Oct 23 2009

Howto: Mine efficiently

Personally I don’t care much about mining micromanagement. Even if an asteroid only has 700 units left, I just let my mining turrets complete their cycle. My Hulk does not even have a survey scanner on it. Blasphemy, right? Well I do know better, even if I do not do it that way. If you want to micromanage your mining operation, you need a survey scanner so you can see how much ore is left in the asteroids around you. If necessary, that allows you to adjust the cycles of your mining turrets to avoid losing precious cycle times on those that only have a few units left.

To be able to do that precisely, you have to know how much a single cycle will yield of the ore you are mining. Let’s say you are mining Veldspar: with my current setup, I get about 17.000 units per cycle. So if you divide the dial of your mining laser into sections, you can determine how much that turret has mined so far. That way you will know when to manually stop the turret so it only mines the 7500 units that asteroid has left in it. Of course that’s the hardcore micromanagement for those who want to pick a belt completely clean. The lazy micromanagers (not sure that makes sense) use the survey scanner to pick the big asteroids and move on to the next when they do not have a full cycle of ore left.

We are the hardcore micromanagers though! However, because calculating on the fly gets tedious real quick and as paper is not an option (think green :)), here is a little tool I built that will do it for you.

Just enter the total yield per cycle of your turret in the field under the dials and it will display the according values. You can also change the name of the ore in the dials, I included some of the most common ones.

Here is a direct link to the flash file, that way you can use it fullsize. Here in the blog I had to downsize it a little. Suggestions and requests welcome!

P.S. Yes, that is a logistics ship tailing the Hulk in the screenshot. Better safe than sorry in some parts of the EVE universe…

Jan 25 2009

Day 834: AeonOfTime’s biggest ship yet

Putting aside the fact that the Orca in EVE Online has none of the aggressive traits of its earth-dwelling sea mammal counterpart, it is indeed good news. When the new ship was announced, I was very enthusiastic about a new ship class that was obviously targeted to gang mining as well as corporation support and transport. Aeon himself already had all the required skills being a part-time miner, but having him fly the ship would have defeated the purpose of gang mining with Loreena. She had zero mining skills to start with, so it was more logical timewise to have her train for it than for a Hulk. To make sure I was not plunging head-on into a fool’s errand, I set up a client to play on the Singularity server and had Aeon testdrive the ship. My first impression was that for an industrial ship, it looked pretty sleek. A short trip outside the station showed that it was slow, which was to be expected… The rest was pure bliss though. I was not able to test everything, but as there were a lot of other pilots on to test the ship the local chatter answered my initial needs for information.

I started Loreena to train all the prerequisites, which incidentally means she can now also fly mining barges, which is a plus. By the time she had all the required skills a few Orcas were available on market, but as usual with new items at prices beyond reason – some even above 1 billion (the BPO price). From then on, it meant waiting. A friend of mine active in capital ships production told me they would eventually settle around 450 mil depending on mineral prices, so I gave it my best shot at patience. I had been mining for quite a while before that, and liquidating some unused assets catapulted Aeon’s wallet up to an all-time record of 1.1 billion, which did not exactly help the patience bit. It was only about finding my breaking point from there.

I observed the price evolution, and the decision was quickly made when I saw one for 630 million ISK. I made a few inter-regional pricechecks and eventually bought the ship right in Lustrevik, next door to Syrkos Technologies‘ headquarters. A trip to Jita would only have saved a few million, so I decided those 20+ jumps were not worth the trouble. Still quite a ways off the 450 mil mark, but it was good enough for me. Besides, having all that ISK in the wallet made me nervous, with all the other shiny stuff I could buy. Incidentally, it made me realize that Heimatar is quite a competitive market compared to Jita. Rens is often cheaper for tech 2 modules than Jita, if not on par with going prices there. Not enough to make a lot of profit, but enough to make it feel good to live in the area and know Jita is not the holy grail.

