Locator Agents are the creepy stalkers and Overly Attached Girlfriends of EVE. They are able to find the exact system any particular player character is in, in some cases even if its on the other side of the EVE Universe (except wormholes), without alerting the target that you're looking for them. It even works if the character is logged off, cloaked, or docked up. They require only a small fee and a few minutes to find the target, making them extremely useful to find out where enemy FCs and supercaps may be headed at any given time, and can help track down where an awoxer is, among other things.
All you need to take advantage of this awesome ability is some NPC standings. If you already have highsec standings in particular, please continue reading! You can be a valuable contributor to White Van by providing locator services when needed. All that time you spent blowing up red crosses in missions before moving to nullsec was perhaps not wasted after all!
While you don't have to have standings to access the lowest level of locator agents (level 1) it is far more useful if you can access at least level 3 agents somewhere (or potentially even level 2 in NPC nullsec, but that's more situational). Since there's no obvious in-game way to tell if a particular agent provides locator services without visiting them each directly, it is highly recommended to check an out-of-game resource like [http://www.eve-agents.com/ EVE-Agents] to find any locator agents you might have standings with already. Simply set the “Locator” search setting to “yes”, and choose a corporation you have standings with. Note that locator agents in highsec are just as useful as the ones in null, and in some ways more useful as there are a lot more of them. If you have a highsec mission-runner alt or even an alt who you used to run missions on, your standings may be very useful!
Lower level agents will not search far. Level 1 agents are limited to the only constellation they are found in, which is very nearly useless. Level 2 agents are limited to the region they are found in, which is slightly less useless, but still difficult to take advantage of. For example, the level 2 Blood Raider agent Ahremen Arkah in KFIE-Z will be able to search all of Delve, but if the target is outside Delve the search will be unsuccessful. Both level 3 and 4 agents can search anywhere in normal (non-wormhole) space, making them far more useful. The other advantage to using higher level agents is that they will give you the results of the search faster. Level 4 agents are the fastest, with a maximum delay of 4 minutes. This is important, because while you're waiting for the results, the target might have moved.
'You will only be told the system they were in when you started the search.'
The only disadvantage to higher level agents is that they are usually a little more expensive, but the benefits definitely outweigh the minor savings. The cost of running a locate is quite small. Level 4 agents charge up to 250,000 isk per locate, while level 3 agents only charge up to 100,000 isk.
In order to get access to the best and fastest locators, the level 3s and 4s, you will need to have good standings. At least 3.0, and preferably 5.0 or higher. The conditions are exactly the same as the normal standings requirements for mission agents.
First, your faction standing for that agent's faction must not be below -2.0. If it is, you will only have access to level 1 locators in the whole faction, which are extremely limited in use, and basically useless for our purposes. If your faction standing is not too bad, then the game checks both your faction and corporate standings to determine which one is better. Standings of 3.0 or higher (either with that corp, or with that faction) will give you access to level 3, and standings of 5.0 will give you access to level 4.
Example: You have a highsec alt with standings 3.5 with Caldari State (faction), and standings 6.7 with Kaalakiota Corporation, and standings below 1.0 with all other Caldari corps.
Because your faction standings are high enough to access level 3s, you will be able to access level 3 locator agents belonging to any Caldari corporation, even the ones you have 0.0 standing with directly. That means you will have access to all level 3 locators belonging to Kaalakiota, Caldari Navy, Expert Distribution, Ishukone Corporation, and so on. In addition, because of your great standings with Kaalakiota specifically, you will also have access to all of Kaalakiota's level 4 locators. The more corps you have access to, the easier it will be to find a nearby agent when you need one.
While there are some ways to repair awful standings without resorting to grinding thousands upon thousands of level 1 missions, there are probably many better ways you could and should be helping out White Van. Grinding faction standings is literally one of the most awful grinds in the game, and it's even more severely bad when you're starting from a deep negative. It is even worse than grinding sec status. Running locator agents should be a low-effort activity for people who have already managed to get standings somehow, or for those demented individuals who actually enjoy running missions. Please don't go out of your way to fix broken standings simply for this purpose. It's not worth it!
Basically you don't require any particular skills. Social group skills like “Social” itself and “Connections” will be helpful for grinding the standings via mission running in the first place. But once you have access to the agents, there are no skills that apply to running locators or improve the results in any way.
Very likely your locator agents will be found in highsec and not in NPC null. Your locator character will therefore need to be able to get to highsec and travel around in highsec quickly and easily. If you have a highsec alt with standings, this should be no problem. If your standings are on your main character, you may find this frustrating, and you will probably want to have at least a jumpclone in highsec or be able to affordably podjump there. You have to visit the agent in-person to do a locate, there are no remote commands or skills you can train. In an ideal world, you will be able to sit this character permanently in station with a locator, and also in an area with many locators nearby that you have access to. The more the better.
