Monday, May 12, 2014

Business post: the mining mission farm

Hereby I present a farming method that beats all other farming methods in highsec (and probably in lowsec and NPC null too). What does "farming" mean? An activity which needs no significant capital or player skills, just time. Obviously this can't match the profit of trading, factory planets, reaction towers and such, but unlike them, you can start it as a new player or when your wallet is empty. Also, you can't really lose here, no matter what.

What are mining missions? They are provided by mission agents, just like security and distribution missions. They are rewarded by Loyalty Points and ISK. The task is to warp to a mission deadspace location and mine out ore, ice or gas. The mined items will be given to the agent to complete the mission.

How is it better than belt or anomaly mining?
  • The ores are large, you can just start the modules and go AFK until the mission is complete.
  • The missions are available in infinite number and no competition. No one has reason to mine out your mission ore.
  • You are in a deadspace pocket where gankers need to scan you down and you can complete them in worthless T1 ships, without implants.
  • There are nothing to process or haul, you get LP and ISK that cannot be taken from you. You can turn the LP into items at any station belonging to the corp you are working for.
  • The income is much higher, up to 40M/hour/account in highsec.
  • Mining missions are available in lowsec and NPC null with very high LP rewards
How is it better than security missions?
  • You can do it while AFK, it's trivial to multibox them.
  • A pilot is capable of doing level 4 mining missions after 2 weeks of training, perfect after 3 months. A security mission ship pilot needs much better training.
  • Your mission boat is a 40M Retriever and not a multi-billion faction battleship. If you are ganked or lose it to rats, you just shrug.
What skills do you need? Learn Retriever and Venture to in-game Mastery 2 and you are good to go. Be able to fit ice harvesters and gas harvesters. As I said, a 2 weeks old pilot can do the missions with some caution. For perfection you need Ice and Gas harvesting 5, Mining frigate 5, Mining Connections 5, Diplomacy 4, Connections 3, Mining Barge 4 (using Exhumers is overkill, just asks for trouble), Negotiation 5, skills for Hobgoblin II drones. You will also need a dedicated booster account with Shield harmonizing, mining amount and mining range links. Train this pilot for an Orca, until you can fly it, use a Gnosis.

How to start? After starting your training, you need standings with an NPC corporation that has mining agents. Train Social 4 and Connection 3 first to be able to get standings fast. All highsec factions have such corps. In highsec I used and suggest Thukker Tribe to everyone, due to their 2600ISK/LP conversion. The following factions have nullsec mining agents for 10K+ LP/mission: Angel Cartel, Caldari State, Gallente Federation, ORE, Shansa's nation, Serpentis, Thukker Tribe. If the faction has a fast-track way to standings (career, datacenter, COSMOS agents), use it. If not, just start from level 1 missions. After 16 missions you get a storyline mission. Upon completing it, you'll have enough standings to do level 2. Keep doing until your corporation standing is more than 5.0. Thukker tribe doesn't have L3 mining agents, use distribution. Upon reaching the needed corp standing, you can start doing L4 missions, but you cannot really cherry-pick them, as you must keep corp standings above 5.0. Only decline missions that send you away from your home system as mining without boosts is bad. You can also decline Polygipsum missions, they have 8 little asteroids.

How can you do it as a solo player? You can't. While you can do it on a 2 weeks old altfarm, there is little point of doing it as a 2 weeks old player. Since you can get PLEX-es from ISK, if you have a method that can get you more than one PLEX a month, you should get another account to double the income. If you choose to play casual or you don't need that money, you should not farm at all, just buy PLEX occasionally for $ when you run out of the ISK you get with your random activity. I I'd say 3 accounts are the bare minimum for this. You can tile the clients to see all of them mining or not:

When you are doing L4 mining missions, you will get L4 storyline missions from the nearest agent. You can find him with the agent finder. Get a hauler corp carry a freighter load of Kernite to that station as the agent will often asks for Kernite. He'll also ask for hauling a small item or hauling 40K m3 cargo, you can complete that in 2 turns. There are also combat storyline missions which you may can or cannot do with an alt. But there is a special one "Record Cleaning" which needs no combat, just a max-active-tanked battleship to fly over the acidic cloud. Complete every storyline missions you can to get the faction standings over 5.0, which will allow you to decline slower mining missions.