There was something thrilling about buying something that big after the Abaddon almost a year ago. I logged in Loreena, and checked the price three times to make sure there was the right number of zeroes in it (not that a missing zero would have been an issue). Then the market deliveries window refreshed and there it was, together with some Frozen Food, Frozen Plant Seeds, a bit of Wheat and 70 Tourists that were probably amazed by the huge packaged ship. I did not check if any of the frozen seeds disappeared, but I for one would surely have made myself some popcorn to watch the ship being assembled. For the first time in quite a while, christening the ship felt meaningful, and reminded me of the joy from my first acquisitions. After an albeit impatient solemn moment, Loreena was in space in the “Tatonka” (from the root Native American, meaning “large bull”) and en route to Sytek’s Lustrevik headquarters for a short fitting session. After whipping on a hasty fitting, Loreena warped out to an empty moon and together with a few corp members, we tested the ship’s functions.

Impressive, dr Watson

First off, the ship is huge. As usual in EVE you won’t realize this to its full extent until you see some other ships next to it – even battleships are relatively small compared to the Orca. As a mostly highsec pilot, it is refreshing to have a “heavyweight” ship other than the existing freighters allowed to fly around there. Especially since the Rorqual and all the battle-oriented capital ships are restricted to low- and nullsec. Beyond the mere aesthetic points, what seduced me is primarily the solid mining gang support. A lot of players thinking of buying an Orca crunch numbers like how long they will have to mine to get back the cost of the ship, but I have a much more pragmatic approach: I take decisions by gut. Otherwise I would probably not have bought it, and missed a lot of fun. Friends of the pew-pew will doubtlessly wonder behind which asteroid the fun in this might be hiding, but sitting in a belt with that ship is just awesome. Loreena keeps it within 1.500 metres of Aeon’s Hulk, that way Aeon can move his mined ore directly into the Orca’s corporation hangar without even having to drop a jetcan. Try stealing that ore 🙂

Here is a quick overview of the Orca:

  • 250% tractor beam range bonus (~71 km), 1000 m/s speed
  • 500% survey scanner range bonus
  • 5% cargo bonus per level
  • 3% gang modules bonus per level
  • Transportation: 81.588 m3 with 2 x Expanded Cargohold II and 3x Cargohold Optimization I rigs at my current ICS II
  • Transportation: 40.000 fixed corporation hangar space on top of raw cargo space
  • Transportation: 400.000 m3 for assembled ships with rigs (so up to BC size)
  • Full-fledged command ship, can fit all gang modules
  • Can fit three gang modules out of the box
  • Corporate hangars that can be accessed by up to 10 members simultaneously
  • Fitting and storing / undocking ships in space with the ship maintenance bay
  • Docking/undocking ships in space
  • Not easy to gank (10.750 Shield / 6.900 Armor / 46.000 Structure without skills)
  • Limitation: Ships in ship maintenance bay can only carry charges in their cargohold, no regular cargo
  • Limitation: Maintenance bay can only carry assembled ships

The gang modules make Aeon’s often short mining sessions a lot more profitable (with a theoretical maximum yield bonus of 45 to 50% depending on skills and implants). There are three Mining Foreman modules:

Of course these bonuses are subject to the related Leadership skills and ship bonuses. Loreena currently gets 10.6% from all three with Mining Director V. On Tatonka I use 2 x Laser Optimization and 1 x Field Enhancement as I have no need for the capacitor bonus. I could go for all-out cycle duration, but being able to mine up to 18 kms away without moving around is worth it. What I also like about the ship is that it is not an easily gankable ship. You need a lot of firepower to take one down even without any defensive modules installed. I am not keen on losing the ship though, so following some recommendations I always have a Damage Control II fitted and active. On top of that, as I do not use any survey modules or midslots at all I fitted a permarun Large Shield Booster II. Handy to tank rats… and more.

