What’s AFK mining?

Since the Barge rebalancing, I’ve noticed more people than usual have been foaming at the mouth, enraged at the lucrative ISK flowing in to the coffers of AFK Empire Miners.

I thought I would pay attention to the yield differences between relaxed mining and making a concerted effort. Sorry – long and extra boring blog ahead…

I have done a bit of mining in a Retriever since the rebalancing, mostly in Gravimetric sites. The ship lends itself nicely to mining stints that don’t take a great deal of effort.

Using T1 Strip Miners (both as it is relaxed mining, and because I don’t actually have the skills for all the T2 crystals needed to cover the rocks in Gravimetric sites) and two T2 Mining Laser upgrades (the third low slot is used by a Damage Control), this set up mines 1,002m3 a minute.

In theory that is 60,120m3 an hour. In reality you lose time changing between asteroids, when the yield left in a rock is less than a full cycle, and when warping back to unload. Conservatively this costs 15% – so I am probably mining around 51,100m3 an hour, solo, in relaxed mode with a Retriever.

This scenario equates to 511,020 units of Veldspar, which refines to 1,534,594 Tritanium, which is an income of around 9.3M an hour.

(Scenarios based on perfect refining, a Tritanium price of 6.1 ISK, which was based on the Jita Buy Orders when I checked earlier today, and ignores the hauling required to sell.)

That seems reasonable for the effort – plus it is worth remembering this time last year the price of Tritanium would have only netted you 5.6M an hour. 9.3M an hour is probably around L3 Mission level, a bit less than Empire PI, and a whole lot less than what Incursions or Faction Warfare can apparently pay out.

I don’t know why this is thought of as a concern.

I don’t have a perfect mining setup, but if I take out the T2 Strip / tanked version of the Hulk fitting I posted the other day, using my Alt in an Orca with a Mining Foreman Link – Laser Optimization I, I can mine 1,737m3 a minute. In theory this equates to 104,220m3 an hour. Given you are loading into the Orca, I will suggest a conservative 10% loss of yield through target shifting and incomplete cycles, so I am probably mining around 93,798m3.

This scenario equates to 937,980 units of Veldspar, which refines to 2,816,756 Tritanium, which is an income of around 17.1M an hour. BUT – that requires two toons, so it works out to only 8.6M ISK per character per hour.

(I would be better off running both Toons in Retrievers. I do have room for improvement there, both skill wise and with implants.)

This weekend I spent a couple of hours on one of the Corp’s Mining Ops using the same Hulk fitting as above. It is not maximum yield, but is tanked well enough to weather solo destroyers.

The organiser of the Op was providing an almost perfect fleet booster with Mining Foreman Mindlink implant. The hulk was mining 4,767m3 of Ore every 2 minutes and 7 seconds, at a range of 24.9km. This equates to 2,252m3 per minute, which fills the Hulk’s Ore Hold every 3 minutes and 46 seconds.

(Note that yield was more than EFT suggested. It gave me 2,144m3 per minute under the same scenario. If I had a MX-1005 implant the calculated yield was 2,251 – but I didn’t.)

In theory this comes to 135,120m3 an hour, or after a conservative 10% loss, 121,608m3.

This scenario equates to 1,216,080 units of Veldspar, which refines to 3,651,891 Tritanium, which is an income of around 22.2M an hour – but 11.1M ISK per Toon.

The Hulk mining however was not relaxing – I had to work at being efficient.

I will normally have 3 to 6 bookmarks on a belt I mine regularly, basically spread out at optimum spacing so that if I visit each of them, I can strip mine the entire belt.

The first thing I do after warping in is to activate any tank and align my ships to a station or safe spot.

I then use the survey scanner, display the most profitable asteroid type, and lock up to six of them ordered by distance. When I have no more of that type, I start pre-locking the next most profitable Asteroids within range.

I keep a sheet of paper besides my keyboard, and note down the unit yield per Strip Miner for each of the Asteroid types as I switch to them. With simple shorthand I keep track of which Asteroid each of the Strip Miners is working on. As each cycle finishes I rescan, and if there is less than a full cycle worth left, I note down a rough percentage at which I should manually stop the Miner.

If the fleet, or anyone else for that matter is mining in the same belt, I take note of anyone who happens to start stripping the same Asteroids I am working on. I then swap to a different Asteroid when it gets down to one cycle of yield left, so as not to get caught out wasting time on an emptied Asteroid.

During this process I move the Ore to the Corporate Hanger in the Orca once every minute or two, and keep an eye on local, the overview, and sometimes on D-Scan configured just for combat hulls. I also follow the Corp and Fleet chat channels.

If just hauling for me, my Alt in the Orca has it relatively easy. He just moves any Ore around so that all hangers fill, and he kills any rats, and tractors and salvages the wrecks. Once every hour and a bit he will return to a station to unload.

If he is hauling for a fleet, he tends to be almost as busy as I am, moving a much larger volume of ore around, pre-locking any cans being mined into, keeping an eye on when any fill, and keeping a plan in mind about which cans get dragged in first if any Can Flippers arrive in belt.

I managed to mine 300,000m3 odd during my stint in the fleet, at an average of a bit over 2,000m3 a minute, which is an efficiency I was pleased with, but I had to work hard at.

I spent the entire time clicking, moving, typing, writing and calculating with barely a pause. It honestly takes less effort to run missions, and less effort to rat in 0.0. I know I could be a lot more lax – but aiming for a high efficiency is just the perverse way I gain pleasure from the process. (Hey – it’s just another form of mission zerging… really it is.)

I know these calculations are not perfect –for example my Mining spreadsheet informs me I can earn 23% more by mining Massive Scordite instead. However the volumes of that in the belts are much lower, so I went for the most common ore. I know however from mining for many years in EVE that the income levels I am talking about are realistic.

So we go back to what I remarked on at the start of this long blog. People are angry about how easy ISK can be earned while AFK mining in Empire.

I call bullshit.

Relaxed mining incomes are about in line with relaxed level 3 mission running, and to earn over 20M ISK an hour takes both a concerted effort, an investment in a long skill train, and at least 2Bil in ships and implants (Hulk, Orca, and a Mining Foreman Mindlink (which alone is selling for over 1B ISK now.))

2 thoughts on “What’s AFK mining?

  1. Well said, and I agree.

    I think the problem is that people all perceive the game in their own way and many are unable to recognise another perspective as being valid in any way.

    To the ganksters anything other than stamping on faces is simply ‘not how the game should be played’ and subject to total hate. They believe their way is the ‘only true way’ and that they are the ‘only proper players’.

    Others, of course, simply want to drool about annoying people.

    I’m wondering how long it will be before the divide between ‘carebear’ and ‘griefer’ causes one side or the other to begin quitting the game en masse, and thus bring it down. It’s a really delicate balance to keep.

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