Greedy Goblin

Monday, February 9, 2015

How to fix EVE mining?

Mining in EVE is a fundamental activity, one of the main farming activities. Everything built in EVE has mined items in them. However this can be changed overnight and actually was different. Large part of minerals came from "gun mining", killing drones for their alloys and reprocessing cheap loot from missions. CCP wants people to mine so removed gun mining. To fix mining, we must understand what CCP wants - and it's not easy because they don't seem to understand it either.

To see the problem we must see that in WoW the activities can be classified into 3 groups based on reward structure:
  1. Reward for having an account: daily quests, garrison production, rested XP. While some gameplay is attached, it cannot be repeated. You must wait even while offline for the resource to regrow. EVE has skillpoint gain, PI and moon mining working this way.
  2. Reward for gameplay: normal quests, dungeons, battleground, farming mobs. You simply need to sit front of the computer and press buttons to receive reward. EVE has ratting, missioning, exploration working this way.
  3. Reward for skilled play: raiding, arena PvP. You must perform a task well to receive reward. Incompetent performance results in no reward or loss. EVE has PvP working this way.
EVE mining isn't in any of the mentioned groups. You don't just need an offline account to receive ore. There is little gameplay attached: you fly out, click overview, press F1-F2 and go AFK for 20 mins. Zero skill is needed. Most people didn't consider it fun, while there was an alternative (gun mining), it was preferred. Yet CCP presses mining. Why?

Because - unlike WoW - EVE has one more reward type: reward for being in space. Blizzard has no reason to care if you are idling somewhere on the map or not. In EVE you being in space provides content for other players, contribute to the "living universe" and it's also a serious marketing tool. The picture below would look pretty sad if EVE - like all other MMOs - would disconnect you after 10 minutes of AFK:

It's crucial to accept that CCP want us to be in space. Anyone offering a minigame or somehow active gameplay to mining is wrong. The semi-AFK miner wouldn't magically have 10+ hours more to spend clicking the mining minigame and would simply stop mining, resulting much less people online. The solution is to offer CCP a better way for keeping miners in space while removing the annoying need to click every 20 minutes. My solution contains the following changes for Retriever and Mackinaw (other barges and exhumers are unaffected):
  • Their mining beams are auto-targeting. If they have no target, the closest asteroid is targeted for the next cycle.
  • Their ore hold is 10x bigger. To prevent their usage as haulers, you can't put ore into their hold, only what they mine gets there (like market deliveries container in stations).
  • The mining beams cycle 3x slower.
  • They can't use mining drones.
This means that you just park your Retriever or Mackinaw in the belt and 12 hours later it's full of Ore/Ice. You don't have to do any activity to fill it, just be in space. Of course you can be attacked or bumped, so you might find yourself in your clone station instead of with a full ore hold. Those who want to mine actively can switch to Hulk for yield or Skiff for safety. Due to 3x slower cycles, AFK mining becomes non-competitive to active mining, giving a boost to those who like the gameplay.

The result would be lots of Retrievers and Mackinaws in the belts and anomalies, filling the World with the illusion of being populated, giving food for gankers while removing the annoying "come back every 20 minutes and click a few buttons" excuse for gameplay.

PS: Moron without cloaky Tengu.


maxim said...

CCP bans use of bots, so CCP should write its own bots!

I found that optimising mining between beams, drones and movement does actually have a decent amount of time-management gameplay in it. i"d like to see increased rewards for properly time-managing, without removing the ability to afk-mine.

I wouldn't like to see automation that completely removes need for that management.

Anonymous said...

Funny killmail, shit title. The dramiel is literally the best hauler for this purpose, and I imagine pilot error or some fluke circumstance was involved in the death. Disconnect or something could easily explain it.

There are no bubbles in low sec, so there's 0 benefit to interceptor nullification.
As a faction frig, it comes with slightly higher EHP out of the box, and is relatively well fit against smartbombs - it would take more than 2 (maybe more than 3) battleships full of faction smartbombs to nuke the frig even before factoring in the rigs. You could argue active hardeners would be better, but this is still good.
A dramiel aligns faster than a stilleto. As fit it should have 1.7 second align time with all 5s, well under the 2 second threshold for theoretically unlockable instant warp.
Because of its 3 rig slots and warp speed role bonus, the dramiel is actually the fastest warping subcap if rigged for warp speed (though this one chose to rig for smartbomb resistance). Interceptors have a slightly higher base warp speed, but only 2 rig slots to work with (don't all rush out and buy dramiels all at once now...)
Just to really rub it in, interceptors have shit cargo (probably to balance their use as cynos?), so you can fit ~even more~ books in a dramiel too.