Of course it all depends on how you use the ship. My case is pobably not very widespread, with only one Hulk in the mining gang 🙂 With a ship like that, I prefer to be safe than sorry. You should not fly around with all your assets in the hold anyway, that is a gank waiting to happen. When I need to transport things I try to keep the total value not too high, and NEVER do it on autopilot. I have been ganked once before that way, it was a lesson well learned – but I digress, back to the topic at hand. Battleclinic has no way to post a fitting for ORE ships, so here it is the old way:

1 x Damage Control II
1 x Power Diagnostic Unit II

3 x Cap Recharger II
1 x Large Shield Booster II

2 x Mining Foreman Link – Laser Optimization
1 x Mining Foreman Link – Mining Laser Field Enhancement

3 x Cargohold Optimization I

Beyond mining

Trust people to use it for everything it is NOT made for, but as a command ship the Orca is not limited to mining tasks alone. You can fit any of the available gang modules, and some players successfully use the ship as missioning support. It has a 75 m3 drone bay, which means it can actively participate in fights if need be, and it’s a great salvager with that 70 km tractor range and increased speed. It can carry all the ammo you will ever need and you can even store ships for different tasks in it to swap around in space. Want to change hardeners for the next room? You do not even have to dock. It is not exactly what I would do with it, but it is always good to think outside of the box… Which is exactly what some pirates did when the Orca was released. As far as I know they used a small glitch that allowed the ship to transport -10 security status characters into highsec, and would warp into belts, undock with ships from the maintenance hangar and gank some unsuspecting miners. That glitch has been fixed since, but it further demonstrates that as boring and repetitive that mining can get, you should always keep your guard up.

Well I think this about wraps the subject for now, I wrote a lot more than I started out for. As always, feel free to comment. I would love to hear how you use your Orca, or what you are planning to do when you eventually get one.

On a sidenote, Aeon really has to train Veldspar Processing sometime soon… 2 years into the game and he still cannot mine Veldspar properly, and that with the current market prices! Chribba, if you hear me, I know – I’m not worthy 🙂 Seeing how fast I can strip a belt on my own now, it is kind of depressing to have to leave all the veldspar asteroids behind. The ship and gunnery skills have gotten a lot of love lately, so I think it is only fair to focus back on mining for a month or two.

I have posted few screenshots of late, so here is a catchup collection!

Jan 8 2008

Day 451: Back to basics

After all the mission running, complex running, ratting, trading and moving from A to Z, I had to relax a bit. So I hopped into my speed monster “Naeroth” (Malediction) and made the sixteen-jump trip out to my mining system. I have not mined in a long time, and had not yet seen “Anamoth Lael” (Hulk) in its new Trinity-powered shape. I must say exhumers in general look a hell of a lot better now – they are more angular for one, giving them an air of pure competence and efficiency. I have not witnessed the “Pink paintjob” everyone talks about so far, on mine the colored patches are all orange. My guess is, this is like the color of a solar system’s star having an effect on the hue of the ship itself. I mine in a brown-orange-ish system, so it is possible a blue star would make those patches pink…

Anyway, I like the new Hulk and have rediscovered mining. It is tremendously relaxing, and highly profitable too. It is not like level 3 missions do not pay the bills, but mining is definitely a better time investment. From what I heard, this is different with level 4 missions, but after a failed attempt at them a while back I am waiting to complete my level 4 preparation skillplan (90 days to go) to try that again. The all-time highs in my wallet have always been after mining “lapses”, so I am going to mine for as long as I enjoy it and see what comes of it 🙂

The belt I am mining in is nice and quiet, and has Veldspar, Scordite, Plagioclase and Omber. I made a point of training Omber Processing to be able to use the specialty crystals, and going for level 4 to use the tech II ones. I found that the ore value comparison table at battleclinic is probably wrong about listing Plagioclase at 23 ISK per unit vs 12 ISK for Omber (for the highest value subtypes). Seeing how valuable Isogen (a product of refining Omber) is at the moment, Omber is better value – they must be basing their values on obsolete market data. Even so, it is much better to be able to warp to a belt bookmark with all crystal types in the hold and just mine everything in sight methodically. Aeon still needs to train for Veldspar though, then he will leave nothing behind but the cold void of space. Chribba would probably cringe at hearing that as a miner, I am only training Veldspar processing now 🙂

Loreena has flown in from Domain to help, with a locally bought Mammoth she hauls all the ore back to base. Aeon just flies into a belt and mines to his heart’s content. I use a jetcan to transfer the ore, but as Loreena picks it up directly there is no problem with potential can stealers. The stash of ore is increasing nicely, and I think this time I will wait a while before I refine it all. A courier contract for the refined materials will be a lot more comfortable than the unending hauling trips – if the price is right of course.