Get into station with an agent who offers locator services. Go to the stations “Agents” tab, and open a conversation. One of the options in the conversation window will be “Locate Character”. Clicking the button will allow you to input a name. Type in the FULL, EXACT name of the character you are looking for. Not their ship name, not their corp, just their character name. If you enter an incorrect or partial name, the agent will either give you an incorrect locate or will simply tell you the character doesn't exist.
If you've entered the name correctly, the agent will offer a price. Normally, 100,000 ISK for a level 3 locate, or 250,000 ISK for a level 4 locate. If the price is cheaper than that, it tells you something important: The character you're looking for is currently in the same region as you! Make a note of that, and expect the locate to give you your results significantly faster if that's the case. In most cases though, your target will be somewhere in nullsec or lowsec, not in a highsec region. So in most cases it's going to cost full price, and take the full 4 or 8 minutes. One other possibility is that the agent might say they cannot locate that person. If you get a message to that effect, the target is almost certainly in a wormhole somewhere. Perhaps valuable information, but you'll have to figure that out on a case-by-case basis.
The moment you press the “Accept” button, the payment comes out of your wallet, the agent notes the target's location, and the agent's cooldown is started. Even if they're docked, logged off, cloaked, in a POS, the agent knows where the target is the instant you press that button. The catch is, the results are delayed, so you will have to wait, and eventually the agent will send you a notification telling you where the target
'was' (but maybe is not anymore). The notification will show up in your EVE-Mail (Notifications tab, under the Agents heading). The agent will tell you which station they are docked at (if they are docked) as well as what system, constellation, and region. An example:
I found Sai Kado for you.
From: Ansbivand Boe
Sent: 2013.03.14 01:09
I've found your scumsucker.
He is at NOL-M9 VI - Moon 2 - NOL-M9 Grats Twizted station in the NOL-M9 system, B4H-9W constellation of Delve region.
As exciting as this information is, it's important to remember that by the time you get it, the information provided is no longer current. It is possible the pilot has left the system since then. However the target is not given
any notification that you have performed a locate on them. So unless they were already planning on going somewhere, they won't necessarily flee immediately. You will know where they are, and they don't know that you know. Very sneaky! And you may have as many locates running as you want, even on the same character or the same target, as long as you have access to enough locator agents and can travel to each one fast enough.
There are two main restrictions you will run into on locates: the delayed results, and the cooldown. The delayed results mean that even level 4 agents will have a delay of up to 4 minutes before they tell you where the person was. Level 3 agents will delay the results by 8 minutes. The time will be shorter and the cost will be cheaper, in the unlikely event that the player you are locating is in the same region, or even faster the same constellation, or instant in the same system. Although derp, you probably should've just checked local at that point, but it will at least tell you whether they're docked or not, and where.
So always assume that you'll have either 4 or 8 minutes of a delay. The other problem is the cooldown. Level 3 locators have a modest 15 minute cooldown, while level 4s have a more severe 30 minute cooldown. This is why it is ideal to have access to several locators nearby each other, as you can bounce back and forth between a number of different locators, to run locates on different people, or to run multiple locates on the same person while your other agents are still on cooldown.
There's no direct way to get around the delay, but there are a few tricks you can use. If you expect the target to be moving, you can start several locates at once, even while you're still waiting for the results of the first. You will need to visit multiple different locator agents to do this, but by getting a list of systems they have passed through as recently as 4 to 8 minutes ago, you may be able to guess where they're headed, or at least what direction.
The other trick you can use is if you happen to have a locator of at least level 2 within the region you expect them to be, you can use [http://wiki.eveuniversity.org/Locator_Agents this chart] to determine what cost will be proposed when they are in the same region or same constellation. Then just ask your agent to find them, and when they offer the price, check it against the chart and use that to determine instantly when they enter the region (or constellation) without even needing to start the locate. Just click decline to refuse the price. No cooldown will start and you can instantly query the same character again, and get an updated price.
Great! It is always helpful to have more locators!
For now, Jabber is absolutely the best way to be available. Be in our jabber channel most importantly, and let any directors or subdirectors know that you can run locates for them when they need it.
You can also make yourself available to non-whitevan duders as well by joining the “locator” chatroom on talk.pleaseignore.com (FCs and others will sometimes make use of this). If you're idle in there, and someone needs a locate, they may ping you to see if you're available. If you aren't around or can't do the locate for them at the moment, that's no big deal.
This is not a usefully profitable activity, but it does cost some ISK to run locates, and your time and effort is also a factor. It is fair to ask for some ISK to cover your costs if you want, especially if someone pings you on the locator channel, which is public. There is no specific pricing plan, but 1-5 million ISK is generally considered reasonable to cover a locate or two. Most people will happily tip without even needing to be asked.
If both you and the person needing the locate turn out to be turbojews and can't come to an agreement on the relatively tiny costs involved, well, that's your problem. Don't expect any sympathy for either of you.