Tomorrow marks the two week point of Odyssey and the preliminary numbers show me one fact: my old low sec lifestyle in Eve is over. Amazingly though, belt mining is still a viable option. The problem is exploration. The payoff is just not there anymore. I like the mini-game, but I hear that CCP thinks the payout is too great, so exploration will provide even worse rewards than I'm getting now. I need to come up with a different way to pay the bills.
The most likely way of making a living will involve mining. Now, due to the changes made to gravimetric sites, munching rocks in the new ore sites in a Procurer is just too dangerous and not worth the risk. But since Tags4Sec hasn't really impacted my belt mining activity so I still head out to the belts about as much as I did previously. The only time I've entered a non-ice ore site is a quick trip to w-space to pick up some arkonor. I can get the rest of the minerals I need in the quantities I need from the belts. I've moved some Ventures into my home station just in case I feel brave. With the increased frequency of the ore sites showing up in low sec lately I might start feeling brave enough to risk one of the cheap mining frigates.
Ice, on the other hand, is something I found I can mine fairly safely. With the changes I can fill up the hold of a Procurer in about 10 minutes. I just need to stay aligned, which isn't that hard if everything lines up right. I just start at one end of the belt and slowly work my way down to the other. In 10 minutes I travel about 54 km, so I just have to pay attention and switch targets when appropriate. The trick is to not get close to the warp-in point to the site and keep your hand over the warp button in case a cloaky sneaks up. For the more paranoid, fill the lows with warp core stabilizers and that should help reduce the risk further. That extends the time in the belt and decreases the range of the ice harvester, but something to think about.
While I currently sell refined ice products on the market, I like to build things with my minerals. So far ammunition has filled that niche. But I will need to come up with something else. I'm thinking about invention and tech 2 production of modules. I've got one item in mind and have started setting up datacore mining operations to supply the invention process. I'm also grinding some more standings to get access to some level 4 Boundless Creation research agents. Right now I only have one pilot with the access and I really need two.
The first blueprint copies come off the production line today. I don't expect to make a lot of money but I think I'll learn something about the process. Previously my invention/tech 2 production efforts were aimed at providing myself tech 2 ships. Now I'll just try to find a small niche and make a few million ISK a month.
I also need to do something that has always scared me: low sec planetary interaction. I don't need that much product for my personal needs so I can sell the excess in Rens or Hek. I just need to figure out what my needs are first.
I realize that perhaps I haven't given the expansion enough time to establish itself. A fair criticism, which is why I'm holding off on a full examination of Odyssey until my data collection effort ends in early July. But I see the trends and don't want to wait another three weeks to move on with my progress in the game. I see the direction things are going so I'm going to go with the flow.