Volstruis here. There are a number of opportunities for making ISK in low-sec. They are more risky than in high-security space, but they do make you more money. One of the primary opportunities for a capsuleer to make money whilst exploring low-security space is the art of probe-based exploration.
Generally people tend to find exploration synonymous with wormholes. Whilst they are one of the most predominant signature’s you’ll come across, they lead to a space that we aren’t focused on, w-space. Generally people will not consider other anomalies like static DED sites to be true exploration. Low-sec exploration, in my opinion, could just as easily be likened to a cow-at-abattoir mentality. We use every part of the cow. Another apt way of looking at it is consider yourself to be the premier trash collection and surplus management career path in Eve.
Also, in keeping with MEA agenda, probes can find you targets for you and your corp to shoot at too. Players tend to have the best drops, need I say more. Yes actually, don’t ever engage a player in your covop’s. Not until you’re awesome enough to do so. I am not awesome enough either.
I have no intention of teaching you how to probe. There are a million tutorials out there that will do this better than I can. Just type eve probe tutorial into youtube. You get the picture. In part 1 we’ll be focusing on the tools of the trade, starting with your most important purchase.
The covop’s frigates like the Anathema and Cheetah are the tools of choice for this trade. There are some important considerations. You’ll want some tank, active, I’ll explain why later. You’ll also want to be as versatile as possible. Having the right tools to do deal with whatever you come across is 1/2 the fun. Low-sec is like a box of chocolates after all.
I think the Anathema, apart from being about the sexiest hull in New Eden, is the perfect tool. Below is a fitting that represents about as pimp a covops as can be made, and should be seen as the pinnacle of your training queue.
[Anathema, The Pimp Anathema] Sisters Expanded Probe Launcher, Sisters Combat Scanner Probe Covert Ops Cloaking Device II Salvager II Coreli C-Type 1MN Afterburner Ship Scanner II Analyzer II Codebreaker II Damage Control II Coreli C-Type Small Armor Repairer Coreli C-Type Adaptive Nano Plating Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I Small Gravity Capacitor Upgrade I
The above fit requires perfect fitting and ship skills to fly as well as the Zainou ‘Gypsy’ KMB-25 implant (thanks Kosh). Don’t be afraid to off-line and use T1 stuff until you get the ISK and the hang. The Cheetah can be fit almost exactly the same way, though the 5 mid Helios and Buzzard are better served with an active shield tank in the form of invulnerability fields, shield boosters, and couple of power diagnostics in your lows. You’ll need to drop the ship-scanner to fit this way, but you’ll still be able to give your corp warp-ins on potential targets.
Each covops has a modest high-slot layout for gunnery. Trust me when I say that these come in handy, put some guns/missile launchers in your cargohold and the best faction ammo you can afford. There will be crosses to shoot at, and there will be damage to tank. You’ll need to be able to deal with both, but only modestly, we are explorers right? Lastly, all the covops boats are designed to work this way. They are all just as good and cater for all preferences and your preferred style of play.
There is something to be said about using drone boats like the Worm and the Ishkur, as well as the destroyers and interdictors. Whilst they will provide you with much more tank and dps, they don’t gain a bonus to probe strength. Each explorer will need to decide whether or not the extra time spent probing is worth it. They will also only fit a core probe launcher, so no mission runners or afk safed-up ships need fear you in the slightest.
What comes next?
Over the next short while we’ll be discussing the various sites themselves, tactical opportunities for your ghost-boat in low-sec and the finer points, like how to deal efficiently with the items you’ve garnered. The next post will be aimed at players who have just completed the Exploration career tutorial and want to start making some ISK.
So to those, the very new explorers out there who enjoy the idea of learning their techniques and cutting their teeth in high sec: We’ll also be discussing how to start out, get comfortable with probing and how to make enough money to buy the covop’s of your dreams. High sec can be just as fun, especially if you, like I, consider mission runners to be a scourge of surplus creation that us explorers are inclined to want to deal with. They’ll call us ninja’s and goad us in local. Maybe one day they will realise that we are merely providing a valuable service to all of New Eden.
Lastly, I must shamelessly punt MEA as the corp of choice for new explorers. Convo me or Xi ‘xar in game. We’d love to have you on board.