After a busy two days following the release Inferno 1.2 on Wednesday, I finally logged into the game early Saturday morning Eve time to finally fly my first non-cloaky ship into low-sec since I was in Eve University. With the changes to mining ships (now I guess just called barges) I really wanted to try my hand at mining in low-sec. I don't like mining in high-sec even though that is where all the big money is for small operations like mine. So add in the tension of sitting in a fairly defenseless ship waiting for someone to drop by for a visit and trying to avoid becoming another victim in someone's kill report and low-sec mining sounded like fun.
My ship of choice for this first effort was the Procurer. Why the Procurer instead of the Skiff I was raving about a couple of weeks ago? First, Gevlin from SpaceMonkey's Alliance left a comment that a nice cheap Procurer should suffice for mining in low-sec before giving some advice on to mine in a Skiff. The second reason is the sharp increase in the cost of the new mining ships once the patch hit. I bought mine early but still only bought one Skiff compared to two Procurers. On the theory of fly what you can afford to lose I chose discretion over valor and smuggled a Procurer into low-sec.
Smuggling the ship in was easy. The mining barges are 3,750 m3 packaged and fits in the small cargo hold of my Prowler. Throw in the fittings and I made the trip to the sleepy out of the way system I scoped out a few weeks ago easily. After fitting the ship I was ready to begin the operation.
Belt mining in low-sec involves more than just flying out to a belt and shooting rocks. First, a security team needs to scout out the belt looking for pirates, either the NPC or human kind. I didn't see any players in the belt so I just had to deal with the Angel Cartel. Did I mention I don't like the Angel Cartel? So while doing an activity I really don't like I got to kill Angels. Cool!
My security "team" was Rosewalker in a Hound. I'm getting better at ratting in belts so once killing the Angel battleship and accompanying frigate Wandering Rose flew into the belt and bookmarked a really good location inside the belt. From there came the waiting game. Where would the attacks come from? I did pretty well in picking my system and except for a guy triple-boxing a Rifter/Incursus/Griffin gang I wasn't too worried about players once I spotted the operational patterns. A lot of neutral pilots just flew on through without stopping. The real presence thoughout the day was Nulli Secunda doing the faction warfare thing. A Procurer wasn't worth wasting their time killing.
With players not interested in my little operation, I just needed to worry about the Angel Cartel. They seemed to spawn every 10-15 minutes or so. If only frigates showed up, I would unleash my flight of Hobgoblin Is, which did surprisingly well against one group of four frigates I fought once. They were so busy trying to kill me they totally ignored the drones. I guess someone forgot to tell the NPCs about the new specs on the mining ships. If heavy ships showed up like battlecruisers and battleships I warped the Procurer back to the station and let the Hound take care of business.
That's right, I didn't stay mining the entire time. In fact, one time when returning to the belt after delivering a load to the station three Angel battlecruisers spawned 40 km from my bookmark while I was in warp. Thankfully Procurers are really agile and I landed and jumped back faster than they could lock me up. My mining session ended when three battlecruisers and two frigates spawned. Since the Cartel wanted the belt so badly I left the field to them.
I did learn a few lessons from my first day of mining in low-sec. First, the only reason that low-sec mining will bring more money into my wallet than high-sec mining is that I hate high-sec mining. For those concerned with maximizing yield, either stay in high-sec or move out to null. The second is that the Procurer is a tough little ship. If I had a flight of Hobgoblin IIs instead of the tech 1 variant I probably could have taken on cruisers and below. I've corrected my lack of advanced Gallente drone skills and have the tech 2 drones in the station ready for the next time I go mining. The third is that I need a ship with a salvager on-site to clean up all the wrecks. I got some nice loot but salvage always helps. I can probably fit a salvager on my Hound and then just on-line the module once I begin looting.
Will I take a Procurer out again? Why not? The whole process was more engaging and I wound up with a log of minerals I can't get out of Minmatar high-sec. I probably won't mine at a belt again which means I need to brush up on my exploration skills and perhaps even buy some better equipment. Is now the time I can justify purchasing a Loki? I definitely need to start researching what types of defenses I will find in gravimetric sites.