Tobold's Blog
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
EVE mining

Mining in EVE Online is a relatively simple affair. You fly out to one of the many asteroid belts, target a rock, start your mining laser, and wait. Every minute (or every 3 minutes if you have a specialized mining barge with a strip mining laser) a load of ore is delivered to your cargo hold. Voila, instant wealth! Only of course the amount of ore you can mine in a minute in a totally safe space isn't worth very much.

Once you move away from the sectors with the highest security level, you will find NPC pirates in the asteroid belts. They don't respawn very fast, thus you can go to the asteroid belt with a combat ship, shoot down the pirates ("rats"), go back to the station, switch to your mining ship, and go back to the asteroid belt to mine for a while until the rats are back. But once you enter space with a security level of less than 0.5, your problem will mostly be player pirates, against whom that method obviously won't work.

The other problem of mining is cargo hold. Except for specialized mining barges (If I wanted to fly one, I'd need to spend over 10 days of skill training for the minimum required skills), ships in EVE Online come in two types: Ships with large cargo hold which have zero or one turrets on which to install a mining laser, or ships with several turrets which have a small cargo hold. If you take the former, you'll get very little ore per minute, but in a safe spot you can mine afk for an hour until your hold is full. Not efficient, but on my dual screen setup I can put EVE on the second screen and do something else on the main screen. The more common method is to use a ship with several mining lasers, in which case your cargo hold will be full after a few minutes. Then you have two options: The slower, but safer method is to fly back to the station, unload, fly back out, and restart mining. The more risky method is to "jettison" your ore into space, which will create a cargo container or "can" floating next to you in space which has a huge volume. So you mine, and every couple of minutes you shift your ore from your cargo hold into the can. Once the can is full, you fly back to the station, switch to a ship with a big cargo hold, fly back to the can, and get the ore. But cans aren't safe, anyone can come and steal your ore, if he doesn't mind that this flags him as being attackable by you and your corporation (guild) for 15 minutes.

Ideally you'd have a combat ship, a mining ship, and a ship to transport the ore with. Lots of EVE players have multiple accounts, and run such an operation by multiboxing. But at a larger scale many corporations organize mining events, a "raid" on an asteroid belt so to say. Some players mine, others transport the ore, and a third group is in combat ships keeping everyone safe. Corporate mining is pretty much the only way one can mine in low sec space.

I participated in a corporate mining operation Sunday evening, for four-and-a-half hours. Due to me new to the game I only had a small frigate to mine with, with two mining lasers, and a cargo hold that couldn't even hold three minutes worth of mining (and that with modules to increase cargo hold). So every two minutes I shifted my ore from the cargo hold to the can. When the rock I had targeted was empty, I shifted to the next rock, and when the asteroid belt we mined was empty, we shifted to the next belt. That was all. 4.5 hours of clicking every two minutes to move ore from the hold to the can. Incredibly boring as a gameplay activity. Of course pretty much everyone in the mining operation was bored, so we had lots of time to chat. It reminded me a bit of Everquest, where the developers deliberately forced groups to "meditate" for minutes between combats to regenerate mana, to encourage groups to chat. I understand the idea, but already back in EQ that sort of downtime to enforce social interaction wasn't really popular. And personally while I do like to chat sometimes, over 4 hours of chatting is a bit too much for me. So in case you noticed yesterday had two rather long blog entries: Those were written while mining Sunday night.

The one redeeming feature of mining in EVE is that whatever you do, you produce something useful. Even if you are in your newbie ship on the tutorial mission to mine Veldspar and refine it to Tritanium, the Tritanium is not just used for "low level" items, like mining copper in World of Warcraft would be. While not extremely valuable, Tritanium is used for manufacturing pretty much everything, so there is a solid market for it. The further you advance in mining, to rarer ores, the more advanced metals you get, but Tritanium is usually still a part of the mix of metals refining advanced ores gives you. Thus unlike WoW you don't have a situation where low level resource gathering only produces material for low level crafting of items for low level characters. Much better economic integration of new players is a good thing. But mining in EVE is still boring.
Do these mining events get attacked by pirates?

How often are there inter-corporation fights?
The question you implicitly ask is: "Should mining be more interactive?".

However, I don't think that this would necessarily be a good idea. Looking at the three options:

1) Either mining is totally boring so that you can do something else while you do it.
2) Or mining is so much fun that you don't want to do anything else a the same time.
3) Or mining is not much fun, but you cannot do anything else while you do it.

Obviously (2) would be best, but probably impossible to implement.
(3) is the worst option by far.
Thus, (1) is the way to go.

