CCP has made a number of changes to mining that have made minerals far too available, but have no reduced the AFK/low engagement/bottability of mining. Some of these changes regard ship balance (Rorquals), but most of the changes involve the availability of ores. I will not address ship balance in this post, but simply address mining as an activity that could use some love.
The changes CCP have made include:
- The removal of Gravimetric Sites and their replacement with “Ore Site” anomalies that can be directly warped to from the Probe Scanner.
- Subsequent removal of the need to even scout for “Ore Site” anomalies due to their addition to the Agency.
- The ability to upgrade NullSec systems to have near permanent “Ore Site” anomalies.
- The addition of massive amounts of Tritanium/Mexallon/Pyrite to various lower-security ore types.
- Moon mining, which now breaks the original distribution of ores from HiSec to NullSec and causes even more mineral input when the primary goal is moongoo.
Additionally, though not a change, is the fact that almost every system in EVE Online has asteroids belts, and multiple belts at that, which regenerate continually.
I propose the following changes to reduce the flow of minerals to the market and to make mining more engaging and less bottable:
- Put asteroid belts on the same mechanic as ice fields. Systems with available sites would contain X number of fields, each a different size (small, medium, large, enormous), and each would have it’s own random 1-4 hour timer. When the field is depleted, an RNG of 1-4 is generated and the timer begins. No predictability. LORE: The Probe Scanner actually receives this information from the fluid router net as the Empires/SOV holders continually survey their systems for appropriate gravimetric nodes to be mined. Due to the distances involved and the navigational hazards most asteroid fields present, it takes a considerable amount of time and effort for a suitable location to be scanned.
- The fields would also be mobile - asteroids in the field would move in roughly the same direction at varying speeds, away from the initial warp in, with a max range of 2,000km before individual despawning (once the last rock is despawned, timer for respawn begins). Higher yield asteroids would be smaller and move faster than the larger, lower yield asteroids. The framework exists for this to be possible - asteroids already move when a moon chunk is detonated and can despawn right in your face.
- The direction of the field would be indicated by the asteroid environment effect extending behind and in front of the field - like the rings of gas giants, but straight.
- Asteroid belts (at least some) replaced with “depleted asteroid belts” which would still have some small rocks that can be mined. LORE: ■■■■ just got mined out over 20 years of non-stop capsuleer harvesting, not to mention the hundreds of years of faction development.
- Add environmental effects to asteroid fields, randomly generated from a list of possible effects when the field spawns. Some effects could be: Changes to ship velocity/agility, changes to mining laser (yield, range, cycle time, chance for crystal damage), continuous or random damage done to ships, effects on ship capacitor, effects on fleet assistance modules, etcetc. A different effect each time the field spawns (sometimes no effect) that applies to all ships/drones on field out to 200km.
- Beef up the NPCs that spawn at asteroids. Diamond pirates, Triglavians, and diamond rogue drones are possibilities. Make them more dangerous as you approach 0.5, add scramblers/jamming and response fleets the lower in sec rating you go.
- Moon fields would still behave the way they do now, with stationary asteroids held in place by a stasis field generated by the refinery. NPCs would make AFKing practically suicide.
- Additionally, some moons are iceballs. So allow players to generate (small) ice fields instead of ore fields.
- Why does every moon have resources? Most moons should have garbage.
- “Ore Site” anomalies in NullSec should function the same way. Upgrading SOV would simply increase the number of fields per system, but not their size or duration.
- Rorquals bonused for mining moongoo ores.
- Consolidate reprocessing skills for normal ore the same way ice is one skill and moon ores fall into categories.
The effect would be to make mining more of an active pursuit in EVE Online, reduce the availability of basic materials, and move Rorquals from AFK mining for hours/day at huge, effectively permanent anomalies to moons, where they have the safety of a) not being directly warpable without moons being first scouted and b) the refinery which is hopefully manned. Removal of the OSHT button and reduction in EHP would make up for this change.