I logged in yesterday all buzzing and happy because work was done for the day and it was time for Eve. I logged in and Ender crooned to me, "Sugs, where are you?"
"Home?" I response in naive innocence and the blissful happiness of no longer being at work. "Why are you not here?" Then he snapped his whip. "Mining ops.
" "But we haven't been doing them," I wailed.
"War decs are over. Come here."
I jumped my industrial alt over to our high sec mining base and begged for a Hulk. Once I was settled, I bounced over to the mining op and remembered that I hate the hulk. The tiny ore bay calls for mining management. No idle AFK mining. I whined. Ender told me to shut up. Maximum ore intake and I'd like it. We had a system to strip.
I go, "You mind if I write about our mining ops?" "Why would you want to do that?" he asked. "Cuz I want to." "Whatever." He had already enslaved almost everyone else. Razor logged in and Ender's nine tail whip of "Come here now" lashed out and wrapped around his throat and dragged him in.
Remember Mortal Combat and the finishing moves? For a moment we all stopped wide eyed and wondered if Ender was going to pop Razor's head off. It is those moments when you remember he may carebear due to an ISK addiction but he can PvP and corp members are not immune... well not really... Razor said okay and headed over to assist. The other parts are true beyond the fear.
Wait. mining? Isn't this supposed to be about a fleet and going off to kill people? Hmm...
I decided to talk about mining. The various views on miners and mining fascinate me while irritating me at the same time. Mining is a pull into Eve. You see it advertised everywhere. There was a reddit post where someone asked for a concise version of Eve and half the people say, "you can mine." Yet, at the same time people run around screaming mining is terrible and not to suggest it to anyone. Yet, many a new player, given the mining missions thoroughly enjoys themselves and proceeds to spend hours and hours and hours of the first few weeks mining.
They do it for many reasons. It is easy. It is productive. It makes them ISK. It gives them time to get their feet under them and figure out what they want to do.
So many people moan that mining is terrible. It is boring. It is this. It is that. While it is not exciting not everyone comes to Eve for the adrenaline shaking excitement that can happen. This is a game, often geared to adults. This is a game where people spend hours and hours writing about finances and economics. This is a game where the corporate accountants are some of the most influential and important people. Eve is not a game that only caters to those that want the excitement of blood. Spreadsheets in space, anyone?
It has created such a stigma about it that people do not want to admit that they do mine. That bothers me. I have no issues with the various problems of bots, afk mining and the fight to stop the entitlement of complete safety in high sec. I do have issues with the general eye rolling “How could you?” when it comes with people wanting to mine.
I mine because I want to. I happen to be one of those people who enjoy it. For those who do not find enjoyment out of it the chances are that they are not going to. I find no enjoyment from trash talking local. I understand that many people find it an engaging pastime. It is not about the meaning of life or the end game. It is a productive little activity that some find satisfying.
Mining is recourse gathering. On its most basic level it is rewarding. You point said laser at said asteroid and receive said ore that refines into said mineral. That mineral is one of the most basic and important building blocks of the entire game. With that mineral (often Tritanium when we just start) almost everything from Eve will grow out. For some people, that type of vision is impressive and appealing. There is the fact that the market is hungry for minerals and they always sell. The asteroids will always spawn again. Mining is a fallback and it is a comfortable fallback. The rookie ships come with a mining laser. You will always be able to mine and because of that you will always be able to start again.
Not everyone defines things by best, fastest or optimal. For a game that is founded upon the concepts of self created game play, mining is a basic and productive endeavor. From mining I can make ammunition, spaceships, modules, drones, towers, industry, ISK. It is a powerful and core concept. People don’t mind because they expect it o be exciting. They mine because mining does or will do for them on a basic level and it is satisfying. Not everyone is going to be satisfied in the same way but that does not negate every person that does not have a problem with mining.
So, why does THC2, a low Sec pirateish corporation, mine?
Back in August, after the Alliance Tournament was over we were tossing around ideas about how to make more money for the corporation. So far, the Alliance Tournament had more been a few people putting in billions of ISK to make it happen. Now that we had, for the first time, made a solid showing of it and shown that we had some potential as competitors it would make sense to start planning now for what we knew was coming next year. The goal was to turn the financing of the Alliance Tournament into a corporation supported event where we would spend the year trickle funding into the corporations AT account.
We had a corporation vote and raised our taxes. It is 25% and that makes some people scream. When it does, I often note that none of us make our money out of things taxed by the corporation. I for instance use my in corp characters to make ISK but my true ISK comes from the modules and items I sell on the market as a result of my exploration. Those who make isk from incursions or missioning do so out of corp or do not mind being in corp or make their money off of loyalty points instead mission rewards. It was a simple enough decision to make and one that has not finically ruined anyone.
The next was to start building our own ships. If there is one thing we run through nonstop it is spaceships. We lose them and buy more in a never ending cycle that is part of the heartbeat of a PvP corporation. The thing is, we would go to Rens, but a bunch of hulls, contract it to the jump freighter and when someone was not feeling lazy they would jump it down to our station, unload it, hand everyone their ships and we’d restock. This left us little flexibility and the only resources we had were the ones we thought to build.