The best option is probably to make mining boring, but also encourage enemy players to try to rob you (in low sec space).

EVE could sometimes spawn incredibly valueable asteroid belts that every major corp knows about to focus the PvP action.

On the other hand, this could easily result in too many ships in one area and a monster lag.

MMO design is never easy :)
What???? You got bored after mining for only four hours??? Go back to WoW you whining noob;)

To be honest you lasted longer that I did. I gave up on mining after five minutes. However it has to be admitted that there are a lot of boring things you can do in EVE. Even pvp involves a lot of waiting around between bursts of action.

The compensation is that there are a huge number of different things you can do. If you get bored with any one then you can try another. There is no "standard path" that every player has to take, every EVE player creates their own adventure.

For me the fact that I have a nerdy love of spreadsheets helped. I very much enjoyed ship fitting, spending hours in EFT trying out combinations that were achieveable within my skillset and my budget.

I get the impression that you want to go down an industrial path but it might be worth trying a combat mission or two. Missions are the closest thing EVE has to quests and they can be surprisingly challenging content if you tackle them solo at the right level (level 1 in a frigate / destroyer, level 2 cruiser, level 3 battle cruisers, level 4 battleship). Even level 1's are quite a step up from the tutorial missions and will force you to learn ship fitting and pve tactics. You will probably also lose a ship or two - a nessecary part of the EVE experience. Unfortunately there are only a limited number of missions and they become boring and repetitive if you run them over and over again.

There is that word again: "boring". I think it is a word that will eventually comes up in any conversation about EVE. Perhaps this is the price one pays for having a sandbox world.
Btw, with a mining barge you can mine high sec belts easily even with NPC pirates as at that stage you have 4-5 drones with you which can handle them.

What you did leave out is the reprocessing of the ore to minerals. You loose quite a lot as a newbie as you need high skills and high standing to get the best out of reprocessing ores.

In corps there is usually someone dedicated for this who has the maxed out skills to maximize the profits.

For newbies its best to sell the ores and buy the minerals for the ISK in return, thats more effective than reprocessing yourself.

Lots of economics, even in mining ...
Sounds like I could have written an auto-it script to auto-mine in those four hours.

I've done something similar once. Use two screens. Watch a movie on one screen, let my personally written 100 lines WoW fishing script run on the second screen.

Anything you can automate in a hundred lines can't be much fun...
I rarely mine as I agree it's rather boring. I do sometimes mine if I'm doing something rather demanding on my second screen.

Missioning is more fun, better money and the skills cross over to pvp. I suggest you focus on missioning.
Thus, (1) is the way to go.

Well, for that I'd need at least a mining barge or another way to not have to manually shift the ore from my cargon hold to the can every 2 minutes.

What you did leave out is the reprocessing of the ore to minerals. You loose quite a lot as a newbie as you need high skills and high standing to get the best out of reprocessing ores.

Well, I got my refining skill up to IV relatively early. Which means that while I'm not getting "the best" out of reprocessing, at least the efficiency is bearable.

I get the impression that you want to go down an industrial path but it might be worth trying a combat mission or two. Missions are the closest thing EVE has to quests and they can be surprisingly challenging content if you tackle them solo at the right level

I started mission last night. Got a few random missions which unfortunately were all of the Fedex type. Then moved on and started the Sisters of EVE epic story mission arc, which is better. Although up to now I didn't encounter much resistance. I only fly a Punisher frigate (reward from a career mission), but managed to fit 3 medium lasers on it, and some of the rats I just one-shot.

Note that this isn't due to RMT, I bought 286 million ISK, but have 291 million in my wallet, due to my corporation being rather generous to newbies participating in mining operations.
One thing I do wonder is how hardcore people are in general in EVE. Do people think you're an idiot for example if you mine in a non-optimal way?
I got as far as the mining barge the last time I tried EVE but it was the realization of how much I could earn from selling the timecards weighed against the tedium of mining which killed that activity off for me. Trading went the same way for the same reason.
I got as far as the mining barge the last time I tried EVE but it was the realization of how much I could earn from selling the timecards weighed against the tedium of mining which killed that activity off for me. Trading went the same way for the same reason.

I soo much support this point of view that I feel the need to make this comment :)
Remember; however boring ore mining may be, it's still more engaging than ice harvesting...

(Tragically, I do a lot of both).
I hope that you have small lasers on that Punisher.

The Punisher grants a 5% cap usage reduction per level of Amarr Frigate making far easier to fire all those lasers for a long time.

That underscores an important point: make sure you are fitting weapons that match your ship's bonuses.

