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Mining Units: A weeklong in-depth review


Roustabout
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Background / Summary

I backed DU early on and have three accounts - honestly, I tried to give my beta keys away to friends, but no one wanted them.  So, I have a character dedicated to mining / refining, one to piloting, and one to industry.  All three have some combination of radar, gunnery, and ammo skills.  Each of them is around 50M skill points.

 

My play time prior to Demeter could be classified into three categories, active, passive, and mindless.  The active playtime involved building, pvp, asteroid mining, or using the markets.  I’m sure most of you reading this know the autopilot time as you scanned an asteroid or traveled to a planet.  This is the passive; dare I say AFK time.   What I call mindless time includes digging around in an unclaimed tile, you could simply zone out, watch a video, or listen to music.  I liked this time, it was relaxing, easy, and still offered progression without any risk.

 

Prior to Demeter, On average, I spent about 3 hours each day playing DU.  About half of this time was active or mindless mining and the other half was some mix of ship building, industry, or solo pvp.  Occasionally, I would spend an entire session repairing my ship because...well you dicks with the giant towers know why.

 

On an average day, I would generate $46M.  About half was ground mining and the other half Asteroid mining.  This worked out to about $30M / hour of money making activity.


With the advent of Demeter, the mindless playtime has disappeared.  My playtime has shifted to only two categories and the overwhelming majority of my playtime is now active and focused on three tasks - calibrating, hauling ore, and picking up ore from the bonus ground spawn.  The passive time is almost non-existent and involves flying 60km on the same planet.

 

After playing the minigame 15 times, trudging out to some random spot to collect between 2 and 4k ore, and then doing my best impression of a garbage man picking up all the auto-ore from 14 containers, I generate on average $10M over 90 minutes or about $6.7M / hour.  I could probably generate $30M / hour asteroid mining again but that would be at an opportunity cost of the passive ore mining or I would have to fully dedicate my entire 3 hour play time to money making activities.

 

The real takeaway here is that my money making active playtime has shifted from scanning and mining to babysitting autominers and picking up ground ore - both steps down in the level of fun and engagement. Sure, I could go back to asteroid mining exclusively and will likely get to that point but for the purposes of this dsicussion, I focused on really exercising the auto mining system.  

Additionally, to keep the automiers at a reasonable level (not even optimal) I have had to set timers, reminders, and build a spreadsheet to track the decay so I’m hitting the right autominers at the right times and carefully balancing my calibration charges.  While I’m perfectly capable of managing all this, it is quite annoying and doesn’t lead to long term engaging gameplay.
At the current market rates, I’m able to generate about $5M per tile per week.   My tiles are probably slightly above average but are all T1 and similar to most of everything else I have seen around Alioth - so nothing special here.  

 

I have seen several posts of people complaining the taxes are too high and hopefully the next section will help show how to make automining profitable.

 


Setup

I put some of the refunded mining skills into the “on deploy” auto mining skills on my main mining character and had all three characters train to 4 4 3 3 (Calibration Charge Optimization / Efficiency at 4 and Improved versions at 3).  So, as far as investment into auto mining goes, I’m pretty deep but not outside of what most folks can do with a week of skill training.  This gives the three characters the ability to comfortably manage 60+ autominers across 14 territories.   A single character with 10 days of training can easily handle 7 territories - perhaps not at a perfectly optimal level but enough for a good profit margin.

 

While I was fortunate enough to have some scanners already available, I haven't found many territories that couldn't turn a profit with proper management.  The tiles that had 500 of one ore are best as you can get 4 miners working that tile with no leftover.  But most tiles offered at least 3 full miners and some partial miners.  The proximity bonus is key so simply picking a spot that has 7 open tiles will almost always yield a profit.

 

I currently have 14 T1 Territories with 7 being very bauxite heavy and the other 7 evenly distributed across all 4 T1 ore types.  There are 63 autominers currently running with the lowest base rate being 70 and the highest being 125.  With the territory bonus, the optimal rate ranges from 126 to 226 per hour with most clustered at 183 per hour.

 

For production bonus purposes, the tiles are clustered around a center which means one tile gets a 60% bump and all others get a 30% bump.

 

In order to maintain this, I do need to log in every day so I don’t overcap my calibration charges.  My characters generate 5.7 calibration charges per day and if I don’t use them every day, I lose 1.4 charges.  With current skills I can refill between 60% and 72% if I get lucky with the minigame.  If I don't get lucky, it's around 57% which means I need to calibrate when a mining unit decays to between 30% and 50%.  While I may over cap the 100%, I found calibrating when the unit is between 40% and 45% is the safest time.  The tracking sheet below highlight the units that need adjusting.

