Might be in the wrong place, if so the mods can move me to the right area.
I was chatting with my corp during a mining op. One of our members flies a Hulk, and has dumped a ton of SP into that craft. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has invested more SP into that fit than I have total. We were comparing numbers between his Hulk and my Rorqual, and we discovered that we were on-par in terms of volume per minute even with boosts, and I wasn’t even flying with excavators. I could re-double my yield if I used the shiny drones, leaving him far behind.
He was quite disappointed that the only way for him to increase his yield would be to admit that he had wasted all that SP, and start training into a ship in a completely different hull. This got us to thinking about the best way to solve that problem, given how OP the Rorqual is.
The thought we came up with was a second capital-class ship in the same line as the mining barges. Now before I go any further, I do understand that CCP is trying to reduce total ore extraction numbers. We took this into account, keep reading.
This ship would be able to use the industrial core module, but it would not be able to compress ore. Instead of ore compression, while in siege it would have access to a massive energy weapon that would utilize special mining crystals (putting those skills to use). This weapon would target rocks and blast them into smaller pieces, which could be tractored in and scooped directly into the ship. The effective mining rate for this ship should be 2-3x the yield of the Rorqual, say in the 200-400m3/s ballpark. It would also have a much smaller ore hold, say 75k m3.
Now what is the catch? With this massive increase in yield there has to be some drawback to keep them from flooding the market with material? The catch could be that when blasting a rock apart, a significant amount of the ore in the rock is destroyed. I am thinking 50-80% depending on skills/crystals/rigs. This way even though they can pull in material crazy fast, they would be actively preventing ore that would have been mined from being mined.
They could buddy-up with a Rorqual for ore compression, cargo hauling, and boosts. Since CCP seems to be a fan of tiny rocks, a fleet of sub-capital mining ships could tag along to take care of those.
This firmly re-seats the Rorqual into the fleet support position, while not discouraging aspiring miners from training into barges/exhumers just because they would be better off shooting straight for a Rorqual. Which, is exactly what I did myself.
This idea is mostly just for fun, I foresee an approximate zero percent chance of the devs caring and I am sure someone will come along to poke all sorts of holes in my logic.
Definitely tell me why my idea is stupid, I am ready to mine salt