Gah! You Amarr are freaking crazy! Medium Beam lasers are actually small turret lasers. W T F !
@ Spinks

Generally, no. Most people realize that EVE has a learning cliff and that you probably don't know better yet.

Additionally, if you really are a newbie, you probably don't have the skills to really mine optimally anyway.
So which system exactly did you say you were mining in? Muahahaha! :D
One day mmo designers will realise simple truth -do not force players to do boring activities. Make NPCs do it.

If you commanded your npc drones to go mine x belt for y hours you could have fun activity (like fighting other players assaulting your mining drones, or , if yours were safe, go harass other ones).

One thing which is also boring is waiting ,so make it so you get alert when your drones are attacked and you have time to get back and defend them (say there is some mechanism which preventing players ganking your drones in 5 sec, say there is some control bay you leave at asteroids, where drone drop off the ore, and that control bay takes x amount of time to destroy, and that x is balanced as reasonable travel time .

Which brings me yet to another level - travel is boring unless you exploring (which you dont most of the time) make travel take 10-15 minutes tops.

If those 3 things combined were in eve I would be playing it right now
At the other end of the scale (before we got into wormhole space) I've known my main mining/indy corp to do 14h operations (yes their sanity may be questioned - 4h is about as far as I can personally take it as well). These guys were not into popping roids, at that level it's system kills (imagine an entire high sec system with no roids in the belts at all - zip - zero - nada - locusts are amateurs).
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mining is the base of the pyramid - it is the harvesting profession to end all professions.

Yes, to some extent it's as simple as targeting a ringle asteroid and waitin guntil your hols is full. But here's a different scenario:

Location: Unclaimed nullsec

Objective: n amount of Crokite to wrap up a super cap build.

Operation: 8 Hulks, 2 Orcas, 1 Rorqual, 4 intercepters, 1 HIC, 2 HACs, 4 BSs. And a temporary POS.

For 8 hours, security is provided for the Hulks mining, while the Orcas ferry the ore back to the Rorq (within the POS field) for on-site compression.

Yes - mining can be boring, but the infrastructure behind it can be awesome.
Dear fake Gev-i-on,

I don't think the real Gevlon needs to get his reputation sullied by you faking his identity, he is doing that quite well on his own.

If you want to comment on my blog, choose another identity for yourself, faking Gevlon isn't all that funny any more.
>So mining is the equivalent of fishing in WoW: profitable and boring.

Sadly, this is right on the ball. Tobold, would you go mining, skinning, fishing, eternal farming, daily grinding, or badge farming in WoW? Why, since EVE mining sounds exactly the same?

This post is ONLY about EVE mining, in a complete void. I don't see how this is useful in deciding if one game is more fun than another. Why not compare it to other EVE activities, or, heaven forbid, 4.5 hours of Bejeweled? Which is more fun: mining or moving jewels around?

EVE mining seems to actually be equivalent to looting a corpse. a mob drops a few silver and a chance of a gray. It's probably worth it to kill X rats, then loot them for tails and whiskers or whatever to vendor, but really, those 3 seconds per mob to get the loot aren't interesting in the slightest.

If I were an developer taking this opinion into consideration (which I would), I wouldn't really want to make a change because mining is only one of many systems in the game, and it's intended to appeal to those two types of players you mentioned: 4.5 hour long chatters, and people who are willing to endure the ultimate boredom for a great profit.

I look forward to your review of the rest of the systems.
Mining does indeed become quite profitable using the more specialist ships and mining lasers.

Really, mining as an activity in-game is really the domain of the multi-boxer... myself I had two pilots in hulks and a third in a hauler or an Orca (giving mining bonuses).

At this point, you are continuously busy, with never a moment spare, as the quantities of ore are sufficiently large that you are perpetually juggling tasks.

Mining is really about maximising return on effort....

As a new player, your best bet is to get into a hauler asap, as you will be able to move ore, and it is a damn useful ship to have an ability to fly.
I used to just read books while mining in EvE really. FInished quite a few that way...
Just want to throw a supporting comment for all the people who "actually enjoy" mining, ie me ^^

Yes it can seem tedious at times but i dual box with an orca pilot and hulk, and i find mining a relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

Not that that's all i do, with remote trade, industry and research skills i also manage research/manufacture and sell/buy orders while mining to turn a good profit as well as just chat with friends :)

So yeah it's boring for some but don't brush everyone with the same brush as i find grinding missions more tedious >.>
Guthamma: Yeah, with lasers you get 'small-medium-large', and then sub-categories of 'light-medium-heavy'. So you end up with a medium-medium class!

Pretty annoying and easy to get things wrong with, but there you go.
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