The Complete TEST Squadron Mining Guide - V3.12

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Table of Contents

*Denotes link to section
An Introduction to Mining*

General Locations to Prospect

List of Minerals, Ores, & Gems
Minerals, Ores, & Gem Deposit Locations

First Person Mining*
FPM Tools & Accessories
Core Elements
Environmental Armor
Additional Items
FPM Gear Price Table
Fracturing and Extraction of Hand Mineables
The Multi-Tool interface
Fracturing the Rock
Picking up the Pieces & Personal Inventory
Selling Gems
Miscellaneous

Vehicle & Ship Mining Universals*
The General Scanner
Vehicle and Ship Mining Interface
Mining Heads in Contrast
Mining Consumables
Mining Consumables in Contrast
Mining Laser Power Factors

Vehicle & Ship Based Mining*
Mining Vehicles & Ships
Fracturing & Extraction
Fracturing The Rock
The X Factor: Instability
Extraction, Volatile Cargo, ROC Inventory & Interaction
Extraction
Volatile Ore Cargo
ROC Inventory & Interaction
Selling the Cargo
Selling Gems
Selling Minerals & Ore
Strategies for Hard to Crack Rocks
Other Tips & Tricks

Links

Final Thoughts


The TEST Mining Guide Supplement*
The TEST Refinery Guide*

Past TEST Mining Guide Versions:
3.11
3.11 Supplement
3.10
3.10 Supplement
3.9
3.8
3.7.2
3.2-3.6 - Unable to find Part 2
 
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Black Sunder

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The Complete TEST Squadron Mining Guide - V3.12

This Guide is intended to help members of TEST Squadron gain a full understanding of mining gameplay as it currently exists. It contains information taken from the game, gained through personal experiences, or read about from direct sources and is presented in a way that assumes the game client and servers are working correctly. While this Guide will contain advice and recommended actions it is not a Zero-to-Hero Mining Guide.

This Guide will be updated with new information as the game develops and new mechanics are introduced.A Supplement to this Guide which goes into further detail on some topics can be found here. A Guide covering Refineries and Refinery Decks can be found here.

An Introduction to Mining

Mining, in its most simplistic form, is the acquisition of resources. Those resources and their derivative products form the foundation of the economy in Star Citizen. There are currently three types of mining in the game: First Person Mining(FPM), Vehicle-Based Mining(VBM), and Ship-Based Mining(SBM). Each has its own pros, cons, and differing entry costs.

First Person Mining(FPM) typically involves the player venturing into potentially hazardous areas, searching, scanning, and getting up close to small ore deposits. These rocks, when fractured, yield valuable gemstones which can be sold at most stations, Mining Outposts, Research Outposts, and landing zones. It has the lowest barrier to entry, requiring only a few items and a ship. FPM appeals to players mainly looking to explore subsurface caves while having a consistent and more personal mining experience.

Vehicle-Based Mining(VBM) customarily has the player scout for medium ore deposits on the surface of moons and planets. VBM stands as a midpoint between FPM and Ship-Based Mining(SBM), taking features from both. VBM requires more up front investment than FPM but will return a far superior profit. In addition to the Greycat Remote Ore Collector(R.O.C.) itself, a ship large enough to carry the ROC is needed to transport it. VBM will appeal to players looking to explore new possibilities in Mining. Solo players gain a solid stepping stone for generating increased profit while groups will welcome the opportunity to add additional Logistics into any planned operations.

Ship-Based Mining(SBM) requires either a Prospector or Mole to mine the largest rocks. SBM has the greatest potential for profit, but requires the most patience when searching for valuable deposits. The miner must exercise discretion and set personal limits on what is to be extracted. These ships can’t just drop their cargo on a whim and start fresh as a player can for FPM or VBM. Not yet anyway. SBM will appeal to both solo players and groups with every trip having the potential to strike it rich or come back with little to show for it.

General Locations to Prospect

Hand Mineables can be found on the surface of planets, moons, asteroids, and inside caves. This resource can be identified by a diamond icon on the HUD. Hand mineables are most abundantly found inside caves and can be hard to spot. On planets and moons these deposits are rarely found as the player must be in very close proximity to detect them. In space, asteroids may occasionally have these deposits present on the outside of a mineable rock but the player must be close to the rock to detect them. When looking to see if a rock is a Hand Mineable, check to see if it has a colored vein or small crystals extruding out.



Larger gem deposits suitable for vehicle mining can be found on moon and planet surfaces. These deposits have the same colored veins, contain the same gems as their smaller cousins, and have the same diamond icon making them difficult to distinguish from one another at a distance. The best way to tell the two apart is the increased size and mass for vehicle mineables compared to hand mineables. These deposits can be detected much further away than hand mineables.

Ship-based mineables can be found almost anywhere in the ‘Verse. In space, look for asteroid around moons and Lagrange Point Rest Stops. On moons, start by looking around existing Points of Interest such as Mining Outposts and Aid Shelters. The rocks will be scattered randomly across the whole surface of the planetoid. Ship mineables are denoted by a rock icon on the HUD.

Of special note is a system-wide asteroid belt that exists roughly just outside the orbit of Delemar and inside the orbit of the CRU-L5 Rest Stop. This is the Aaron Halo Asteroid Belt as denoted on the Star Map from RSI’s website. To get to this belt, simply cross into this highlighted zone and shut down the ship’s quantum drive. The ship may need some time to slow down after powering off, but if done correctly the player will find a veritable treasure trove of rocks to mine. Note the red arrow: The displayed Asteroid Belt is incorrectly placed and will not yield any results. Stick to the highlighted area in order to access the Aaron Halo Belt.



List of Minerals, Ores, and Gems


Refined commodity values will fluctuate based on supply & demand at a location

For a Prospector or Mole Quantanium, Bexalite, Borase, Taranite, Laranite, and Agricium are Primary and should always be the player’s first choice. The more mass and higher concentration the better. All other minerals/ores should be considered Secondary. While it is up to the player to determine a threshold for what is acceptable to extract, fragments containing <50% non-Quantanium with Inert material can usually be discarded. Fragments with high concentrations of Secondary minerals/ores should be considered only if extracting them will top off the cargo hold.

Hadanite should be Primary for both vehicle and personal mining. Because a player can create storage boxes after the ROC or backpack inventory is filled up, there is no reason to not mine all gem deposits that a player may find. Because of this, Dolivine should be mined as it is found.

Minerals, Ores, & Gem Deposit Locations

Star Citizen has become so large now that the most effective way to keep track of the various minerals, ores, and gems is not through surveying its celestial bodies but to extract the data from the game files. Someone has done just this and created a site called sc-trade.tools. Its Mining section allows a player to filter by locations and resources. However, even knowing that a resource can be found there will not save the player from the often laborious exploration process of scanning down various deposits to find those resources. The site itself is very intuitive and both new and old players alike should have no problems using it.

Continued below
 
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First Person Mining

First Person Mining gives new players an excellent introductory course in the core mechanics of Mining and inventory management. FPM requires the least up-front investment, compared to vehicle or ship mining, only requiring a few basic tools and accessories. As stated previously, FPM gems are most abundantly found in caves which can either be found as a Point of Interest or by various rescue missions in the mobiGlas if the player has the appropriate reputation. These gem deposits can be found on moon surfaces, but the player must be in close proximity(~400m) to even detect them with a vehicle or ship. FPM will teach skills and techniques that the player will use from here on out if a career in Mining is pursued further.

