Standings are an ever present thing in EVE be they Faction, Corporation, CONCORD, NPC or even Player. Most are not that important but Faction and Corporation standings are important for the access they give to better items in LP Stores.
None of my characters have high standings with a lot of factions or corporations, I try to keep Amarr positive as I live in Amarr space but the others I really don't mind. I just want to avoid that situation where the standings hit -5 and I can be attacked by Faction Police. I've also got good standings on my industry characters for a couple of Corporations so that when I reprocess I can get that elusive 100% refining (with no loss or tax) in high sec stations.
I've recently audited all my characters and decided that I need to really get all faction standings positive and on two characters that PvE I want them to be +5 so I can benefit from Level 4 missions and the LP rewards they allow me access to.
So I'm starting the slow grind again, on five characters. Fortunately friends have pointed me to a couple of good systems where I find multiple Level 2 and Level 3 Distribution agents in the same station to get my standings up quickly and open up Level 4 agents.
Learning New Things
I've also decided to return to Osmon as there are good Level 4 agents there (not to mention Sisters of EVE) but more importantly in the same system are two Faction agents I can use to get good boosts to my Faction standings with Minmatar and Caldari.
What I did not know is that completing Storyline Missions (available every 16 completed normal missions) for one of the major races also affords minor increases/decreases with other factions. Run a Storyline mission for Minmatar and you get a large boost to Minmatar standings but a smaller positive boost to Gallente but a small decrease to Amarr.
Now run the Caldari storyline mission and you get a large positive increase to Caldari and a small one to Amarr with the small decrease to Minmatar.
The best bit though is the positive boosts are always larger than the negative boosts so over time the positive/negative boosts don't even out as you might expect instead the positive wins and by doing Storyline missions you'll improve standings with all four major races.
So I'll be PvE'ing some more but I've restructured my training to make sure the characters all have maximised Social, Security/Distribution Connections, Negotiation and Diplomacy skills in order to improve rewards and standings I'll receive.
All up it's only about a 15 day variation in training to maximise these skills and it's a nice break from some of the long Level V skills I have been training.
So, back to the grind but the grind will be worth it. At some point I need to improve pirate faction standings and that'll be interesting as they don't exist in High Sec...