Welcome to Jester's Trek.
I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
You can follow along, if you want...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I'm just going to spit-ball here for a little bit.  It'll probably result in me being called all sorts of names, but I'm used to that.

When I first started playing EVE, I did a fair bit of mining.  In a game where trit sold for 4+ ISK per unit, it was an easy, low-effort way to make what to me seemed a decent income at the time.  It required only a tiny bit of my attention, and most of the time I'd do it, it'd run in the background while I was doing something else.  Watching a movie?  Fine, I'll have the laptop on the table next to me and shift ore around every few minutes.  Working on writing something?  Same deal: the Hulk can do its thing on one of the side monitors.  I anchored a lot of cans in a 0.7 system and filled them, then came back later and emptied them.  Repeat repeat repeat.  It was boring but steady ISK.

But this period of my EVE career only lasted about six months or so before I moved on to other things.  I did a little more mining after I moved into a wormhole, to take advantage of the higher-value ores available there.  But as I've covered before, even the draw of this faded fast.  Mining itself is relaxing and low-effort, but the logistics support involved is painful.  Two of my characters are able to pilot Hulks, and I still own two of them.  But it's now coming up on two years since I've undocked in either of them.(1)

I occasionally think about selling them, but then part of me thinks "well, it was relaxing, and maybe someday I'll do it again."  Another part of my brain thinks "Are you high?  Even belt-ratting is better than mining."  The two parts get into an argument, nothing is resolved, and the Hulks gather dust in the hangars.  Why yes, that is how my mind works sometimes.

I don't read the EVE-O forums all that often -- the signal-to-noise ratio is usually unacceptably low for me.  Still, a thread out there started by Mors Sanctitatis caught my eye with some suggestions on how to improve mining:

You can read the whole post if you like, but the bulk of it is stuff that's been covered lots of times in other fora: get rid of drone alloys, shut down T1 loot drops, change the asteroids in belts to visually show which ones are valuable and which ones are junk to make bot-mining harder.  They're not necessarily bad ideas... they're just not all that original.  Still, there's one suggestion in his post that strikes me as being very interesting.

A lot of people never mine in Skyrim, regarding it as a waste of time.  And indeed, most of the time it is.  But one of the interesting things about Skyrim mining is that every once in a while as you're doing it, the game will tell you you've mined a gemstone and you'll have a sapphire or a garnet or a flawless diamond added to your inventory.  It's a nice touch!  Sure, the ore itself is nearly worthless except as a means of raising your Smithing skill later, but Skyrim gemstones are a nice source of supplemental gold.

Mors suggests a very similar mechanic for EVE Online mining.  Every once in a while as you mined, you'd come upon a super-compressed fragment of the asteroid that -- when uncompressed -- would be worth a lot of ISK: hundreds of thousands or millions of units of ore in that one small bit.  The fragment would be dropped into your ship's cargo hold along with the rest of the ore mined during that cycle.  He further suggests that there would be some kind of visual clue that would let you know which asteroids had a chance of producing this higher-quality drop, and that such fragments would be much more common in lower security space.  And that one idea, I find quite intriguing!  People who belt-rat do it for the ISK, of course, but the process is livened up by the occasional faction spawn... and the far-off dream of an officer spawn.  And it's those faction and officer spawns that belt ratters often remember, not the drudge of the grind.

Why should mining be different?

It'd also be quite interesting from both ganking and logistics perspectives.  Mors suggests that this super-compressed ore fragment would be quite small, and I agree with this approach.  Say this suggestion were implemented.  The Hulk you're watching suddenly turns and prepares to warp off despite having lots of rocks in front of him.  Think it's time to break out the cargo scanner?  ;-)  In addition, I could see these super-compressed fragments gaining a value out of proportion to their actual mineral value since they could be transported into or out of null-sec in blockade runners instead of jump freighters.  That might even serve to lessen a bit of the mineral compression problem.

It's certainly not the whole Bible on how to make mining in EVE less shit, but it sure strikes me as an interesting chapter!  Thoughts?  Is this the oldest idea in the universe, and I'm just so far behind today's EVE mining discussions that I wasn't aware of it?

(1) Well, scratch that.  I undocked in one for about three minutes a couple of days after the new turret models were released to see what they and the new mining laser effects looked like.  ;-)


  1. Sounds like Runescape mining. Suddenly uncut diamond! Usually worth more than the ore you're mining!

  2. Meh.


  3. When I'm leading mining ops we usually talk about different ways we'd want mining to be more interesting:

    - Sun mining and comet mining
    - Being able to use strip miners against hostiles
    - and...loot drops a la ratting

    I like the idea. The only problem would be that the loot drop would have to be timed so that it wouldn't spam out your hold (e.g. the "diamond" is 400m3 and only only have 150m3 left). The theory is sound though. I mine a lot anyway, but surprises and presents are always welcomed.

