Topic: Ral's Mining Guide
I started this guide a while ago, and was planning on doing a bit more with it but haven't found the time. It's mostly done though, and after seeing some mining questions on the general forum, I figured it was time to post it.
This is a work in progress, but I welcome any feedback!
Update 4/29/2013: This needs some updating due to game changes, but the majority will still be relevant.
Ral's Guide to Mining in Perpetuum
2. Why Mining
3. Getting Started
9. Ore vs. Liquid
11. What Now?
Appendix I - Base Yields
Welcome to my guide on mining in Perpetuum. In these pages I will attempt to lay out everything one needs to know to mine successfully in Perpetuum. I have always used guides like these in other games, but couldn’t ever find any for Perpetuum. Consider this my contribution to the growing Perpetuum community!
This guide assumes you are familiar with basic game mechanics, like navigating the world, and using the market. It also assumes you are familiar with terminology like bots, extensions, and charges. If this isn't the case, read some of the excellent introduction material on the website or in game first!
In this guide I will use the term "mining efficiency" to refer to the quantity of ore you are collecting in a given period of time. This should not be confused with the extension "Mining Efficiency," which will be covered in the Extensions section. Think of it like ore per hour.
I am not going to copy and paste the specs for each of the bots and modules covered. This information can be easily accessed in game. However, I will cover the significant things to know about the relevant equipment.
A Note on Harvesting
This guide's primary focus is on mining. In Perpetuum, this means extracting ores and liquids from hidden tiles on the ground. However, there is another very closely related activity called harvesting. While I won't go into detail about the specifics of harvesting, you should know that harvesting is just like mining, except you can see the material (plants in the world), and there are no specialized harvesting charges, just the universal harvesting charge which can be used on all plants.
If you are very new and this terminology is unfamiliar, don't worry, I'll get into everything below. Just know that most of this can be applied to harvesting, if you want to go that route.
2. Why Mining?
So you want to mine. Chances are you are really here for the PvP action, but you need to fund your expensive habit somehow, and mining seems easy and reliable. That's true. Or, maybe (but less likely), you are like me and you actually enjoy mining, and want this to be your primary function in the game. Either way, mining is a good, reliable source of income, yet still benefits from specialization like any area of Perpetuum. You can mine with only a few hours of training, and a small initial investment of NIC. Or, you can spend a year perfecting your skills, kit, and technique, and bring in far more NIC. No one way is right, and there is room for both styles and everything in between in the fields of Nia.
3. Getting Started
So you're ready to start mining. What do you need? First you will need to select a robot to use. Technically you can mine in any of the available robots, but some are especially designed for mining and are much better suited to it. More on bots below.
Next, you will need mining lasers. On the Arkhe and Argano, you'll be using Small Miners, since these bots are not generally powerful enough to field the larger Medium Miners. You want to fit as many mining lasers to your bot as you can; the more lasers you have mining, the more ore you will collect!
You will need mining charges. Charges are exactly like the ammo used in turrets; every mining cycle of your laser uses one charge. Bring a lot of them!
Finally, you will probably want at least one Field Container Capsule. This is where you can put the ore you are mining once it fills up your bot's cargo hold.
Once you have these things, and the extensions necessary to use them, you can deploy to the field, scan down a field, and start mining.
The bot you are using to mine is one of the most important factors in determining your mining efficiency. There is one mining bot in each of the bot classes, except for Assault bots. These are the Argano (Light Bot), Termis (Mech), and Riveler (Heavy Mech). Unlike other areas of the game, you can pretty much assume that bigger is better, so it should be your goal to eventually get into a Riveler. However, it makes good sense to climb the ladder and spend time in all three of these bots. If you are brand new to the game, you can mine in your Arkhe as well, but should focus on getting an Argano as soon as you can.
All of the mining bots give bonuses to your mining efficiency. They do this by making you mine faster (Mining Laser Cycle Time), mine more per cycle (Mining Amount Increase), and sometimes they increase the accuracy of your scanning.
The Argano is the light bot specialized in mining. It can fit 3 Small Miners and should be able to run them without issue right out of the box. It has a decent sized cargo hold at 7.50U, especially considering that it won't mine especially fast. The Argano can be effectively used to AFK-mine, meaning you start it mining and then go make a sandwich, since it will take a while to fill. This is not an advised practice, as there are all kinds of bad things that can happen while you are away, from running out of ore to mine, to someone coming by and blowing you up. But the Argano is the only bot that can really do it from the perspective of how long it takes to fill up the cargo hold.
Unless you don't want to commit very much EP to mining, you will want to upgrade to a Termis as soon as possible. Another reason to use an Argano longer would be if you are mining in Beta and a Termis is too costly to replace. But in terms of strict mining efficiency, the Argano is at the bottom of the heap.
