Congratulations, you are now the proud owner/pilot of a new basic frigate of your race's preference. This ship has been equipped with a civilian-class weapon (varying by vessel and skill), as well as a basic mining laser. While you have also been provided with a basic tutorial by your local insurance company and assigned agent, this guide has been provided as a supplement and aid for helping you decide your future.
As you have probably seen already, this part of the galaxy does not provide many "free lunches". Ship owners are expected to provide a service or commodity of some kind in order to earn ISK, and often this will require ISK before you can provide many services. The exception to this is running simple courier missions for other ship owners, running simple locate-and-destroy agent missions, and mining. This guide will assume you will take up mining; however, please keep in mind that you are not limited to always being a miner, and many other career paths are open to you in this universe.
Initial Mining Check
Initially, you will need to mine low-grade asteroids. The return is a bit lower than you may expect for a path to fortune and fame; however, eventually, you will be able to move on to more valuable asteroids. For now, you will be stuck mining "common" ores. With a New player Ship and mining laser, you are not equipped well enough yet to go after anything worth a lot of money, as they tend to be in systems where pirates roam. Pirates can (and will) turn your nice new frigate into scrap if given the chance.
Various asteroid ore contain various mineral composition and you may want to calculate the yield of each ore sample to check what is the most profitable to mine. An easy way to do that is to mine different type of ore and sell them. Then simply stick with the ore type that bring the most money.
The asteroid ore that you initially should look for is called "Scordite". It is one of the common asteroids, usually present in 1.0 and below systems. The caveat is that many other pilots before you have probably mined it out and you may not find it in the system you started in. Then you can either mine other ore type or move in a different system in order to find you preferred ore type.
Before you launch out of the station, you need to check your equipment and money.
Running those tutorial missions should have left you with a small amount of ISK, hopefully around 10,000 ISK, if not more. If you didn't get at least this much from your tutorial missions, you may wish to partake in the 5,000 ISK missions the tutorial agent will then offer (involves destroying 10 training drones at the training area in the starter system, and retrieving the certificates they then drop, don't worry too much about damage, as repairs to your ship are free for now). Remember to warp back to the station if you run out of shields and/or armor. Using this money, you will want to buy a Miner 1 from the market (if it is not available at the starter station, gradually increase your market search range until there is one available). If you were lucky enough to also start with the "Electronics" skill (located under the skill set by the same name), you may also wish to pick up a survey scanner as well as the survey skill. The Miner 1 will provide a better yield for mining which mean more ISK for the same amount of time.
Load your new equipment by going to the refit service and removing the basic miner from the ship. Replace it with your new Miner 1. If you also purchased a survey scanner, load it up in one of the slots labeled "--" (for mid point) (if you get a message telling you that you can not mount the survey scanner due to lack of the electronics skill, that means you bought one despite not having the skill). Once you are equipped, check the repair service to make sure your ship is repaired and then feel free to leave the station.
A suitable system for launching your new mining career should meet the following criteria:
- Be 1.0 to 0.9 security.
- Have a low amount of other pilots in it.
- Is nearby (less than 5 gate jumps away).
- Has at least 1 station that offers both refining and market services.
Finding such a system is actually very easy. Open up your ship's navigational maps (the icon on the left that looks like a few white dots connected with lines). This will trigger a query to CONCORD for the most recent star maps and then display them with your current location. There will also be a new window open that has two tabs: Search and Display Settings. Select the Display Settings tab.
With the display settings tab open, it is time to make a few changes. First go to the Labels tab, and dim all options except for Solar Systems. Next go to the Stars tab. Go to Animation, and make sure both options are not selected. Now select Security Status under Color stars by. This will show the security level of the systems around you (if you cannot see any systems around you, you may need to zoom out). The systems you will want will be near your own (either be connected to it by a line, or connected through up to 2 other systems (connected by lines), and will have a white dot, signifying high security.
Once you have found a viable candidate, remember where it is, and then hit Number of Pilots in Space under Statistics. This will ask CONCORD for the location of pilots throughout the known galaxy and update it on your display. Hopefully, the dot that you had your eye on did not swell too much, but if it did, hover the cursor over it to see exactly how many players are in the system. Any more than 15 may lead to crowding, but there are plenty of systems so don't give up if the one you chose is also very busy. If finding a system nearby (or even seeing a system at all) is a problem, you may want to flatten the map (via the button labeled Flatten), or try zooming out some.
Once you've found a system, right-click on it and select Set as Destination. You can now close the map. After closing it, select the big yellow Autopilot button, sit back, and watch the stars go by.
Flying to an asteroid belt
- Right mouse click on the space view after you have exited the station or arrived in the system from a space gate.
- Select Asteroid Belts.
- Select any of the asteroid belts listed.
- Select Warp To and the distance from the asteroid belt you want to stop at.
- The distance depends on what security level space you are in and how well equipped your ship is, but don't forget that there might be NPC pirates patrolling the asteroid belt and if you warp too close to them, they might attack your ship. Select 60 km to begin with and work your way down. No need to take too much risk. Bear in mind that in any system having a security system status of 0.9 or 1.0, you will never encounter NPC pirates.
At the Asteroid Belt
- After arriving you will see a bunch of asteroids. You can get information about asteroid by right clicking on it (open context menu) and then clicking on Show info. Information about selected asteroid will be displayed. The most important (and the only) information is the available ore.
- In order to start mining you have to be less than 10 km away from the asteroid. Lock onto the asteroid (right click context menu-> Lock target).