Aeon’s wallet being at a new low of about six million ISK, I will have to let him mine for quite a while. I am not sure yet as to what I will invest that money in, but I am sure it will not be cheap. Apart maybe from civilian shield boosters nothing is really cheap in EVE! Although… A friend in-game actually managed to sell two civilian shield boosters for 12 million each, so even those things can be quite expensive… 🙂

Aug 22 2007

Day 312: Taking mining one notch further

After finding that nice new macrofreeTM 0.7 security system to mine in, I decided it was high time to upgrade Aeon’s mining capabilities. I made him mine like a madman for two days, and called Loreena in with Sayathos – which has recently been “pimped” to carry 22.000 m3 – to refine and haul the whole stash. With all that Plagioclase and Omber, the corporation’s wallet ended up with a healthy 125 Mil. It took five hauling runs with 36 jumps each to bring all back to Rens. During the process, I realized how expectations can rise over time: exactly 259 days ago, Aeon was hauling 18 Rifters using a Hoarder, for a maximum of 2 Million ISK profit 🙂

The aim was to reach 150 million to buy a Hulk, but fortunately that was not necessary – when I rechecked the market, there was one for sale in Pator for a stunning 125 million. Needless to say, I bought it before anyone else would notice (incidentally, they currently sell for about 110 million). As always Aeon had to wait a full day before he could fly the ship, as Exhumers III had to finish training – but then he flew to Pator, christened the ship and took it on its maiden voyage. I called it Anamoth Lael, and it went directly to Aeon’s mining spot to relieve Natayos of its duties.

I have to say, I had always been a little sceptic as to why the Hulk should be that much better than a Covetor. It has the same amount of turret hardpoints, so only the additional Exhumers bonus does something for the mining amount… But it is much better in all other aspects. It has great shield resists, a real capacitor that does not deplete entirely when activating the three laser turrets, and three more medium slots for defensive modules like a shield booster and hardener. The real “clou” is the cargo capacity though: 8.000 m3… No wonder macrominers do not jetcan anymore – with two Expanded Cargohold IIs and two Cargohold Optimization II rigs, a Hulk can easily be upgraded to about 16.000 m3!

Anyway, after the operation the Syrkos Technologies Corporation was broke again, a mere 1.5 million in its wallet. It is going to take some serious mining again to get that back up, as well as some missioning. A shame Aeon cannot run level 4 missions yet – the pay, loot and salvage are much better than level 3 missions.

Aug 14 2007

Day 304: Deserted gold mine

This morning, on a whim, I took Aeon on an 18-jump trip with Aramea (his Covetor). The destination was a 0.8 system I had scouted out a few months ago when the macrominers in Oremmulf really started to frustrate me. My petition regarding them has been closed without a solution, so it was time to replace the frustration with some action – and lo! It was even better than I remembered it.

When Aeon got there, the system was empty – and its 16 belts of virgin, ripe and shiny roids were waiting to be picked in all their glory. But that was not all… it has a nice NPC station with all essential services, and the constellation it lies in is just – well, beautiful.

No, I will not tell which system 🙂

On the traditional sidenote, Aeon has come a long way since the last log entry – and the skill priorities have changed somewhat. I joined the Amarr channel lately to try and get some information on how to fit Pax Nemesis II (Aeon’s Abaddon) properly – with large turrets and an armor tank – and I was surprised at how helpful they were, seeing that Aeon is a Minmatar char. My original plan was to train him for large turret specialization, but those tech 2 turrets just use up too much CPU and capacitor. You can fit less of them, so you more than make up for that by fitting more named ones.

