Ok, space mining is an excellent new addition to this game, but as we are without a manual I figured a basic guide might help us all out, and now the NDA is finally lifted here it is.
To start mining you need equipment, there are two essential items and one optional one. The essential kit is a mining laser and cargo hold, the optional item is a tractor beam. There are now three types of cargo hold and mining laser which are craftable by your local shipwright, though he will need asteroid resources to make them, so you'll need quest ones (see below) or a well supplied shipwright to get you started. The important stat for the mining lasers is "Mining Extraction Rate".
Extraction rate (on mining lasers) effects the number of shots required to break through a stage in the mining process. With a class 1 laser it will take multiple shots to get a chunk off an asteroid, with a Y-8 Elite laser you can get multiple chunks for one shot. It does not effect the quantity of asteroid resource mined when destroying a final chunk but it does affect the number of shots to break up the rock (again as above a class 1 may take 2 or 3 shots, the Y-8 will take 1). NB a tractor beam is always better for mining the final rock.
- Bug: Currently the mining rate is not displayed on crafted mining lasers (and also cannot be experimented on)
All the kit is given to you in a series of quests that start with Flash Harrison who is in the cantina in the great tree of Kachiro. I'm not going to give away all the secrets of the quests, as they are fairly self explanatory, and I'm not in the mood to spoil them for you
I am however more interested in the mechanics of mining, and how best to go about it. For the more combat capable players out there, look up my old pal Mort in the same bar as your first contact in the quest, buy him a drink and let him regale you with his war stories
In summary it is basically the old...no....very old game "Asteroids" - anyone who knows it has the basics, for everyone else here are the basics:
Step one: Finding the asteroids
Asteroids show up on the navigation map in each sector they are in. There are 13 types of asteroid and are found in the following systems (added the average station price per unit):
Iron (2) Tatooine / Corellia
Sulphuric (8) Naboo
Organometallic (8) Lok / Kashyyyk
Cyanomethanic (10) Yavin 4
Carbonaceous (4) Naboo
Petrochemical (10) Yavin 4
Methane (10) Dantooine / Kashyyyk
Silicaceous (3) Corellia
Acidic (10) Dantooine
Crystal (17) Dathomir
Ice (6) Endor
Obsidian (10) Lok
Diamond (20) Kessel
(as of the sweep I did into Deep space I couldn't see any asteroids in there, if anyone sees any please let me know, and that's the full list of asteroids you can sell to space stations)
Step Two: The big one
The big asteroid can only be broken up with a mining laser (and only by an RotW player - I tested with my non-beta account and however many shots he fired no asteroids broke off). Fire a few shots and an asteroid chunk will break off and begin floating off. You can spawn multiple chunks by continuing to attack the big one.
Please Note: When attacking the big one there is a chance Asteroid Bandits will spawn. They spawn appropriate to the system you are in, so expect to see Tier 1 fighters in Naboo space, but that Diamond in Kessel will get you some Tier 5 attackers, generally around 2-4 spawn at any given time.
- Oh, in one of the screenshots released of the Y-8 ship you see it using a tractor beam apparently on a big rock - don't bother with that - it doesn't do anything, even though it looks cool.
- Cheers to Zeon_Zaku for reminding me of this - the big asteroid can itself be destroyed (currently it is to use Tony Blair's term a damp squib, I'm hoping for a big boom soon). Don't Panic - it will respawn in a second or two a few metres from where it was.
Step Three: The medium one
Now you have the chunk that spawned from the big one, chase it down and again use a mining laser on it, after a lot of debris flies off it (decoration only) the rock will break up. Anything from 2 to 10 small asteroid chunks will then spawn and float off in different directions.
- Bug: If either a medium or small asteroid reaches the edge of the space zone (any of it's co-ordinates reach 8,000 or -8000) then it becomes invincible, tractor beams also become ineffective so you can't pull it back from the edge.
