She has about 8 minutes worth of skills trained on her--enough to be able to use Warp Core Stabilizers. She's sitting in a ship worth less than 100,000 ISK, in a system that has about 20 pirates in it currently --none of whom have bothered her in the 30 minutes or so she's been plexing so far.
I started farming defensive plexes on a relatively untrained alt due to my corporation having some standings issues. With a lot of us previously having been in the Amarr militia, Minmatar Faction standings has always been something we've struggled to keep above 0.
Not being much of a mission runner, running plexes to get the promotions, which in turn give pretty decent standings increases, was an easy alternative.
The need for standings passed, but the habit of having an alt quietly plexing in the background of whatever else I was doing did not. I could run one while I was pvping on Susan, trading on my trade alt, or even cleaning my house and doing the dishes.
It is an easy, passive income. One in which I've already netted over a billion ISK.
So, How Do I Do It?
Well, it's simple. She's a Minmatar alt, so I have her sitting in a Burst -- a very cheap frigate with 3 convenient low-slots.
I put her into highly contested systems (always above 90% contested) and usually, stick to only Large and Medium defensive plexes. She doesn't orbit anything. Instead, I fly her about 25K past the button when she enters a plex, so that she's always about 35K from the beacon, and anyone coming into the plex. Between this distance, a quick refresh on a D-Scan setup to see if anything is landing on the outside gate, and her 3 Warp Core Stabilizers, it almost impossible for her to die if I'm paying attention even a miniscule amount.
And if she does die...I'm out about 80k.
Furthermore, I name her ship something that indicates she's a farmer or that she has stabs. "Stabbed Farmer" is a good one. I've noticed a huge decline in the number of people that try to come in and pew her after changing her ship names to this. Most people who have any experience in the Warzone --both militia and pirates alike --will not bother when they see that on scan.
Is the System Broken?
I often hear people discussing how the system is 'broken.' How...the ability to farm plexes in this way is completely ruing aspects of Faction War. We've even had long time Faction War veterens leaving due to frustration over the mechanics.
I guess, whether it's broken or not, depends on your definition of 'broken.' If making ISK passively at very little risk is 'broken' then I guess the very nature of mining in high sec is also broken. If, making a lot of ISK and not having to pull much effort is broken, I guess trading is also broken.
If you look at Faction War as a PVP mechanic, than yes. Plex farming is anti climatic and the very opposite of a conflict driver. But then again, can Faction War really be considered solely a pvp mechanic, when the best way to make LP is through running missions? Missions which can be run in stealth bombers which can easily cloak when any danger arrives.
I guess a better question is, what can be gained from fixing it?
The problem with the concept of 'fixing farming' is that fixing it in and of itself isn't going to be of much gain, gameplay wise. Really, we are just solving an ideological problem with risk vs reward . While nerfing the ability to AFK-make-billions might make us feel better, it isn't going to get us more PVP.
This is the thing that bothers me sometimes when people talk about 'fixing farming' in Faction War. What do they think will happen when farmers can't farm anymore? That these pilots --most of whom are probably alts, or at the least have shown no interest or inclination toward pvp, will suddenly take up arms? That pvpers will suddenly have a pvp hayday on their hands due to all the farmer-turned pvpers?
Reducing the ability to farm will mean less farmers, not more pvp. The only difference will be that the plex that once had a stabbed alt in it to be chased away, will now lie empty.
Rolling back the plex timers would be great. As would giving more visible timers and other smaller changes. But in the end, if I had to choose between CCP spending their time on something that's going to give me something else that's FUN to do, versus removing the 'farmer' problem, I'd pick the fun stuff any day.