FPM Tools & Accessories

Core Elements

There are three core tools needed to get started with FPM. The first item is the Pyro RYT Multi-Tool. The second is an attachment to the Multi-Tool called the OreBit Mining Attachment. Finally a MacFlex “Rucksack” Core torso armor is needed to store the gems. These items can be found at the major landing zones, Lagrange Refinery Decks, and orbital station Cargo Decks with the exception of Port Olisar which does not have the Multi-Tool or OreBit Attachment, The player must be mindful of what armor should be worn for different temperature conditions. The Rucksack can be worn in temperate environments with no difficulty but will not protect the player against extreme heat or cold. For those moons and planets, specialized environmental armor is required.


*The Inmate Worksuit can only be obtained and worn by criminals in the Klescher Rehabilitation Facility and has an inventory of 16 units(this is likely an error).

Environmental Armor

On planets and moons with extreme hot or cold temperatures, extra care must be taken to ensure survival. This takes the form of Caldera’s specialized Novikov(yellow) and Pembroke(maroon) environmental armors. The Novikov should be worn in frigid environments such as the planet microTech and can comfortably withstand temperatures ranging from -225° / 75° C. The Pembroke is meant for scorching hot surfaces like those found on the Arial moon and can navigate temperatures ranging from -75° / 225° C. The main body of the armor is equipped like an undersuit but the helmets are equipped normally.


*The Novikov “Expo” Armor from the CitizenCon 2949 Digital Goodies Pack is identical in function to the regular Novikov Armor.

Additional Items

Optionally, a player can buy and equip a pink QuikFlare, which can be used to illuminate caves or other dark places. This flare can be turned on and then carried in hand, dropped on the ground, picked up again, or carried on-person providing extra illumination in addition to the helmet mounted flashlight. Additionally, CureLife Oxypens can be carried for long outdoor journeys to inject lifesaving oxygen if the player runs low. Finally, CureLife Medpens are an essential item to carry in order to heal quickly from unexpected injuries.



FPM Gear Price Table


Cargo decks are only present at the planetary orbital stations of microTech, Hurston, ArcCorp
Refinery Decks are only present at Lagrange Point Rest Stops ARC-L1, HUR-L1, CRU-L1, MIC-L1, and HUR-L2


Fracturing and Extraction of Hand Mineables

The Multi-Tool interface


Once a hand mineable is found, press the ‘4’ key to bring out the Multi-Tool. RMB will bring up the Multi-Tool’s interface. The interface is a simplified version of the one that vehicles and ships use in Mining Mode. It is divided into three main sections. Upon getting within half a meter of a rock, the Multi-Tool will begin to scan it and after a complete scan, will show the rock data.


  1. Charge Level - Shows how the rock is reacting to the input energy from the Multi-tool.
  2. Integrated Fracturing Meter & Optimal/Green Zone - When the Charge Level has vertically reached the Optimal/Green Zone, the Integrated Fracture Meter will then move horizontally from right to left within the Optimal/Green Zone to indicate fracture progress.
  3. Overcharge/Red Zone - Indicates how much excess energy is being input into the rock leading to an explosive reaction. If a rock is successfully fractured, but has acquired Overcharge, the fragments will be more inclined to fly away(potentially violently) from each other.
  4. Multi-Tool Battery Power - In the future the Multi-Tool will require its battery to be changed when it is depleted.
  5. Laser Intensity - The energy input level. All of the Mining Laser Power Factors(see below) that affect vehicle and ship mining are applicable to hand mining.
  6. Multi-Tool Aiming Sights
  7. Multi-Tool Status - The tool will either be Scanning or Charging a rock.
  8. Hardness - The ‘Resistance’ of the rock.
  9. Instability - How wildly the Rock Energy Level will fluctuate.
  10. Mass/Gem Count - The Mass of the rock as well as the number of gems that will break out upon a successful fracture. 0.10 means ten gems will spawn. 0.09 means nine and so forth.
  11. Rock Type - Indicates what type of gem is within.
Fracturing the Rock

First, find a comfortable distance from the rock, not to exceed 0.5m(the range of the Multi-Tool). Crouching down to get close enough may be necessary. Once a good distance has been established turn the Multi-Tool on. Clicking LMB will turn the laser on and off and. Keep this in mind. Start by increasing the Laser Intensity via the scroll wheel on the mouse until the Charge Level meter moves into the Optimal/Green Zone. One can usually go maximum power to begin with and then adjust down from there, but for new players it is recommended to start slow. During fracturing, distance adjustment may be necessary to mitigate laser energy loss or possible damage to the player.

Once the Optimal/Green Zone has been attained, immediately start dialing the Laser Throttle back to maintain the Rock Energy Level in this zone. The Integrated Fracturing Meter will begin to fill up from right to left as a green bar. If the player is successful at filling this up, the rock will fracture and it’s gems can be collected. Keep the Rock Energy level as low in the Optimal/Green Zone as possible to minimize the scattering of gems once the rock is fractured. If the Overcharge/Red Zone is breached, immediately decrease power, turn the laser away from the rock, or cut power all-together and restart again after the overcharge has bled off completely. Going into the Overcharge/Red Zone increases the explosive potential of the rock and could easily kill the player. At this time, breaching the Overcharge/Red Zone does not seem to have the same cumulative damage effect to the contents as it does with ship mineable rocks.

Picking up the Pieces & Personal Inventory

Once a successful fracture occurs, gems can be collected. There are three ways to collect the gems by hand. The first method is to put the Multi-Tool away by holding ‘R’ and then double tapping the ‘F’ key. The second method is to stop aiming down the sights of the Multi-Tool with RMB and double tap ‘F’ to collect by hand. Finally, interaction mode can be utilized to bring up options related to the gem. The Rucksack, when empty, can hold 52 gems while the Inmake Worksuit can hold 16(this seems to be in error). The Novikov can hold 146 units, the Pembroke 109(this seems to be an error).



There appears to be a cooldown between gem pickups. It is only a few seconds long, but the player may see this when trying to rapidly pick gems up. This happens regardless if the player is double tapping F, using the inner thought actions, or if the Multi-Tool is equipped in the right hand.



The Personal Inventory UI can be accessed by pressing ‘I’ on the keyboard. This will bring up a new UI interface which shows all of the player’s carried inventory. Depending on the armor components used, inventory may be spread across backpack, chest, and leg storage. The picture below was taken using the Pembroke Armor which only has backpack and chest storage.