To better use the ship’s armor tanking capabilities with the nice bonuses to armor resistances per level of the Amarr Battleship skill, Aeon has to train a few things up like Hull Upgrades to fit some passive or active hardeners. A few capacitor support rigs will have to be fitted to make sure the guns and armor repairers have enough – like a Capacitor Control Circuit I and Egress Port Maximizer I. First he has to finish training Amarr Cruiser to level five, then it’s off to those skills and finally make a real battleship out of Pax Nemesis II 🙂

Jul 16 2007

Frustration, rage and hope

Let me tell you a little story, of a pod pilot who found his little spot in space where he got to feel at home. From Ammold to Emolgranlan and Vullat, even though he had enjoyed his stay he did not really belong.

When he found Oremmulf however, his life changed. There was everything he needed there – from contacts for running missions to plagioclase-laden belts and manufacturing installations. There were a few other miners there, but with a grand total of five including him, there was always enough to mine.

Things suddenly changed however, when he came back after some missioning in Balginia. When he warped to his favorite mining location in his Covetor – now fitted with shiny new plagioclase mining crystals – there was nothing left. A few small veldspar rocks was all, too small to be worth pointing his lasers on.

The balance had been tipped. Oremmulf had been deemed not to be farmed enough, and now there were 9 pod pilots in shiny hulks systematically hacking away at the belts between downtimes. Had they been regular players having fun like himself, he would not have minded – chances would have been that they needed materials for a special venture and be off again after a while.

Not these pilots however, because their pods contain a different kind of entity – one that has been breeded specifically for one single task: mining. In a very real sense they are machines, programmed to do their master’s bidding without conscious thought. And that’s why a rage began to slowly build in our pilot, together with an equal frustration.

It is all a game. It is about having fun, and there is a delicate balance that ensures this. Whoever controls those miner pilots has gone too far, impeding on the realm of the players they “work” for. Before, there was enough to accomodate for everyone – now they just come and take it all. Our pilot knows he must either act, or find a new home.

This is where the frustration comes into play… his rage does not have any means to be channeled into any form of action. Oremmulf is a 0.9 security system, so except bumping there is really not much he can do. Suicide ganking is a remote possibility, but he does not like that idea. It is the helplessness that slowly gnaws away at the fun, the search for a new home that brings new hope but new sacrifices as well.

Only time will tell what will happen when the rage and frustration are finally released, or new hope quenches their fire.

Jun 14 2007

The mining braindead

  • They are online 24/7
  • They all have expensive, shiny Hulks
  • They rip your mining system clean every day
  • They do not answer in local
  • They are mostly afk, as sometimes their ships will just sit there for a few minutes doing nothing
  • They have T2 cargo expanders and cargo rigs
  • They do not use jetcans to avoid ore theft even in highsec, they mine until the hold is full and warp back and forth between the belts and their base
  • They have friends who come pick up their loads in freighters
  • They will mine in your belt even if you were there before them and even if there are at least 6 other empty belts
  • They block the docking area of your station with their frequent warp-ins and warp-outs
  • They have strange names
  • They are almost exclusively Caldari chars that offer the best training base to get the required skills as fast as possible (especially the younger ones)
  • They avoid confrontation as that only lowers their quotas
  • They only have one agent listed in their profile that they did missions for
  • They mostly have a 0.0 security status
  • They are sometimes not even human (bots)
  • They are the so-called macro-miners.

So what are these guys about anyway? They are a bunch of people who work for one of the many ISK reseller websites you can find on the net. They have accounts that they use in shifts to earn in-game currency, and they also buy off ISK from players who are willing to sell it low-price. They use the funds they earn this way for several things: reselling ISK in real life to players who do not want to spend the time earning it in the game and/or reselling implants/implant bundles.

In highsec there is not much a single player can do about these leeches – you can only tease them, but not enough to actually accomplish anything. In this case, it comforts me to know pirates like Pulsar Solaris (ranked 16th last time I checked) who will even go to lengths like suicide-smartbombing whole platoons to get to the macro-miner’s T2 equipment. From what he told me, with some friends they once succeeded in blasting and podding 4 Hulk pilots in one attack. The T2 equipment they looted covered the cost of the battleships they used 🙂

…almost makes me consider piracy!