 

Given the base rate of 125 for most of the miners, I can usually get 4 full miners on a tile and one partial. On the 60% bonus tile I see around 1.1KL / hr of total ore and my lowest tile currently generating around 500 L / hr.  Optimal generation is around 700 L / hr on average.  I have also found that unless the unit is on a 60% tile, a rate below 90 would be better deployed elsewhere as it relates to spending calibration charges - there is something to be said about convenience so I have a few mining below that rate, but they are lower priority to calibrate.

 

Bonus Ore

Each day I spend about 15 calibration points and get an average of 3k bonus ore which works out to 45,000 L in bonus ore or about $2M income.  Getting the bonus ore is relatively quick but tedious and feels like a chore.  The bonus ore makes up 20% of the weekly income so it is unfortunately required to maximize the tile.  Without the bonus ore, I would still see a profit but it would reduce down to $44M / week (still not bad).

 

Sample Tracking

image.thumb.png.b95037f5347047d39e5cab0b1458996b.png

 

 

Financial Analysis

Initial Investment

Territory Unit: $175k -> $2.45M
Territory Claim Fee: $500k -> $7M
Small Static Core: 12K -> $168K
Basic Mining Unit L: $175K -> $11M
Container L: $300K -> $4.2M
-------------------------------------
Total Investment: $24,800,000

Time to setup: 8 Hours

 

I should note I have a ship with two L containers that handles the logistics.  This ship costs about $15M.

 

 

Maintenance Costs

Nitron Fuel: $70,000 / week
Scrap for those unexpected times:  $250,000 / week
Territory Tax: $1,000,000 / week -> $14,000,000 / week
-------------------------------------
Total Maintenance per week: $14,320,000

Maintenance Time: 90 minutes / day or 10 hours each week

 

 

Income

Raw Sales: $72,000,000

 

 

Balance Sheet (Week to Week expectation)
Expenses: $14,320,000
Income: $72,000,000

-------------------------------------
Net: $57,680,000

 

Given the initial investment of $24,800,000, I fully covered this investment in 4 days and had a first week pure profit of about $16,600,000.  

This works out to a little over $1.7M / Hour of play time in the first week. I expect around $6M / hour of playtime next week

 

Territory Summary

image.thumb.png.8353fb09a0be9d1a6e232222e651d434.png

 

Daily Log

image.png.e08bd2828691904f7bddb69ce991af44.png

 

 

 

Bugs

  • Can’t access the Calibration menu that tells me things like when it was last calibrated and the location of the surface ore pop if I have no calibration charges
  • Tooltip on Adjacency doesn’t have a % indicator -  should be  “a 30% bonus” not "a 30 bonus"
  • The small 50L of ore are physically much smaller than the normal surface rocks that only deliver 20L of ore
  • The harvest time on the bonus ore is not scaled with the regular surface ore - it takes less time to harvest the 50L and 150L rocks than it does the normal 20L ore
  • The bonus rocks are labeled incorrectly, they show up as their pure counterparts instead of the raw ore label; Aluminum Rock vs Bauxite Rock


Improvement Suggestions

  • As mentioned in the Q&A, the transition screens on the minigame are painfully slow.  Can we eliminate or speed them up?
  • The current reasonable cap of calibration charges is 9.  You can get more by investing more skill points but 9 feels like where most folks will end up given there are far more interesting skills to train.  I’d like to see this cap at least doubled if not tripled (or removed all together, why cap it?)  If I decide not to play for a few days, I over cap and there is an opportunity loss.
  • Where can I see my current calibration charges?  Or is the Autominer UI the only spot?  I’d like to be able to see the current calibration charges on some character screen.
  • The minigame is prone to RNG which causes a reduction in income for things that are outside of my control.  Could we have some of the mining unit skills affect the size off the tools in the minigame so that if I choose to invest points in those skills, I see my efforts less affected by RNG?
  • The bonus ore is nice for the minigame but it's a chore to go out and collect it.  Can we have it simply deposited into the container
  • The surface rocks offer a performant way to create a small faucet and give new players a way to earn money.  However, the way they are designed is both tedious to gather and painful to look at. Could we instead have larger nodes that leverage the mining talents spawn on the surface and offer the same amount of ore just more concentrated?  We could even add a piece of equipment that allows me to scan my territory to identify these pockets or leverage the territory scanner.


 

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Nice work breaking it down. I appreciate the clear insight you've given and hopefully other people are able to replicate your success.

 

Even though I have an alt with almost max mining skills, so far I haven't broken even with my singular mining tile with 7 units. I don't have the capacity to baby 7 tiles like you've done, so I'll just have to do something else for quanta.

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Funny...

Plan #1 - Boring: You say the game is tedious because you spend your game time daily running your mining units, they tell you to go do something else.
Plan #2 - Broke:  You say you don't make enough money to pay for taxes and play like you used to... go back to plan #1.

Eventually most of us will bored and broke soon enough... 

