So an old friend (and a new corp mate WOOT! I am the supreme recruiter, I've now brought three other ex-Strife pilots to m3 Corp) is in Sukanan and gets assigned a new (-ish) mining mission: go out and get 5600 units of this mission ore that can't be refined to anything useful in game.
Really? Mining missions? Sigh.
Anywho being in low sec he opts for the small and agile Skiff Exhumer class mining vessel and starts working. The Skiff has two built in warp core stabilizers, large capacity, and is agile like a cruiser. Only problem is that it can only fit one strip miner module. So while its good for small scale ninja mining in hostile space like low sec or 0.0, its slow. He estimated 2.5 hours to chew this one mission asteroid.
I volunteered to come help in my handy Retriever Mining Barge. Slower, less cargo space, smaller defenses... but two, count em, two strip miners. Between the two of us we reduced that rock to ore in about 30 minutes or so.
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Speaking of mining ships, I have a problem with the progression of mining vessels. Ignoring for a moment the Caldari Osprey mining cruiser and similar vessels in the Empires' navies, the ORE (Outer Ring Excavations) tech 1 mining vessels are as follows:
Procurer - 1 strip miner, small, fragile
Retriever - 2 strip miners, medium, delicate
Covetor - 3 strip miners, large, soft
And their tech 2 descendants:
Skiff - 1 strip miner, small, specialized for Mercoxit mining
Mackinaw - 2 strip miners, medium, solid defenses, specialized for Ice Mining
Hulk - 3 strip miners, large, best mining defenses, specialized for removing asteroids from existance.
Seems like a logical progression right? Here's my issue: compare the time for a brand new mining character to get into the respective ships (ignoring learning skills and such):
Procurer - 8 days
Retriever - 14 days
Covetor - 103 days
Skiff - 106 days
Mackinaw - 107 days
Hulk - 109 days
See that? By the time you can adequately fly a Covetor, even a new player without learning skills or implants is mere days from a Tech II Covetor, i.e. the Hulk. The reason for the huge jump is that the Covetor not only requires Mining Barge V (which seems extreme for a tech I ship) it also requires Astrogeology V.
Personally I think Mining Barge IV and Astrogeology IV are both more than adequate requirements for the Covetor (which would put it at around 24 days in our example) or even IV and V respectively which would put it at 45 days.
Anyways, that's my rant.
* * * * *
To train Derranna for the Rorqual, the Clone Vat Bay (for jump clones at the ship), and Industrial Core (for its transformation to ore compactor) it would take only 53 days. That's it. She could fly the ship itself in 24 days. That's nothing.
Of course, it would cost about a billion isk for the skills and another 1.5+billion for the ship.