Upon reaching the faction standings you can decline all ore-mining missions. They are bad because you have to dock once and ore mining is the slowest. From now you can take only ice and gas missions. Agent standing must be above -2.0 or the agent becomes unavailable, so you can't reject ice missions, despite they are a bit worse than gas. If you messed it up and your agent don't talk to you anymore, you can learn one more level of Diplomacy to get her back.

Gas missions: there are two kind, but you have to do the same, undock, warp to mission bookmark, fly 30km to the gas, launch drones and orbit the gas at 500m and mine it out. There are 4250 m3 gas in all gas missions, you can get it with one Venture run.

[Venture, Gas Mission]
Nanofiber Internal Structure II

Medium Shield Extender II
1MN Afterburner II
Adaptive Invulnerability Field II

Gas Cloud Harvester II
Gas Cloud Harvester II
[empty high slot]

Small Core Defense Field Extender I
Small Core Defense Field Extender I
Small Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I

Hobgoblin I x2
Important: you must have mining range boost or your afterburned orbit will take you too far from the gas and the mining stops. You must run afterburner or you can't speed tank rats and die. You must use cheap T1 drones because if you are AFK, you will fly away with 1000m/s after the gas disappeared and your drones will be very far. Don't wait for them to return, have a large stockpile in your station instead. Refill your drones every time you are in the station. Figuring out that you have no drones when you warped out is annoying. Gas harvesters do not say "asteroid is depleted" when they finished, so you must check on the gas miners manually.

Ice missions: there are two kind, but you have to do the same, undock, warp to mission bookmark, lock ice up, start mining, orbit ice at 10km, launch drones and go AFK while the ship mines it out. All mission ice is 20000m3, one Retriever run mines it out.

[Retriever, Ice Mission]
Internal Force Field Array I
Ice Harvester Upgrade II
Ice Harvester Upgrade II

Medium Shield Extender II

Ice Harvester II
Ice Harvester II

Medium Anti-EM Screen Reinforcer I
Medium Ancillary Current Router I
Medium Ice Harvester Accelerator I

Hobgoblin II x5
If you have fitting issues, use meta shield extender. If the ice is called "Crystalline Icicle" the rats are nasty. If you don't have T2 drones yet, you might need to warp off or warp your booster ship in for extra drones. If you forget to launch your drones, you die. Until you have your standings up, you can use the ice boat for ore missions too.

Gankers: there is no such thing as mining without gankers. If you are mining in lowsec, nullsec or in a highsec island (Thukker Tribe agent is only available in Hodrold) you will be ganked. Don't waste time outsmarting the gankers, they consider it a challenge to kill you. Instead, use empty pods, cheap fittings, insurance besides basic security measures (like don't mine when local is full of "Praise James 315"). A Venture can earn its pricetag in a single mission, the Retriever can do it in an hour.

Income: If you are near the keyboard and dock as soon as the ice/gas is mined out, you can do about 3 missions an hour. In highsec, a mission gives 1.8M ISK and 4.5K LP on average. With Thukker conversion, it means over 40M/hour. In NPC nullsec, working for a pirate faction you can get up to 80M/hour/account, even more if you have a Rorqual. You can run mining boosts from under a POS shield.

Happy AFK mining!

This is not a CFC kill. But its idiocy warrants audience.
This is a CFC kill. While cheaper, it's equally dumb: if you want an offgrid booster, you can keep it in the NPC corp.
And a classic Goon slave fail.


Behnid Arcani said...

Ah, that actually makes me a bit more hopeful for the Prospect. How much ore are you expected to gather for the level 4 missions? Is 10,000m^3 enough?

Zosius said...

why not just eject container and orbit it to avoid getting too far after belt is complete?

Gevlon said...

Text updated, ice is 20000m3, gas is 4250, one ship run with Ret/Venture.

Because orbiting the can you get too far from the gas.

Karak Bol said...

Actually you can speed tank the Gas Rats without longer range link. Just set orbit to 500 m and manually set speed to 50% (AB on). Works for me everytime.
Thanks for this blog Goblin. We live in lowsec near a mining mission hub. My newbies will appreciate it.

provi Miner said...

I would suggest a couple of changes and another post. Change 1 use the gnosis for one of the gas sites (the other doesn't have rats). Second: you should describe what noob who isn't going to run a second account would experience. The other post discribe the ore missions as two or three just suck.

