The Complete TEST Squadron Mining Guide - V3.8

Black Sunder

Rock Raiders
Officer
Jun 19, 2014
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Black_Sunder
Table of Contents
*indicates link to post

Introduction to Mining
Finding the Goods
List of SBM Ore & FPM Gems
Ore Location Index
First Person Mining
Tools of the Trade
Fracturing and Extraction of Hand Mineables
The Multi-Tool interface. What does it mean?
Fracturing the Rock
Picking up the Pieces & Personal Inventory
Selling Hand Mineables
Miscellaneous
Ship Based Mining*
Ships of the Trade
The General Scanner
Mole Specific Scanning Attributes
Fracturing & Extraction
The Mining Interface: What does it Mean?
Mining Heads
Mining Heads in Contrast
Mining Laser Power Factors
The X Factor: Instability
Extraction & Selling
Strategies for Hard to Crack Rocks
Mole Crew Communication & Roles
Other Tips & Tricks
Miscellaneous*
Upgrading Ship Components - The Final Frontier
Links Glossary*

Final Thoughts

The previous Guide can be found here.

The TEST Squadron Mining Guide - V3.8


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 the game. There are two types of mining in Star Citizen: First Person Mining(FPM) and Ship-Based Mining(SBM). Each has its own pros, cons, and differing entry costs.

First Person Mining(FPM) involves the player venturing into potentially hazardous areas, scanning, and getting up close to small rock deposits. These rocks, when fractured, yield valuable gemstones which can be sold at most stations and landing zones. It has the lowest prerequisites for entry, requiring only a few items and an appropriate ship. If the player doesn’t have an appropriate ship, they can rent one at a major landing zone or ask someone to borrow one. FPM appeals to players looking for a more consistent and personal mining experience.

Ship-Based Mining(SBM) requires either a Prospector or Mole mining vessel to extract the bigger rocks. These ships have onboard lasers designed to fracture large rocks and then extract resources. SBM has the potential for massive profits, but generally requires more patience while searching for those fruitful rocks in comparison to FPM. The miner must exercise discretion and set personal limits on what is to be extracted. The ship can’t just drop its cargo and start fresh as a person can in FPM. Not yet anyway. SBM appeals to people who like to take chances or want to mine cooperatively. Every trip out might mean striking it rich or coming back with little to show for it.

Finding The Goods

Hand Mineables can be found on the surface of planets, moons, inside caves, and even on some mineable asteroids. They can be identified on the ship scanner by a diamond icon on the HUD. Hand Mineables inside caves can be hard to spot but are abundant in quantity. On moons, expect to find clusters of the same rock type together interspersed between ship mineable rocks. When looking to see if a rock is a Hand Mineable, check to see if it has a colored vein running over its surface.



Ship-based extractables can be found almost anywhere in the ‘Verse as single rocks or in small clusters. In space, look for asteroid belts around moons and rest stops. On the surface of most planets and moons, look around already existing mining sites. The rocks will be scattered randomly across the surface of the planetoid. Ship extractables are denoted by a rock icon on the HUD and can appear lighter in color than non-mineable rocks.

Of special note is a system-wide asteroid belt that exists between the orbits of Delemar and 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.



List of Ores and FPM Gems



Ore Location Index


This survey does not claim to be 100% accurate, but through the combined efforts of several people has produced these results.

First Person Mining

FPM was introduced with Alpha 3.7. This gave new and old players alike a new way to explore the game. The whole process requires less up-front investment than ship mining due to the fact that caves offer many opportunities for FPM. For finding hand mineables on moon surfaces or in asteroid belts the player will require a ship that can scan for them. At this time, the only ship that can do that accurately is the Prospector though the Terrapin, Reliant Sen and Reclaimer are supposed to be able to as well.

The Tools of the Trade

There are three basic tools needed to get started with FPM. The first item that is required is the Pyro RYT Multi-Tool. The second is an attachment to the Multi-Tool called the OreBit Mining Attachment. Third is the MacFlex “Rucksack” Core torso armor. These items can usually be found at the major landing zones in the game with the exception of Port Olisar which does not have the Multi-Tool. Optionally, a player can buy and equip the 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 lighting in addition to the helmet mounted flashlight.



Fracturing and Extraction of Hand Mineables

The Multi-Tool interface. What does it mean?