If the same item is split across different armor locations, such as chest and leg, it can be combined by dragging and dropping the icons on top of one another as long as that armor area has enough space. Right clicking on an inventory item will bring up a contextual menu with several items with different items having different options available.
  1. Item Name - Name of the item. In this example, Dolivine
  2. Drop Item - Drops a single item from the inventory to the ground. The action will not complete until the player exits the Inventory UI. It is most useful for dropping food or water to friends.
  3. Split - Can split a stack of items. Choose the number to be split by using the arrow markers on each side of the number and then click the word ‘Split’ to complete the action.
  4. Store All Commodities - This will empty and store the entirety of the player’s current inventory into a box. This includes food and drink.
Using the Store All Commodities Option to store inventory can extend a player’s inventory by wiping it clean and putting it all in a box. The UI will ask for confirmation before storing or dropping the items. In order to store items into a storage box, the player must be within the physics grid of a ship. This is not the same as a cargo grid which is used to buy and sell other commodities.



For these boxes to safely register on the kiosk they should be hand placed, not dropped or thrown. Boxes can also be stacked atop one another if space is limited. Additionally, boxes can only be sold from either a Prospector/Mole or from a ship with a cargo grid. Ships without a cargo grid, such as the Terrapin, can not be used to sell gems. The exact location of the box inside the ship with a cargo grid does not matter, only that the ship has one.



Selling Gems

All of the major Mining Outposts and Research Centers should purchase gems. The terminals may vary in appearance but can always be found within a Storage building at the Outpost. Go up to the kiosk and either select the ship carrying the boxes or personal inventory. A listing of what is contained in each will appear and can be selected for selling.


Pictures taken from a terminal at a Mining Outpost. Selling from the ROC is described further down.

Miscellaneous

Multi-Tool Scan Help -
Inside caves it can sometimes be very difficult to spot potential rocks that can be mined. To aid in this pull out the Multi-Tool and aim down sights before looking around at potential places where a rock may hide. Even from a distance the Multi-Tool is able to detect mineable rocks and bring them to the player’s attention.

Food and Drink - Staying hydrated and eating food is essential. Keep a couple of water bottles and MREs (Meal Ready to Eat) on hand at all times, especially if a long operation is planned. If possible, keep a stash of food and drink in a separate torso armor to be swapped in as needed to get supplies out of. Going without food and drink for long periods of time will lead to the player character experiencing degrading effects such as loss of stamina and even blurred vision before death.

Hard to get gems - Occasionally when mining in caves, gems may fall into inconvenient places putting them just beyond reach. What is a player to do? If it has been purchased, change out the OreBit Mining Attachment for the TruHoldTractor Beam Attachment. Use the tractor beam to bring the gems closer for collection.
 
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Vehicle & Ship Mining Universals

The General Scanner




The scanning system is accessed using the ‘Tab’ Key. Upon entering Scan mode, the flight/driving interface completely disappears, so be aware of current speed and heading. The scanner can also be overclocked in the Power MFD’s Items Tab to provide a bit more range and faster cooldown. Press and hold the RMB to charge the scanner and upon getting to 100%, release the RMB. A blue wave effect(a ping) will emanate from the ship and spread outwards, looking for contacts. Any mineable rocks within range should show up in a large blue box and in the center have a distance to the deposit. This effect is short lived and may require additional pings to narrow the exact location down. The scanner can be tuned to scan sharper angles(horizontal arrow) with the scan cone represented by the diagonal arrow

This narrowing of the scan field will increase the scanner’s effective range but decrease the scanned area around the ship. This is most useful where omnidirectional scanning is not necessary. However, there does not seem to be any benefit to go beyond 16x at this time. 2x and 4x should be the go-to options as striking the best balance between coverage and range.

After getting close enough, an outline will appear around the rock and an animation will play on the scanner telling the player that it can be scanned in more depth. While still in scan mode, hold LMB while the cursor is over the rock to scan the contents within. This will display the relevant data on the rock.



The scanner will then display a number of items. Most of which are also available automatically through the ‘Mining Mode’ detailed below in this guide. However, for getting a quick glance to determine worth, this works best.
  1. Left: Rock Data - Mass, Instability, Power Transfer Resistance, and Optimal Power Window.
    • Mass - How ‘big’ a mineable rock is.
    • Instability - How volatile the rock is in relation to input energy. Higher instability rocks are harder to mine.
    • Power Transfer Resistance - A % of how much energy the rock can absorb without reacting.
    • Optimal Power Window - The Optimal/Green Zone range for rock fracture.
  2. Centered: Signature Data - Gem deposits and other ship mineable rocks only have a Radar Signature(RS) value.
  3. Right: Contents - The names and percentages of the contents of the rock and whether or not a volatile element is detected.
For Contents, the scanner will break the minerals/ores down into two percentages. The left hand number (A) is the concentration and the right hand number (B) is what percent of rock that mineral/ore is present in. To illustrate using the picture below, Quantanium is present in 42.86% of the rock (B) at a concentration of 34.21% (A).



There are some drawbacks that come with using the ship’s scanner. First of all, it does consume power and charging it increases the ship’s signature. Secondly, charging to less than 100% can lead to shortened scan range, though it will mean a shorter cool down as well. Lastly, a ping will dramatically increase the ship’s signature which may attract unwanted attention.

Mole Specific Scanning

All 3 Laser Operators and Pilot, when scanning, should see each other’s pings and returns. Ideally, the two side operators will be scanning to either side of the ship as it moves along and the forward operator will be cooperating with the Pilot to check distance to target and prioritizing what to mine.

Vehicle & Ship Mining Interface

The Mining Interface is pulled up using the ‘M’ key on mouse & keyboard and presents a new UI set to the player. This also activates and extends the mining laser forward on the ROC and Prospector. A player in a Mole’s cab will need to power it on to see the interface. The same basic interface is shared across the ROC, Prospector and Mole, only deviating if the ship or vehicle does not need an element or if moving an element helps balance the interface. The last Mode used will be the one selected when the mining laser is used again.


  1. Flight Instrument Readout
    • 1A: Velocity Cluster - Shows current speed, speed limit, applied thrust, and direction of movement.
    • 1B: Landing Gear, Coupled/Uncoupled, & ESP Indicators
    • 1C: Weapon Targeting Mode
  2. Active Modules - Displays equipped Consumables & duration time when active. Placing the 2nd Consumable in the 3rd slot will show 'Placeholder" text for the 2nd slot.
  3. Laser Intensity - The energy input into the rock displayed in 1% increments.
  4. The Current Mode - Mining or Extraction. In this case, Mining Mode.
  5. The Cursor - Acts as a pointer indicating where the Mining Laser will hit and allows the ship to bring up relevant data on the targeted rock.
  6. Charge Level -The rock’s current energy level and where different reactions will occur. The Blue Zone means it is not reacting at all. The Optimal/Green Zone is the sweet spot that enables fracturing. The Overcharge/Red Zone is the danger zone.
    • 6A: Integrated Fracturing Sensor - Tells how close the rock is to splitting apart. When it reaches 100% it will fracture into smaller rocks which can either be fractured further or extracted. The Fracture Sensor % will decay quickly if the Rock Energy Level slips into the Blue Zone. The Fracturing Sensor will continue to charge even if the Overcharge Sensor begins to gain power.
    • 6B: Integrated Overcharge Sensor - Indicates how much excess energy is being input into the rock leading to an explosive reaction. This sensor in contrast to the Integrated Fracturing Sensor bleeds energy at a slower rate. If a rock is successfully fractured, but has acquired Overcharge, the fragments will be more inclined to fly away (potentially violently) from each other. If the rock is Overcharged then a % of the ore is lost even if a successful fracture occurs later. Repeated breaches into the Overcharge/Red Zone will result in a cumulative percentage loss of valued elements.
  7. Scan Result Data
    • 7A: Rock Type - This classification varies between asteroids and surface rocks.
    • 7B: Mass - How 'large' a rock is
    • 7C: Instability - How volatile the rock can be. High instability will require frequent and careful adjustments to the Laser Throttle to prevent overload. When this text is green, it indicates that the Instability is being modified by a Mining Head and/or Consumable.
    • 7D: Resistance - A % of how much input energy the rock can immediately absorb without reacting. When this text is green, it indicates that the Resistance is being modified by a Mining Head and/or Consumable.
    • 7E: Composition - The Mineral/Ore concentrations of the rock generally ordered by the most to least valuable.
  8. Real Time Cargo Readout - Shows how full the cargo hold is. Displays what minerals/ores are present and in what quantity.
 