The Termis is the Mech class bot specialized in mining. It has four slots for miners as well as a fifth slot that can be used for a turret or missile launcher. In addition to the fourth slot, the Termis' other big upgrade over the Argano is it has the ability to run Medium Miners instead of the Small variety. While this will increase your mining efficiency considerably, it also comes with a new set of problems. You should be able to fit the four miners within the CPU and Reactor available with no issue, however the problem comes from keeping all four running without running out of Accumulator. There is a great Accumulator Stability spreadsheet available here (http://forums.perpetuum-online.com/topi … readsheet/), which can tell you before you undock whether or not you will be accumulator-stable. By accumulator-stable, we mean able to run all of your modules indefinitely without running out of power. Depending on what your extensions look like, you will probably not be accumulator-stable with four medium miners when you first get into your Termis. Fortunately, with a combination of extensions and other modules fit onto your Termis, you can get there. It is also a possibility to run one or more Small Miners on your Termis in the beginning.
The Riveler is the best mining machine in Perpetuum, behind the MkII version. It has heavy skill requirements (Advanced Robotics 4 and Industrial Robotic Control at 8), but is worth it if you are to be a dedicated miner. It adds an additional laser slot allowing the use of 5 Medium Miners, as well as making fitting and accumulator-stability a bit easier than the smaller Termis. Additionally, it has a stronger tank, giving bonuses to armor resistances, in exchange for the scanning accuracy boost that the other two bots enjoy.
The Riveler MkII is the ultimate mining machine in Perpetuum. It has ridiculously high skill requirements (Industrial Robot Control 10), but for that you get an addition 1% per level mined amount, and one additional head and leg slot. Whether that is worth the huge time commitment to get Industrial Robot Control 10, is up to you, but doing so is the ultimate in specialization.
Modules are the equipment that you will fit on your robot of choice to accomplish the goal of mining. The most basic of course is the mining laser, which you want as many of, and as large of, as you can fit. But there are other modules that are important as well.
There are four “tiers” of items, T1 through T4 (we won't get into T0 "flawed" items, or T3+ or Prototypes, but these exist also). This is the “technology level” of the item. T1 items are the standard items available for the least NIC. Generally speaking, the higher the number, the better quality the item, however this is not always true depending on the circumstance. In general, T2 items will have the same performance as T1 with lower fitting requirements, and T3 and T4 items will have higher performance along with higher requirements. Note it is not always best to fit the highest level of item, as you may be sacrificing the ability to fit other things in the process.
The geoscanner is what allows you to see where ore is located in the world. Some miners choose to go without a geoscanner in favor of modules that will boost their mining efficiency or fitting abilities. This works if you are in a group where someone has a scanner, and you enjoy the “go stand on a tile that has ore in it” game, but I always use a geoscanner. I prefer a T2 geoscanner as it has lower fitting requirements. T3 and T4 have higher degrees of accuracy, but I believe lower fitting requirements are preferable. This will be discussed more in the scanning section below.
Tunings increase the amount of ore extracted per cycle. This is great for several reasons. First, and most obviously, it increases your ore/hour, which is the ultimate goal of mining. However it doesn’t lower your cycle time and use more accumulator, which could cause other problems. By increasing the amount of ore collected, you are getting a straight boost to your efficiency with no cost other than the fitting requirements. In general you should fit as many Industrial tunings as you can.
Furthermore, ore in the ground is actually a number of cycles, not an amount of ore. So, a player with a higher amount of ore mined per cycle will get more ore out of the same field than someone without. Industrial tunings directly add to this, making them invaluable.
Every bot can fit one lightweight frame, and most bots should. The “T4 LWF” is a requirement for almost all combat bots, and if you can fit one on your mining bot, it will benefit you. Lightweight frames reduce your mass, thereby making you move at a higher top speed. They have the downside of making you more susceptible to demobilizers however, and reduce your armor hit points as well. If you are mining solo, the time it takes to get back to the station is important, and LWFs will benefit you.
These modules sit in your leg slots and increase your accumulator performance, either by increasing the recharge speed, or increasing the total amount of accumulator available (which increase recharge speed indirectly). You will certainly need to use these, especially when you get into your first Termis. T4 rechargers recharge 18% faster while T1s recharge 10% faster. Two T4 rechargers will solve most accumulator problems you’ll encounter.
There is a heavy bias towards rechargers over expanders. They are easier to fit and less expensive in general. However, if you are looking for the best possible accumulator performance, consider using an expander in addition to rechargers. The way the math works out, a combination is the best solution in terms of raw accumulator performance. This is especially good if you don't want to spend on T4 rechargers.
