Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Let's Stake a Claim

Before the refining and reprocessing changes where released to the public my conversations about industry in low sec had come to equal, "We are going to have to do something new for industry to thrive." With the changes my belief is a bit stronger in that regard. What works for high sec and what works for null sec will not always work for low sec. Although we have the same basic things in regards to stations, asteroids, and accessibility, we do not have the same environment.

Often when trying to think of solutions or possibilities we try to work within the current game as we understand it. Some things are only going to be answered by change. The problem with change is that our access to it is limited. CCP does not have infinite developers and infinite developing time. Still, that should not completely discourage a player from venturing into the possible unknown to create a possibility. Sometimes, the ripples from that void are reasonable, feasible, and possible. Give us back some form of ore anomaly. This is the easiest solution to giving people some reaction time to mining in low sec. I don't know if it would happen. However, they are also looking over some of the changes Odyssey brought forward.  I do not mind suggesting it as a possibility. But, I will not focus my future on a removed mechanic even if it is an easy answer. 

Tackling the question of mining in low sec is tough. Mining, by its very nature, places the player in a vulnerable stance. On top of that for mining to pay off in a simple ISK equation it takes time. Low sec may have a small, sparse population but it is not depopulated. It is instead full of roaming gangs who swoop through an area. When a barge could sit in an anomaly they had a chance of getting out when local spiked. The Venture is an option but it is not a long term solution for the diligent miner who has a large amount of material to gather. The potential volume that can be gathered matters. CCP has added greater material requirements to ships. I will not be surprised if this starts to happen to modules. We need a lot of raw material to fuel the machine that is Eve.

There are general arguments of worth. Mining, as it currently stands involves long term, uninterrupted activity.  It will take X long to mine enough tritanium for a battleship. It will take X long to mind enough Veldspar to pay for a PLEX. This creates time oriented events. "I will need to mine for Y time." If the miner ventures to low sec they have to deal with a steady stream of people that want to kill them. On top of that if they are regularly in a system they will be visited by those that wish to kill them. While, my automatic reaction is to kill those that wish to kill you the feasibility of that is not always there. Eventually enough loss will negate the gain and excitement that low sec technically gives when it comes to mining.

Low sec is a very volatile area. There is a lot of fleet movement, pass through of randoms, scanning, slinking, and scouting. Mobility is what keeps a player alive. This is seen in the rise of the cruiser meta and is more enhanced with warp speed changes. There is a chaotic aspect to low sec's environment that does not support productive mining. Yet, I do not support just tossing the subject aside and saying, "No mining in low sec". Instead, it creates an opening for innovative approaches and potential new options to an important but static aspect of the game.

Thankfully I was at work doing online training programs to decrease my jobs liability of I slip and fall, burn something down, back into another vehicle, or consume another person's blood outside of a bout of vamperisem. In the desperation to escape a single word bubbled up into my mind. Prospectors.


Mayhap, I have an idea. Let's talk about prospecting.
  • Prospecting is the first stage of the territory geological analysis (second - exploration): physical search for minerals, fossils, precious metals or mineral specimens, and is also known as fossicking.
  • Prospecting is a small-scale form of mineral exploration which is an organised, large scale effort undertaken by commercial mineral companies to find commercially viable ore deposits.
  • Prospecting is physical labour, involving traversing (traditionally on foot or on horseback), panning, sifting and outcrop investigation, looking for signs of mineralisation. A prospector must also make claims, meaning they must erect posts with the appropriate placards on all four corners of a desired land they wish to prospect and register this claim before they may take samples.

Last week, in Seattle I did a lot of tourist stuff. Seattle was the staging city for many people heading north to the Klondike for the gold rush. These people were prospectors. For the most part men who were seeking their fortune in a dangerous land. They came from all places and walks of life. What brought them was a lure with an incredibly sweet payoff if they struck it rich.  But it contained danger and many would die, most would end up with nothing, and a few would succeed.

These all seem like fantastic concepts to bring into mining outside of high security space. They also fit into the theme of low sec space and into the concept of seeking riches in a more interactive way. This builds upon the ideas expressed in Rookie chat when my FW alt still had access to it. The assumption by those that start playing Eve is that they will have to go looking for materials to gather and fuel the consumptive machine that is the game. The reality is that they learn to warp to belts and sit there.

Have Venture, Will Travel...