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Mining Heads

Each Mining Head, apart from the stock Arbor, gives certain advantages and disadvantages to mining capability. Some Mining Heads do not have the power to crack rocks above a certain mass and resistance necessitating an upgrade or use of a Consumable. Two or miners working in conjunction on the same rock will be able to break down any rock. At this time the only difference between a Size 1 and Size 2 Mining Head is the range. Mining Heads must be equipped to a ship prior to spawning it. Hot-Swapping is not allowed.

Note 1:
There are no other Size 0 mining heads in the game at this time for the ROC except its default Arbor. Entries within the game files suggest there may be other Size 0 heads in the future but they are not yet implemented for purchase. If/when they are this chart will be updated.

Note 2: Mining Heads in 3.12 were rebalanced to bring more unique characteristics to each one.


All stats taken from ingame kiosk descriptions.
*The ingame description of Helix II says it has a -30% modifier like the Helix I but the Helix II game files use a -50% modifier. This is an error and will be treated as such in this Guide.

  1. Optimal Range - The range at which the laser operates efficiently at with little loss of power.
  2. Maximum Range - The maximum range of the laser.
  3. Optimal Charge Window - The percentage increase in the size of the Optimal/Green Zone.
  4. Resistance - This modifier lowers the target rock’s resistance by a set percentage.
  5. Instability - This value modifies the rock’s instability rating. Negative percentages decrease the rock’s instability while positive percentages increase it.
  6. Power Transfer - The maximum amount of power available to transfer to the target rock.
  7. Optimal Charge Rate - This percentage denotes how much faster the Integrated Fracturing Sensor will fill up.
  8. Overcharge Rate - This value denotes how much faster the Integrated Overcharge Sensor will fill leading to an explosion.
  9. All Charge Rates - This accounts for both Optimal and Overcharge rates.
  10. Throttle Speed - Modifies how responsive the Laser Throttle will be to player input. Positive percentages will increase response time while negative percentages will create a delay.
  11. Shatter Damage - Increases the amount of damage dealt on an overcharged fracture or explosion.
  12. Extraction Throughput - How much SCU/s will be extracted in Extraction Mode.
  13. Consumable Slots - The number of slots available to add Mining Consumables.
Different Mining Heads which offer the same advantages, when used in concert, do not compound, but divide linearly. For example, two lasers both cut instability by 75%. If the rock has an instability of 10.00 then the first laser hitting it will reduce that to an instability of 2.5. The second laser is then applied further reducing that by 70% to 0.625. If the lasers had an additive effect then the Instability would have been reduced by 150% and this is not the case in the game. This creates diminishing returns for each subsequent laser used on the same rock.

Mining Heads in Contrast

The default Mining Head that comes on the Prospector and Mole is the Arbor. While it has no modifiers to Resistance or Instability, it does have sufficient power to fracture many different kinds of rocks. In addition, it has a single Consumable slot which can be used to augment the Heads effectiveness. The Lancet has significant modifiers to both Resistance and Instability making it an excellent supporting Mining Head on a Mole. Furthermore, to complement this, the Lancet can increase the size of the Optimal/Green Zone by 40% and will decrease shatter damage by half. However, the laser has relatively low power output which will make high mass rocks harder to mine and it’s modifier to charge rates will make the process slower overall. It has three Consumable slots that can help neutralize these disadvantages.

The Hofstede has few drawbacks which makes it a good choice for first time miners looking to upgrade. Its modifier to reduce instability is a welcome addition as is its slight reduction to resistance. The laser slightly increases the Optimal/Green Zone by 10% and will increase fracture speed by 20%. It has two slots for Consumables. Its main drawbacks are that it delays throttle inputs from the player, will overcharge faster, has increased shatter damage, and has the least range of any Mining Head. The Klein should be avoided if at all possible. While it does increase the Optimal/Green zone by 15%, reduces Resistance by 20%, and makes the fracture process slightly faster its 20% instability increase will make mining even slightly unstable rocks much more of a challenge. Furthermore it will overcharge a rock much faster than any other Mining head leading to an explosion. With its increased shatter damage modifier, this combination of factors could be fatal. Its two Consumable slots may mitigate some of these disadvantages but, overall, there are better Mining Heads.

The Impact offers a mixed bag of attributes. The laser offers the 2nd largest increase(+30%) to the Optimal/Green zone of any Mining Head and will reduce resistance by 25%. The Impact will also lessen the time to fracture and it also has the 2nd largest power output. Contrary to this, the laser will increase a rock’s instability by 10%, overcharge 50% faster and cause 75% more shatter damage. All three of these disadvantaged can be reduced or eliminated by taking advantage of the three Consumable slots it has. Finally, the Helix is simply a better Hofstede. Compared to that laser, the Helix offers a slightly larger Optimal/Green Zone modifier, better power output, and lower shatter damage. All other factors remain the same.

In the past, the choice of ‘best Mining Head’ was fairly clear for both the Prospector and Mole but it is not so obvious now. Players should carefully consider what factors are most important to their style of play and choose a Head that suits those preferences. In combination, a Lancet with Impact or Helix Mining Heads should make short work of any rock when using a Mole.

Mining Consumables

Mining Consumables add a layer of support for the aspiring master miner. They are equipped the same way weapon attachments are done in the mobiGlas and can only be equipped before a ship is spawned. As with Mining Heads, Mining Consumables offer a range of options with differing advantages and disadvantages. The majority of Consumables increase a ship’s signature and heat generation on activation making it easier for potential enemies to spot the wayward miner. With the exception of the Surge, consumables when used in combination to augment existing buffs do not compound but divide linearly creating diminishing returns. This applies to any additional Consumables from other Mining Heads hitting the same rock.

Once a Mining Consumable has used up its charges it will automatically be discarded. Consumables are not automatically replaced and must be slotted into the Mining Head through the mobiGlas prior to spawning.To quickly use a Consumable press LALT + 1, 2, or 3. These correspond to the order in which the Consumables are arranged in the mobiGlass. Consumables will overwrite each other when activated from the same Mining Head, ending the previous one’s effect immediately. Consumables with a set duration will continue to count down if the laser is turned off.

Note: Mining Consumables can only be equipped to Size 1 and Size 2 Mining Heads.