    1. The idea is that the "diamond" would be very small. 10m3 or so in the original proposal, though I think 100m3 would be more useful.

    2. It might also be interesting to introduce behavior into the asteroids. You're mining kernite and then *poof* a mercoxit pocket! Damage cloud and all. Or maybe your strip miners cut clean through the rock and it cracks into two new ones each with half the ore.

  4. As someone with a decent understanding of mineral compression, but never having done it myself, I am quite confused how this HELPS the mineral compression problem, rather than exacerbating it. I suppose it depends on what exactly people feel is bad about mineral compression, but to my understanding, it is because it makes moving huge quantities of minerals around far too easy. I find it interesting (and rather cool) that these would have value above their actual mineral content due to their awesome compression, but it doesn't actually help the compression 'problem' - it just introduces a far superior form of it.

    1. It alters the dynamic of compression somewhat. Instead of "I shall manufacture 10,000 Passive Targeters", it introduces the option of "Meh, too much :effort:, I will see how much Super-Compressed Tritanium Fragments are going for in Jita".

  5. Also, ganking said haulers full of super-compressed ore. Everyone wins. :D

    But I really like this idea, never mined myself, but it certainly seems like it needs a good bit of a revamp.

  6. I'm going to go on a bit of a tangent here.

    I've long had an idea to counter the proliferation of supercapitals. It would call for their complete removal and refunding, to be re-introduced at a later date.

    Basically, x component (ie: computer system) of a supercapital is incredibly advanced and requires some extremely rare isotope or neutrino or something to run such a large vessel.

    Anyways you can probably see where I'm going with this but the basic premise would tie into this mining idea pretty well.

    The isotopes are hidden within asteroids at a very low rate within New Eden, in all sectors of space. Once found they immediately start degrading through their short half-lifes.

    Put inside a titan or supercarrier would lengthen their lifespan somewhat, but they would still be required to be replaced at some point, once they had fully degraded.

    In this way, CCP has complete control over the availability of supercarriers and their influence shifts over time, creating another conflict driver.

    In my opinion, implemented in this way supercaps could be what CCP intended them to be; rare but giant behemoths roaming EVE and being a deciding factor in engagements. Limiting their number at ~75 or so and buffing them into their glory days (AoE doomsdays?) would help in eliminating some of the stagnation.

    1. OK I'm going to add a few things quickly before my unnoticed idea and I fade back into oblivion.

      This would create a huge and ongoing gold-rush of mining throughout new eden. The isotopes would go for top-dollar, keeping the get-rich-quick dream alive for anyone with an osprey and above. This means more targets in all parts of space, which is a good thing.

      This also adds more of an incentive to create war and conflict in nullsec as well.

      Is your alliance's titan online this month thanks to the acquisition of an isotope? You better use it know while you can to invade that neighbor before it's back offline next month.

      Admittedly, there are lot's of factors to balance. Thye would need to be more powerful for one, given how rare they are it makes little sense for titans to be mobile jump bridges and super-carriers structure shooters. The costs of supercaps would probably have to come down, seeing as they'd be useless more often than not.
      They'd also need a mechanic to allow pilots to leave them freely when their offline.

      All in all however, I think it's a far cry better than what we've got.

    2. I like this idea, but before anything drop related can be made, bots need to be taken care of. Mine for a rare drop to run super caps online? Well now everyone will start botting, and likely even more accounts will be made to bot mine.

      Kill the botters and then we can work on some cool ideas.

    3. @Derkata

      I thought about that too. Yea, dealing with bottling is an issue. However, if I was going to bot I could either: a) run a mining/ratting/market bot that (except for the last) offers me a guaranteed income or, b) run a bot that has a very minute chance of paying off, analogous to buying a lottery ticket.

      While I have no doubt that there would be at least one alliance that might be tempted to exploit this on a macro scale, I don't see a problem being widespread.

      I might make a post about it on the forums but there is already a similar idea posted there, although one that doesn't mesh as well IMO.

  7. This will be a long comment, as I'd like to talk about a few things:

    1) CCP ought to have discussed this internally hundreds of times, always resulting in something similar to the 4th paragraph of yours.

    2) "Let's get the easy stuff out of the way first: Get rid of ALL other mineral streams other than through the express act of mining"

    I cannot agree more with this. I never mined much (bought a hulk+fittings that I never bothered to unpackage), but there was a time when I was running lvl4's like crazy. I remember once where I made 150m in a week selling minerals just out of reprocessed loot. That's really not fair with all those miners.

    I don't like the suggestion to replace T1 drops with BPCs because it would ruin any potential market for BPCs and it doesn't make much sense in a RP point of view.