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 same one that a ship mining laser uses. 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. Rock Energy Level - Shows how the rock is reacting to the input energy from the Multi-tool.
  2. Integrated Fracturing Meter/Green Zone - When the Rock Energy Level has vertically reached the Green Zone, the Integrated Fracture Meter will then move horizontally from right to left within the Green Zone to indicate fracture progress.
  3. Multi-Tool battery power - In the future the Multi-Tool will require its battery to be changed when it is depleted.
  4. Laser Throttle - This works exactly like ship mining. All of the Mining Laser Power Factors(see below) that affect the ships are applicable with hand mining.
  5. Multi-Tool Aiming Sights
  6. Multi-Tool Status - The tool will either be Scanning or Charging a rock.
  7. Hardness - Works much like the Resistance of a normal rock.
  8. Instability - How wildly the Rock Energy Level will fluctuate.
  9. Gem Count - 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.
  10. Rock Type - Indicates what element is within.
Fracturing the Rock

First, find a comfortable distance from the rock not exceeding 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. LMB for keyboard and mouse users will turn the laser on and off and should be kept in mind. Start increasing power to the Laser Throttle via the scroll wheel on the mouse until the Rock Energy Level meter moves into the Green Zone. One can usually go max 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 Green Zone has been attained, start dialing the Laser Throttle back to maintain the Rock Energy Level. 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. If the 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 energy has bled off completely. Keep in mind that going into the Red Zone increases the explosive potential of the rock and could easily kill the player. At this time, breaching the red zone does not seem to have the same cumulative damage effect to the contents as it does with the ship mineable rocks.

Picking up the Pieces & Personal Inventory

Once a successful fracture occurs, gems can be collected. There are two 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.The Rucksack can hold up to 60 collectables.



The Personal Inventory can be accessed by pressing ‘I’ on the keyboard. This will bring up a new UI screen which shows all of the harvestables grouped together into their own tabs and the quantity of each.



While the Rucksack can only hold 60 collectables at a time, that does not mean the player must stop and go sell their haul immediately. Once the inventory HUD is brought up, the player may choose to drop or store all of a specific type of harvestable into a storage box. The UI will ask for confirmation before placing or dropping said harvestables. In order to drop items into a storage box, the player must be within a physics grid of a ship. This is not the same as a cargo grid for a cargo-type ship. In order for these boxes to register as sellable on the ship via kiosk, they must be hand placed and not dropped or thrown. As a note, placeable storage boxes can be stacked upon one another.



Selling Hand Mineables

After picking up all those gems and storing them in the Rucksack or in a box, it is time to sell them. All of the major landing zones and Rest Stops currently purchase these gems. The terminals for them vary but are always near an Admin desk. 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.



Miscellaneous

FPM Rock Cluster Farming

If a large cluster of FPM rocks are found the player may be inclined to try to farm them. This is accomplished by using the ship’s bed log out mechanic. Resources in the game regenerate after a set time, and after waiting or trying a different region server, can be mined again. Upon logging back in, the cluster and ship should still be in the same spot.

Backpacking
If the Rucksack gets filled up, simply swap torso armor to another Rucksack and continue on. This is safer than storing the collected gems in a box on board the ship with current server difficulties. However, when physicalized inventory is finished and in the game, this will no longer be possible.

Continued below.
 
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Black Sunder

Rock Raiders
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Jun 19, 2014
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Ship Based Mining

Ships of the Trade



The MISC Prospector is the starting ship for ship mining gameplay. It is a small, but rugged ship capable of mining small boulders or asteroids and is meant for the solo miner. For defense, it comes with a Size 1 shield generator and a pair of S1 distortion repeaters, but is not meant for combat. For extracting precious ores, it carries a basic S1 mining laser and 32 SCU for extracted ore storage. Later on, additional functionality will be added, such as detachable saddlebags and a filter system. The ship handles somewhat poorly compared to other ships of its size and does not slow down easily. Plan your route and velocity carefully to avoid any unfortunate accidents. Aside from this, the first order of business should be to upgrade the mining laser as soon as possible to tackle bigger and better rocks.



The Argo Multi-Operator Laser Extractor(M.O.L.E) is the second ship added to the game for mining and the first that presents a true multi-crew experience for a small group of friends looking to work together and tackle harder challenges. The crew complement is nominally 4(Pilot and 3 Laser Operators), though a 5th crewman could be utilized as a Co-Pilot if needed. For defense, it comes with a pair of Size 2 shield generators and S2 laser repeaters. For extracting ore the Mole has 3 basic S2 mining lasers. The Mole can hold 96 SCU worth of ore, but like the Prospector, will eventually have detachable saddlebags and a filter system. The Mole is larger than the Prospector, but handles well despite its size. Fuel consumption should be monitored closely however. Similar to how the Prospector should upgrade its mining laser, so should the Mole as soon as possible.

