This weekend I spent some time in highsec, for the first time in a couple of months. Ever since moving to Catch, I have remained there, apart from jumping back to a highsec clone to get some skill books. This weekend, however, after consolidating some assets in highsec I decided to go back to Junsoraert and take a lvl4 mission there. The agent made me a nice offer - Recon - so I checked the fitting on my Navy issue Dominix, loaded up some ammo and the right drones and off I went.
Now if you haven't run a highsec mission in a while, there's some stuff you have to get used to again. First: local is full of neutrals. The nullsec habit of continuously checking local doesn't help in highsec, there are neutrals everywhere and they are - most probably - not out to get you. Still, I don't feel comfortable in highsec anymore! To me it feels like a densely populated, run down part of downtown, with groups of shady looking types loitering on street corners. It's most definitely not 'home' anymore.
Second: the amount of damage the mission enemies (NPC enemies) do, is minimal compared to what you can expect in nullsec if you run into the wrong people. Being orbited by a couple of battleships in the Recon mission isn't anything to get worried about, if your Dominix fitted right. But in nullsec, a couple of battleships can chew through your tank in no time. In other words - these lvl4 missions aren't that dangerous, and hence not that exiting either.
The rewards, on the other hand, are plentiful. Yesterday I ran four missions (the three Recon episodes and an Angel Cartel Pirate Invasion) and I earned roughly 36 million ISK, which includes the 4 million I earned with the sale of some expensive salvage. That is 36 million ISK for an essentially risk free excercise!
In Catch, on the other hand, ISK wasn't that easy to make. Of course you could run the Hidden Dens, the Ports etcetera, but bounties were rarely so rich as in these lvl4's. The risk, on the other hand, is very real: losing your vigilance for 20 seconds can mean that, all over sudden, the Port you're soloing is crawling with reds, and you'll be sent home the shortest route possible: by being podded.
Occassionally, you can strike it rich in these nullsec anomalies, by getting an NPC faction enemy, sometimes with nice drops such as BPO's or other expensive stuff. But on the average, I'd say that the risk/reward ratio is currently skewed towards highsec. Need ISK? Run lvl4 missions for a week, virtually risk free, and you're good to go.
Of course, after the anomaly nerf a while ago, many people were saying this, but doing these two missions really showed me, how easy, risk free and - frankly - boring the ISK making process in highsec really is. And how well it pays, to boot..