Dec 13 2006

Day 61: Serious mining

Mining in a RetrieverMy skillplan for getting an Exhumer is slowly advancing, and today I have finally come as far as Mining Barge III, which means I can fly a Retriever, the medium-sized of the three available. I even got a great bargain, as someone took my buy order at 4.5Mil (vs 6.5 usual price), adding a proud ship with call sign Maiea to my modest fleet. I outfitted her with two Strip Miner I turrets, and after sending Loreena to fetch the modules a few jumps away I took it for a test mining session.

First off, that thing looks awesome. Like a massive space roadster, complete with steaming turrets and moving parts. But that’s not all – those two strip mining turrets take mining seriously. One cycle of both turrets yields 5000+ of Plagioclase, nearly enough to fill the 2000m3 cargo of the Retreiver – and enough to effectively “strip” some of the smaller asteroids in one cycle. Used to mining Scordite in Vullat, I had to move to a new system with a few more belts

I also met another miner that I am mining with now – he has a command bonus that gives a cool 8% mining yield bonus. Since he needs to form a gang with at least two members for the bonus to work, we both have an advantage in this. It is nice to find someone sharing the same passion too, as there are not that many dedicated miners out there – farmers for ISK resellers do not count 🙂 And with the general attitude of “mining is boring like hell” it is refreshing to hear a different opinion.

AeonOfTime’s status
Skillpoints: 1.800.000
Level V Skills: 3
Level IV Skills: n/a
ISK: 778.000
Known skills: 53
Training: Mining Barge IV

Nov 28 2006

Day 46: A little change

The RuptureA bit tired of all the mining and with an account boasting 11 Million ISK, I thought it was time to try something new, in the form of running a few missions. I have trained my Minmatar Cruiser skill to level 3 to boost Xaraya‘s mining bonus, so incidentally all the available Minmatar cruisers are within my reach. After a quick check with my fellow RMS players I bought a Rupture – callsign Azure Skies – which is slower than the second choice (a Stabber), but much more resilient shield and armor-wise as well as fitting-wise (5 low slots, 3 med and 6 high).

My current setup is still a poor man’s one, but more because of the lack of offensive skills like gunnery and turret skills: I have four Dual Modal Light Laser I‘s with a set of different frequency crystals. Not very effective, but they get the job done for level 1 missions… the massive shields of the Rupture help a lot when I fight several rats at once. For the moment this is only for light entertainment between mining runs, PvP is still waaaaay off, especially since I am not really fond of that aspect of the game.

Traditional space opera with the RuptureOn the mining side I am quite happy with my mining runs – they are really quite profitable now, with the current equipment on Xaraya and using jetcanning, I make about 500k ISK with each run. The combined three lasers yield 2649 ore every cycle, so the 9600 m3 of Fayathea are filling up pretty fast. It is just tiring because you have to stay there the whole time moving the ore into the container. It is much more relaxing to send the Hoarder and forget about it until the computer tells me the asteroid is depleted – but then filling one cargohold takes nearly 3 hours against 20 mins the other way…

So for reference, this is my current mining setup:

A Scythe cruiser
3 x Miner II‘s
3 x Expanded Cargohold I‘s
Mining level 4, +20% mining turret yield
Minmatar Cruiser skill level 3, +60% mining laser yield
Astrogeology level 3, +15% mining turret yield

Nov 15 2006

Day 33: Triple mining lasers bliss

Mining in a ScytheI finished training my Minmatar Frigate skill to level 4 – and directly jumped back to Ammold V in my Shuttle where the Minmatar Cruiser skillbook was patiently waiting. A few minutes and million ISK later, I finally have my Scythe, callsign Xaraya. It is equipment selection time!! Ohhhhh yes that’s sweet: three mining turrets, but only a 20% mining yield bonus, vs the 80% bonus I had with Crunchy. The three lasers make up for it, but I will have to train the cruiser skill a bit more to get really kicking.

Asteroid fields, here I come! This will help so much to fund the upcoming skills and equipment. The next step is a medium-sized Mining Barge before I start training for an Exhumer, and that’s expensive enough already. But I will get there eventually 🙂