The Endurance has been around for some time now, and I very much like the aspect of cloaky mining, however barely anyone uses it, and despite my love for cloaky ships, I hardly can convince myself to use it instead of a Skiff or Procurer.
The issue lies with the low harvesting amount and the lack of a proper storage, which makes it unsuitable for both safety mining and “behind the lines” mining, which is the actual purpose of the entire ship.
The Endurance is the direct competitor of the Skiff, as it is an advancement from the Procurer and I need to invest quiet some skill-time in either direction. While the Skiff gives a great amount of eHP and other defensive options, the Endurance gets the cloaky advantage and a much lower signature. Tests in PvP situations have showns, that the lack of eHP is well balanced with the cloaking advantage and the ability to warp away much faster. So I don’t think there is a need to change the defensive part at all.
What is a problem is the actual resource gain. Let’s compare some numbers (all-5 char, ore strip miner I):
Endu: 13.5 m³/s (10.1 + 3.4)
Skiff: 24.4 m³/s (18.7 + 5.67)
Endu: 19.1 m³/s
Skiff: 29.8 m³/s (24.8 + 4.94)
This immediately shows the problem: no miner would be willing to sit in a ship that harvests 50% less than the direct competitor. The Endurance even mines less than the Procurer, which means: it is still more efficient to use a throw-away Procurer than an Endurance, as the ship alone costs more than a fully fitted Procurer.
Also the Endurance doesn’t work well as a “behind-the-lines” mining ship for the simple problem: where to put the ore/ice you mined? If you manage to sneak in an Orca or a Freighter, then it is hardly a covert operation.
Ideas for improvement
The obvious thing the Endurance needs is a boost to the mining amount (as well as the Prospect, but that’s another topic). To be in line with the Skiff, the ice bonus should be at 65% and the ore bonus at 800%, this would bring it to 27.3 m³/s (ice) and 23.6 m³/s (ore), which is shortly below the Skiff. This would make the Skiff still the ship with the better yield, but the Endurance wouldn’t be completely useless. Alternatively you could allow Strip Miners/Ice Harvesters and reduce the bonus accordingly, so the numbers are not that much exaggerated.
The “behind-enemy-lines” mining would only work if the Endurance had some form of self-ore compression, effectively giving it a much bigger ore cargo. An idea would be a smaller version of the industrial core, that automatically compresses incoming ore/ice (so it won’t help other ships), but locks the ship into place in 2 minute cycles. Which would then lead to the interesting situation that when attacked the Endurance is cloaked but cannot move for a while. But to compensate the risk you can fly away with effectively 150k m³ ore in your cargo, yet having a Rorqual is still the much better choice.