So, You Want to be a Space Miner, Eh?

If you are like me, you approached Star Citizen with no small amount of wonderment and awe.  I have been following this developer since the wild days of Wing Commander (que that awesome launch music sequence).  For me, that was college in the 90s.  Yeah…I am old.  Now that I am in my 50s I look for something else for my much abbreviated game play time.   Enter Star Citizen.  A game that will (eventually) offer each player a unique experience that can be tailored towards whatever playstyle you desire.  PvP…PvE…exploration…piracy…trading…scavenging…there are vast possibilities!   For me, the big draw is mining. 

        When I describe this game to people and what I like to do I can see their brows furrow in confusion.  They get that the game may be one of the most beautiful ever created.   They get the thrill of space combat.  They even get exploring the vast reaches of outer space.   What they don’t get is why in the world I want to sit with a pick axe doing something that in real life is considered an onerous drudgery of existence!!!!
              I find that describing it like fishing seems to resonate the best with people.  If you get fishing, you get mining.   My ship, the “Serenity Now”, is my escape from the world.   Soaring across the plains of Lyria with the rising sun to my starboard while sipping on a cocktail deflates all the anxiety that the day has built up.  Scanning for minable rocks is tantamount to casting my line trying to ferret out that taut bite that will enable my juices to flow.  Relaxation and exultation swirl hand in hand.  Beauty and terror are bedfellows.  You are in God’s country and, in your arrogance, you seek to pillage the resources and escape unmarred.  It is truly glorious! 

             Don’t get me wrong.  Mining is absolutely NOT the only thing that I am doing in the game.  It shouldn’t be for you either.   There is just too much out there to experience and you want to see it all.   Mining is your foundation to opening up every other aspect of the game.   It is so lucrative that you cannot help but make money hand over fist raining it down like a scene from Scrooge McDuck.  I was able to very comfortably, easily, and quickly, fund my increasing desires.   Niche ships, expensive armors, the very best in ship components, wasteful extravagances…absolutely nothing is out of reach.

               Great, this amorphous description of mining is all well and good but how does this even remotely help me get into cockpit and more importantly swell my piggy bank until it explodes C2 ships into my retrieval panel?!?  Frankly, there are smarter and more adept people providing guides.  Youtube?  I am more comfortable with vacuum or cathode-ray tubes!!!!   But fret not, what I am going to do here is give you my plan on how to get the party started.  For the specifics of mining (which really do change over time) just grab the most recent mining how to video and watch it happen!

              So, I don’t have a lot of ships and I certainly didn’t when I joined the game a year ago.  I am constantly amazed at how many ships people that I have met have accumulated.   They wipe the game (sometimes often) since the game is still in an alpha stage so you really only get to start with what you have plunked down in real world money.  Fortunately, you can parley just about any ship into an empire with some time and dedication. 

             I have three ships that I consider essential to my good start.   My first ship ever was the Avenger Titan.  I still consider it one of the most versatile ships in the game.  It is cheapish in real world money, it is a sporty little fighter for doing missions, it can hop around the whole known galaxy, it is easy to fly, you can bed log in it, it has cargo space, it is small and fits everywhere, and…this is critical…it can be claimed exceedingly quickly for if/when you die a lot.   It allows me to do what I do first, Unauthorized Surveillance Detected missions out of Microtech space (mercenary tab).  These pay 20k a pop, take 5-10 minutes to do, are reasonably safe, and not terribly difficult.  Other people have other ways that they like to start building capital but this works the best for me. 

             My second ship to own is the Cutless Black.   This ship also is considered one of the most versatile in the game and is probably the most popular.   You COULD just own this and not an Avenger Titan if you wanted to save some $$$ and still get everything needed to be successful.  I really like having two ships to avoid the downtime while reclaiming a ship and this Cutty does take longer.   What it has that the Avenger does not is space for a Roc mining vehicle and, of greater importance, enough cargo room to haul a full Prospector haul of quantanium.  If you do not own this ship, you can easily rent it (prices vary but it is around 34k a day) from the refinery itself.   You MUST have a cargo ship large enough to move your goods and the Titan is not large enough.  There are many, many options but this is the one that I chose for a multitude of reasons.  Maybe someday I’ll upgrade to a big, cool, and sexy ship but for the quick and dirty this is your baby. 

             The third ship, of course, is the almighty MISC Prospector.  As with the Cutty you can buy this ship in game with time and dedication but I wanted to be able to get right into mining and that requires a mining ship.  The Mole is a larger and truly awesome ship to own as well but it is expensive, difficult to manage with one person, and doesn’t fit the playstyle that I am creating here.   If you have the bucks to spend though, it is a very fun, group-oriented money maker.  Anyway, the Prospector is the shining star of my fleet and the reason that I smile when I load up the game.

                While I won’t get into a lot of details about the ship you should note that the stock version absolutely needs to be outfitted with new gear.   There are some pretty big standards out there and definitely some preferences and here are mine.   I put an Atlas drive in mine.  I know, the military one is faster but I want to be able to travel further and the speed, in my opinion, is negligible.   I know what you are thinking…what about that time when I JUST made it to the space port and blew up on the pad?  The faster drive would have saved me.   Well, I don’t care.  I need reach more often than I need speed, haha.  I want options to travel where I want, when I want. 

