Asteroid Mining Etiquette
The Agreement on Etiquette
The following has been agreed by the Players as the etiquette to be used when mining asteroid fields.
Players should not harvest asteroids in fields that have been discovered by another player.
The exceptions to this are asteroid fields in systems in the 'Free Zone'.
A system is in the Free Zone if it is:
- in any sector within three sectors of sector 0,0,0; that is any Sector numbered ±3,±3,±3
- connected to Sector 0,0,0 by the Jump Gate Network
- in the Red Zone
Bearing in mind that the Red Zone is one eighth of the Galaxy, this gives a lot of scope for harvesting existing fields. There should, also, be enough fields to keep new Players happy until they can develop fields they have discovered. The consequences of not following the etiquette will be upset Players who, at best, no longer tend their fields and, at worst, leave the game. Also there will develop a lack of supply of materials vital for building Jump Gates and Ships, because no-one will leave the fields long enough to get optimum yield; too much risk of raiders.
It follows that when harvesting asteroids in the Free Zone a few non-NTP (Niobium, Tin and Promethium) asteroids should also be harvested to keep the field viable. Bear in mind that Autunite, Urelite and Chrondrite asteroids contain Uranium and Magnesium which, when sold to the Local Market are a very good source of income.
The Reasoning and History behind the Etiquette
The game has no mechanism for allowing a Player to make a claim on any real estate except space on planetary surfaces for colonies. This means that the game coding does not regulate who can harvest the asteroids in a field. This would not be a problem except that asteroids are spawned with very little yield and increase their yield over time. There does not seem to be a limit on how big an individual asteroid can grow. Therefore the Discoverers of asteroid fields like to leave them unharvested until the material is needed.
However, it is not as simple as that. The most in demand materials, sourced only from asteroid fields, are Niobium, Tin and Promethium (NTP). Consequently, Angrite, Colombite and Promethicite asteroids are the most sought after and the Discoverer will spend lots of game-time tending to fields which contain them. Most NTP asteroids are in fields with other asteroids. The Discoverer will remove the other asteroids to create more NTP asteroids. When an asteroid is harvested a new asteroid will spawn. However, the new asteroid is not necessarily of the same type as the one harvested; it can be any of the types of asteroid in the field. So, this process has to be repeated until the field mostly, ideally only, contains NTP asteroids. Then the field can be left to grow. When the field is eventually harvested the process has to be repeated. It can be seen from this that, if the Discoverer does not clear the other asteroids, but only harvests the NTP asteroids, the field will eventually contain no NTP asteroids at all.
Early in the game's history, when the Jump Gate Network was in its infancy, the Players who were building the Jump Gates were working extremely hard to supply NTP to the manufacturers of the modules for the Jump Gates. They were attempting to maximise the yields of NTP, particularly Promethium, and became known as the 'Prom Team'. Unfortunately, other players took advantage of the work done by the Prom Team and harvested their fields for their own use. The excuse being 'The game lets us do it so we are doing it.' So, the 'Prom Team' stopped working and Jump Gate building slowed to a crawl. Eventually an agreement was reached which established the etiquette to be used when harvesting asteroid fields.
There are currently two systems with asteroids fields orbiting a planet in the Inner9 systems, Vulcan and Veritas. Many outer systems have asteroid fields which contain some or all of the asteroid types (see Maps for gated outer systems and belts).
Asteroid mining can be very productive. When mining minerals it is a good idea to dock at the local space station, and offload your cargo into the item warehouse. This will allow you to mine with little interruptions, and once you have enough materials stored up, you can fly them around to contracts or sell them on the Galactic market. *Note, 100,000 tons of total materials can be stored in a NPC space station’s Item hanger.
Mining is more useful once you have a ship that can hold enough minerals to mine several asteroids in one trip. A Falcon (160 base cargo) or bigger is recommended for mining. *It is common practice to remove higher class armor from ships above class 1, and replace it with class 1 armor. Downgrading the armor class will create more cargo space on the ship and not affect ship function outside of combat.
In order to mine an asteroid a player must fly to a distance of 1,000m or closer, and maintain that proximity. Turning the gravity anchor on and off to slow down or speed up will help maintain a proper speed. It is best to try and match the speed and direction of the asteroid. *Note, only named asteroids can be mined.