All stats taken from ingame kiosk descriptions.
* Also known as Total Charge Level
** 30 Second delay between uses
  1. Heat Generation - The percentage increase in heat generated by the Mining Head. This will also increase the ship’s IR signature.
  2. Signature Size - The percentage the ship's overall signature will increase for a time.
  3. Optimal Charge Window Size - The percentage increase in the size of the Optimal/Green Zone.
  4. Resistance - The value by which a rock's resistance is lowered
  5. Instability - The value by which a rock's instability is increased or lowered.
  6. Charge Window Level - The percentage at which the Rock Energy Level is immediately increased or decreased.
  7. All Charge Rates - This modifies the rate which the Integrated Fracture and Overcharge sensors fill up.
  8. Shatter Damage - This modifier increases or decreases the damage caused by a fractured rock that has acquired energy in the Overcharge Sensor.
  9. Overcharge Rate - This modifies how quickly the Integrated Overcharge Sensor fills up if the rock acquires any Overcharge.
  10. Duration - The time, in seconds, which the consumable is active.
  11. Charges - The maximum number of charges the Consumable offers.
Mining Consumables in Contrast

The Brandt’s 75% instability modifier will synergize with any Mining Head although it will increase the time to fracture by 25%. The 90 second duration of this Consumable means the rock will be fractured long before it runs out. Forel is situational at best and useless at worst. Its -20% resistance modifier will help some Mining Heads progress on higher mass rocks but it will increase a rock’s instability by 10%. This can be somewhat mitigated by the Mining Head itself if it lowers Instability but there are better Consumables. The Lifeline Consumable will instantly arrest a rock’s Optimal and Overcharge rates and lower shatter damage by 90%. The only use for this is to prevent ship destruction from an already close to exploding rock. Even novice miners will cut power and begin to move away in these situations and most shatter damage can be negated by upgrading the ship’s shields. Overall this Consumable seems fairly useless overall.

Optimum is the best consumable available and synergizes with any Mining Head. While it is the most expensive, it will easily pay for itself many times over by enlarging the narrow Optimal/Green Zone on Quantanium rocks by 75% making them easier to mine. The Rime can save a player that has overcharged a rock due to lag or other circumstances by instantly lowering a rock’s Charge Level by 50%. It is a better Lifeline than the Lifeline itself. The Stampede Consumable can be used to speed up the fracture by 125%, assuming the Charge Level is kept in the Optimal/Green Zone. If the Overcharge/Red Zone is breached, then the rock will quickly build to an explosion. It will increase a rock’s instability by 10% but this can be compensated for by the Mining Head itself if it lowers instability.

The Surge Consumable will instantly raise a rock’s current Charge Level by an absolute 40%. If a 2nd Mining head simultaneously activates a Surge then the rock’s Charge Level will be 80%. This Consumable will be most helpful on the Lancet due to its low power transfer output. All this power means that the shatter damage of a rock will rise by 200% and if the Overcharge/Red Zone is breached then it will quickly build to an explosion. The Torpid can be thought of as a better version of the Forel. It does not have the increased instability modifier but it will increase time to fracture by 20%. The 90 second duration of the Torpid means that the rock should be fractured before time runs out.

Mining Laser Power Factors

Aside from a Mining Head’s stated Power Transfer, there are four major factors that can aid or hinder a laser’s energy input into the rock and its overall effectiveness in fracturing it:
  1. Laser Throttle % - The throttle is the most important contributor to the mining process and is the one the player can control most immediately and effectively. The more energy applied, the more likely the rock will fracture, assuming the fracture meter was kept in the Optimal/Green Zone. This is the easiest piece to judge because there is immediate feedback when looking at the Rock Energy Level. Rocks generally require a lot of input from the laser to begin the fracturing process, however, once the Charge Level is in the Optimal/Green Zone, much less energy is required to maintain it. Monitor and adjust the input as needed for a successful fracture.
  2. Distance - Distance from the rock is the second most important factor as well as the second easiest to adjust. The further away from the rock the ship is, the less energy the laser will transfer to the rock. When the Mining Head is at an optimal distance from the rock, minimal energy is lost. If the Mining Head is too far away the laser will struggle to make any impact on the rock. The optimal distance can be determined by the HUD showing distance to target. If this is not available then filling up the circular display on the HUD in mining mode should be sufficient. As a reminder, if a vehicle/ship is too close, the rock may cause damage upon fracture, especially if it has acquired Overcharge.
  3. Resistance - The resistance of a rock is the percentage of energy that it can absorb without causing a reaction. More power is needed on higher resistance rocks and vice versa on lower resistances. High resistance rocks may require a different Mining Head or the addition of a Consumable to successfully fracture. Resistance can also be a good indicator in judging optimal distance.
  4. Mass - Rocks greatly vary in mass.The greater the mass, the more energy will be needed to begin a reaction for fracture. This also means with an increase in mass, the rate at which Rock Energy Level increases is proportionately affected, unless they have a high Instability factor.

Continued Below
 
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Black Sunder

Rock Raiders
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Vehicle & Ship Based Mining

Mining Vehicles & Ships

Greycat Remote Ore Collector



The Greycat Remote Ore Collector(R.O.C.) is purpose built to mine medium surface gem deposits. The vehicle is rugged but can be prone to tipping if it hits an obstacle due to its high ground clearance. It can be rented from various Refinery Decks or bought ingame for 172,000 aUEC. It is operated by a single player and is roughly the size of a Cyclone meaning it can comfortably be transported by a Cutlass Black or larger ship. The ROC comes equipped with a single Size 0 Mining Laser and has 0.8 SCU of onboard storage. As with all vehicles and ships, the ROC can be upgraded with different Size 0 components although selection is very limited at this time. There is a slot for a shield generator but it is locked out and it is unknown if this will be a feature in the future. The only real drawback to the vehicle is its lack of an enclosed climate controlled cabin. Outside of temperate zones, players will need to equip environmental armor to survive in harsh environments.

Transporting the R.O.C.

The vast majority of what the ROC can mine is well and truly away from a convenient vehicle spawn pad. The Cutlass Black is an ideal carrier for transporting the ROC. Driven in backwards, the vehicle fits well against the turret operator’s well wall allowing the player room to exit the ROC and go back and forth from the exit ramp and cockpit. A Freelancer can also be used albeit with great difficulty as the ROC will barely fit with no room for error. A better ship would be the Freelancer MAX, Valkyrie, or Mercury Star Runner with their wider cargo bays. Other suitable ships are the Carrack which can hold several ROCs and the Starfarer with its large ramp and cargo bay enables it to easily hold half a dozen.

If the player has no suitable transport, a Cutlass Black can be rented at a Refinery Deck.

MISC Prospector


The MISC Prospector is the starter for ship mining gameplay. This ship can be rented or bought ingame for 2,061,000 aUEC. It is a small, but rugged ship capable of mining mid-size boulders or asteroids and is meant for the solo miner. For defense, it comes with a Size 1 shield generator and a pair of Size 1 distortion repeaters. For mining and extracting precious minerals/ores, it carries a S1 Mining Head and has 32 SCU for extracted ore. Later on, additional functionality will be added, such as detachable saddlebags and a filter system. The ship handles poorly compared to other ships of its size and does not slow down easily.

