Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mining's ABCs

     No, not MINING ABCs, but MINING'S ABCs.  So, capitals are people too, so are apostrophes and syntax. :)

     Anyway, I have been in my fair share of mining fleets and mining ops.  Great social beasts they are, with lazars pointing everywhere and chat scrolling, and voice blaring, and jet cans and all that good rot.  Can be a little chaotic at times, and for the most part, they tend to be mainly "group" things and not so much "efficient" things.  With good orca pilots and boosts and mining skills, fleets can crush a prodigious amount of rock, but for efficiency, I've found that even just a little organization makes a big difference.

     Standard overview fare is to select all asteroid types, and arrange them by distance.  Everyone jumps on any rock, or sometimes the more organized will assign certain types to specific players, who after that type of ore is mined out, will then be allowed to mine anything or get assigned another type of ore.  Specific assignments are easy to do and greatly increase efficiency.  It's more efficient because if only one player is mining an asteroid, with only one laser, instead of multiple players and lasers, when the asteroid pops, it only pops on one player, one laser.  When multiple lasers have been mining the same roid that pops, that's not a big deal, but do that dozens or scores of times in a mining op, and that time can easily add up to an hour or more where zero ore was mined.  Most ops will split the ore between miners, or give a portion to the corp, and then split the rest.  With wasted mining time, that greatly reduces the shares for the rest of the miners.

     I would set up my overview, all roid types, sorted by distance, and then assign each miner a specific type of ore that they just pick out of the overview.  It's also just as easy to set up the overview for single ore types, and then switch between them as the ore type runs out.  If there were enough miners, ore types would be further broken down into "normals" (like pyroxeres) and "specials" (the solid and viscous variants).  One miner mines the normals, the other the specials.  If there are more miners still, and there are enough asteroids, you can further break them down by normals, specials and also close and far.  Two miners could be assigned to mine veldspar with one starting at the closest rocks and working to the more distant ones, and the other starts at max strip miner range, and works their way in.  This reduces the chances that multiple miners will be on the same asteroid until the belt and ore types start getting really depleted.  If there are enough orca pilots and toons with squad commander skills, you can also split the fleet to multiple belts, and then apply the same near/far, normals/specials roid assignments.  Unless the belts are really massive, on high sec ore types, usually 8 hulks is about max efficiency, with either a single orca that just does transport runs and tractors can, or a stationary orca (good job for the fleet boost orca) with a transport or another orca for ore transport.
     After a little messing around, I found a simple and fool proof method of setting up the overview so everyone can stay organized and on type.  Display all the ores, and then select the ID column as the sorting criteria.  It sorts al lteh asteroids, alphabetically by name, type and distance.  Makes it extremely easy to to keep track of your type of rock, how many are left, and what other types still remain.  How easy is that?  :)

     When it comes to solo mining, or smaller fleets, or just trying to min/max your isk per hour, taking a quick look at a website that gives good ore and mineral pricing is not a bad thing.  I like Cerleste's site.  Simple, clear and all the market hub prices are at the bottom.  I click on the "Appearance" column to sort the ores with highsec on top, then hold SHIFT and click on the "ISK" column and it sorts highest isk to lowest, of the high sec ores.  If there is limited time, I know what to mine to maximize my isk.  Right now, it's pretty much pyro for the win.  Cherry picking the specials and then moving to the next belt is a good way to maximize cash if there are enough specials.  Too much time flying means not enough time mining, though.  The latest updates have put miners back in the game.  No sense not making best use of the belt time.

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