|Move over PVP, time to violence some rocks!|
Today I decided to head out into the belts and figure out why no one mines in lowsec. Admittedly, I haven't mined since about 2004 on my previous main character that was sold that year. Fortunately, mining is like riding a bike, and one does not simply forget how to do it. Also as a bonus, when I was running high sec Incursions some 3 years ago, I trained up for an Orca so I could get my multiple incursion ships transported around Eve a little easier. A few industry skills came with that.
While I have Mining Barges to lvl 5 thanks to that Orca training a few years ago, getting a mining barge into lowsec is a tricky business... more so if you're a blinky pirate like myself since I am told they take forever to align, meaning Concord would likely dice me up assuming some players didn't take the opportunity for themselves. As luck would have it, I did have the skills to fly a Venture and equip it with T2 mining lasers, so that seemed like a good enough idea.
Mind you, before starting this venture today I had a pretty good idea why no one comes to lowsec to mine, it was really just a question of how bad the mining out here really is. I started working the belts in my home system of Nennamaila, a 0.3 system in Black Rise. I hit several belts with a survey scanner and came up with all fairly common stuff, obviously Veldspar, Scordite, Plagioclase, Pyroxeres, and Kernite as well as some fancier sounding versions of those ores. I mined a variety of stuff, and my 5000 m3 ore hold picked up around 950k ISK worth of ore with some of the fancier stuff, 850k ISK with the Scordite, and 666k ISK with the Veldspar.
|Pristine Jaspet? Don't mind if I do!|
Overall, I wasn't very satisfied with my mining sample in a 0.3 system, so I headed out to the most "dangerous" of dangerous lowsec space (0.1 Security Status) to see if the pickings were any better. Of course I put quotes around "dangerous" because in reality the average person is FAR less safe mining in a place like Nennamaila than they are in some hole in the wall 0.1 system in the middle of nowhere. That's one of the problems with lowsec, where the supposed value of content is regulated by the security status of a system, only taking into account the risk involved against the local NPCs, not the players.
Once I hit a belt in 0.1 space I was almost immediately excited. Omber and Jaspet began appearing on scans, so I burned over to those rocks and began violencing them while my hobgoblins took care of a couple of NPC destroyers. 15 minutes later with my hold full, I headed back for home. While en route, I moused over my sparkly stack of Pristine Jaspet ore to find it was worth... less than 1 million ISK.
|While I was out filling my venture at 4 million isk |
per hour, these alliance mates were busy getting lap
dances from the loot fairy in 2 million ISK derp frigs.
On top of this, who would dream of bringing in a gang of Mining Barges or dare I say Exhumers to actually work on extracting large amounts of ore? While I see some value in using Skiffs or Procurers as baiting ships, this is no place for such things without some very serious protection, and protection can't be justified or paid for with a bare 10% increased income over relatively risk free highsec.
To put this in perspective, a member of the Gallente Militia right now can spend 10 minutes running a novice plex in a stabbed frigate and pull in 10,000 LP which can be cashed out for around 20 million ISK. That's 20 million ISK in the same (or less) time it would take that player to fill a Venture's hold with ore in lowsec for less than 1 million. While it can be said that belt mining right now might be less risky than running a FW complex, it's certainly not 20 times more risky.
Possible Solutions:I do see a couple of fixes here. The most obvious one is some seriously more valuable ores to make lowsec a far more profitable place to mine. Profitable enough so that pilot in a Venture could hire someone to scout, provide protection for them, and still turn a better profit than they could in highsec. The reward should reflect the risk involved to the player from other PLAYERS, not NPCs.
A second idea I have, though I would certainly like to solicit some feedback before pressing this towards CCP, would be allowing Mining Barges and Exhumers to make use of Black Ops jump bridging capabilities, allowing them to be dropped directly into a belt in lowsec (or nullsec). They could then be extracted back out by jumping to a lowsec border system where they could warp to a highsec gate with their spoils and get out. There would certainly still be risk involved, but not the sort resulting from 20 seconds of align time at every star gate they come across.