    Instead, I propose something different: start by removing ALL meta 0 from NPC drop tables (CCP did a bit of this some time ago, but didn't go far enought), also make sure that all modules in wrecks (PvP and PvE) have 10% to be completelly damaged (burned out) and 90% chance to have any damage from 99% to 10%.

    No modules should be intact after a ship explosion. If you want to use/reprocess/sell that module, you will need to pay for repairs, which creates a nice ISK sink (something the game really needs now). Otherwise you will either leave it in the wreck or trash it afterwards, which prevents those minerals from flooding the market.

    Sure, nullsec players may be able to get repairs for free, but thats something highsec dwellers will need to live with.

    3) About the super-compressed ore, it must be rare that it doesn't change mineral output universe-wide in any significant way.

    Everytime a bigger influx of minerals is implemented, the whole mineral market shrinks a bit.

    4) About the visual cues on the asteroids, the idea is great, except for one detail: the client needs to receive that information through the internet connection.

    This means that the more advanced bot will be able to recognize the good rocks, not by trying to decode the graphics in the client, but just by analyzing the data being received.

  8. In high sec, this jewel idea would primarily benefit the bot fleets, several of which are controlled by RMTs. Individual players would not see much benefit, since the bot fleet would continue to sweep in, immediately after the roids respawn, mine up all of the good stuff and leave the rest.

    In low sec, this idea doesn't add any more incentive. The folks who dare to mine low sec will continue to do so, and the high sec miners will continue to avoid low sec. It just isn't worth it. Bring in a large defense fleet, and the pirates will just show up in 15 minutes with an even larger fleet, or just selectively gank your exhumers.

    Low sec mining (and mission running) needs to be made into a faster activity, so that you are not sitting in one place for such a long, and vulnerable, period of time.

    Mining - in general - needs to be more dynamic, less sitting around in ever-respawning static asteroid/ice belts. The belts should move around, respawn randomly, and/or require scanning to find them. This would help to cut down on the bots.

    1. As I said, this is only a piece of the puzzle. But the general idea of making the "bonus roids" visually discernable would be that a non-bot miner could swoop in, the player could visually scan the belt, and mine out the one good rock in the belt while the bot was being systematic and going from left to right.

  9. Yeah I use to mine as you did it sounded like. I also ran into the same problem that the logistics are terrible for mining. I was almost convinced one was forced into hauler alt for it to work well. I kind of like T1 drops from missions, but other ways to make mining profitable are cool.

    My suggestion was logistics. Where players could create industial ships then rig them and place modules on them then give them to a station. A miner could then select from the industrials stored there and rent it out. That industrial would follow the miner to a belt and be used to store things then go to station and unload cargo off of players instructions. Be cool rent a bestower if you can only fly iterons. Or go for fun rigged and module ones. Also if a player rents it, the person whe created it gets paid for its usage. As well as maybe a station tax or so .

  10. The ideas in the forum post are not good IMHO. These ideas will give you INCENTIVE to mine and get rid of bots, but will not make the mining interesting per se. The mining should be made into a minigame to be interesting. E.g you should always watch that your mining lasers would not overheat and burn, you should have the possibility to calibrate the power of the mining laser with the risk of blowing up the asteroid and or your laser, but with the chance to mine faster, the asteroid should have different layers with different hardness and you should switch mining lenses accordingly, etc etc, you get the idea. I'm a programmer and I know that such things are not trivial and will take time, but I think if they want to make mining INTERESTING, not more LUCRATIVE, this is the way to go. Morever I think these minigames will be an obstacle to the bots, but the other ideas - color coding the asteroids, etc. could be used as a mechanism as well.

    1. I don't think Mining needs to be more interesting. Most ppl use it to socialize, or do something else while they mine, it is a semi afk thing, and it is good the way it is. I like to browse the market, read info tabs, compare stuff while mining in a belt. Wich will be kinda hard if u make mining more "interesting". It will be just tedious. Logistics is already hard for it.

  11. "I occasionally think about selling them, but then part of me thinks "well, it was relaxing, and maybe someday I'll do it again." Another part of my brain thinks "Are you high? Even belt-ratting is better than mining." The two parts get into an argument, nothing is resolved, and the Hulks gather dust in the hangars. Why yes, that is how my mind works sometimes."

    sounded like garth might be residing in that corner!

  12. I replied in the same thread (but didn't follow it up :P) but I didn't like the idea of the 'bonus ore' simply because its not a product of excitment or skill its just a product of TIME and those players who mine the most will obtain the most, just as they do now so I doubt it'll really make a difference to the appeal of mining at all.

    As for the visable roids showing the differance again its something where I could see a bot being clever enough to find the best roids through trial and error and mine for a cycle, check the yield and know if its a good or bad roid and move on.

    Also I could see it affecting real miners because they would all crowd around the few 'good' roids and the rest would be considered trash and therefore create competition from miners to get the best rocks.

