Agents Standings change in Apocrypha 1.2
CCP did something rather sneeky in the Apoc 1.2 patch and although it's tainted in the patch notes as:
Standings will now be calculated and displayed correctly when Connections and Diplomacy are applied to any character.
It has a rather huge knock on effect, especially with R&D agents. Why does it affect R&D agents more so than ordinary agents is down to the fact that if you do an R&D agent mission you do NOT get any standings increase, you simply gain the amount of RPs (Research Points) you get daily again for the mission. So it wont surprise you if you go to your R&D agent and he will no longer talk to you, or offer you datacores or let you do missions for him/her.
How this affects you is simple - before the patch the Connections skill increased your standings if you had 0 or even negative standings with the agent corporation, after the patch it doesn't. So agents you could have been using before the patch will no longer talk to you, but it's not that bad, you wont lose RPs you accumulated beforehand and all you need to do is fix the standings, read on.
I have at least 2 R&D Agents that would no longer talk to me. Lets take the one with negative standings first.
How did I know they were negative?
On the agent show info - standings tab it listed me as -0.01 to the agent and -0.02 to the Lai dai corporation as displayed below (sometimes this information is not displayed here):
To fix negative standings you have 2 choices:
- Do missions for the Lai Dai corporation (not R&D agents) until your standings go positive and the connections skill takes over
- Train the Diplomacy skill (turns negative standing into positive)
I opted for the latter since for whatever reason I didn't have diplomacy trained at all, I guess that's because connections skill was doing it's job for it.
Checking your agents will still talk to you
Another way to check your agents are still talking to you is to look on the agent info tab as per the below screenshot, if you see something listed in the compatibility section (right at the very bottom) then you are no longer able to talk to this agent.
You can also open the start conversation window, if all you have listed at the bottom is "Cancel Research" you don't have sufficient standings to talk to them.
Note: Currently that effective standing shown on the above screen is NOT your current agent or agent corporation standing it's your faction standing. I expect this to change soon when CCP realises.
If your agent is ok with you then what you should see is the below screen (if you start a conversation remotely and are not in the actual agent station)
The diplomacy skill will take negative standings and turn them into a more positive one.
With my negative Lai Dai agent I trained up the skill - at level 1 of diplomacy it went from -0.02 to +0.39 as shown below. Also note that if one of your skills adjusts the standings then it will show you but for some strange reason it doesn't always show these standings for all agents.
At Diplomacy L2 it went to 0.79
My compatibility line for this agent stated:
You need a minimum effective corp standing of at least 1.30 in addition to an effective faction, corp or personal standing of at least 3.30 to use this agent
Reading that I am not confident that I will be able to use this agent training Diplomacy to L4 - since I am writing this whilst training to L3 I will return and update this article as the skill is trained. It does look like I will need to do a mission for Lai Dai and let the connections skill take effect (which I can do easily since standings are only just below 0).
Update - At Diplomacy L3 my standings are 1.19 so perhaps I will make the required 1.30 with L4.
Update - At Diplomacy L4 my standings were sufficient to start talking to the agent again (1.59).
Zero standing agents
For agents that you have no standings for at all (IE they are plum 0) you have 2 choices and I leave it upto you which you choose.
Choice 1 - the quick and ruthless way (do this if you have Diplomacy trained)
- Find any agent in the same corporation as your R&D agent that will allow you to do missions (take any L1 agent)
- start a mission with him, accept it and abort it
- do the same again and accept the warning that you will lose standing (yes we want to lose standing)
You now have negative standings which the Diplomacy skill will automatically reverse into positive standings.
Choice 2 - Do a mission for that corporation (do this if you have connections trained up but diplomacy not trained)
- Find any agent in the same corporation as your R&D agent that will allow you to do missions (don't bother with any level over L1 agents)
- Successfully complete that mission
You will turn your 0 standings into a positive one and with connections then kicking into place you should now be able to use your R&D agent again.