When targeting the asteroid, use the left mouse button or B key to activate your mining beam. Continue holding until the asteroid reaches the proper temperature for mining. An ideal temperature for asteroid mining is 2200K. Temperature is judged by the color that the mining beam creates on the asteroid and the color the beam changes as temperature raises on the rock. The color for an ideal mining temperature is Blue. Once the asteroid is heated to the desired temperature, release the mouse button to mine it. The video below shows what it should look like when you release the mouse button.
Your ship comes with a class 1 mining beam; a larger one may be built at your star base shipyard or purchased from other players to get a higher yield from mining. Each mining beam produces yields of its class times 1. So a class 3 mining beam will produce 3 times as much as a class 1, and a class 4 will produce 4 times as much as a class 1.
As you mine Asteroids, your 'Asteroid Mining Skill' will go up and increase your yield also.
Several minerals are available for use in research on your star base or sale at the contract boards.
- Silicon - needed for your Electronics Factory or sold on the contracts board.
- Magnesium - ship yard item construction and can be sold on the contracts board.
- Uranium - land and ship based reactors, can be sold on the contracts board.
- Tin - Used in ship yard item construction and can be sold on contracts board.
- Niobium - Used in ship yard item construction and can be sold on contracts board.
- It is recommended to sell Tin and Niobium to other players, they will pay significantly more than contracts.
Other minerals such as Iron, Carbon, Titanium and Aluminum are harvested from various asteroids as well. Mineable asteroids and their content (+/- 2%) are....
|Promethicite||10%||80%||10%||Is a rare spawn, found in fields where Colombite, Angrite, or Autunite are present.|
|Bastnaesite||69%||13.9%||17.1%||Extra rare spawn of Angrite and Chrondrite.|
|Neurocrystallite||100%||Used to make Neurostimulators.|
Mining Skill and Mining Skill Bonus
Each time you successfully mine an asteroid, You gain a chance to level up. The formula to level up is 1 in Skill level. This means if you have a mining skill of 1, you have a 1 in 1 chance to gain a level. If you have a mining skill of 10, you have a 1 in 10 chance to gain a level. The higher your level, the less chance you will gain a level. There are no caps to levels, but it does get difficult as you increase. This means if you have a mining skill of 100, you have a 1 in 100 chance, or will have to mine an average of 100 rocks before you will gain a level. Each time a random number is generated, so you can level up to times in a row and go a long time without leveling. It is random, not broken. It will average out over time.
There is no top limit for character skills.
The mining skill gives you a bonus to the yield of the asteroid. The mining skill bonus is figured this way:
Mining skill bonus = mining skill/(mining skill + 100).
This means a mining skill of 5 will equal .05. This means it will give you a 5% bonus. A mining skill of 100 will give a mining skill bonus of .5. The equals a 50% bonus. A mining skill of 200 will give a mining skill bonus of .66 which is a 66% bonus.
The total asteroid maximum yield formula is as follows:
Max Yield = (mining beam class + asteroid age in days) × base yield × (1 + mining level bonus)
Max yield is achieved at 2138 - 2250K(Kelvin). If you stop mining at a lower temperature, your yield will go down. We do not have the formula of how that is calculated at this time.
Mining by Aerinite
For what it's worth, the max yield of any asteroid can be calculated as follows:
Max yield = (mining beam class + asteroid age in days) × base yield × mining level bonus
- The base yield is the yield you would get from mining a 0 day old asteroid with a class 1 mining beam and 0 mining level.
- Maximum yield assumes a mining temperature of 2137.5 K - 2250 K. Mining at 2000 K only gives around half of the maximum yield.
Notice how the mining beam class and asteroid age are added together. The net result is that allowing an asteroid to age one day is equivalent to upclassing a mining beam by one.
Let's say we have a class 14 mining beam, asteroid mining level 100 and mining a 6 day old Promethicite asteroid.
The base yield of a Promethicite is 80 silicon, 10 uranium and 10 promethium.
- Mining beam class = 14
- Asteroid age = 6
- Base yield = 10
- Mining level bonus = 1.5 (50% bonus)
Promethium yield = (14 + 6) × 10 × 1.5 = 300 tonnes.
Disclaimer: I haven't done much testing on this so I could be completely wrong. It did predict my 428 tonne promethium yield to within 1%, though.
The unnamed, unglinting and unminable stone textured asteroids are colloquially referred to as "spinners" in game. They serve only aesthetic purposes and will not collide with a player's vessel.
The process of "growing asteroids" is known as accelerated asteroid accretion.
A growing, searchable database of asteroid fields within 3 sectors of Apollo can be found at Asteroid Charts
To find other asteroid belts, see Waervyn's Where to Mine Video
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