll notice another gate. Activate it to be taken to the second fight. Clearing this area will unlock a number of nearby containers - inside you'll find your blueprints, and sometimes some crafting materials as well. The higher the level of the Inquisitor, the better the blueprints will be. And as mentioned before, the level of the Base in the system determines the level of the Small/Medium/Large/Inquisitor spawns. So one more time… DO NOT DESTROY A BASE. EVER!
Scout anomalies are another rare spawn from bases. Here you can find blueprints and datacores, needed for reverse engineering. Much like Inquisitor anomalies, scout anomalies are accessed by a warp gate that leads you to a place with another warp gate. Follow the gates until you see special loot appear. This loot can only be opened after defeating all enemies at this location.
Encounters are minor missions of different types. Ranging from exploration based, combat based and more, their objectives can differ wildly, however most encounters are fairly quick and can offer a good source of reliable income.
Harder encounters can be found closer to low security space, as of yet this does not get harder than that in nullsec, and most encounters will keep you in “Empire” space (High and Low Security space combined.) They also occasionally reward powerful and rare modules, so keep an eye out for a good find!
Missions are task giving to you by the game that generally involve killing some NPCs. Their generally reward isk(in-game currency).
These special missions are pre-requisite to rare storyline missions.
Special missions with great rewards. They are started through a tradeable item after finishing the pre-requisite news missions. These items or “Assignments” can be sold on market to other players.
These missions are very lucrative and increased in difficulty! Do not go into them unprepared! Some NPCs will use electronic warfare including Warp Scramblers. .