More information about the Rental Prospector can be found here.

Argo Multi-Operator Laser Extractor


The Argo Multi-Operator Laser Extractor(M.O.L.E) represents a true multi-crew mining experience for a small group of friends looking to work together and mine the largest rocks. This ship can be purchased ingame for 5,130,500 aUEC. The crew complement is nominally 4(Pilot and 3 Laser Operators), though a 5th crewman could be utilized as a Co-Pilot if desired. For defense, it comes with a pair of Size 2 shield generators and two Size 2 laser repeaters. For mining the Mole comes with three Size 2 Arbor Mining Heads. The Mole can hold 96 SCU worth of minerals and ore. Like the Prospector it will eventually have detachable saddlebags and a filter system. The Mole is larger than the Prospector, but better maneuvers somewhat despite its size. Hydrogen fuel should be monitored closely though.

Mole Crew Communication & Roles

Mole crews face different challenges than a group of Prospectors. Communication, first and foremost, is the key to a good experience on the Mole. Mole crew members must be in constant communication with each to convey valuable directional, mining, or hazardous advisory information. It is best early on for Mole crew to adopt a mindset that non-essential conversation is stopped when a valuable resource is found.

Pilot - The Pilot is in overall command of the operation and later is tasked with splitting profits once the cargo has been sold. Additional responsibilities include:
  1. Maneuvering the ship into the most optimal position.
  2. Monitoring surrounding space for threats.
  3. Adjusting power flow, monitor shield integrity, keep watch of fuel reserves.
  4. Communicate with the Foreman what rocks should be mined or avoided.
  5. Maneuver the ship away in case of rock overcharge.
Front Laser Operator(Foreman) - The Foreman is the front center laser operator and is in charge of the two side mining stations. The Foreman must have a good knowledge of Mining, not only for training new crewmen but to direct energy flow from multiple mining heads onto one rock for fracture if the need arises. Additional responsibilities include:
  1. Communicating to the Pilot optimal distance, position, angle.
  2. Communicating the Abort signal to the Pilot.
  3. Help train inexperienced miners on what to look out for and efficient laser operation.
  4. Monitoring fractures by the Lancers and extractions
Side Cab Operators(Lancers L1(left) & L2(right)) - The Lancers are subordinate to the Foreman when tough rocks need cracking. When this is not the case they operate semi-independently, fracturing rocks into smaller extractable ones, and communicating to the Pilot and Foreman what has been found before extracting them into the cargo hold. Novice Lancers should have the Foreman watching their work so they do not accidentally overcharge the rock.

Co-Pilot(Optional) - In rare circumstances a Co-Pilot may be wanted. Perhaps the crew just want an extra person to talk to or there is a rotation of miners so more people can gain experience on that mining run. Maybe the Mole is headed to a cave and an extra person could help out. Usually the Foreman will fulfill this role if the ship is not actively seeking rocks to mine. Whatever the case, the Co-Pilot is strictly optional.

Fracturing & Extraction

Fracturing The Rock


After entering Mining Mode, find an optimal distance to the target, wait for the rock to be fully scanned, and then turn on the laser using the LMB. Clicking LMB again will immediately turn the laser off, KEEP THIS IN MIND. Increase power on the Laser Intensity via the scroll wheel on the mouse until the Charge Level starts to rise. As the Charge level approaches the Optimal/Green Zone, start dialing the Laser Intensity back to ease into and maintain this sweet spot. From here carefully adjust the Laser Intensity or distance as needed to maintain the Rock Energy level in the Optimal/Green Zone.

If the Overcharge/Red Zone is breached, immediately decrease power, turn the laser away from the rock, or cut power all-together before restarting. The Prospector and Mole can equip the Brandt and Optimum Consumables to aid in keeping the Charge Level within the Optimal/Green Zone. The ROC has no such safety net and must rely on quick Laser Intensity adjustments by the operator. The Prospector and Mole may also equip a Rime Consumable which will immediately drop the Charge Level into the Blue Zone if needed.

Going into the Overcharge/Red Zone for ship-based mineables not only destroys the contents of the rock but also increases the explosive potential of the rock if fractured while having an Overcharge Level. This creates a cumulative destructive effect of the rock’s contents with each breach. For vehicle-based mineables, the rock can explode yielding nothing or scattering gems over a wide area making them nearly impossible to collect. While in the Overcharge/Red Zone, a rock will act similarly to a nuclear reaction, building potential energy very quickly until an explosive end. At a high enough Charge Level, cutting power will do nothing and the reaction will be self sustaining, causing an explosion when the Integrated Overcharge Sensor reaches its limit. This can severely damage or destroy the vehicle/ship.



Once acquisition of the Optimal/Green Zone is attained, the only thing left to do is wait until the Integrated Fracturing Sensor fills up and the rock breaks apart. For vehicle-based mineables, the fracturing process will only need to be performed once and spawns numerous small gems, the same as would be found in hand mineables. For ship based mineables this fracturing process will need to be repeated on any desirable rock still outlined in gold/yellow to finally break it down enough for extraction(purple outline). Please note that rocks small enough for extraction can not be broken down further and attempting to do so will cause them to be destroyed in the process.

The X Factor: Instability



The instability of the rock varies depending on mineral/ore content and the percentage concentration of each present in the rock. Gem deposits generally have an instability ranging from ~1 to ~4 and larger ship sized rocks can run the gamut from <1 to 10. At this time Quantanium has the highest instability of any mineral/ore. Instability determines the magnitude of fluctuation in the Charge Level meter causing it to move erratically requiring fast and careful adjustment to the Laser Intensity. High instability will make mining difficult while low instability means the rock will be predictable and easy to fracture. Instability can be mitigated on the Prospector and Mole by using either the Lancet, Hofstede, or Helix Mining Heads. A Brandt Consumable can further reduce a rock’s instability.

Extraction, Volatile Cargo, ROC Inventory & Interaction

Extraction


To change Modes click RMB to enter Extraction Mode from Mining Mode. Use the Cursor and hover it over a rock to get precise measurements of its composition. Gems can not be scanned as they are already known and pure upon fracture. Fractured ship mineable rocks have a variable percentage composition of what the original rock contained. Any gem or rock can be extracted into the cargo hold so long as it is outlined in purple and there is space available. To activate the extraction process, hit LMB.

To gather gems, hover the extraction laser over the gems for a few seconds, they should visibly be pulled into the mechanism at which point the extractor can be aimed at another location. This process will not automatically turn off and will require the player to hit LMB again. When a ship mineable rock is fully extracted, the process will power off automatically and the rock outlined in purple will disappear. Partial extractions are allowed on ship mineables but, continuing to hold the extraction laser on a rock after filling the cargo hold will result in the rock disappearing and its remaining contents lost.




It is possible that fracturing a ship mineable will yield a 100% pure rock. 50 Mass is equal to 1 SCU of cargo space. For example, a pure 100% Agricium rock with a mass of 200 will yield 4 SCU of Agricium. It is up to the miner to decide personal thresholds of what is good enough to be taken and what will be left on the field. Once the cargo hold is full on the ship then it is time to head back and sell. The ROC however can keep going as it can empty its cargo into a box. Ship mined ore can only be sold at major landing zones. Gems can be sold at Mining or Research Center Outposts.

