I'll start off with the important news. My corporation has been WarDec'd by "The Otters". Now the Otters is a corporation of one person, who was just a part of my corporation. This person, Ferahgo, who has been playing for years, basically got bored of the newbie corporation that he joined...so "for our own good" decided to WarDec us. Now, in my first Eve trip I was in a corp that was in a wardec and that eventually cost me my brand new Covetor. I was struggling in Eve at that time anyway so I quit not long after that.
Flash forward to now, and frankly I'm not so worried. A couple years of MMOs have hardened me I guess. I have the guy and his "neutral" alt on address book and at -10, and frankly its ONE FREAKIN' GUY. Even if he pays for the locator and brings out his command ship, he can only be at one place at one time and a logoffski will easily counter him...or I just spend the time jumping around, or I put Neuts on my Vexor and I attempt to take him. I'm at the point in my Eve existence that I KNOW I can always fall back to mining and make enough to have a cruiser in about a day...which makes me much more willing to lose ships than I was before.
Which is a good opening to talk about isk again. I have been trolling the market oriented websites, like www.eve-central.com and the www.eve-assets.com site it leads to. I've tried www.eve-metrics.com and have even downloaded several "trade" programs that read your export files and will try and build profitable routes for you. All of which has led to my "money tree" theory that CCP has built.
1. Beginning isk is to be generated by missioning. Basically, this "isk generator" (means at which isk enters the universe instead of transferring between players) is the fundamental method a new player with few skills can make money to fund additional missioning skills. If you look at the payoffs, (including the new tutorials), Level 1 mission and then Level 2 missions are enough money to buy the needed Tech 1 frigates and cruisers and the secondary skills needed to fight them adequately. Right now I'm using a L1 Q18 agent and getting 100,000 to 400,000 isk a mission (not counting salvage). Even at my limited play schedule, that is enough to save for and buy a cruiser and the basic skills needed to fly it and use the modules efficiently.
2. Mining. This is not an "isk generator" as it is driven by market values, but it does offer a method to make more per hour than any Level 1 and Level 2 missions. Right now my second account character "Attia" who is flying a Covetor with Tech 1 Strip Miners and her own hauler can easily make 6 - 10 million isk an hour...in High-Sec, where there is virtually no threat to her or her ship. This represents a good ability to quickly meet Tech 1 Battlecruiser cost requirements that are needed in Level 3 missions.
3. Industrialist. I think this will be the long term isk making endeavor, especially for those who do not have significant playing time. You can make stuff, put it on for sell...and even go missioning for additional isk generation. The problem is two-fold at this point. First, you MUST increase your industrial skill level. You HAVE to have production efficiency at Level 5 before you even consider heading down this path, the loss of potential profit due to the increased amount your item costs (because with Production Efficiency (PE) at less that 5 it takes more materials to actually make the item) means you CANNOT effectively compete with those who do have that skill maxed. The second problem, Researched BPOs! Even with PE-5, your items will still cost more to make because your competitor has researched their BPO to a higher level of efficiency....which means their items cost less to build than yours. The only way to correct this is to wait at the long queues at an NPC station to research your BPOs. For example, I have a BPO that will take until mid-JULY to be finished....much longer than the 11 days the actual research takes.
I firmly believe that a beginning industrialist needs to focus on a much slimmer margin of profit per item to start out with. (unlike other folks, I'll actually talk about what I'm doing). I have a BPO for Heavy Neutron Blaster I, and right now and I can build it for 106,000 isk per item. Right now in Tash the average buying price varies between 114,000 and 110,000 isk with a pretty healthy volume. I assume that people are buying these for cheap T1 fits, or most likely, to use in T2 production. Now 4-8,000 isk is not much, but its a start. Once I get my BPO researched to Material Efficiency (ME) 20 the price per unit drops to 101,000 which just doubled my profit per item. You won't be losing money and you get your name out there, as well as, actually industrial experience. Just like PvP or missioning, the more you do...the better you become. Despite what you might read, this will take time, Eve time. You will have to research the market and look for an opportunity...that means opening the market and clicking a bunch of times....writing those prices down. Getting your two additional characters per account, created and into other regions to do the same market research. All of that takes time in front of the computer and can't be short-circuited.
The key to remember is this...it will take time. I read other blogs about the causal loss of ship or spending of isk in the BILLIONS. First, those folks have been around a long time and have the highest levels of income streams that can be developed. Either through additional accounts (most likely), moon mining, or even purchasing PLEX and turning to isk. As a new/low time player you must set your sight more realistically. I can buy a new T1 cruiser and fit it well, at any time right now...and that is a sustainable goal right now.