The only arguably superior tiny hauler in lowsec is the astero, believe it or not. It's the only covops ship that can align in less than 2 seconds and cloak - meaning you have two different reasons you should never be caught. First, the covops cloak, unless you land on something and can't cloak, and second, <2 second align - so even without the cloak, unless a super-sebo'd player in London gets you or you have a stroke at the keyboard, you should make it.
TL;DR Yes, we should all fly dramiels fit almost exactly like this for high-value/low-volume transport lowsec, and I have no idea how this person died.

Evoly said...

As a miner, the "coming back each 20 minutes" is not a problem for me. I simply alt tab and switch to an other target.

You said it yourself, mining can be done from Day 0 with almost no skill requirements, generating profit. But more importantly, this is something which won't scale up very well with skills. The biggest time consuming skills will be the ressource processing ones which should be learned by anyone doing something related to production, mining or trading.

CCP should be pleased with the current state of mining because it is not uncommon for people to have a side account or three mining while doing something else. They get more subscription this way, there is an interesting supply of minerals so the economy is not totally scarce and they are growing their online number.

Mining is simple, easy and non time consuming. By mining 3h / day for a yield around 10m / hour you can plex the account by itself, just selling raw ore (which is in a way the easiest and worst way to make money from mining). If someone is sitting more than 3h / day in front of his computer, why should he not have a mining alt to generate some income ? Anything beside the PLEX cost will be bonus for a very low time consuming activity

L Papay said...

Actually, splitting mining into two separate activities would make sense.

I would go even further. Make another kind of mierals - super-pure - small volume, hard to find and/or in hostile areas. High risk, high reward, ninja-venture style, optimize for on ~1h session, with some mechanism that would diminish returns after that time (say, neurological overload due toxicity or something).

Then make Orca and Rorqual true mining command ship with a fleet of mining-barge size drones (using carrier-like modules and skills). The twist that operating each said drone require a license (bought by, say, 1/3 of plex). If the "drone pilot" with license gets blown up, his license gets blown up too, with killmail against owner. License is also for limited "mining time" so the more you mine , the faster it drains.

Anonymous said...

deployable mining units (DMU) and bumpable astroids.

bump the belt into the tight range of the DMU and let it mine.
AFK - only the asteroids in range will be mined.
Active - the more asteroids there are the more yield the DMU will mine (multiplier by rocks in range)

insert some on grid + uncloaked stuff to the DMU so people are in space. or make it two different Units one for AFK lowyield one for active high yield.

Maitch said...

I disagree. I think mining should go in the opposite direction of what you are thinking. Imagine this:

1. Mining laser calibration minigame. At random times your mining laser will go out of alignment and you have to do a short minigame to put it back. If you do the game perfectly you supercharge your yield for a short time. If you fail you could burn out your module with a small chance to blow up your ship.

2. Dynamic targeting of asteroids. Large asteroids have several points you can lock on to and you need to equally mine each or the asteroid will break up early, losing you lots of potential ore.

This would make mining much more difficult if not impossible to bot/multibox so you would need to greatly increase ore per hour. For example a hulk could mine 10x the ore per hour it does now (but it would also be more challenging as you have to manage lots of lasers going out of alignment). A skiff could perhaps do 5x, with less challenge.

Miners could afford to pay escorts and would do a lot more moving around as ore sites were stripped quickly, providing more targets and fun for everyone.

Anonymous said...

This is how I would fix mining:

First and foremost, eliminate the initial boringness of mining: Your first mining ship, the "Venture" takes over 40 minutes to fill with ore the first time you take it out... This is where you get the patently idiotic "You only have to push buttons once every 20 minutes while you're AFK" drivel you hear people that know nothing about mining spout.

It's like saying "Trading is easy isk! Just load your Frigate with as many skillbooks and implants as it will carry at Jita, then autopilot it to Dodixie and sell them!"

Even if that were safe, it would be idiotic, overly simplistic advice.

Ok. Now that I've ranted sufficiently, I can continue.

1) Make ALL mining ahips have "variable ore hold" that starts small, and goes up as you train the skill that allows you to use that ship. For example, the Venture would start with a 1K m3 ore hold, and go up 1K for each level. With 5K (The current hold.) available at level 5 skill. Retriever would start with 5K, etc.

2) Variable ratio mining lasers that optimizes laser yield for full cycle use. The first half of the cycle gets 25% of the ore, the final 25% of the cycle gets 50% of the ore.

