Building mission bases
Setting up bases is also a way to get very familar with an area. Rather than moving around a lot and doing missions over the whole of high sec, you can stay in one location where you know all the agents and are familiar with the local tradehubs.
Choosing a Base
First you should identify an agent that suits your needs using the in-game Agent Finder. In most cases this will be an L4 agent, as most serious solo mission-running which justifies setting up a base is L4-based. If you don't have access to L4 agents, you can identify a good one and then develop standing with his or her corporation until you can run missions for him or her.
Look at the system your chosen agent is in. Neighbouring lowsec systems are usually a problem, as you will have to turn down missions which send you there (or, alternatively, attempt them, and die horribly to the first semi-competent pirate encountered there).
Consider any trade hub near the system you're looking at. Ask around to find out which trade hub is the closest, and look at this wiki's list of hubs. The distance you have to travel between your mission base and your local hub is important because you'll likely be buying ammo and selling loot and salvage there. Remember that besides the big hubs (Jita, Rens &c) most regions have some secondary hub systems; if your chosen system is a popular mission-running system then it's likely that there will be some trade in missioning supplies there (possibly with a premium for convenience -- check prices).
The chances are that any particularly good agent or group of agents will already be frequented by other players, creating a mission hub. To tell if your system is a mission hub, visit it: look for missioning battleships on the directional scanner as you move around it, and sit on the undock of your agent's station to see if there's a regular procession of battleships and marauders entering and leaving.
There are advantages and disadvantages to being in a mission hub: it may be easier to find supplies without travelling, but any clustering of mission-runners will bring ninjas and possibly lag with them. The worst systems for ninjas are systems which are trade and mission hubs, like Dodixie and Rens. Conversely, these systems are also very convenient for shopping! You'll need to make a trade-off between convenient shopping and high-quality agents on one side, and levels of harassment from ninjas on the other.
If you have chosen a station, bookmark it. Crate a folder inside your "Places" tab and name it "Bases". Move the bookmark there. You can use the bookmark to quickly right-click and 'set destination' without having to search for the system. Once you have assets there you can also use the Assets window for quick destination-setting.
To set up a base, you will need two things: ships and supplies. Once you have them, you may want to use containers to organise them.
There are ships you should have at every missioning base:
These ships are optional:
You will also need:
You may also want to consider a selection of tanking modules so that you can not only alter your resistances, but also increase or decrease your tank -- after a while you will learn which missions don't require your full tank, and then you will be able to dial your tank back and fit for more damage or more speed so as to complete them faster.
There are various containers in the game, the most interesting for bases are giant secure containers, freight containers, and station containers.
For a basic missioning base you could use two containers: one named "Loot" and one named "Equipment". The 'Equipment' container is for supplies for fitting your ships, as discussed above. The 'Loot' container is for all the loot you gather, minerals, ore, and everything you wish to sort out later.
To set up the containers
This gives you a basic layout, which keeps your valuable equipment safe from accidental sale or reprocessing. Place everything you get from your missions into the loot container and sort it out when you have enough stuff there. Alternatively, it is possible to sort items straight into your industrial. You can set up more complicated sets of containers -- having separate containers for high slot, medium slot, and low slot items makes fitting new ships quick and easy, for example, while containers can also help you organise research or manufacturing.
You will probably find it most efficient to steadily run missions in your base system, letting the loot and salvage accumulate for a while before sorting it into low-value items to be reprocessed and medium/high-value items to be sold. You can then take your items for sale to your local trade hub, sell them, and buy more ammo (which is usually cheaper in trade hubs than in your base system -- but do check prices) before returning to base.
You can sell loot and salvage direct to buy orders, which has the advantage that you get the money immediately and don't have to spend much time or attention. You can also set up sell orders for your loot and salvage in your local trade hub which you can then, with the right trading skills trained, adjust while missioning in your base system. Note that your base will need to be in the same region as your chosen trade hub to do this.
It doesn't take much effort to suicide-gank a T1 industrial, so try not to carry too much value in your hold in any one trip.
If you're also trading in LP store items which need normal T1 base items for their creation, you can also haul these base items home on your return trips from your trade hub. The suicide-gank caveat applies to trips taking your LP store items to market/contracts too: if you're going to transport a lot of Republic Fleet Gyrostabilizers, consider using a fast frigate rather than an industrial.
You may want to set the location of your medical clone to your base system. This will make sure that in case your pod is destroyed in a low security system or in 0.0, you will return to your base, instead of having to travel there from the old location of your clone.
Once you're based in one place there are a number of side-activities which you can branch into.
You could investigate
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