AGENT COMPATIBILITY

EFFECTIVE STANDING

Anyhow, to talk to any agent except a tutorial agent or a research agent, your effectivestanding must be: Your effective standing is your standing number, modified by any appropriate skills. The appropriate skills are Connections, Criminal Connections, and Diplomacy, each of which will give you a 4 percent bonus per skill level if they are appropriate. See below for info about added a bonus percent to a standing number. Connections kicks in if your npc corp->char standing is positive. Criminal Connections kicks in if the agent is a criminal. Diplomacy kicks in if your npc corp->char standing is negative. These skills do not stack.

So which standing number is it? Whichever of these is best for you: npc faction->char, npc corp->char, agent->char.

Then there's an exception case, the research agents. Because of their immense worth, and to limit the impact of a myriad of old standing system bugs in Castor, they not only require the aforementioned criteria to be met, but also require you to have an effective corp standing of ((level-2) x 2.0) + (quality x 5.0)/100.0 - Although, your tutorial agent doesn't have any special requirements, besides the fact you have to be of that particular race's school.

So how to add bonuses like above? When standings are being modified by X percent, it's not X percent of your current value, it's X percent of the distance left to max out. So if f.ex. you have 2.0 in standing, a 10 percent increase is not 0.2 which would take you to 2.2. It's 10 percent of (10.0 - 2.0), or 0.8, which would take you to 2.8. What this means is that the higher your standing number, the slower it grows. (eg. A 9.9 standing is thus unbelievably much better than a 9.8 standing, when compared to the diff between 0.0 and 0.1.)

Likewise, when you're losing standings, except the max there is -10.0. Thus if you are at +10.0 (theoretically impossible), and you get a 1 percent standing loss, it'll carry you down to -9.8. Real bad news, compared to if you were at 0.0 or -9.0.

That's the gist of it. Now here's some parts I'm not going to tell you the formulas for:

Standings will never decay

STARTING AGENT

You should only get 9 missions from your starter agent.

after the final mission you can continue talking to said agent, but you'll only ever get a 10th mission (training certificates)...mining velspar is more lucrative than that, so don't bother doing it more than once.<.p>If you leave this agent, but still get spammed with "offers" from him/her consider it a bug! (petition)

assuming you've completed the starter missions, from your first agent, you should have 1.0 faction standings. Each level of connections raises this by 0.36 standing...do note that the skill formula is a bit complex, as has been explained above.

REFERRAL AGENT

This agent is actually pretty cool because it's the second of two agents you can remotely accept missions from. The other one is the tutorial mission agent (though i'm SURE the developers didn't 'intend' that)

Not sure if you let a mission expire that she'll talk to you again. BTW, she refers you to another agent just after mission 7, but that's bogus and was actually nerfed by CCP. So it peters out...pretty sad, eh? Anyways, if you make it to the end you get a shiny new implant, worth millions, and just over 200k isk. It will take you a total of 41 jumps altogether and if you do it in a souped up 'executioner' total time should be between 1-2 hours.

EFFECTIVE QUALITY

Connections has an effect on your agent's Effective Quality, but not nearly as much as Negotiations does. Train the latter if you want to improve the agents you currently have. The formula is like this: Effective Quality = Base Quality + (5xLevel of Negotiation) + Effective Standing. The effects of Connections on your Effective Standing is noted above. Which leads to our next topic...

AGENT REWARDS

So if you want to go to the next level agents, you'll be there a little bit faster using higher quality agents (but never forget, that your current agent may have a huge quality bonus already due to your personal standing).

LP-rewards arent static either, but are influenced by the agents level, the agents quality (not confirmed) and the security rating of his solar system.

The way i figure it is that "quality" gives a straight percentage penalty/bonus to whatever reward the agent gives - Monetary, Loyalty, Standing and Mission bonus...Not really done alot of tests on this, it's just a gut feeling.

You're talking about mission time bonuses, right? In which case, yes, they'll be either cash or one of the corp's trade goods. Whereas I think loyalty offers come from a pool for the entire faction. Not sure, though.

Yup bonus rewards are tied to what that corp produces but is randomized too - especially the tech2 components are pretty random and so are the normal rewards.

DECLINING MISSIONS

It works the way it works but at least now you can decline a mission every four hours or so without losing standings. Just enable the warnign message and you will be informed if you try to decline another mission before the 4 hours passed. Just be sure you check the journal since I found a few times I recieved offers without actualy talking to the agent. And if an offer times out, you do lose standings. And btw, when you have high standings you have to do a lot of missions to gain what you lose from just one, since all the % changes are calculated from your current position to either +10 for increase or -10 for decrease. So if you are at 9.0, you will lose 19 times as much as you will gain for the same type of mission.

If you decline 2 missions within about 4 hours, you'll loose personal and corp standings. If you fail a mission, you'll also loose personal and corp standings. If you attack NPCs you'll loose standings to that faction.

TRICKS AND TIPS

The agent quality is more or less meaningless as well except as a restriction on your ability to use them.

For this reason your best station is one that has more than one level 2 agent so you can do multiple missions simultaneously. For courier missions especially this can be a big time saver becuase they will often send you to the same place or at least in the same direction allowing you to get a lower average mission time.

Another factor is whether the station is at a dead end. In this case you will always get sent in the same direction.

LOYALTY OFFERS

Beside the usual payment, an agent gives you loyalty points upon mission-completion. Once in a while those agents will send you an offer via eve-mail where you can spend ur loyalty points. Those offers get better the more loyalty points you got accumulated. All Agents can offer you all kinds of items on loyalty-offers; so there's no need to switch an agent because you're not happy with what he offers. In the beginning you might also get lots of loyalty-offers about contraband - just decline them if you dont feel up to smuggling. If you decline those offers or let them run out you will not be penalized.

For level 2 forget about loyalty points because the offers are worthless. Your main concern should be increasing your faction/corporate standing as quickly as possible so you can start doing level 3 missions.

I believe with the latest patch it's set up so that when you receive an LP offer from an agent, and you choose not to accept the offer, you need to run another mission before getting another LP offer.

SOURCES

Most of the above text is not mine, but quotes from others from the official forums. You can find their identities and full posts here using external browser.

FURTHER RESOURCES

Loyalty Point Offers (external link)
NAGA Loot Shop (external link)
NPC Pirate Data (external link)
Missions Standing Rewards (external link)
Divisions and Mission Types (external link)

AGENT SEARCH TOOLS

Agent Lister 1
Agent Lister 2 (external link)
Agent Lister 3 (external link)