There is the Venture and there is the mythical, uncreated imaginary new Ore ship that fits the exploration miner spot. It should be bright green. BRIGHT green. Kawasaki Green but without the name so that CCP can avoid royalties. Maybe teal. I like teal. The Venture could be repurposed due to its utility high spot. Otherwise, make way for the uncreated imaginary new Ore Prospector.
Let's go mine!

The idea of prospecting would be to find small, high value nodes. A hyper condensed mineral one might say. The idea can go several ways. 
  • Current belts could have these high value deposits that have to be scanned out. If a normal mining laser where used normal ore amounts are find. If a survey scanner is used across the rocks, deposits could be found and accessed with the Prospector (or a regular laser if I don't get my green ship).
  • It can be introduced into current ore anomalies.
  • A new ore anomaly can be created that has regular asteroids or current decorative asteroids could spawn that have these deposits inside of them, accessible with the right tools.
  • Some mix of it all.
It does not have to be a new mineral. It can be highly concentrated deposits of current minerals. The idea is that the prospector is out hunting for resources but instead of planting at the belt he is looking for that big find. It is a pay off such as a good drop in a DED Complex is. It is being out hunting and slipping through space such as Tags4Sec create. It causes people to be up and pay attention and it is interactive. Also, once the deposit is found it creates a pay off for the effort.


Gathering resources

Back when I was building my own Orca I'd often find myself on competitions for scraps of asteroids. To the point of creating one of my favorite blog posts ever. There where no spaceship explosions involved but the need for the materials to finish my plans turned my mining from an idle, side screen activity into something I had to pay attention to.  Mining is only boring because we have to sit in a static situation to do so. Those new players that I have been so enthralled with had ideas where mining would involve searching, adventure, and some danger. 

That danger is well represented in low sec. I do not care for the idea that we should just ignore industry and mining inside of the environment. Instead, let us create things that are sustainable inside of the environment. The prospector may not worry about wolves but he will have to worry about natives (and natives in Wolves).

There is also a rush related to finding something you are looking for. Last night my boys killed a drake in a 5/10 DED complex. They then finished the complex and where rewarded with a drop of about 800 million ISK. As they where checking the container everyone had a level of anticipation about them hoping for that big pay off. That is what we should play off of. There is an intensity when loot/reward is found after you've gone out to get it and risked yourself to earn it.  The bulk of the materials in my low sec hangars come from hauler spawns in the belt. Hauler spawns excite me and I rush to gather them up and sweat at the same time for putting an industrial in the belt.

My thoughts for the Prospector is not to create a combat ship. They are awareness related. We say over and over that if someone is aware they should not get caught in low sec. Let them be rewarded for their awareness. Small mistakes will mean their destruction. Plus, they will have to haul their goodies to wherever they wish to use them. The concept of a Prospector ship is that it has the mineral/ore hold to carry the contents of the deposit once they are discovered. 

The idea of Prospecting can easily expand outward. My concept of it is focused around being a solid choice for someone that lives in low sec. The fluctuating environment is one where static behaviors are punished. To mine in high sec may bring more ISK per hour across the board but to prospect in low sec will bring some equivalent in sports. Just as I explore and make a billion ISK over the course of a month and find myself satisfied with what I have pulled in. I don't have an exact ISK per hour. Instead, I have content that I have done and enjoyed and been rewarded for doing.

I think a prospector could have that same potential with a more resources oriented result. 

14 comments:

  1. Mining-my-own-businessMarch 26, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    Great Idea ! I have seen the Ore Site (as in a signature to scan down and not a warpable anomaly) on several blogposts now. Most of them are from Wspace where mining is also a very risky business. The scanning would also bring some safety and a bit of buffer time to warp away.
    I agree that the dynamics of mining in LS should match the dynamics of the regions, a lot more movement and awareness required, while giving decent yield.
    Making those scannable sites more a challenge in changing the way one discovers rich rocks, is a great idea.
    I also find that the transport spawns in belts are a good idea in the right direction. They are, in their current form, more a fun event than an actual source of decent minerals. I had the idea a while ago to suggest to vary a lot more the potential drop of a combat site. For example, one site could the attack of a Pirate NPC mining camp or refinery, that would have a certain amount of ore and/or minerals in their structures/ships. They would then be interesting to look for (scan down) with a small fleet accompanied with an industrial.
    Lastly, the new ship ideas are great. Like the SOE ships try to be a mix of combat and exploration, there could be more hybrids: combat/mining, exploration/mining.
    Maybe use the mining bonus of the Vexor and make a version of the ship that has an ore hold ?