Volatile Cargo

Extracted Quantanium is the only volatile cargo at this time. Once extracted it will degrade inside the ship’s ore storage limiting the amount of time it can be carried. This degradation can be seen in real time while in Mining Mode. From the first extraction, the player has 15 minutes to get back to a Refinery to sell or begin refining Quantanium. Because of this, all rocks containing Quantanium should be broken down first before beginning the extraction process. It is highly recommended that players looking to mine Quantanium purchase a Military-class Quantum Drive to shorten quantum travel times.



Outside of Mining Mode the only way to determine the state of degradation is via the Prospector and Mole’s control panel which will flash a colored light and sound an audio alert. If no alert is sounding then the cargo has a stability >50% and eight minutes have not elapsed. There is still plenty of time to reach a refinery. A slow blinking yellow light signals that the cargo has fallen to less than 50% stability and seven minutes are left. The Pilot should be thinking about going to a refinery. An orange signal indicates that the pilot only has two minutes remaining and stability is now down to ~15%. The pilot should be landing very soon or consider ejecting the cargo. A rapidly blinking red light means that the cargo has completely destabilized and will explode in seconds unless ejected. Ejecting the cargo is the only option at this point to avoid destruction.



At this time there are only three methods for stopping the degradation. The first is to simply eject the cargo. This can be done by pressing LALT+J or through Interaction Mode on the upper right panel(see picture below). If both volatile and non-volatile cargo is being carried, all of it will be ejected. Non-volatile cargo can not be ejected by itself. For example, a cargo hold full of Beryl can not be ejected to make way for Taranite.



The second way to stop decay is to store the ship. This is dependent on the game registering the ship properly but if it does then the ASOP terminal will have a ‘Store” option where ‘Retrieve’ or ‘Claim’ would be. Alternatively spawning a new ship will force the first ship into storage. Finally, the third way to stop the degradation is to simply sell the Quantanium in its raw form at an Ore Sales console or begin the refinement process by setting up a job.



ROC Inventory & Interaction

Unlike the Prospector or Mole, the ROC is not limited to being filled up once before it has to go sell its cargo. The back of the ROC has a hatch which can be opened to extend the vehicle’s internal storage compartment. To continue mining in the vehicle, this hatch should be closed.



Once this compartment is extended, use Interaction Mode to click on ‘Cargo Bay’ to bring up the vehicle’s inventory UI. This will also bring up the player’s personal inventory. From here gems can be put into a player’s personal inventory or vice versa if so desired. The same options that the personal inventory(see above) has for dealing with gems are also present here.



The same rules for storing the gems in a box also apply: it can not be done on a planetary or moon surface, only inside a ship. It should be noted that anyone can access this compartment, party member or not, and take items from it. This also applies to the boxes which are created from the ROC or personal inventory. In other words, cargo can be stolen. Boxing and then independently transporting the gems to a sell point will mean less downtime for the miners and more profit over time.



Selling the Cargo

Selling Gems


After finishing the last extraction and a cargo hold full of valuables is acquired, it is time to sell. Gems can be sold at any trading console at Mining and Research Center Outposts. Selling Gems from the ROC is not unlike selling them from a backpack. Simply go to a trading console and select the ROC. It should be listed first. From here select each gem type to sell. If the ROC has been stored inside another player’s ship, the player who owns the ROC will still be able to sell their own gems at the terminal.



In groups, selling boxed gems comes with a few conditions: 1)The player who boxes the gems from the ROC will need to be the same one who owns the ship where the boxes are sold from or it will show as illegal cargo and can not be sold. 2)Players who box gems, but are not the ship’s owner will likewise be unable to sell their spoils because they can not see the ship on the trade terminal. Currently GrimHex will allow all cargo, legal or illegal, to be sold, no matter who the owner is as long as the boxes are in the ship. Therefore, to legally sell boxed gems, the player that boxes them needs to also own the transport ship to sell them at the trade terminal.


Left) Cargo shows as illegal at Port Olisar and can not be sold by ship’s owner
Right) Cargo shows as illegal but can be sold at GrimHex.


Selling Minerals and Ore


Alpha 3.12 brought major changes to how minerals/ore are handled when the player is looking to sell these goods. Refinery Decks will purchase minerals/ore in their raw form for half price. Refined minerals/ore must be sold at planetary landing zones. For more information on Refineries and Refining Decks in general, consult the TEST Refining Guide.
 
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Black Sunder

Rock Raiders
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Sharing Profits Made Easy

The mo.TRADER app on the mobiGlas allows players to quickly disseminate profits to mining crews and pay security escorts without the need for cumbersome and unreliable public contracts. The app itself is very intuitive, quicker, and safer to use than contracts. Start by opening the mobiGlas(‘F1’) and navigating to the icon shown and press the ‘Begin’ button:



At the top the Select Recipient screen is a Search feature in case the recipient is not a member of the party or on the player’s Friends list. From here Party members or Friends can easily be selected. Simply click on the recipient’s name to proceed to the Transfer Details screen.



There are several items to pay attention to on the Transfer Details screen:


  1. Current Player Balance - in aUEC, before any transfer has occurred.
  2. Merits - Prison Merits. Merits can be traded for supplies or to help free another prisoner faster. Not applicable for this example.
  3. Sending To - The recipient.
  4. You Send - The amount in aUEC the player wished to give to another before tax.
  5. Total Cost - Total amount including the 0.5% Service Fee transfer tax The tax is added on top of what the player wishes to send and is taken from the giving player, not the recipient.
Once a transfer amount has been entered, the Service Fee will automatically be calculated and added to the aUEC being sent resulting in the Total Cost. If this is acceptable the player only needs to click ‘Send’. The transaction will then process and a receipt will be shown showing that the transfer was successful. From here the player has the option to make another transfer with a new recipient or to quit the app. If there is any downside to this app it is that multiple recipients can not be selected at once to create an even profit split.



Strategies for Hard to Crack Rocks

The vast majority of rocks will be easy enough for a new player to fracture and extract. More difficult rocks may require additional strategy, a different Mining Head, a second person to help or the addition of a Consumable.

Case 1: Highly Unstable Rocks

Strategy 1 - Double Team


In this strategy a second Prospector or Mole laser operator is needed. One operator will raise the Laser Intensity up to a point where the Charge Level stays in the Blue Zone just below the Green. The second operator will then turn the laser on and slowly increase the Intensity. This 2nd operator is adding a very small amount of power to make the Charge Level hit the Green Zone. Because the operator dealing with such a small power set, it will be easy to maintain a certain energy level for fracture with little chance of going into the Red Zone. In case of potential Overcharge build-up, the second miner should cut power to the laser completely..This strategy will need good communication between both miners to work effectively. This strategy is greatly enhanced with Mining Heads designed to lower a rock’s instability and made even easier with the Brandt or Optimum Consumables.

