When you played “for years” you had to resub to even be able to log in, and after you did you had access to everything including your level 4 missions. So: resub (just like you always have) and enjoy the lvl 4’s.
If you have the resources for a Machariel, then the Abyss could be for you, if you are not ready to sub. Maybe a 500mil isk gila fit, and start out Tier 1 till you are comfortable, then move up a Tier. Tier 2 doesn’t make great isk, but it’s not bad either, especially if you have MWD fit and grab all the caches. Higher tiers you will need more and more bling, implants, and drugs, but there are guides for that, although at the highest levels you may want to consider going omega for better ships and skills. Additionally, the content fits nicely into <20min chunks.
Oh, it’s another “equal rights for Free to play people” thread. You realize that CCP needs to pay for employees and company overhead right? Also, alpha clones are a plague on this game that should never have been implemented in the way they were.
You can either purchase PLEX with in game currency or pay for a subscription. And there are plenty of ways for alphas to earn large amounts of isk, too many in my opinion.