    Personally I think it would be cool if they added a mini game to control the mining lazers; I see it as almost like 'guitar hero' or keeping a car engine going where you hit a button at a certain point to keep your mining lazers going.

    The trigger would be fairly random and wouldn't require much attention to keep it a fairly low attention activity (and even allow AFK mining to a certain extent) but the best yields would be obtained by the 'at keyboard' miners who play the mini game and hit the triggers at the right times to keep the lazers going.

    Hit it too few and the lazers stall and the mining stops. Hit it too often (to avoid bots) or not on target (again to avoid bots) and the beams stall. Hit it just right and you get a continuation of the mining process and a bonus yield.

    If its done right could even make the mining mini game fun & profitable! :D

  13. I think mining should be moved into a totally different direction. Introduce a mini pos that has no shield and enough armor that it would take 10 guys in HACs about than 5 min to disable. Give them 4-6 module slots that can be filled with a combination of strip miners, storage silos, and small guns. I am not sure what the collection rate would be set at but it should be balanced such that it harvests less than a hulk per hour and must be emptied every few hours. Also introduce a hacking module that would allow an attacking gang to open the silos and steal everything if the mini pos is incapped. Maybe give hulks and macks a buff to benefit the people who do mining the old way, assuming of course that the botting issue is somehow solved. You could only anchor these items in lowsec or 0.0 and the number of belts would have to be balanced, and probably reduced.

    This would move mining towards the PI and POCO model and hopefully create a catalyst for more small scale pvp.

  14. Bots will fit Survey Scanners, just as players do, and nothing will change with one exceptions: Bots will be more thorough.

    If the item in question was not scannable, but just seeded by pure luck, that won't change a thing with bots: They still have more time to do mining.

    I like the idea of "unreliable" titans. But it should not play into the hand of botters and add to their income.

  15. Here's another idea based on the assumption, that everything what the player can perceive and start by the client a bot can, too. If you want to reduce botting and make mining more fun, observe that:

    1. Bot miners operate in "quiet" solar systems.
    2. Bot miners seldom fly nor build Titans (RMT implies that).
    3. Bot miners don't grief. At least currently.
    4. Someone how can afford a titan doesn't mine.
    etc. pp.

    One idea: If a titan/supercap gets destroyed fire up a mystic message which tells humankind is obviously not ready for higher things and *sick* never changes. And that the current system and its neighbours are getting polluted by the waste and dust of the decayed titan/supercap (the element is sometimes sucked by quantum fluctuations to completely other systems). That pollution is being attracted by asteroids with the eventual result that the required very rare element, "Tachyon Source JV03", can be found by miners (based on luck) in the polluted systems.

    ... and suddenly lowsec and past warzones get interesting for miners and not only fighting in it but holding it (for some time) will become a priority.
    ... the number of titans will be constant. Only if one gets destroyed another one can be build somewhere else. Prices will rise, they will be used less often and hunted more often.
    ... the profession of "war-miners" will emerge.

    Want more?
    - "Tachyon Source JV03" can be fitted into Strip Miners (like mining crystals) and the particular strip miner is able to burn out ship modules, or disable jump gates for days, reroute them, whatever. (The element gets lost in that process and is being seeded somewhere else.)
    - The owner of that element should have the decision: Building a Titan or using EVE's most powerful and most fragile glass cannon.

  16. Ripard I hate you at the moment, you have just made me read a thread about miners that for just a moment has made me stop thinking of them as potential kill mails and even worse give a hopefully articulate response in that thread, if my alliance mates spot it my reputation is ruined... oh well, to be honest it was bad anyway... keep up this excellent blog :-)

  17. If my history of EVE is correct then, in the beginning, there was mining, and it was teh suck. Then there was moon-goo and technetium fueled the dreams of visionaries and madman alike. It was also teh suck, but at least it gave people something to fight over and techII stuff is pretty sweet. Then there was PI. It was convoluted and annoying, but it provided passive income and was needed to build increasingly advanced goodies. POCOs were introduced, and like moon mining before it, it too gave players something to fight over and grief with. It seems that the current trend in EVE is tie resource production to player owned objects that can potentially be sieged and then destroyed. Planetary Interaction has its own section in the skill book and increasing your SP investment in PI increases the profit from PI. It would seem that one potential solution would be to create Player Owned Mining Operations (POMOs). This would be some sort of floating station anchored in a belt. I have some ideas on how it would work, but that would just distract from the main point. Most of EVE's resource production is location specific and POMOs would turn mining into something that people can have a stake in and fight over. Ideally with a revamped wardec system, this would incentivize Indy corps to either learn how to pvp or to hire mercs to protect their assets. One downside is that it would favor larger corps and could bring blob warfare to hi-sec.


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