3) Lose the retarded "The good ores are in low sec, herp derp." design. This is idiocy. All ore types in all belts, but with lesser of the "good" ones as you get into "safer" systems, and the asteroids get smaller as well. For example, a .9 sec belt would have asteroids that contain 200 to 300 units, and 10% of them would be the ores currently found in low/null sec. A Level I Venture with a Mining Laser I and a 1K m3 ore hold would be right at home, but a Hulk with 3 Modulated Strip Miners and Tech II crystals would be a frustrating and futile exercise in laser micro-management.

4) Add a "Fleet for isk / min" mode to the CONCORD fleet system. This gives Orca pilots a reason to let others join their fleet, and gives others a reason to look for and interact with Orca pilots. Of course, the "isk / min" fleet charges stop while the boost modules are offlined for any reason.

5) Gun up the Orca. 8 more High power slots that can only be fitted with small guns and cannot be onlined when the boost modules are running. This is specifically intended for pirate defense. (NPC or human pirates.) If you need big protection, you need players with Battleships, etc.

Gevlon said...

Did you even read the post?

My point is that CCP want us to stay in space. But it's unreasonable to expect the average players to spend 5+ hours a day playing actively. However it's possible for an average player to mine 5+ hours in EVE: he watches TV, read sites, does laundry and every 20 seconds return to the computer and dock-undock with his Retriever.

I suggest to make this annoying pretense gameplay go and make mining fully AFK. On the other hand reward those who play actively by making AFK-Mackinaws worse than Hulks.

Anonymous said...

I think mining could be 'fixed' in several ways, but I don't think having something popup to take your attention away from the environment is a good answer.

1) I'll agree with someone else, all the ores should be available everywhere (with the null ores for highsec being in special highsec sigs/anoms and being just a couple rocks) But the rocks in highsec should all be the 'vanila' variety, with 75% of the current yield. The lowsec ores should be +25% yield, with wormholes/nullsec having +50% yield.

2) Speed up mining 'feedback.' Cycle timers are far too long on regular lasers. Ice mining became respectable when they cut it's timers in half, so let's just do the same with regular lasers and migrate the belts to anomalies too. This also removes one less hurdle to eliminating downtime.

3) Give attentive non-afk miners some kind of advantage to encourage less afk behavior.

Anonymous said...

Did you even read the post?

I did. And I got that. The obvious error is the game is already like that, no fixes are needed. Bots mine Veldspar in super high security systems 23 / 7 already and do exactly what you are suggesting, without the lower yield part.

Your suggestion would just spread the bots (Now "legitimate players.") to .7 to .5 systems where they would be hilariously annihilated by belt rats and gankers.

However, your base premise isn't wrong... CCP wants to push it's "One server" concept and the best way to do that is to have people pointlessly logged it. This is probably one of the reasons they seem so inept at something as simple sounding as combating bots.

Easy Esky said...

It would be just as easy to eliminate it althougher as a player profession and have the NPC mining corps sell ore. Out in null, outpost upgrades can manage this functionality for sov space. Sitting in an asteroid belt is not really a lot of player interaction, which is the prime message from last year's fan fest.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for late post, but why not remake all 3.

Procourer / skiff for the active HiSec/LowSec miner.

New anomalies spawn with new NPCs in HiSec/LowSec. The rocks there drop increased amount minerals (50% more example) as a base, or there are special rocks that contain more than just HiSec minerals.
While mining every rock you have to play a mini game (realigning crystals, focusing on new points on the rock so it doesn't break prematurely ect.) doing the minigame would increase your yield by another 50% to 150% so players get rewarded for their activity and skill.
The procurer skiff would be needed because the sleepers that guard these locations are easy to defeat but have unusually high alpha. That would pop everything but a full tank fit Mack. It would die in volley n2. A procourer skiff could have the tank to ignore them and let the drones finish them off. The skiff has bonuses to mining as it has only one laser and a mediocre cargo hold so the mining wouldn't take long but it would reward players with decent ISK once they master the minigame/s. Those would also make it worthless to bot the site as not being able to do he minigame would net players with low incomes per hour.

Retriever/Mackinaw for the AFK miner.

Basically as you said, for afk people who gamble the price of the hull and fit for being able to do other things while mining. Reduced cycle times (remove yield bonuses for more cargo bonuses?) increase cargo.
Full tank mack fills the cargo in about 5 hours, and if you fit for yield it goes to 3 hours.

Covetor / Hulk for the fleet miner.

Reduce yield and range bonuses from hull, but add increased bonuses received from boosters. With the addition of the minigame a miner could fill the cargo in only one cycle (maby reduce the number of turrets to 2 if the minigame is implemented to be done per turret, or make the minigame per rock so you'd have to point all the lasers on one rock).
With your paper thin hull, limited cargo, and the new bonuses that place even greater emphasis on having boosts and completing minigames you'd be a fool to use it unless you have some support orca and hauler.