I can remember my first trip to 0.0 back in 2004 back then you only had NPC Stations and Player Conqurable Stations in Nullsec. Of those very few were in systems that had ABC ore in them, and if you wanted the minerals from ABC ores, the only place to get them was in null-sec.
So essentially a mining op would commence in a system without a stations and you would have 1 Battleship on overwatch to tank the npc spawn, and the rest of the battleships would commence mining with mining lasers and drones. The king of the mining ships depending on if you had the drone skills or not was the Dominix, It could fit a massive tank field mining 6 or 7 mining lasers?? cant remember but it could field 15 Harvestor Drones which would be able to harvest ABC ores, regular mining drones could not pick up ABC ores as the mass was too big for them. Second choice of mining ships was the Amarr Apocolypse which could field 8 mining lasers and 10 drones. now the best hauler was the iteron 5 and you would have several haulers hauling the ore from your mining location back to the refining station which could be as many as 8-10 jumps away. IE isk was not easy to make and haulers were frequently the target of pirates between the mining location and the refinery station.
What made me think of this was a rant I heard recorded about how the game used to be. It makes me wonder if they have made it too easy for the people in Hi-sec to make isk, and I am glad that they are focusing on fixing the 0.0 systems, there should be a risk/reward payoff.
I also want to say that 0.0 is so very empty at the moment, I find myself traveling around some of it and not seeing people for many many systems. Part of this is because I think that the Sov system broke 0.0, you couldnt own space before SOV came in, all you could do is hold the conqurable stations and control the choke systems but right about the time I left the game due to RL stuff someone can come in drop a station egg and have a station in any system they have SOV in. POS's were something new just as I was leaving and mining barges and salvaging came in right in the last month I was in game. These things made 0.0 too damn safe. There were no cap ship blobs, the biggest ship you could fly was a battleship, large fleet fights might have seen 100 or so to a side.
So I missed the introduction of Wormholes which I am enjoying so very much at the moment, as I think that CCP finally got the message we were trying to convey to them was that it was beginning to be too easy and safe in 0.0 you could not sneak up on anyone which it should not have been as the risk needed to be high for the reward of being there. I feel that the people who have never left empire and continue to make loads of free isk without any risk are missing a big part of what this game has to offer.
I am hoping that CCP brings back some risk to 0.0 as right now whenever I do happen into a system where there are players making reasonably safe isk, they all see me in local and run to their pos where they can sit there and wait until I am bored and move on. I feel like I am rambling now but I really wish the game were more risky than it is now though back then having 2-3k players online was a normal evening and a 7k weekend you had loads of targets.