- Upper bar now will contain one target, the asteroid. At the bottom of the locked target, the distance to it will be displayed. If you are too far, right mouse click and select approach.
- For the purposes of the guide, your choice of asteroid to mine makes no difference. Activate your mining laser by left click on the laser icon - which is the item on the right by the number two, currently glowing green to indicate that it is active.
- The mining laser will be activated after 10 seconds. If you have two mining lasers, you can activate both lasers simultaneously. Automatic mining can be started by holding CTRL and clicking on the mining laser. This process will continue until there is no more space in your cargo hold. You can also deactivate the mining laser by right clicking on mining laser, then choosing deactivate.
- When an asteroid is depleted, yield can drop to just a few bits of ore (a corresponding message will be shown). Wondering where the cargo hold is? Context menu on your ship then choose 'Open my cargo'.
- When your cargo hold is full you should warp back to a station.
- Be careful if you are mining in a system with a security status of 0.8 or lower since NPC pirates ships can show up at any time in the asteroid belt and could jeopardize your mining activity.
Returning to the Station
- Now we need to dock to the station. You can approach station with the same maneuver as an asteroid, but instead of selecting Warp to, select Dock from the context menu. This will make your ship warp to the station and automatically dock.
- After arrival, open the cargo hold of your ship and move the mined ore to your hangar (items) floor.
- Our next step (if you want to refine the ore) is reprocessing of ore. Note: There is a minimum amount required for ore processing, which differs between ore types. Therefore you may have to repeat asteroid mining a few more times, before you achieve the set amount of ore required for reprocessing.
- When there is enough ore, you can start reprocessing. It can be started from service of space station (upper toolbar in station UI).
- On the left side of window are listed items that can be refined or recycled. On the right side of window are buttons for actual refining.
- Finally, you'll have to sell your ore or minerals (if you refined the ore). The best way to do this is to take a look in the market, look up the ore or minerals, and see where the buy orders are (or try and quick-sell to see what you get as an offer).
- It is usually better to initally sell the ore unrefined as your refining skills give you poor yield when refining the ore. You can again use the same technique explained previously. Once sell the ore and another time sell the minerals from the same amount of reprocessed ore and compare the amount of ISK obtained from both technique.
This is what separates the advanced miners from the novices. A novice miner will warp in to an asteroid belt and then approach the asteroids until he or she is within range to mine them. However, it's possible to bookmark specific asteroids within a belt, shortening your travelling time considerably since most mining ships are very slow.
You can save a lot of hassle and bookmarks, if you use the Turnpoint method:
- Fit a simple T1 speed frigate.
- Warp to a belt entry point (repeat for every belt you wish to mine).
- Fly 160km straight up (point up with your mouse then double click to fly in that direction, use microwarpdrive to speed this up).
- Make sure that you can warp to the asteroids (right click a particular asteroid in the Overview scanner to see if you can).
- Make a bookmark.
Now you can warp to this bookmark, instead of the belt entry point. From here, you can warp to the group of asteroids not yet mined, instead of a) coming in via entry point and having to fly all the way in range or b) having to store dozens of bookmarks to asteroids that might not be there anymore.
Acquiring this kind of technique early on can be useful when you finally move up within the mining profession and end up doing serious fleet mining with more than few Hulks. The Turnpoint method then pays off quickly: warp your miners in to the Turnpoint and have them spread around the belt from there - the belt is covered evenly and efficiently. Also, by spreading out, you reduce the chance of people mining each other's asteroid and thus losing cycles. Intra-belt movement becomes viable too: mine rocks in range out, then warp to turnpoint and determine a new sweet spot within the belt.
For a miner, there are few things that beat the sight of 10 Hulks dropping towards the belt one after the other :-)
Mining with your friendsIf you decide to mine together with your friends it is important to understand the mining cycle. The cycle starts when you activate the mining laser. It will then run for the cycle time. It will not stop earlier if you don't stop it manually. The transfer of the ore from the astroid into your cargo hold is only performed at the end of the cycle. At this time the following situaions may occur:
- The asteroid contains enough ore. In this case the mining amount is substracted from the asteroid and the mining laser starts a new mining cycle
- The ore amount left in the asteroid is less than your mining amount. In this case the remaining ore is transfered into your cargohold and the mining laser is stopped. However the difference is lost! If the asteroid was nearly empty this may also result in a complete loss of a cycle.
- The asteroid is not there anymore because it has been depleted by another mining laser. In this case the whole cycle is lost.
- The asteroid is out of range of your mining laser because you moved your ship or you lost an orca range bonus. In this case you also lose the whole mining cycle.
There are some ways to prevent losing cycles or parts of cycles
- Ensure that you have only one mining laser pointing on an asteroid and especially no one else mining on the same asteroid.
- Use survey scanners to check how much ore is left.
- Assign different ore types to your friends: e.g. you are mining kernite while your friend only mines scordite asteroids.
- If you notice someone else starting his mining laser on one of your asteroids, stop the cycle immediately and switch to a different asteroid.
It is strongly recommended to read the advanced mining guide if you are serious about become a real miner. This guide will cover almost all the aspects of mining and how to exploit it to its maximum potential.
- Ship Equipment > Hull & Armor > Hull Upgrades > Expanded Cargoholds, such as Expanded Cargohold I
- Ship Modifications > Rigs > Astronautic Rigs > ... > Cargohold Optimization, such as Cargohold Optimization I
- Ship Modifications > Rigs > Drone Rigs > ..., such as Drone Mining Augmentor I