The General Scanner



The scanning system is commonly accessed, like any other ship, using the ‘Tab’ Key. Upon entering Scan mode, the flight interface completely disappears, so be aware of current ship velocity and heading. Press and hold the RMB to charge the scanner and upon getting to 100%, release the RMB. A blue wave effect(a ping) will originate from the ship and spread outwards, looking for contacts. Any mineable materials within range will show up in large blue box and in the center have a distance to the material. This effect is short lived and may require additional pings to narrow the location down. The scanner can be tuned to scan sharper angles(diagonal arrow in pic above) and scan further(horizontal arrow) by scrolling the mouse wheel up or down to set the angle. This is most useful on the surface where omnidirectional scanning is not particularly necessary. Upon moving in for a closer examination, initially a question mark will appear and upon approaching closer, a rock or diamond icon will appear on the HUD. Once the ship is close enough, an outline will appear around the rock. While still in scan mode, hold LMB while the cursor is over the rock to actively 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.
  1. On the left is general rock information: Mass, Instability, Power Transfer Resistance, and Optimal Power Window.
    A) Mass - How ‘big’ a mineable rock is.
    B) Instability- How volatile the rock is in relation to input energy. Higher instability rocks are harder to mine.
    C) Power Transfer Resistance - How resistant the rock is to energy transferred.
    D) Optimal Power Window - The ‘Green Zone’ Range for rock fracture.
  2. Centered: Ship signature data - For when scanning other ships, not relevant for mining purposes.
  3. On the right: Contents - The names and percentages of the contents of the rock.


For Contents, the scanner will break the minerals down into two percentages. The left hand number(A) is the mineral concentration and the right hand number(B) is how much of the rock that mineral is present in. To illustrate using the picture above, Borase is present in 26.75%(B) of the rock at a concentration of 12.12%(A) while Corundum is present within 73.25% of the rock at a concentration of 33.18%.

There are some drawbacks of the general scanner, however. First of all, it does consume power and charging it increases ship signature. Secondly, charging to less than 100% can lead to shortened scan range. Lastly, a ping will also dramatically increases ship signature on radar to anyone nearby, which may attract unwanted attention.

Mole Specific Scanning Attributes

Long Range General Scanner- The Mole possesses four general scanners of longer range than the Prospector, up to ~15km in space and ~10km on the surface. One for the Pilot and one each for the Laser Operators.

General Scanner Data Sharing - All 3 Laser Operators and Pilot, when scanning, can see each other’s pings and scanned data. 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 in checking distance to target and prioritizing what to mine.

Fracturing & Extraction

The Mining Interface: What does it Mean?

Pulling up the Mining Interface using the ‘M’ key on mouse & keyboard presents an entirely new UI to the user and extends the Mining Laser forward. The first thing to note is that the interface is divided into three areas from left to right. Starting from the left:


  1. The Energy Transfer Graph visually shows how the rock is reacting to input energy.
  2. Instability is how volatile the rock can be. High instability will require frequent and careful adjustments to the Laser Throttle to prevent overload. Resistance is a % of how much input energy the rock can immediately absorb without reacting. (A) is the real time modified Instability and Resistance when one or more mining heads with modifiers to those attributes are being used on the rock. (B) is the rock’s original Instability and Resistance.
  3. Laser Throttle is the energy input into the rock. This is adjusted in 1/10 increments via the scroll wheel on the mouse.
  4. Rock Energy Level shows the rock’s current energy level and where different reactions will occur. The Blue Zone means it is not reacting at all. The Green Zone is the sweet spot that enables fracturing. The Red Zone is the danger zone and the rock will build Overcharge while in the red, which is discussed in #11.
  5. Rock Type. This classification varies between asteroids and surface rocks.
  6. The cursor: gives relative indication on ship’s proximity to rock.
  7. Mode: Fracture or Extraction. The cursor will outline mineable rocks. Gold/Orange means the rock needs to be fractured. A purple outline means that the rock is ready for extraction.
  8. Mass of the rock and composition.
  9. Cargo Capacity and how full it is.
  10. The Fracturing Sensor tells how close the rock is to splitting apart. When it reaches 100% it will fracture apart 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. As of Alpha 3.8, the Fracturing Sensor will continue to charge even if the Overcharge Sensor begins to gain power.
  11. The Overcharge Sensor indicates how much excess energy is being dumped into the rock and is leading toward an explosive reaction. The Overcharge Sensor in contrast to the Fracturing Sensor bleeds off energy at a slower rate. This means that even if a rock is successfully fractured, but has acquired any overcharge, then 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 Red Zone will result in a cumulative percentage loss of valued elements.
Mining Heads

Mining heads were introduced in Alpha 3.8. Each head, apart from the stock Arbor, gives certain advantages and disadvantages to mining capability. Some mining heads don’t have the power to crack rocks above a certain mass and resistance. Other mining heads can fracture anything but the most massive rocks filled with different minerals. Two or miners working in conjunction on the same rock allows for anything to be broken down into smaller, more easily managed rocks. At this time the only difference between a Size 1 and Size 2 mining head is the range.