But other than that this is something every noob needs to know as most go into mining.

This post while technically is accurate it does not reflect IMO the RL isk return. You give the maximum but you don't really say "yeah if you are solo and don't max your skills your looking at X isk.

Oh and your forgot the caldari warning (as they break your lock and you don't mine till you require lock)

Gevlon said...

@Provi Miner: Gnosis? Why? I've never lost a Venture to rats.

A noob who doesn't run a second account can't reasonably use this. I thought it's obvious, but I write it in. If you have one account (and you can't tag along a corpmate running a farm), no farming method will earn you reasonable ISK.

If you have any method to earn ISK, you should multiply it with alts as they can be started from ISK-PLEX. The ONLY reason for not having alts is if you don't earn a PLEX-worth of money a month.

Jean-Mira said...

"A noob who doesn't run a second account can't reasonably use this."

Sorry, if I miss the obvious, but why? Sure, using several accounts will scale the profit, but I don't see why a second account is required. You will lose the boots and make about 2/3, which is still a lot for newer players.

Gevlon said...

Losing boosts is worse than just losing 40% of the yield. You lose the range bonus, so you must first slowboat 6km with the ice mining barge towards the ice and must decrease the speed of the Venture. That and losing the shield harmonizing link make you belt rat food, which means you have to manually fly the mission.

Do you really want to be at the keyboard while a piece of gas or ice is mined out?

Go to FW instead and do small complexes! Or trade. Or convert PLEX. Or uninstall the game. Anything but mining at the keyboard with one account.

Arrendis said...

I'd say the boosting loki kill is even dumber. Why was he in Jita in that ship? Was he actually boosting for a fleet? If so, yeah, use a neutral alt.

If not? Why the hell is the loki fitted for it? Travel-fit that shit w/high buffer and a full rack of warp stabs.

Arrendis said...

Do you really want to be at the keyboard while a piece of gas or ice is mined out?

But AFK-mining is evil and terrible and needs to be eliminated, remember?

(Personally, I mine ice in null - I'm never afk when I crunch cubes. It's not a problem at all as long as you can be social w/people at the same time.)

Gevlon said...

Yes, AFK play is bad and needs to be eliminated. But it won't be until it's abused to the point where CCP cares.

The drone assist was broken until everyone was doing fleet fights while AFK.

Arrendis said...

But it won't be until it's abused to the point where CCP cares.

So now you're adopting Goon methodologies. Yup. They sure are terrible people.

And really, Gevlon, considering the preponderance of afk-mack mining fleets in highsec, I think if it was possible to abuse it any more... it already would be.

Anonymous said...

Can you speed standing gain by using Estel Arador Corp Services for initial standing?

Ael said...

I spent 8 hours following mostly this strategy. I had two alts in barges and one in an orca. Skills were level 4 or better. It was in a 0.6 system. Loyalty points were worth 2k isk.

However, I accepted all ore missions (which were greater than 50% of all missions). Since I had 2 alts, they could do an ore mission in one trip. It is pretty clear that not doing all ore missions would trash your standings below -2 at some point and level 4 mining agents are relatively rare.

Total income was about 10M / hour / alt which is roughly the same as normal mining. Pro's to this strategy is that it is more AFKish than normal high sec mining (usually only a few rocks to suck dry, so you could get some solid AFK time)

BTW, if you burn your mining frigate into the gas cloud as you approach it, then drop a jet can just as you start to bounce back, you can orbit mostly inside the cloud. However, the orbit around the can is tighter than the orbit around the cloud, and hence is somewhat slower. you could probably increase the orbit distance somewhat to regain speed if necessary but still not needing a range boost.

Gevlon said...

I've ran hundreds of them and my standings is over -2 with Diplomacy 4

Anonymous said...

Newb question, but could you please elaborate on your isk per LP calculation for a baseline. I ask cause Thukker is a bit far away from my base of operations and and I was wondering what my efficiency reduction would be for other NPC corps. What LP Store items do you recomend (I fear the obvious and possibly overlook better opportunities)

Degini said...

Am I correct in noticing htat the price of the Nomad implants is crazy high now? Much higher than you quoted in a subsequent post? Or am I reading the eve central wrong.

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