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Olmeca_Gold

Automatic Mining Bots Are An Extremely Bad Decision

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I've just noticed they are in the "coming soon" area in the starting screen. This means NQ is sinking the precious devtime into this idea, which is alarming to me. I know there are other threads about this. But they are not well-argued. If NovaQuark is reading, and I hope they are, let me repeat the stern warning about how terrible mining units will be for the game's economy. This will be overshadowing any damage that we've received during the "bot buy orders for all tiers" first week of the game.

 

In a healthy single shard sandbox sci-fi, you want many careers/playstyles interdependent on one another. These playstyles become rewarding by generating value. Mining is one of these playstyles. And it's going to lose most of its value to mining bots. NQ/JC thinks there is a way which these will work to get just enough ore to not devalue it much, but will be enough to those who don't like the grind of mining. But that's something they will not, and cannot achieve. The bots will crash the value of whatever ore they can gather. Let me tell you why.

 

I had the privilege of a deep look into the developmental process of the maker of the only other single-shard sandbox sci-fi in the market. CCP. The one thing that unites CCP (particularly early years) and NQ is a drastic underestimation of the extent which players will push the boundaries of the game. I heard so many stories about how CCP thought players will achieve some task in years, while it took a month. They have learned a lot from these kind of lessons. NQ is now re-learning the same. The bot orders for T2-T5 ore were one such example. T4-T5 was only bought on Alioth. Which means NQ probably thought it'd take months for players to reach to another planet and actually bring the T5 ore back. They thought it should be a sufficient limitation to prevent players breaking the economy. It took us 15 hours to bring back the first batch and make 80 million. People earned billions in a week until NQ put an end to it (and deleted some of those billions).

 

The same underestimation will happen here. If NQ limits the ore yield of the automatic mining bots, people will mass-deploy them. If they implement limits per territory, people will make endless alt organizations to get more territories for cheap. If they do planet-wide limits, people will run them across all planets. If they do account-bound limits, people will purchase beta invitations (currently 20 million). If these things yield 10% of the normal rate, that'll still be 17 hours of mining per week. That's more mining time than most of us put in the game. Even at 1% of the mining yield, it'll still be profitable for some RMT'er to sub many accounts for this from $7 each, and sell the ore value generated by them to players willing to pay black market for money. And NQ will not have the manpower/technology to enforce bans on them. While other games are actively fighting bots, this game will be such a godsend to RMT'ers where they can actually automate income generation. All they care about is generating value with the least amount of effort.

 

People upvote and promote this idea because many don't like the grind of mining. That's such a bad reason to get mining automation in DU. If people don't like mining, they should buy ore. That's how a single shard sandbox is supposed to work. You generate your value the way you want to do it; and complement miners' playstyle by paying them for the way they like to generate it. If you want a free source of ore to just build things without effort, then why play together in an MMO at all? We could just build stuff in our clients with infinite ore, show them off or fight with them in multiplayer mode. The very reason to actually exist in the same single shard universe is that interdependency. If you don't like to mine, you buy ore, and make a miner's day.

 

I know LUA and programming is cool and NQ wants to promote that. But once people create their systems, easily automatable activities will get old super fast. We're already experiencing it with giga-factories at the industry side. With mining bots, NQ would be doing the same to mining side. 

 

NQ/JC thinks there is a limitation window in which these things won't devalue mining as a profession, but will be useful for players. There is no such window. NQ/JC thinks there is, because they are underestimating what players can and will do in the kind of game they are trying to develop. Any set of limitations will be exploitable by mass-deploying these bots, and thus devalue mining as a DU profession.

 

I want this game to succeed so much. But NQ doesn't need to re-learn single-shard sandbox lessons which others learned 10 years ago. Things like abundance of resources, passive income, etc. ends up being bad for long term player enjoyment. No matter how much they ask for it.

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If they made a proper scanner that could actually triangulate ore positions, then there wouldn't be a desire to automate it. If I have 2 hours to mine and 1.5 of that is spent trying to locate ore, you bet I want that automated. If I spent most of that time actually mining I wouldn't want or need an automated mining operation.   

 

My goal is not to play "shitty scanner simulator 2020". A bandaid solution like automated mining is just avoiding the real problem.

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Agree with 90% of the post. Especially the part about players going to extremes to push the boundaries of the game. I too played EVE, quite successfully (we paid for 21 accounts with in-game earned money), for many years. My partner and I found every opportunity to eke out every last bit of ore in any way possible. If you make automation an option, no manual miners will have a chance.

 

Also agree with Singularity, fix the scanner and the detector to work properly. Even at maximum skills, they don't work well.

 

Most of all: fix the game so that mining and terraforming don't produce "pending operation", "operation failed", and massive lag spikes. It makes mining a huge waste of time on all but the most uncrowded of days. The delays and lag are horrendous. If the developers want a large number of players in this game, stabilizing this portion of the game will be crucial. 

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