All stats taken from ingame kiosk descriptions.
  1. Optimal Range - The range at which the laser operates most efficiently at with least loss of power.
  2. Maximum Range - The maximum range of the laser.
  3. Optimal Charge Window Size - The percentage increase in the size of the Green Zone.
  4. Resistance - This modifier lowers the target rock’s resistance by a set percentage.
  5. Instability Dampening - This value modifies the rock’s instability rating. The more positive the number is, the better. Negative percentages increase the rock’s instability.
  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 Fracturing Sensor will fill up.
  8. Catastrophic Charge Rate - This value denotes how much faster the Overcharge Sensor will fill leading to an explosion.
  9. All Charge Rates - This accounts for both Optimal Charge and Catastrophic Charge rates.
  10. Throttle Responsiveness Delay - How slowly the Laser Throttle will respond to input increases or decreases.
  11. Shatter Damage - Increases the amount of damage dealt on fracture or explosion.
  12. Extraction Throughput - How much SCU/s will be extracted in Extraction Mode.
  13. Consumable Slots - For Mining Consumables which are not yet implemented.
Mining Heads which offer the same type of advantages or disadvantages, when used in combination, do not compound, but divide linearly. For example, two lasers: both cut instability by 50%. If the rock has an instability of 1.00 then the first laser hitting it will reduce that to an instability of 0.50. The second laser is then applied further reducing that by 50% to 0.25. If the lasers had an additive effect then the Instability would have been reduced by 100% but this is not the case in the game. This system creates diminishing returns and encourages different mining heads to be used in concert.

Mining Heads in Contrast

As stated previously, the stock mining head that comes with the Prospector and Mole is the Arbor. The Arbor gives no benefits to the mining process. Its main drawbacks are: lack of power; and instability dampening. The Lancet has less power than the Arbor but makes up for this by drastically decreasing a rock’s resistance while dampening its instability. The drawback to the Lancet is that it lowers all charge rates by 30%, making the mining process longer. The Hofstede is a significant upgrade from the Arbor. It not only has more power, but cuts instability in half, which allows the miner to tackle rocks containing more valuable minerals. The downside is that this laser has the least range. The Klein and Impact mining heads offer a mixed bag. The Klein is good for large mass, stable rocks, but is unsuitable for much anything else due to its negative instability modifier. The Impact offers more power and a faster fracture time, while not raising the instability of the rock too much. However, if the Red Zone is breached, the miner should be prepared to cut power and back off immediately.

The Helix laser is above and beyond the best mining head available in the game. First of all, it has the greatest range of all the lasers while also enlarging the Green Zone of a rock, which makes fracturing easier and safer. This head decreases both a rock’s resistance and cuts its instability in half, making most rocks feasible for the solo miner. Like the Impact, it has massive power and shortens fracture time. The disadvantage to this power is that the Laser Throttle is harder to control due to a delay. Additionally, if the rock does explode there is a much higher chance of death due to a shatter damage increase.

Mining Laser Power Factors

There are four major factors that can impede or amplify a laser’s energy input into a rock:
  1. Laser Throttle % - The throttle is the most important factor which allows the most control over the entire sequence of mining. The more energy applied, the more likely the rock will fracture, assuming the fracture meter was kept in the Green Zone. This is the easiest factor to judge because there is immediate feedback to the user 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 Rock Energy Level is in the Green Zone, much less input energy is required to maintain optimal levels. Monitor and adjust the input depending on how the rock reacts for a successful fracture.
  2. Distance - Distance from the rock is the second most important factor and the second easiest to adjust. The further away from the rock the ship is, the more energy the laser dissipates and is unable to transfer to the targeted rock. When the ship is within a few meters from the rock, minimal energy is lost. The optimal distance can usually be attained by making sure the targeted rock fills up the circular display on the HUD in mining mode. Judge the distance wisely, for if the ship is too close, the rock may cause damage upon fracture, too far away and the laser will struggle to make any impact.
  3. Rock Resistance - The resistance of a rock, is relative to the amount of energy it can absorb. More power is needed on high Resistance rocks and vice versa on lower resistances. High resistance rocks may require two or more mining lasers to break apart. Resistance can also be a good factor in judging what distance is necessary in order to mine the rock.
  4. Rock Mass - Rocks vary in mass, from the large to the small. The greater the mass, the more energy will be needed to begin a reaction for a fracture. This also means that rocks with a high mass, see their Rock Energy levels rise very slowly unless they have a high Instability factor. Already fractured pieces will have lower mass and thus will require less energy input to fracture a second time, regardless if Resistance was high initially.
Continued Below
 