    Anyways, always a great read. Thanks for the posts and the great debates/silliness in your channel :)

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    1. I'm very careful with gun mining options simply because CCP has moved forceably away from them as a mechanic.

      In chat we discussed not displacing the Venture with its amazing gas mining abilities. This type of thing is avoided by keeping it mineral/ore related or even just not allowing for it to fit gas harvesters. I don't want to create a higher level Venture because I love the Venture's huge flexibility and range of use for such a tiny ship.

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  2. I wonder about a mini-TCU/deployable that miners with your prospector ship could use, that... I don't know, hides the whole belt from anyone without a BM? A way for a prospector to seek out hard-to-find resources and get some help retrieving it within a certain window? Lots of issues to work out but I like the direction you're going.

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    1. And let us be honest. Who does not want to be a grizzled man with a donkey?

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    2. Mining-my-own-businessMarch 26, 2014 at 2:40 PM

      Yeah, I think that's the end goal ;)

      (a green donkey)

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    3. I have no interest in being any more grizzled than I already am. The donkey would be nice, though.

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  3. Did anyone else have a bit of a smile begin to form at the idea of zipping from belt to belt looking for Eldorado? All the while keeping a look out for the wolves.

    "A new ore anomaly can be created that has regular asteroids or current decorative asteroids could spawn that have these deposits inside of them."

    So would you identify the likely asteroids through visual inspection? If so yes! Anything to get eyes into space and off a simple d-scan or survey scan results.

    It would be great for low-sec for an idea along these lines to be pursued. As it stands now solo mining in low sec is a death wish. Back when you had to probe down hidden belts you at least didn't have to worry about random people passing through system as long as you watched for probes.

    When I speak to new players trying their hands at mining in low-sec these days I have to admit to them that I can either blind warp to an ore anom, or have them d-scanned down even before my gate cloak drops. Either way with the warp speed changes even if they are diligently spamming d-scan, they will be caught alot. The risk is just not worth the reward atm.

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  4. So basically you trot around the belts in lowsec, sneaky sneaky, checking out the asteroids with your nifty prospecting tool, and if you lucky you hit pay dirt. An asteroid that contains condensed velspar instead of the regular veldspar.

    You mine your asteroid. It's a small one. Probably only enough ore for two loads, but two loads of condensed veldspar refines to a lot of minerals. You hope no one notices the asteroid while you take the first load back. Be careful on the way back, if someone did see your asteroid they might be waiting for you to come back to get the second load.

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    1. By "condensed veldspar" I mean the veldspar that is used for mineral compression, not the +10% variant.

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    2. Gavin, that's my concept of it as well. I remember some conversations of this idea in Sugar's ingame channel a few weeks ago - at the time, I said I'd love to be able to fly a reasonably nimble ship in/around lowsec and sniff out ores.

      Maybe 1 nugget per belt, maybe less. Would give me a reason to kill belt rats, and allow me to be mobile enough to avoid most random gankings. I said in comments elsewhere that most PVE in lowsec requires the player to be too static in position -- mining especially requires you to be an immobile target, fit specifically for maximum yield. Give me a fighting chance and I can see a "mining roam" with 2-5 folks shaping up as good clean fun. // Abavus

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  5. Offtopic, but are you going to jump into Erotica1's quagmire and perhaps take a chance at ruining your CSM prospects by alienating one of the two sides in this discussion?

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    1. I've been asked my opinion and I will respond to it. I have my opinion just as I expect everyone to have their own. I'd be saddened if people felt alienated because we disagree on one topic. The handling of this has been poor which is unfortunate because it is a very important issue that is now clouded by people doubling down on sides.

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  6. I like these ideas in general.

    I think all that is needed in low is something with a warp accel gate. That would be the minimum requirement.

    I think it would be more interesting if Highsec had current ores. Lowsec had ores that refined for 2x as much and Null/Wormholes had ores that refinded for 4x as much.

    Some way to incoporate new mobile structure and you might be able to sell it to CCP.

    (I will be very interested to hear your response to the current debate. The Jester blog, Erotica 1 thing.)

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