Greedy Goblin

Monday, September 16, 2013

Making mining fun: mining PvP

Mining itself isn’t considered fun by anyone. Doing it AFK is commonplace. Why? Because EVE mining is extremely shallow: you warp to a belt or anomaly, target a rock, activate a mining beam and warp back when the hold is full. The yield cannot be increased by proper ship flying. A missioner can increase his income by pulling the proper groups or flying transversally to be able to fit more damage or projection instead of tank. A miner can’t do either. Of course there are ideas to improve it, but they are fundamentally wrong: they aren’t trying to fix mining, they try to replace it. Better belt rats or ship PvP mean that you aren’t mining but ratting or PvP-ing in a mining ship. If that would be the solution, mining wouldn’t be necessary at the first place, minerals could be security mission rewards (last room rat structure drops it) or could be in a PvP complex where you have to kill competitors and capture the place by orbiting its button.

To have a game, you need opponent. It can be a player or an NPC. Ratting against a good AI rat can be a good game. PvP is considered good game by most. A piece of rock can’t really be a challenging opponent. While some mini-game could be introduced, the hacking minigame wasn’t a huge success. Also, mining has to be time-consuming or the mineral prices would crash and a game where T1 battleships are 10M ISK isn’t interesting in lack of losses. On the other hand forcing players to play some hacking-like minigame for hours would be a good way to lose them.

My idea is a two-level mining PvP system: the first level is completely nonviolent, no ships are destroyed, the competition is for the yield itself. It could be done by redesigning the ORE faction mining modules to have a thieving ability. If you are all alone in a belt, an ORE miner isn’t different from T1 miner, besides its beam color. The interesting thing starts when you mine where someone else does, typically in ice fields or high-level ore anomalies. Shooting the beam into an asteroid which is mined by other miners would allow you to steal their yield: when their cycle completes (including manual switch-off), the ore goes to your hangar instead of theirs.

How can the other miner protect his yield? By switching to another asteroid. Unlike the normal mining beam, the thieving beam couldn’t be switched off, it would run a full circle like the siege module. It would also have a spool-up phase (with distinct beam color) when it wouldn’t be able to steal yet. If you switch off your laser during this time, you can keep your yield and the thief got stuck on a roid for a cycle. So against active miners thieving would be hard, while bots would be in trouble as the only signal of being robbed is the beam color: good luck writing a bot that can detect a beam into his rock but not mis-detect a beam into the next rock.

The miners could also switch to ORE miners too, as these beams are immune to thieving. The second level of PvP would be with real explosions: the ORE miners are null-NPC faction items and their LP/ISK cost could be set in a way that they cost 100M on Jita. I already mentioned that the beam cannot be switched off. Let’s add that it would render the ship immobile, unable to warp or logoff while it’s active. It would also bloom the signature of the ship. This would not only turn the thieving miner to an ideal gank target but also killable by war enemies: they just need a neutral scout and jump in after the miner is confirmed to go “siege”. So thief-beam miners would be preying on normal miners and PvP-ers would be preying on them.

The daily anti-tears feature crying miners getting no support in local and a ganked miner's rebirth into smart miner:


Anonymous said...

There are loopholes in your idea. If a thief mines a rock alone, he is in disadvantage because he mines less than a t2 miner. If he mines the same rock as someone, he is also in disadvantage because he is limited to that miner yield and can waste a cycle if the miner changes rocks. All in all, the thief is loosing to miners. But what if the ore module had t2 yield? Then the thief will also loose to t2 miners because he paid more for the same yield. He will also be limited by the miner he is stealing from. What if the miner is afk or a bot? The thief will also loose because he would waste cycles and had to follow bot suboptimal logic. Or switch to mining a rock alone, therefore loosing to t2. In the end, there is no reason to do the stealing - using a t2 miner gives better effects.

Lucas Kell said...

Doesn't this whole idea miss the original point you made?
You said the reason that people AFK mine is because it's boring. But the solution you set isn't making mining any more interesting, it's simply punishing AFK miners in a new way.
If you are mining, you are still simply watching a little circle go round, just now you have to switch rocks if a guy with a funny coloured laser comes along. That's not more interesting, if anything that's even more boring. The only people this is less boring for is miner bumpers. they would now be able to harass miners profitably and with more ease.

Anonymous said...

I like that you're thinking out of the box however I don't think this idea will help much.

I both gank and mine on occasion. From a miner's point of view I'd NEVER fit 100M stripminers to my barge.

From a gankers point of view I'd get me some nice DPS BC and it would be like shooting fish in a barrel...

From a botting point of view, I'm pretty sure they'd figure something out, as far as I can tell, they always do. Even if they don't, they'd still keep mining and just settle for a lower yield.

What I do agree with: mining needs changes but not the kind that forces ppl to play a (horrible) minigame for hours.

maxim said...

I think the ideal situation would be where asterioid fields would attract all sorts of hostile attention, to the point where actually hiring a White Knight for protection would actually be profitable.

Asteroid thieves is definitely a step in the right direction. Just not enough of a step.

Gevlon said...

@Lucas: it doesn't just punish AFK-ers, it rewards non-AFK-ers. You can get 2-3x higher yield by finding an AFK-er and leeching on him.

Nielas said...

I think Gevlon once again does not really understand why people mine in EVE. If the miners wanted to engage in silly PvP games, they would have been doing PvP.

Miners are interested in finding the most efficient ways of mining. Sadly the nature of EVE makes it impractical if you are worried about gankers and can-flippers. Gevlon's entire campaign is devoted to training miners to use the less efficient, 'boring' setups.

In turn I would like to propose a 'fix' to make AFK trading less desirable. When you are placing a sell order, you are only allowed to undercut the current bid by 0.01. This will make selling stuff on the AH much more fun.

Lucas Kell said...

I don't see how you can get 2-3x higher yield, since you are only taking their yield at the end of their cycle. Also, you're not rewarding mining, you're rewarding people that steal from miners.
Out of all this all miners get is another threat but one that concord doesn't do anything about. It's not making mining at all more interesting, in fact it makes it even more boring, as semi-afk miers would now have to sit watching their lasers tick round all day. This is just a mechanic that would make it easier for you to pester AFK miners, it's not at all picked out from the "make mining more interesting" point of view.

Anonymous said...

So non-afk miners get a minor benefit, in exchange for losing the ability to resist gankers, and also having to fit themselves with modules to make the gank more profitable. This proposal primarily benefits gankers, not miners.

Anonymous said...

is there any other game like mmo or something else, that implements "a resource grind" in a clever and appealing way?

nothing really jumps to mind.
even in RL they bot the better parts of mining.

sitting in belt in my first month of play I wonder why can't a freighter just loot the asteroids and howl it to some special agents. like ORE agents in high, low or null with special station to process the asteroids with some industrial skills.
and maybe not really loot them ... maybe others need to bump the asteroids into the hold. or tractor the asteroids into the hold. Or something else that let you stay a good period of time in belt until the job is done.

I just really don't see any other ideas throughout the many games ... to make "gathering" any other than it already is.

Michael LeBlanc said...

@Lucas & first Anon
I assume Gevlon's thieving idea is that you get the miner's cycle in addition to your own, hence 2x. If the miner is astute and moves rocks, then you still get your normal T1 yield.

@Gevlon by your own arguments, no miner should ever fit such a module, 100m and inability to move (no transversal) or warp out? You could gank this profitably with 7 T2 catalysts for just the module alone!