Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Optimised distribution missions

I am currently doing trading missions - for the 'Standing' rather than for the ISK.  Standing affects the taxation of (at least) refining ore.  I currently see a lot of refining ore in my future (buying raw ore and selling minerals), so I want my standing to be 6.67 (I think) in those stations I refine in.  So I have a bit of grinding to go. ISK is always useful, but at the moment a secondary goal.

At the moment I have exactly one usable L3 Agent (there is a second - about 2 regions away), and a large number of L2 Agents.

Conventional wisdom states that multiple chained missions is better than single missions.  I assume that mixing the single L3 mission with multiple L2 missions is desirable.  This makes sense to me, as a large part of the time is waiting for a warp or jump to complete, and you want to minimise the number of jumps/mission. This type of routing - is in effect a traveling salesman problem and is technically hard (really - go look at that last link).

So I have a goal.  Centered around my single usable L3 distribution agent, I want to pick up as many L2 & L3 distribution missions and complete them with as few jumps as possible.  Doing the routing for this is easy if you only have 2 or 3 stops - but gets tricky when you get past that.  I also have a solution; using and a second window.  I am also disregarding mission bonuses - they will be nice when I get them, but I would rather complete another mission for standing and ISK than get the ISK bonus alone.

  • In my home system, My particular L3 agent is in a system with 2 other L2 agents.  I pick up the 2 L2 missions and the L3 mission.  If they are in the same system, I complete them and get a new mission again.
  • I enter my start system, and the (generally 3) destination systems into the route planner at and "Optimize" the route.  This shows me:
    • A map of where I am going
    • The number of recent reported kills & number of reported jumps.
    • A proposed minimum number of jumps.
  • I keep open my Agent finder (I made a shortcut to it so I can bring it up easily), setting Agent Type to Distribution (the type of mission I want to run, and security status to high (I dont have a ship or the skills for lowsec) and my faction set (to keep my refresh time down), and finally my Agent Level (currently 2; home to improve this soon) so I can see the desirable agents.
  • If there are any desirable agents in my current system, I stop there and get the missions, adding their destinations to my route and "Optimize" again.  I will currently decline a mission if it takes me through lowsec, or if it takes me beyond my arbitrary maximum distance from my 'home' system.
  • If I am passing by my 'home' system and I don't have my L3 mission, I will pick up it up (not sure if I should, but seems a good idea)
  • Then I generally go to the next system dotlan suggested; delivering and collecting from stop to stop.
Others have suggested starting at the end of a chain of systems, to assist with routing; and I think to maximise mission bonuses.  I suggest that if you have multiple monitors and are looking to chain missions, the above allows you to use an appropriate tool to the 'hard' routing - re-optimising after each piece of new information; leaving you to do the simple tasks of jump; dock; complete mission; accept mission and put cargo into your ship.  (You could never make a mistake with something as simple as putting cargo in your hold. Honest)

Add systems and Optimize or Go

Where am I going and how dangerous is it?
And a generated map with highlights.  Click to expand.


  1. If you do the datacenter missions, you get lot of faction standing that unlocks all the L3 or even L4 agents in your faction. You can also get faction standing by doing the newbie missions in the other two schools of your faction.

  2. And you can get "spillover" faction standing by doing the newbie missions for the faction that is "paired" with your starter faction (i.e. Caldari with Amarr, Minmatar with Gallente).


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