There are lots of other modules that may benefit you, including armor repairers, plates, and hardeners, shield generators and hardeners, NEXUS modules, remote repairers, and weapons. There is no wrong answer to what you put on your bot, but generally speaking everything else should be sacrificed to allow more industrial tunings to be fit. Your ultimate goal should be to bring home the most ore/hour as possible, and nothing will accomplish that better than the best miners and tunings you can fit. If you are in a unique situation (you want to mine while tanking NPCs in the area, for example), you may choose to place other needs above mining efficiency.
Charges are pretty simple, as they are just like ammo for weapons. Every time a mining laser cycles, you will use one charge. Mining lasers hold 45 charges at a time (with the exception of some prototypes), and when they run out, they will automatically reload another 45 charges. Interestingly, this means your reload speed contributes to your mining efficiency in a very small way. You will want to make sure you have plenty of charges in your cargo hold before going out, because running out of charges will end your mining. There is a mining charge for each type of ore in Nia, so if you are mining Epriton, you need to use Epriton charges, and so on. When you start your laser on a tile, it will either deposit ore into your hold, or tell you there is no material of the selected type. That type is determined by the charge currently loaded in the laser. So it is possible to scan for titan ore, and forget that you have HDT charges loaded, then receive that message even though you are looking at a scan saying there is plenty of ore in that tile. Likewise, the question sometimes comes up, how do I mine a tile that is under a plant? The answer of course is the plant doesn’t matter because you are mining based on the charge loaded.
You also need charges for your geoscanner. This will be covered in more depth in the scanning section below.
Extensions are skills that improve your character in some way. There are quite a few that affect mining ability, directly and indirectly. I won’t list them all here, but your general strategy should be to focus on the extensions you require (Robot Control, Extensive Mining, Data Processing, etc) to use the bot and equipment you need, then fitting skills (Efficient Mining lowers accumulator usage, Optimized Industrial Engineering lowers CPU use), then things that directly increase ore/hour (Extensive/Intensive Mining).
Be careful upgrading the “Intensive” skills early. These skills lower your miner cycle time, which may seem like a great thing in your Argano, but when you get in your Termis and aren’t accumulator stable, you may just wish you had saved the skills that make you use MORE accumulator for last. The faster you mine, the more often you are using Accumulator, giving it less time to recharge in between.
Field Container Capsule
The Field Container Capsule is a special type of device which can be deployed in the world, and has an infinite space. In addition, it has a 4 digit security code that must be set when it is deployed. Anyone in your squad will be able to open it, otherwise players need the code. This device is a blessing to miners because it allows you to mine for longer than the time it takes to fill your cargo hold (which is probably full of mining charges anyway). Simply deploy the container, open it, and drag the ore into it periodically.
Field Container Capsules will disappear if they have not been opened for 10 minutes, taking anything inside along with them. Read the next section on hauling for more...
So you have your Field Container Capsule and you are mining away. There is one major logistical problem to consider, which is how to get that ore back to a terminal. There are two strategies here. The first, and best in terms of mining efficiency, is to have a second player in a hauling bot (the inexpensive, easy to use Sequer, or the heavy mech Lithus) periodically empty the can, and move the ore back to a station. When not actively hauling, the hauler should stand near the capsule and empty it any time ore is placed in it. This is in case someone gets disconnected, the server goes down, the power goes out, or the world ends, you know that your ore is in a hauler that won’t vanish from existence after 10 minutes.
The other option is to mine solo. This is often written off as ridiculous, but it is perfectly viable, you just lose some mining efficiency. In this case, you mine into the can, and once it hits the amount of space you know your hauler can carry (for example, if you have a Sequer, 80U), you stop mining, race back to the station, get into your hauler, and come back to empty the container. You must be able to return to base with the miner, and get back to the can with the hauler, in under 10 minutes to avoid your hard-earned ore from disappearing with the can. This is where lightweight frames, and the Navigation skill, come into play. If you do choose to use this strategy, I recommend keeping it to 5 minutes and under, so you have a lot of buffer for going the wrong way, getting stuck on a tree while on autorun, getting demobbed by NPCs, going to make a sandwich, etc. This will somewhat limit the ore you can find, since you must be near a station. But this is a multiplayer game after all, so its best if you can get a dedicated hauler.
It is this reason that many miners choose to pay for a second account which they use for hauling. Another strategy is to have a second character on your same account, with just enough skill to use a Sequer. You can log him out next to your miner, then when the can is full, log off the miner and on the hauler. He will already be next to the can, saving valuable time.
9. Ore vs. Liquid
Ores and liquids both fall under the category of “mining” and not harvesting, but they are slightly different. To clarify, the ores of Nia are titan ore, imentium, stermonit, and epriton. Liquids are HDT and liquizit. The harvestable plant life includes helioptris, triandlus, and noralgis.
