Monday, July 04, 2016

The Art of Resource Gathering

Let's talk about resource gathering in EVE.

First off, I'm talking about resources that are spawned by the game system and not created through recycling, microtransactions, or rewards. Things like Ore, Gas, Moon Materials, Research Components, etc.

There methods for gathering resources can be broken down into two broad categories: active and passive. Active is where the pilot has to be online and at keyboard taking actions to facilitate the gathering of resources, whether it be hacking a container in an exploration site or shooting an NPC to get a loot drop. Passive is where the resource gathering occurs regardless of the presence of the pilot engaged in the activity, such as Planetary extractors or moon mining.

There are advantages to both methods in terms of game play mechanics. Active resource gathering rewards players being logged in and in space doing something but takes the entire focus of the player and leaves nothing for enemies to attack when they are offline (unless they use a POS/Citadel as part of their operation). Passive resource gathering can happen even when the player is offline, but doesn't take the player from other activities (like PvP) and leave something in space for people to attack (like a POCO or a POS).

Which brings us to Asteroid and Ice Mining.

Mining an asteroid or ice block is supposedly active resource gathering in that the player has to be there in a ship with the proper tools, but the reality is that it requires so little active player involvement that the activity is associated with passive gameplay or botting.

There have been suggestions in the past to change the gameplay to increase stimulation for players but I think they all miss the point. God-like capsuleers firing lasers at space rocks is not the vision I want to pursue. I'd rather we consider a radical departure and move asteroid/ice mining to a passive mechanic using deployable structures that players place in belts to do the extraction for them, freeing them up to do other more engaging activities AND provide static targets for other players to consider attacking.

This could be done while still leaving the current mining mechanics in place and could even produce ore at a rate lower than an efficient mining operation using pilots and mining ships, but the result of freeing pilots for other activities I think would persuade many miners to switch.


  1. I wondered some time past why I could not just hire NPC forces to mine in asteroid belts.

    Although anchoring a deploy-able mining buoy might be interesting if they are as destructible as mobile tractor. Personally I would like a deploy-able compression unit for operating outside my normal constellation range. Even if it meant 1200 units ore into 1000 compressed.

    As for passive. If I want passive mining, I use a Retriever. But for active mining I have a mining drone rigged Covetor - which requires regular attention to prevent the ore-hold being full. The mining drones need to be recalled and scout drones launched to deal with NPCs. Plus I prefer to keep an eye on local for troublemakers.

    I am looking forward to the Industrial Arrays. Hopefully they will be on sisi soon - the information thus far is very limited.

  2. No, no, no.

    Resource extraction is a key element for new players. Plus, you are talking about wiping out entire classes of ships and playstyles.

    You are suggesting a complete rework of a massive part of this game, and we all know that any rework of game mechanics on any scale is now designed to transfer more wealth from high sec to null sec.

    So no.

  3. I seem to remember Gevlon posting a similar idea to his blog, perhaps even before the new range of mobile deployables came out. I think he even had a similar idea for eliminating the bordeom of POS sieges (deploy a siege weapon that will just pound on the POS shields). But the core idea in both those examples and your own is that we remove the poorly performing "active" tasks from the game rather than making them better.

    I'd prefer for the active ones to be reworked to be better. We have players who like mining ops for the chillout factor, which I know may be hard for some to believe. I personally like the idea of making them more of a minor puzzle - you can do things as you do now for normal yields, or you can do some little gameplay element to get your mining laser right on the vein of richer ore to boost your performance. Hmm, I wonder if there is something like protein folding that could be used to turn that into a Citizen Science thing...