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Black Sunder

Rock Raiders
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Jun 19, 2014
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Fracturing The Rock

First, find the optimal distance, either by using the table above or more generally where the ship has a view of the entire rock and then turn the laser on after scanning it. For keyboard and mouse, this will be the left mouse button. Clicking it again will immediately turn the laser off, KEEP THIS IN MIND. Start increasing power to the Laser Throttle via the scroll wheel on the mouse until the Rock Energy Level meter starts to rise and enters the Green Zone. During fracturing, distance adjustment may be necessary to mitigate laser energy loss or possible damage to the ship.

As you approach the Green Zone on the Rock Energy Level meter, start dialing the Laser Throttle back to ease into and maintain the Green Zone. If the Red Zone is breached, immediately decrease power, turn the laser away from the asteroid, or cut power all-together completely and restart again. Keep in mind that going into the Red Zone not only destroys the contents of the rock but also increases the explosive potential of the rock, if fractured while having an Overcharge Level. While in the Red Zone, the asteroid will act similar to a nuclear reaction, building potential energy and very quickly, until an explosive end. At a high enough level, cutting power will do nothing and the reaction will be self sustaining, causing an explosion when Overcharge reaches its limit.

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The X Factor: Instability



The instability of the rock varies depending on rock content and the percentage concentration of each element present in the rock. Instability determines the severity of fluctuation in the Rock Energy Level meter. It will cause Rock Energy Levels to move erratically, which will require fast and careful adjustment to the Laser Throttle and/or Distance. High Instability means greatly increased mining difficulty. Low instability means the rock will be predictable and relatively easy to fracture. Instability can be greatly mitigated by using either the Lancet, Hofstede, or Helix Mining Heads.
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Once mastery of the Green Zone is attained, the only thing left to do is wait until the Fracturing Sensor fills up and the rock breaks apart the first time. 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.

Extraction & Selling

To change Modes right click the mouse to enter Extraction Mode, from Fracturing Mode. In Extraction Mode, the Mining Scanner is still available to get precise measurements of rock composition. Any rock can be extracted into the cargo hold so long as it is outlined in purple and there is cargo space available on the ship. Hover the cursor over each rock and inspect them for desired elements.To activate the extraction process, left click the mouse. When a rock is fully extracted, the process will power off automatically. Fractured rocks have a variable percentage composition of what the original rock contained. It is possible that fracturing will yield a 100% pure rock. Generally, the more pure a rock is, the less mass it will have. High concentrations and uncommon elements in unrefined ore sells better. It is up to the miner to decide personal thresholds and how much time one is willing to commit to the hunt.



After finishing the last extraction and a cargo hold full of valuable ores is acquired, it is time to sell. All of the major landing zones currently purchase extracted ore.The terminals for them vary but are always near the Admin desk. Go up to the terminal and select the ship with a full cargo-hold and sell the ore. A listing of what percentage of each mineral will be displayed. Inert Materials sell for practically no profit while the other entries bring various amounts as determined by their sell price and % in the cargo-hold.

Strategies for Hard to Crack Rocks

The vast majority of small, common rocks will be easy enough for a new person to fracture and extract. More difficult rocks will require additional strategy, a different Mining Head, or possibly a second person to help.

Case 1: Very High Instability Rocks:



Strategy 1 - Double Team
In this scenario a second Prospector or Mole laser operator is needed. One person will put their Laser Throttle up to a point where the Rock Energy level stays in the Blue Zone just below the Green. The second person will then turn their laser on and slowly increase the Throttle. They are adding a very small amount of power in order to make the Rock Energy Level hit the Green Zone. Because they are dealing with such a small power set, it will be easy to maintain a certain 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 their laser completely should they reach the Red Zone.This strategy will need good communication between both miners to work effectively. This strategy is greatly enhanced and made easier with Mining Heads designed to lower a rock’s Instability.