Ores are mined normally; you select a tile, mine it, and can continue to do so until the tile is depleted, at which point you move onto another tile. Liquids on the other hand will pull material from both the tile you are targeting, as well as the surrounding tiles. Imagine a pool of liquid under the ground that spans many tiles; you are emptying the entire pool. This lets you mine a single tile far longer than with ore. It is a good strategy when mining liquids to target tiles far away from each other, to make sure you aren’t drawing from the same pool with multiple lasers. If you do want to pay as little attention as possible, liquids are a good choice, but usually are worth a bit less than their ore counterparts.
Ore in Perpetuum is not visible in the game world. It is under ground and can be located anywhere. You could load mining charges of the appropriate type and just start targeting tiles randomly, but you would have a very low success rate, and would waste a lot of time. Instead, you will need to learn how to scan successfully.
Scanning reveals information about the world around you. In this case, it will tell you, with varying degrees of accuracy, how much and what kinds of ore are around you. Eventually, it will show the location of ore on the world itself, so you can mine it.
The first thing to understand is the types of charges you can load into your geoscanner. The main types are area, tile, and universal. Area-based charges will scan a large area around your bot, and will only look for one type of ore. Tile-based charges scan a much smaller area but will tell you exactly where the ore is located, and like area charges, only look for one type of ore. Universal charges scan the single tile immediately below your bot, but will tell you every type of ore or liquid present there.
The following is the most common way to find ore using scanning. First, decide what type of ore you want to find. For this example, we will say you want to mine titan ore. This is the most common type of ore in Nia. You start by loading area-based titan ore charges into your geoscanner. Move away from the terminal and click your scanner. You will have a results window pop up; you must click upload to send these results to your map. After clicking the upload button, the map will appear with a box showing the area you scanned, and a percentage number in the box. This is the amount of ore present in the area. Anything above about 0.5% is worth your time, but if you plan to do a lot of mining, look for something with at least 1-2% of the ore you’re looking for.
If you didn’t find anything, move your bot in a direction until you are out of the square you scanned previously. Scan again. After uploading, you should see another box on your map with another result. Continue this until you get a result.
Once you have an area with a decent percentage of ore, it is time to switch to tile-based charges. You can fit approximately 9 tile scans inside the result of one area scan (this is dependent on extensions, bot bonuses, type of charge, etc). Tile scans work the same as area in that you will upload the results to your map, however now the results will appear as a kind of heat map; blue indicates very little ore while red indicates a large amount of ore present. To better view the results, you can show the ore on the main world display instead of the map. Do this by selecting your scanner window, going to the second tab, and checking the box next to the tile scan you are interested in. The results will appear in the world, with large, red cylinders indicating huge deposits, and small dark green or blue indicating small or non-existant deposits.
Keep in mind that your scanner has an accuracy rating. This is increased by extensions and robot bonuses. A standard scanner has a 50% accuracy, meaning your results can hardly be trusted. You will see small deposits that are actually large, and vice versa. However, you can identify where fields of minerals are and where you should point your lasers, just keep in mind that skipping over the small green cylinders when you have low accuracy may be inadvisable.
Another strategy is to complete multiple scans of the same area. With three 50% scans, you can start to see an “average” result for an area, and know whether or not a tile has a lot of ore or not. Generally speaking, I find a mineral field, and systematically mine every tile by row. This way I hit both the “big” tiles as well as the “small” ones. When I’m done, I can do another tile scan to see if I missed anything.
Keep in mind that the further you get from terminals and outposts, the more ore you will find. This is both because the game is designed this way, as well as because the closer to a terminal you are, the more other miners are competing for those easy resources.
11. What Now?
So you've got all this ore in your terminal, now what? You have several options. The easiest is to sell it based on an existing buy order on the market. Or, if you don't like that price, you can place your own sell order in the hopes someone else will buy it.
You can refine the ore into any of the various commodities in the game. These are used to manufacture, well, everything. Keep in mind that unless you have high refining extensions, high relation with the NPC corporation who owns the station you are in, and the station itself is a good refiner, you will get subpar results. If this happens, you may not be able to sell the commodities for as much as the raw ore itself. Commodities are much smaller than their comprising ores, so you will have the benefit of easier transporting. You will also need to refine if you plan on using your ore to manufacture.
Being that this guide is written for the dedicated miner, I'll assume you don't want to manufacture or refine, but get out and mine more! Some general advice then:
Rather than stockpiling ore because you don't like the current prices, place a sell order at a price you do like. This will encourage prices to move in that direction.
Don't place sell orders for quantities smaller than 80U. While you may still sell it, people are more likely to make the trip to buy from you if they can fill their hauler with your wares. Just like in real life, more quantity gives you more flexibility; if you have 80% of the titan ore available you have a lot more power as to the price it will sell for than if you are a small player.
I also like to keep a variety of ores available to take advantage of buying spikes. If someone is paying outrageous prices for HDT, you might regret having 20 million titan ore. Try to mine everything so you always have stock available.