I laugh when I read comments stating that putting features into an MMORPG like a mineral valuable to both players who have played 5 days and players who have played 5 years is bad for a game because the experienced players will come back and take all the resources from the noobs. The way a lot of games are built, doing so would cause massive problems. But not in EVE Online. The way CCP has designed the content, players stick around in high sec, giving New Eden the feel of a living world. In many games, a new player has a lonely slog up to max level. CCP's design is much better.
Last night as I prepared to begin my quest to obtain the holy Tempest Fleet Issue 2-run BPC I was struck at the usefulness of the COSMOS sites. At first glance these appear mainly useful to the relatively new player, yet here I am a 4-year vet and I find the content worthwhile. Actually, at this point in my plans I find them essential to meet my goal. So what makes them so useful?
First, at least in the high sec Minmatar COSMOS constellation, a player can raise his/her faction standings from 0 to over 5. Did I mention that is without learning any social skills? That is useful in so many ways. For instance, once a player reaches 5.0 with a faction (including social skills), that unlocks all the level 4 missions that faction's agents hand out. With the proper social skills trained a player doesn't even need to finish all the COSMOS missions.
Next, the COSMOS missions hand out some phat loot in the form of meta 3 blueprint copies. The meta 3 items are pretty good because they have reduced fitting requirements. I know I was using 1200mm Jolt artillery on my Maelstrom until I learned enough skills to fit tech 2 1400s. Giving new players a way to get some good gear they can actually use is a plus.
For the lore junkies, the COSMOS sites provide some nice background on the history of New Eden. I suggest reading the quest text for those interested. Mark726 has written about a lot of the sites players visit over at Eve Travel.
Experienced players will also appreciate a path to an unmodified standing of 5.0 with a faction since that is the minimum corporation standing to erect a POS in high sec. Given the way corporation standings with factions are calculated, the unmodified standings of corp members is used. Some players actually have a service in which they anchor a POS for corporations who don't have the required standings. Hey, I have unmodified standings of over 7 with both the Minmatar and the Gallente. Maybe I should get into that business.
And of course, the COSMOS missions are good because getting the 2-run Tempest Fleet Issue is considered a COSMOS mission. So in one way all my activity over the past two years has been part of an overarching COSMOS mission. Pretty crazy when I think about it.