Well this has turned into a rather frustrating week and in part a little discouraging. The past few days I have perused the dev blogs, forums, and fan sites pertaining to the upcoming expansion. When a lot of the new features were announced I was pretty excited. CCP is making changes and improvements all over the map and it looked like I was going to enjoy a lot of the new features. One thing I was really looking forward to was exploration. I've enjoyed doing exploration and strangely enough I find scanning pretty fun. Now most of my experience with exploration involves roaming around regions of high sec that haven't seen a lot of people jumping through them. But lately I have started my foray into low sec while also being a pirate. Now I'm not good at the whole ISK making business but doing a bit of exploration helps to fund my PvP activities.
Something you don't experience while exploring in high sec is the constant threat of everyone trying to find and kill you. You can completely fit your ship to deal with rats and move through sites as they come. I have to say though it gets a lot more stressful in low sec. One of the reasons being is that you have to fit your ship for PvP, while also fitting it for PvE, and trying to balance tank with two mids taken up by exploration modules and one high taken by a salvager. (assuming you did the probing before hand) Then you have scrams, webs, disrupters, armor, and guns to worry about.
As of right now I'm trying to minimize my losses in case I get killed while also spending enough ISK to finish sites quickly. But with the current setup the process goes something like this; you fly in, target containers and rats, pew pew, and make sure you have a good align out in case more people come in than you can handle. All the while waiting for some random number that allows you to pop the container, grab the loot, and get outta dodge.
While in the process of managing all these processes you have people actively hunting you. So during this hectic process you will also be watching local and spamming d-scan like a nutcase. (Have you played [Push the Button Game]? If not, go try it!) Now when you are clicking on something else for targeting, managing drones, modules, or what have ye; you are failing to be clicking that little d-scan button and for some weird reason when you are not clicking d-scan, that is when people decide to show up.
I don't know about you, but I see this as turning into a very stressful scenario. But it seems pretty manageable because you can bounce between doing everything while also pushing d-scan between every few actions. But for all this crazy work, the rewards aren't half bad on average. I'd also hazard a guess that if you can avoid consistent losses that you can manage to come out ahead most of the time.
I recently purchased a cruiser to go through the exploration sites that I scan down. To fit it semi-cheaply I was able to whittle it down to about 25-27 mISK. Running my first site with it I had the bright idea that I wouldn't fit a propulsion module and instead opt for extra ewar. Thinking to myself that I could handle slow boating to the different cans about 15-20km apart from each other and if someone tried to jump me, I would have extra annoyances to throw at them. This turned out to be a grave mistake, not because I couldn't handle the opposition, but because moving at 200m/s while traveling 50-75km between each loot can, ends up being a stressful process when the system you are in suddenly becomes quite active. (You also just can't warp out if you've already tampered with a loot can because the site will despawn.)
The reward for that radar site netted me about 20 mISK for my time. So I've almost paid off my cruiser and that was with one exploration site. It took me two more sites to get the other 5-7 mISK (for which I fitted a propulsion module) and seeing as how the cruiser has paid for itself, I'm willing to take a few more risks with it as I move from system to system. Maybe even poking at people on gates and the like while making pirate noises.
In EVE online death means something, often times it is quite painful if you fly fancy things. But because you don't just respawn with your ship all span-spanking new, people tend to be more risk adverse. (Which can be a topic for another day.) This leads into a constant phrase that is shouted from the depths of Null, to the green pastures of High and from the far reaches of Anoikis and from the skirmishers in Low, which is...
"Do NOT fly what you cannot afford to lose!".
Now to be able to complete exploration sites (especially combat) a certain investment needs to be made and even though you can afford to lose that ship, that does not mean you don't want it to pay for itself before some schmuck comes along and blows you up. I believe that some of the Odyssey changes may magnify some of these issues. (and not in a good way) I have also found several things that I really like, of which I will also talk about.
In the next part of this series of posts, I'll give my thoughts on some of the upcoming Odyssey changes.