Strategy 2 - Pulsed Laser Power

This strategy involves pushing the Charge Level into the Optimal/Green Zone as quickly as possible and then completely shutting the mining laser off, preventing it from going into the Overcharge/Red Zone. As the Charge Level decreases, turn the laser back on and ramp up the level just before it exits the Optimal/Green Zone. Repeat as required until fracture attained. Essentially, the laser is being pulsed although this is much more difficult on a mouse than it is on a HOTAS controller. This attempts to prevent the rock’s high instability from becoming too much of a factor since the rock will not have time to react to the energy input while keeping the rock in the Optimal/Green Zone. This method is not foolproof and is greatly augmented using a Mining Head which lowers a rock’s Instability and can be made easier with the Brandt Consumable. Even so, through some surveying, this strategy works more often than not.

Case 2: Rock with High Resistance and High Mass

A single laser is no longer sufficient to fracture the highest mass and most resistant rocks with the rebalance of Mining Head power output. For these rocks, a 2nd Mining Head will be required to push the Charge Level into the Optimal/Green Zone. In general though, get as close as possible to the rock so the Mining Head is not losing any power. Upgrading to a Helix head will overcome some power issues but not all. A Forel or Torpid Consumable will help with the rock’s resistance but this also may not be enough. The Lancet Mining Head will lower the resistance of the rock by 75% but lacks raw power. A final option is to try and overclock the Mining Head under the Power MFD’s Items Tab to get a small boost on output. If all of these options fail then a 2nd Mining Head will be needed.

Case 3: Surface Rocks cling together upon fracture

A rock is on the surface of a moon or planet and has been fractured but stubbornly refuses to come apart afterwards, making it very difficult to inspect each fragment. To rectify this problem, purposefully overload one of the fragments to explode it, preferably a fragment with no elements within. Before turning the laser on, increase the throttle to 100% and then aim it at the unwanted rock. Immediately back the ship off in reverse at full speed to a safe distance. Keep the laser pointed at the fragment before turning the laser off. This explosion should have spread the other fragments allowing further inspection and fracture with ease. Be aware that different gravities on different surfaces affect the distance the fragments may travel upon explosion. This technique can cause significant damage or death if the operator is not careful. Alternatively, if explosions sound unsafe, simply keep fracturing any rocks that are unwanted, leaving the desirable ones for later. Once these unwanted rocks are broken down into extractable rocks, ‘fracture’ them again for a final time and they will simply turn to dust and disappear. This method is slower overall but ultimately much safer.

Other Tips & Tricks

Focus Lasers-
All rocks, even those with high mass, resistance, and instability can be mined by a Mole with three Mining Heads working together. As with the Double Team strategy above, this usually involves two of the laser operators focusing on a single rock and activating the lasers at minimum power(0.1%). The third operator will then be the one that raises the Charge Level and maintains the Optimal/Green Zone. If this is not enough then one of the other operators will need to start increasing their power output. All of the bonuses provided by the Mining Heads combined will be enough to fracture the rock quite easily.

The Consumable Sanction - As explained before about Quantanium it has a small green zone and high instability which only gets more difficult to mine the higher concentration the rock is. When an extremely valuable rock must absolutely without delay be mined perfectly then a Mole with Mining Heads that increase the Optimal Charge Window size + Optimum Consumables can be used. For faster mining, one Head can slot in a Stampede Consumable instead. Focus all lasers on the rock and after activating the lasers activate all Consumables simultaneously. This will be enough to widen the Green Zone to be almost 50% of the entire Charge Level meter and fracture the rock within seconds without any risk of Overcharge. Repeat as necessary for all rocks.

Saving fuel while surface mining - To save some fuel while skimming the surface of a moon or planet simply go into VTOL mode(press ‘J’). This engages VTOL which uses less fuel than the main engines. In addition, keep the ship at or below max SCM speed and avoid using the afterburner. This is especially important with a ship like the Mole which consumes fuel at an astonishing rate.

Avoiding accidental Overcharge with server lag- Due to server lag the Charge Level and Integrated Fracturing Sensor may sometimes appear to be static for a few seconds. Power is still being applied and calculated but when the server sends that data to the client it could mean the rock is now Overcharging. If this lag appears to happen either move the laser to a different part of the rock to force an update, turn the laser away from the rock, or turn the laser off until the server can catch up.

Repair and Refuel at Moon Outposts- Moon outposts with landing pads can be used to repair and refuel ships. This is especially useful for the Mole due to its high fuel consumption.

Mining medium gem deposits with a Prospector/Mole - It is possible to fracture a medium gem deposit with the Prospector or Mole instead of the ROC. However, it will be impossible to extract the gems in Extraction Mode. Only the ROC may collect them en masse. To fracture the deposit extremely short, low energy, bursts of energy are required. It is extremely easy to overcharge the rock and make it explode. An Optimum consumable is recommended. The best mining head for this is probably the Lancet with its low power output allowing the player to have more control over how much energy is input and its 40% increase to the Optimal/Green zone.

Countering Weather
  1. Wind- should be paid attention to first and foremost as this can rock a miner’s ship back and forth or blow it away from a valuable rock. The rocking effect can have detrimental effects on rocks with high instability as the player tried to keep the laser steady. Due to how the rock reacts when the mining laser hits a new area it could lead to the rock acquiring Overcharge. In these cases the ship should either be landed or positioned in such a way that the wind is directly behind or in front of the ship to minimize extraneous movement. Great pilots will usually be able to automatically compensate for most movement while keeping eyes on the prize.
  2. Dust/ice particles - At night these particles can obstruct vision if the ship is moving and it’s lights are turned on. Players encountering this can either turn the lights off and fly relatively blind, turn up the gamma setting in the graphics options or move outside of whatever dust/ice storm is currently present.
Links

Aaron Halo Asteroid Belt - RSI Starmap
SC Trade Tools - Filterable mining data from the game files
Universal Item Finder - Searchable item database
Platinum Bay & Dumper's Depot Component Finder - Quick Ship Component lookup spreadsheet, includes Mining Heads & Consumables

Final Thoughts

2020 has almost come to an end. 4 major patches for SC and many new additions to Mining. With the addition of Refinery Decks in 3.12, another link in the chain has been added to the overall Mining loop. From here it seems all but inevitable that the refined goods should go to factories next. Who knows what we’ll see next for Mining though. A 2nd rebalance pass on all things mineable and their instruments seems likely. There is still the matter of CIG creating the Aaron Halo Gates for the Aaron Halo Belt and finishing out Stanton. Hopefully they’ll make some even larger mass asteroids and start on the Orion next year. Pyro, once it comes online, will offer new locations, opportunities, and challenges for miners. 2021 is sure to be a big year for Star Citizen.

Thank you for reading and thank you to everyone that has supported and linked this Guide. Thank you to all TEST members who contributed tips, tricks, suggestions and other data that has gone into making this the best it can be.

Signed, @Black Sunder
 
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Black Sunder

Rock Raiders
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Jun 19, 2014
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Just to reiterate, the Supplement is WIP and the Refinery Guide will come after that is done. I know Refineries are the new thing but I need to get the Supplement done first and it'll be the faster of the two to get done. I have to do the refinery guide from scratch.
 
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Black Sunder

Rock Raiders
Officer
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The Supplement is done.

 
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