|From flickr user lintmachine|
I tried some new solo activities in the last couple of weeks, including learning how to navigate wormholes, spending time in Nullsec (Venal region, Guristas NPC space) and trying to be a ninja-salvager in Osmon. Osmon is a mission running hotspot, where I never saw less than 70 people in local. They're mostly there running level 4 combat missions for the Sister of Eve and many of them don't bother salvaging or looting.
What these activities have in common, I've found, is that I like activities that have a small chance of a big reward, for very little risk. For some reason, at the moment, I like playing it safe!
Wormholes To Nullsec
It took at least eight wormholes before I found a connection to nullsec, so if you're going to try this method, be patient. I took a Helios out there into the ever-changing maze, and it was a weird feeling when I first logged off in one, knowing my route back to my home system of Fliet was gone. But I pressed forward, using wormholes.es as a reference. My nullsec exit was 20 jumps from Venal, but a look at the map revealed that the route there was, statistically, quiet. I made the trip there without incident (noticing, by the way, how many combat anomalies were around), found an NPC station, docked and jump cloned back to my main clone in Fliet.
Over the next week or so I jumped back to the Venal clone a couple of times, where the streets are paved with pirate relic sites...or so I thought. Despite combing through the backwaters with the least number of jumps I found only one site in about five hours of exploration. Clearly the few people in this area all have the same idea. What I saw the most of was combat sites, both in anomalies and signatures (the ones you have to use probes to find). If you want to make money in Venal I would recommend taking a combat ship out there and running the anomalies. I gave up on the area, though, taking my Helios into the first wormhole I found and getting back to Fliet.
My nullsec itch has been scratched and I don't see any reason to head back out there, not solo anyway.
I've taken to running highsec anomalies on both my characters, mainly as a short, easy combat activity. They are 3/10 or 4/10 difficulty and you have a small chance of an escalation to things like a Guristas Scout Outpost or similar. The escalation may be in high-sec too, where they don't "naturally" occur, so it's a nice opportunity for a better reward. Johnny Pew just made a great video about this. The occasional Dread Gurista (or Shadow Serpentis) will appear in these ordinary anoms, and drop more valuable loot.
If there's someone else in the site already, which can happen, I leave it to them. Other pilots are not so polite :) I'm not sure what the Eve-etiquette dictates here, but I'm fine with them staying; it's not a big deal to have some competition.
In the spirit of looking for easy activities with a small chance of a big payoff, I turned to the Osmon system, six jumps from Jita and home to a Sisters of Eve level 4 combat agent. I'd seen it mentioned on reddit/r/eve as a good place to try ninja salvaging, wherein you invite yourself into someone's mission (via combat probes) and start salvaging their wrecks. If they are feeling generous, they may also abandon their wrecks and leave the loot in, so you can harvest the contents.
It occurred to me that asking permission was easy and risked only social embarrassment. With 150 people in local chat, I asked and got lucky right away! A Russian guy invited me to fleet and told me to warp to him. I entered the deadspace pocket as he was leaving, trusting his assurances that the rooms were clear and indeed they were. I picked up a couple of million in salvage and had a nice chat with him.
The next guy I had to find the old-fashioned way. I combat-probed a battleship down, one that was well-above the plane of the solar system, and warped to him. Surprisingly there was no acceleration gate. I tried to open a chat with the pilot who was there. He rejected the conversation...but all the wrecks turned blue! I thanked him in local chat and returned a few minutes later to pick up about 5 million in loot and salvage.
That was my last success, though. I was unable to find any other willing salvage donors, and the next three guys I scanned down salvaged their missions themselves. As I headed back to station to log off, though, I'd shot myself in the foot. I found one unlooted wreck at a site I'd bookmarked. It contained about 500K of loot, but I'd be suspect for stealing it. "I'm docking up anyway...it'll be fine." I thought. I looted the wreck and warped to the SoE station...where I saw a blue cargo container labelled "wreck location bookmarks" 10km off the undock! Unfortunately I was already docking, had 10M of cargo on me and really need to log off. Drat, a missed opportunity.
I did, however, have a lot of fun talking with the locals, and one guy sent me a nice donation, possibly for the entertainment value I'd offered. I ran a sales pitch from the "Space Litter Removal Service", which got some replies, but no offers, and we talked about web comics (xkcd and The Oatmeal).
The main thing I picked up, though, was some trade opportunities. I looked over the local market, figuring that with hundreds of mission runners there, they'd need some supplies. I found one good trade already and I'm looking for more. It's my first experience with trade between systems, and so far, so good.
I finally sold a Nomad! I've written over the past few months about how I have an enormous sum tied up in 6 or 7 jump freighters, just as their prices went south. Well, the Nomad market is finally stirring and the price is close to 6.7B. I sold one and I'm holding on to the others, since there are very few sellers and there's potential for a 7B+ price to be reached. My three Arks, sadly, are still going for only 6B, which is less than I paid for them.
My PI and datacore trades are doing well, and the wallet balance is now 23B. I'm aiming for a 100B isk total value before the end of the year...I'm around 85B isk now.