Step Four: The small ones
Ok almost there now, you are about to actually get some asteroid resources. If doing the quests at this stage you will only have your mining laser, so blast each rock a few times and they will break up and the resources added to your hold - the hold symbol will light up and it will tell you the % of your hold you have filled up. It rounds down, so don't worry if it shows 0%.
If you are later on in the quests or if another player has given you one you may have a tractor beam. Personally I find the keymap command to "Toggle Tractor Beam" best to control this, map it to a button you can reach to turn it on or off. If the beam 'hits' a rock then it will change course towards you, get close enough to it and it will be brought on board your ship (it can fly past you, do another pass on it if that happens). The yield in my experience is in general 2-3 times greater with the tractor beam than when using a mining laser.
- Unknown if bug or not: If a tractor beam is in the turret and is controlled by a pilot it will not bring the asteroid on board. If a turreted tractor beam is player controlled it can bring the rocks on board (but it is rather hit and miss and I recommend pilot controlled tractor beams)
Step Five: What to do next?
There are two choices, either you can fly to a mining outpost and use /comm. Most mining stations are POI's in the appropriate system (look in the descriptions of the POI's for 'station') and are run by Miners, Trade Federation, RSF or CorSec. There is currently no distance restriction on the /comm so you don't have to fly to them. I detailed above average prices as a very unscientific average, some stations will buy for less than the listed prices, some for more (so look out for the best deal, and don't sell Organometallic to the Tatooine miners - they are cheapskates!)
You can sell resources direct from your hold to the station. However you cannot (at the moment, I hope this changes) sell from your inventory.
If you don't want to sell to the station you have to land - you cannot unload a ship in flight (and that includes when out of station on a POB ship). Once landed then open your datapad and use the radial menu to reveal two new options for any ship with a cargo hold: View Cargo (which surprisingly enough gives you a dialog box showing the cargo in the hold) and Unload cargo (which surprisingly enough unloads the cargo!).
- Bug: At the present time is that if your inventory is full and you "unload cargo" you will lose the cargo - please check you are not at 80/80 before you unload.
Step Six: What can I do with the crates of asteroid resource?
Your local shipwright is likely to want them.
The resources are used in the mining equipment, Heavy ship schematics for the Z-95, TIE Light Duty and Scyk fighter, also in the Elite (POB only) and Mining (Y-8 only) components and finally in the cosmetic items (new texture kits and winglets and strakes,
- Please note - the Heavy X-wing is actually a quest ship, not a normal X-wing with strakes, the other heavy fighters (Royal TIE and Vaksai) are also quests, they all start from the Kashyyyk Space Station and branch off depending on the faction.
- Also note - the other new ships are not craftable and are obtained by completing various quests.
Step Seven: What was this - I got an unusual looking asteroid chunk in my inventory?
Congrats - they are a random drop when you are mining, both mining laser and tractor beam can generate them, as of now we have no idea if the tractor beam has a higher chance or not. They are used in the new texture kits and are one of five types so far seen: Misshapen (A-wing kit), Colourful (ARC and Z-95), Strange (B-wing), Glowing (X-wing) and Ancient (Y-wing)
- Try not to get more than three medium size chunks spawning at any given point - by the time you have chased down the first three the fourth will be so far away it is quicker to go back to the big asteroid. I generally try to spawn just two to keep me from having long flights back to the asteroid.
- Start shooting the big asteroid from maximum range, with your speed set for manoeuvrability so you can either defend yourself or line up to hit the medium rocks.
- The Kashyyyk system space station is just 2km from the nearest hyperspace point. I often find it quicker to hyperspace to Kash, land at Kachiro, unload, launch again and hyper back to whichever system I'm mining in rather than face a 10-15km flight to the nearest starport in the system I'm in.
- Remember to shop around for selling mining resources - Shipwrights will probably offer better than the stations, and some stations sell for more than others.
Good luck and enjoy mining.
Thanks go to the beta testers who helped me in mining, and especially to Darth Platypus for awarding this guide the 2005 Golden Platypus award for "Guide Writing" and for his excellent programming
If anyone has any other hints please post them, if any of the bugs get fixed I'll try to keep this updated.