Strategy 2 - The Start and Stop
This scenario involves pushing the Rock Energy Level into the Green Zone as quickly as possible and then completely shutting the mining laser off to prevent it from going into the Red Zone. As the Rock Energy Level decreases, turn the laser back on and ramp up the level just before it exits the Green Zone. Repeat as required until fracture attained.The point of this is an attempt 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 Green Zone. This method is not foolproof but is greatly augmented using a Mining Head which lowers a rock’s Instability. Even so, through some surveying, this strategy works more often than not.

Case 2: Rock with High Resistance and High Mass

In this scenario rocks are found to have extremely high Resistance and Mass. Get as close to the rock as possible and turn the laser on full power. Overclocking the laser or using a different Mining Head with more power might even be necessary. In many instances, moving the mining laser slowly around the surface of the rock can raise its Rock Energy Level. This can sometimes be enough to get the rock into the Green Zone and begin the fracturing process. The rock should slowly begin to show a change in its Rock Energy Level. Keep at it until the Green Zone is acquired. When it gets close to fracturing, back the ship away to avoid any damage. If this does not work, then the rock requires more power than the miner’s laser can give. See the Double Team strategy above. Patience will pay off in the long run.

Case 3: Surface Rocks cling together upon fracture

In this scenario, a rock is on the surface of a moon or planet and has been fractured but stubbornly refuses to come apart after fracture, 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. If a piece has flown too far away, use the General Scanner to locate the stray rock. 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 using either the Impact or Helix Mining Heads and shouldn’t be used except at extreme distances.

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.

Mole Crew Communication & Roles

Mole crews face different challenges than a group of Prospectors. Communication, first and foremost, is the key to a good mining experience on the Mole. Mole crews must be in constant communication with each other but not so much that it drowns out valuable directional, mining, or hazardous advisory information. It is best early on for Mole crew to adopt a mindset that the ship is meant for work and profit first and foremost when it is in its element trawling asteroid fields or floating across a moon looking for riches.

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 usually 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 along 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.

Other Tips & Tricks

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. This is especially important with a ship like the Mole which consumes fuel at an astonishing rate.

Avoiding accidental Overcharge with server lag- With Alpha 3.8 came Server Object Container Streaming. While this new backend technology works fairly well, sometimes the server will lag as it tries to catch up. This means that the Rock Energy level and Fracturing Sensor may appear to be static for a few seconds. Power is still being applied and calculated and 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.

Maximizing good returns - Recall the general scanner and what the numbers next to the minerals mean. The first number is the concentration of a specific mineral in the rock, the second number tells the player how much of the rock that concentration is in. For best returns, not only must the concentration of a specific element be high, the percentage of the overall mass must also be good. The bigger the second number is, the better for overall income generation. For example, a rock contains a 30% gold concentration that is in 5% of the rock. This will yield far less value compared to a 30% gold concentration in 30% of a rock provided that the mass of both rocks is the same. Do not be deceived by a generous up front rock concentration. Looking deeper can sometimes yield even better rewards and allow for better decisions.

Continued Below
 
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Black Sunder

Rock Raiders
Officer
Jun 19, 2014
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Black_Sunder
Miscellaneous

Upgrading Ship Components - The Final Frontier

Components in Star Citizen come in a variety of sizes, types, and grades. Ships that are frequently flown should be equipped with the best components possible. For more specific component information, look for people putting out spreadsheets which run down the stats and locations. The information is out there for those who wish to know.

It is a given that a miner will initially and primarily seek to upgrade the ship’s stock Mining Head to something more practical to their needs. After this has been accomplished, miners who consistently go out into the verse to hone their skills will eventually reach a point where money is no longer an issue for them. It’s time to start thinking about further advances to the ship’s systems for a more comfortable and safer experience. It should be noted that better ship components are expensive up front but pay dividends in lower maintenance costs, survivability, and travel time. Before buying a component it may be a good idea to see its impact on the ship through a fitting tool such as Hardpoint.io.

Prospector Upgrades

For the Prospector the first upgrade should be to its Quantum Drive. The stock Size 1 Goliath(Ind. Grade C) component is reliable but very slow in calibration, travel time, and cooldown. The obvious choice is to upgrade it to a Military Quantum Drive either a Siren(Mil. Grade B) or VK-00(Mil. Grade A). Both drives clock in at just over 3x the speed of the Goliath and reduce spool and calibration time by at least half. The downside to this is that the drives will drink nearly 4x as much fuel making a break at a Rest Stop almost a necessity if long range travel is required. If the ship is only used to go from a planet to its nearby moon this fuel usage and cost is negligible. If the ship is to be used for long hauls across the system, the Colossus(Ind. Grade A) would be more appropriate. It does however suffer the same drawbacks as the Goliath.