What we were sitting on top of was an entire corporation filled with maxed industrial characters. From mining, to ship building, to refining and building off of perfect blueprints we had everything. We had perfect refining with a dozen different companies and the ability to put mining fleets that could strip entire systems on the grid. So Ender proposed it and we agreed upon it.
The mining fleets are optional. It was a corporate donation type of thing. It was something you could do, didn’t have to do, could add more to or not. Twice a month we would have a mining op for anyone that wanted to participate. If no one wanted to participate that was fine, Ender would do it alone and build the ships for people to buy.
The ships were not free. We mined the ore, built the ships and then sell them to members for their Platinum insurance cost. The money is deposited by the buyer into the Alliance Tournament wallet division. The ship is handed over and the money that we would have spent anyway is not funneled into our own future projects. A reinvestment into itself so to speak.
It went well. The first few Ops we built everything we mined. We built battleships and battlecruiers and cruisers and the corporation hangers emptied. People were able to easily stock up on everything they wanted. Requests were considered. In down hours some of us would idly AFK mine to build up the mineral stocks for the more rare minerals or the ones that were a pain in the butt. Ender requested pyrite and MacG and I mined scordite like it was a job. Megacyte and Zydrine were shipped in from the trade hubs. Eventually, we built up a massive mineral stockpile and a massive ship stockpile. This turned out to be a good thing because our mining ops halted due to the decision that was made to war dec the high sec corporation that locked us into Dec Sheild.
Now, Dec shield is past and our hangers are looking dry and our mining ops have restarted. I asked if I could finally write about them. Ender asked, “Why do you want to?” I rolled my eyes and reminded him that I write about anything that interests me without the sense or reason to ponder “Is this interesting?” before I start. He shrugged and told me to go ahead.
I mine for the corporation and I mine for myself. I've never cast aside the title miner. I've dragged it into a few discussions when people got a bit nasty with a newer player. I’ve spoken of the satisfaction of completing a project by yourself. I know that people would point out optimum and profit and whatever the hell they function off of. None of that matters to me. If labels must be placed then consider the corporations activity a donation. But it is beyond that. Working together to produce something and supporting our corporation and I members has its own value and a value is very important.
The corporation does for its members. Now we have a corporation hanger over flowing with battlecruisers and down. Running out of supplies is a fact of life outside of high sec. You don’t get to just bounce to the nearest trade hub and buy a new battleship to fly back unfit to your home base in Low (or null or wormholes). The logistics of planning simple ship acquisition can be a nightmare. When I lost my Sleipnir I didn't have a replacement on hand. I wound up purchasing two so that I did not fall into that particular trick bag again. Massive ISK must be spent to fill a hanger to give a pilot the amount of flexibility that they want. Now the corporation has handed that over. The price fluxuations do not bother the new members. We can easily hand out frigates and cruisers at need.
And it gives people something to do. Boredom is the most vicious of corporation killers. I can hear someone saying “so is mining” but note, the mining is not mandatory. While we were doing this last op people wound up getting into all sorts of messes and we lost half the mining fleet to the need to go kill people. That’s fine. It is not the mining itself it is what comes from it, ships, options, personal requests, stacks of battleships hanging around with easy access and even more cruisers now that the change has come into effect. These are the things that stave off boredom as well as the group activity, any activity, being better than no activity and no group.
It does irritate me that mining seems to be seen as shameful. As if it is something to cast your eyes down about and mutter in embarrassment with a blush darkening your cheeks. I tell people that I mine whenever the topic comes up. “But Sugar, you are a pirate!” I am told as if that somehow redeems me. Sure, I am, but I’m a miner to. I may be a sucky industrialist but I am an enthusiastic one that enjoys all of the various aspects of industry. I also don’t expect everyone to automatically enjoy mining. I don’t automatically enjoy missions. I hate missions. I speak poorly of missions. I don’t speak poorly of mission runners for being mission runners.
Too often the topics are compressed into a minuscule whole when there is an enormous many. If someone wants to argue profits or what they feel is a better venture in making ISK that is a different conversation. If someone, for whatever reason they have enjoys mining there is zero shame to be had in that. There are plenty of people that will argue the vast amounts of ISK to be made. Argue with that. Argue with the topic not the activity.
Can it be improved? Should it be improved? Is AFK mining bad? Should miners tank? Should max yield come with sacrifices? Yes to all of that. Is it the best way to make money? Should people aspire to other activities in the game? Is it bad that many new players get sucked up into only mining? Yes, yes and some more yes. But, these are all individual viewpoints about how the activity is engaged with. None of that makes it shameful for someone to enjoy the simple activity of resource gathering anymore than I enjoy the simple activity of spaceship violence.
Everyone gets to try to play Eve how they want. That includes the miners. That includes the people that dislike miners. I’m not trying to convert someone. Hate miners to your heart’s content. Hate miner gankers to your heart’s content. Have moral discussions about the impact of spaceship prices when there are no more miners do to gankers. But if one enjoys mining one enjoys mining and that is how it should be.