Ok so I've been doing explorer missions and occasionally get the planets that ask for stuff. I wish I could buy said stuff at the replicator on board. It's not really an issue of diffuculty. That is to say; it's not hard to travel to buy the said stuff where it's sold (I forget exactly where). It's just that it's pointless. These missions break the flow of the overall quest goals. It would be nice to have them at replicators or just remove this type of quest.
Indeed those missions are a pain in the a$$. A few comments :
1) You can buy this stuff at those merchants vessels, not only on a Starbase
2) Replicating 10 units of expensive crap to give them to a text box is ALSO pointless
3) Those missions are far too expansive, uninteresting and most people skip them altogether to find another one : they need to be entirely reworked.
1. When you get the quest, the sector stays on your map so you know where to return to finish it.
2. Exploration zones should have some NPC ships wandering around. At least one of those NPC ships should always be a commodities merchant. So the player might have to fly around the exploration sector to find the ship, but he doesn't have to leave it.
3. These quests also reward energy credits. So now they ultimately make you a bit of change, instead of costing you some. Not too much, but a little.