For the Power Plant the stock Size 2 Trommel(Ind. Grade D) will do fine in a pinch but begins to struggle if the player upgrades other components or overclocks them. The Genoa(Ind. Grade A) would then be a great choice, putting out nearly 16% more power over the Trommel. If money is tight then the Sedulity(Ind. Grade B) or Diligence(ind. Grade C) both give more power than the Trommel but have significantly shorter life spans than the Trommel or Genoa making these options a matter of desperation if they are the only options available at a critical time.

Shielding is another area that can be improved immensely now that the Mantis is in game and NPC interdictions have increased. The stock Size 1 Bulwark(Ind. Grade C) has a maximum shield HP of 7,200 and a regeneration rate of 135/s. For not much more than the cost of a Bulwark, the Palisade(Ind. Grade A) offers 7,920 total shield HP and a regeneration rate of 171/s. It may not seem like a big difference but every little bit helps when under fire. An alternative to the Palisade would be the FR-66(Mil. Grade A). It has less overall shield HP but a much quicker regeneration rate and costs less than the Palisade.

Finally comes Coolers. The Prospector comes standard with a Size 2 Snowfall(Ind. Grade B) cooler. This component serves admirably under normal operation. Unfortunately, it could be better and this is most apparent when the cooler is being stressed in planetary atmosphere at speed or when the player is trying to slow the ship down. The Snowpack(Ind. Grade A) total cooling is 8,800,000, a 400,000 unit increase over the Snowfall’s giving the ship greater endurance when it needs it the most.



Mole Upgrades

As with the Prospector the first upgrade to consider is the Quantum Drive. The stock Size 2 Huracan(Ind. Grade B) is robust but like the Goliath is slow. In fact it is slower than the Goliath. The best choice is the XL1(Mil. Grade A). This drive will cross the distance quickly. Like all Military quantum drives, the price for this will be greatly enhanced fuel consumption and a shorter overall lifetime than an Industrial component. There is no alternative Industrial Grade A component. Other, cheaper, Military components that can be used are the Yeager(Mil. Grade B) and the Crossfield(Mil. Grade C). Finally the Hemera(Civ, Grade A) could also work as a viable low cost alternative and it boasts greater speed than the Huracan.

The Mole comes standard with two Size 2 5MA Chimalli(Civ. Grade C) Shield Generators. There better choices available. For maximum shield HP, upgrade to the Rampart(Ind. Grade A) which has a maximum output of 32,085 shield HP over the Chimalli’s 21,876, a 10,209 HP increase overall on a single generator. This increase comes in handy against AI interdictions and allows the miner to plow through the blockade and out of range without significant damage. Furthermore the increased shield HP means that getting closer to dangerous rocks will not be as much of an issue. An alternative shield choice is the FR-76(Mil. Grade A) which like all military shields has fast regeneration but only 1/8 more shield HP than the Chimalli. Another industrial shield to consider is the Citadel(Ind. Grade B) which has less HP than the Rampart but still puts out 8,750 more than the stock shield.

The Cooler that comes with the Mole is a Size 3 ThermalCore(Ind. Grade C) which puts out 16,000,000 units of cooling. The best choices for replacements are the Ice Flush(Ind. Grade B) or the Chill Max(Ind. Grade A). The Ice Flush will give 800,000 more units of cooling over the ThermalCore’ and the ChillMax goes even further with a total of 17,600,000 units. Additional cooling is important because it allows the ship more maneuvering time without overheating the engines for those sudden stops and accelerations.

For the Mole’s Power Plant, its stock Size 3 Ginzel(Ind. Grade C) will do fine in the vast majority of circumstances. However, if the miner has come this far on their upgrades and wants to go the rest of the way then look no further than the Durango(Ind. Grade A). The Durango puts out 55,000 over the Ginzel’s 50,000. The Durango though has greater life expectancy but is very expensive. This upgrade should be last on the shopping list. It should be noted that both the Ginzel and Durango put out the most power in the Size 3 category. Nothing else comes close.

 
Last edited:

Black Sunder

Rock Raiders
Officer
Jun 19, 2014
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Black_Sunder
Links Glossary

Aaron Halo Asteroid Belt - RSI Starmap
The Shipyard: Other Ship Items - Explanation of component types and grades.
Hardpoint.io - Ship fitting tool
SC 3.8 Game Data - Component stats
Component Finder - Upgrade Location & Pricing

Final Thoughts

With Alpha 3.8 now in our hands it and the improvements it has brought it is good to look back at Mining. The mining process has certainly come a long way since 3.2. Incremental improvements in subsequent patches made mining smoother and more reliable. FPM in 3.7 brought the first major change to mining and added a completely different dimension to it. 3.8 has yielded different mining heads and the first fully functional multi-crew miner: the Mole. Mining has changed for the better and with the mining heads is now even easier for novice players to get their hands dirty and make some real money.