              The other thing that is crucial is the mining head.  The Lancet MH1 (don’t buy the larger one by mistake, you only get ½ the amount back when you are forced to resell it…yeah…my attention to detail is lacking sometimes….) is my choice.   There is a recent guy who has done some kind of a wizards spell with spreadsheets and voodoo dolls that has come up with a system using the Arbor head that he maintains is the best system ever…but…that isn’t for me (yet).   Once I have my lancet head I have two prongs from there.  Prong 1 is filling my module slots with 1x surge, 1x surge, and 1x stampede.  This has been my go-to that allows me to break any rock that I have found on Lyria…including the dreaded 8k!!!  Now, do I blow myself up using this method?  Yes I do.  In fact, I am pretty darned good at blowing myself doing anything mining related.   Searching in the dark, BOOM.  Overloading my laser, BOOM.  Landing too hard, BOOM.  Hitting an asteroid going to the space station, BOOM.  Hitting another player, BOOM.  Running into the rock that I am mining, BOOM.   Getting ganked by pirates, BOOM.  I could keep going but I am pretty sure that you get the idea.  I die…a lot.  Mining is dangerous.  You will die.  Probably a lot too.  Factor that into your equations about time and enjoyment, haha.

                Ummm, I seem to have gotten distracted!   So…much…dying…  Okay, so the second prong is something that I have been using recently.  I have broken several big rocks with it BUT I have not tested it on an 8k yet so it remains to be seen 😊.   I use 1 x Brandt and 1 x Optimum modules (sometimes) but more importantly I use the BoreMax gadget.  This requires me to land, hop out of my ship, throw the gadget on the big rock, set it to 90% plus, get back in my ship, break the rock, land, get out of my ship, retrieve the gadget, get back in my ship, finish breaking the rocks, etc.   Phew…all of that and I am recommending this?  I am.  I love the ease of use, the extra minigame, and the real reason…LESS DYING!!!   Yup, I have drastically decreased the amount of mining related deaths using prong two.  I’ll need to do quite a bit more testing before I can conclusively move to this method but, so far, I have less downtime and more money. 

             For me, the hardest part about mining is finding the actual rocks to mine.  The old way of driving around until I spotted 2+ rocks (guaranteed quantanium) is no longer valid.  There is a new method of scanning that is essential.  I have two disabilities to overcome.  I am color blind and I am old.  Seeing little things on the screen is tough for me with my pretty little 4k monitor.  I cannot fly over and see the tell-tale coloring of the rocks.  I have to use the new scanning method which is tab scanning 360 degree angle to spot rocks and then 2 degree angle to spot groups.  But, for you fellow octogenarians out there, there is hope.  A very very nice person clued me into some ways to assist old farts.  This includes:  Changing field of view to 85, Rebinding Flight-Radar increase/decrease ping angles to mouse wheel up/down, and maybe most importantly, mining on the dark side of the moon in order to more clearly see when two rocks appear (something I was missing constantly on the light side).    Yes, dark mining can lead to more crashing, but I have exponentially increased my ability to spot rock groups.

               I ONLY mine quantanium…I only do it on Lyria…I only take it to Arc-L1 Wide Forest Station to refine…I only use Dinyx Solvention to refine…I only sell it at area 18.   Yes, there is a better place to refine in order to get a bonus.  Yes, it is easier to mine rocks out in the belt.  Yes, you can sell at any planet.  But, this is for me, the most efficient way to do things and while I have tried everything else (and still do from time to time for variety) this is what I do to win.   I use the Dinyx Solvention to refine although I understand using Ferron Exchange when time is of the essence.  If you are in a hurry, mining probably isn’t for you anyway and the profits are the best with Dinyx. 

             Random things that I wish I knew early on but people hid them from me!!!  You can rebind the F3 key to automatically request landing/take off completely avoiding the horrendous communication screen, friends, station, drivel.  It is under Options-> Keybindings->Advance Controls Customization->Flight Movement->Request Landing….this might be the single most coolest thing ever.   For mining, every time that I go into overload I just click the left mouse button which turns off the laser immediately, then click again to turn it back on, then ramp up the beam again.  I have found this causes less shattering which means less dying.   I really like dying less often.    We all know you hit N to land.  Did you know there is an auto land?  Never crash your fully loaded prospector into the station again!  Once your landing gear is down…and you are basically over the landing platform/in the hangar, hold down N until your ship starts moving on it’s own and it will land itself!  Phew, less boom boom make more happy happy!!!   This might be considered lazy piloting…

             So, how much can I make and what the hell do I do with all this freaking cash?!?  You can easily make millions per day.  Really.  You go on a mining bender and 1 mil can be done with 4 loads.   I have had days where I have done 12-14 loads.   You could do even more if you wanted.   I have certain ships that I buy as soon as I have the money.   First up, the Constellation Taurus.  This has a very big cargo capacity and can be outfitted to be a gnarly fighter with big ole mean bounty hunting killing guns!   I can carry way more loads with this ship in the quiver.   Then, it’s time for the Hercules C2.  Probably nothing better in the game in terms of cargo hauling.  It is massive.  It is beautiful.  It is fast.  You want to do big trading during events?  C2.  You want to move 5 mil in quant shipments?  C2.   You want all the ladies to scream your name when you land at the space sport?  C2.   I consider the game won as soon as I buy it!

              But wait, there’s more?  YES, dang it.  Go bounty hunting.  Go cave diving.  Mine with Roc for a change.   Do the missions.  Do the events.  Smuggle some drugs.  Take a rescue mission and help some poor person out.  Get in a fight and go to prison (and escape).  Hack a comm array.  Do a dance emoji with your friends.  Buy an alien ship just because it looks cool.   Buy an Eclipse so you can torpedo capital ships like a boss.   Get an emp ship like the Vanguard Sentinel so you can watch bad guys crash into the ground with no power.   Crew a hammerhead with a full group and melt anything and everything.  Buy a luxury ship to become the space pimp that you are.  Play all aspects of the game and be rewarded with gear, money, and most importantly friends.   I love this game.  I love my org.  I love the work that others have done to make this game more approachable and enjoyable.   I love the fact that something like this exists to demonstrate just how far we have come with gaming and technology.   Always remember…without exploration there can be no discovery.

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