Recently news came out that the team responsible for mining has been refocused toward Squadron 42. With the shelving of Salvage as a result, it would be safe to assume that aside from general bug fixing and balancing, the mining profession may not see much progress this year. Any changes that do occur will be documented and this Guide updated to reflect them. Of note is a feature in 3.9 that may finally allow us to easily give money to fellow party/crew members. Why it hasn’t been done before while we’re still in Alpha no one knows but it will be most welcome.

When it is done, the Ore Location Index will be added to this Guide.

Until next time, Grab a Mole, grab some friends and see what’s beyond that horizon.

Thank you for reading and thank you to everyone that has supported this Guide.

Signed, @Black Sunder and @Printimus
 
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placid

Lieutenant
Donor
Nov 27, 2019
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Placid09
Dang this thing is through. Great guide man. I still disagree with you on even suggesting upgrading to the different power plant. For what that thing costs, one would be well on their way to buying a different ship to play with, with no added benefit. I understand some people may want the best of the best, but the component lifetime isn't even a thing yet. It's legit just burning the effort on a component that won't do anything besides change a name in your fitting screen. :colbert:
 

Black Sunder

Rock Raiders
Officer
Jun 19, 2014
7,257
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Black_Sunder
but the component lifetime isn't even a thing yet.
There is component lifetime though. We don't notice too much because repairs are so low cost and we frequently claim ships. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1KcwgrYRMUMy0xR0YIafWwOi9BANmsvbk-wwqJRBn5LQ/edit#gid=249083932 2nd to last column, "Wear Lifetime(hours)". This info is taken directly from SC's database.

You're right there are other things people can spend all that money on, no argument there. Like I said though if they've come all the way to get the other upgrades and want to go the rest of the way, that would be the component to get. Its always player choice. Personally speaking, would I get a Durango? Probably not, but I have the information I need in case I ever want to get it.
 
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Trinarius

Commander
Dec 31, 2019
14
37
100
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Trinarius
Great guide! I think that the section on selling ore should be fleshed-out a bit; @Glum and I had a difficult time determining the location of the terminals at some ports. If it helps, I have been collecting screenshots of the terminals to help the n00bs (like me) who might not be aware of where to look or what to look for. Especially as some terminals look like the terminals used for other trade purposes in some locations.
 

Black Sunder

Rock Raiders
Officer
Jun 19, 2014
7,257
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RSI Handle
Black_Sunder
Great guide! I think that the section on selling ore should be fleshed-out a bit; @Glum and I had a difficult time determining the location of the terminals at some ports. If it helps, I have been collecting screenshots of the terminals to help the n00bs (like me) who might not be aware of where to look or what to look for. Especially as some terminals look like the terminals used for other trade purposes in some locations.
They're the same terminal man. You can't know which is which except from experience. The sell terminals for ore don't have any outward features to tell you.
 

Trinarius

Commander
Dec 31, 2019
14
37
100
RSI Handle
Trinarius
They're the same terminal man. You can't know which is which except from experience. The sell terminals for ore don't have any outward features to tell you.
Yeah, we discovered they're the same terminal at ArcCorp. But, they aren't the same out at Port Olisar, where they are a physically separate and visually different terminal, hanging on the wall, rather than the cargo trading terminal that's part of the admin desk. Haven't tried to sell ore at Hurston (not sure that we will, considering the mess that is Lorville), so can't say where the terminals are, there, or what they look like.
 

Black Sunder

Rock Raiders
Officer
Jun 19, 2014
7,257
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2,545
RSI Handle
Black_Sunder
Yeah, we discovered they're the same terminal at ArcCorp. But, they aren't the same out at Port Olisar, where they are a physically separate and visually different terminal, hanging on the wall, rather than the cargo trading terminal that's part of the admin desk. Haven't tried to sell ore at Hurston (not sure that we will, considering the mess that is Lorville), so can't say where the terminals are, there, or what they look like.
Its not something I'm going to put in because its just one of those, do it once and you know for next time. Secondly, if CIG starts letting us sell at orbital stations in the future that doubles the amount of terminals(at least) and thats not a list that needs to be made. It would grow too big as soon as Pyro is put in.
 
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