Recently since Dementor Update I discovered a new game called DU Forums, I play it instead of DU now, there is a lot of pvp here. ?

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1 hour ago, Creator said:

Funny...

Plan #1 - Boring: You say the game is tedious because you spend your game time daily running your mining units, they tell you to go do something else.
Plan #2 - Broke:  You say you don't make enough money to pay for taxes and play like you used to... go back to plan #1.

Eventually most of us will bored and broke soon enough... 

Recently since Dementor Update I discovered a new game called DU Forums, I play it instead of DU now, there is a lot of pvp here. ?

 

Just wait till NQ decides to tax your ingame account 1mil per post for the luxury of forum PvP.

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13 minutes ago, Warlander said:

 

Just wait till NQ decides to tax your ingame account 1mil per post for the luxury of forum PvP.

They just haven't figured out how, give them time... obviously more important than fixing bugs... lol

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Excellent breakdown of what DU has become.  I'm a medium-core player - honestly, i was putting in 30 hours a week with half of that on weekends - and with another player in my org and one alt, i was able to build a base on madis that spans 3 tiles, have two warp-cell factories running, and buy all the cool ships i could eat. Now i worry about how low i should let my efficiency go on a MU before i recalibrate, should it be in VR or not, which ship do i use to gather up the ore on various planets that would be the most efficient use of warp cells, are there hexes i haven't scanned that might be more productive, on and on and on.  TL:DR i used to spend half my time fiddling with my base or buying ships, and half my time in the dirt mining. Now i spend 80% of my time calibrating/hauling ore, and 20% of my time worrying that i have too many TUs and can't afford them. It's a different game, for sure.

 

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Roustabout, I would value your opinion on the following:

Calibration skills have turned out to be, not that important (especially for players with 1 character).  In VR where our character has no skills it is still possible to get 100% calibration after the 2nd calibration.  It also seems impossible for a skilled player to calibrate to 100% on the 1st calibration so, save the points for something else.

 

If anybody isnt sure what I'm going on about I made a video which discusses it here.  Its also a bit about setting up small mining operations.

 

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A price chart of the current ore market. You can plainly see the excessses and how "rare and sparsely populated" the ores actually are.

 

  • Coal 20-30h p/l @ 33,333 liters to cover the 1 mil tax
  • Bauxite 30h p/l @ 33,333 liters to cover the 1 mil tax
  • hematite 35h p/l @ 28,571 liters to cover the 1 mil tax
  • Quartz 40h p/l @ 25,000 liters to cover the 1 mil tax
  • Malachite 90h p/l @ 11,111 liters to cover the 1 mil tax
  • Limestone 80h p/l @ 12,500 liters to cover the 1 mil tax
  • Chromite 100h p/l @ 10,000 liters to cover the 1 mil tax
  • Natron 80h p/l @ 12,500 liters to cover the 1 mil tax
  • Garnierite 135h p/l @ 7,407 liters to cover the 1 mil tax
  • Petalite 185h p/l @ 5,405 liters to cover the 1 mil tax
  • Pyrite 317h p/l @ 3,154 liters to cover the 1 mil tax
  • Acanthite 148h p/l @ 6,756 liters to cover the 1 mil tax
  • Cryolite 1190h p/l @ 840 liters to cover the 1 mil tax
  • Cobaltite 849h p/l @ 1,177 liters to cover the 1 mil tax
  • Gold Nuggets 685h p/l @ 1,459 liters to cover the 1 mil tax
  • Kolbekite 569h p/l @ 1,770 liters to cover the 1 mil tax
  • Columbite 798h p/l @ 1,253 liters to cover the 1 mil tax
  • Rhodonite 1100h p/l @ 909 liters to cover the 1 mil tax

 

Tax adjustments pls.

 

Another week or two and new players or anyone unlucky will likely be paying for their tile rather than "getting more than they pay in taxes".

Edited by Warlander
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18 hours ago, Roustabout said:

The real takeaway here is that my money making active playtime has shifted from scanning and mining to babysitting autominers and picking up ground ore - both steps down in the level of fun and engagement.

Great post. The defination of stupidity is not seeing the indirect and long term consequences of something and demeter fits that description. Your posts confirms that this change isnt fun. It has drastically changed your game time and priorities to constantly overcome the challenge of paying that *^%$ tax bill meanwhile your income per hour has dropped from 30M an hour to less than 7M. That's close to an 80% drop and that's with setting timers and alarms to log in and kick the mining cans. 

 

Quite a chore for 20% of what you were making. 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, RumRunner25 said:

Great post. The defination of stupidity is not seeing the indirect and long term consequences of something and demeter fits that description. Your posts confirms that this change isnt fun. It has drastically changed your game time and priorities to constantly overcome the challenge of paying that *^%$ tax bill meanwhile your income per hour has dropped from 30M an hour to less than 7M. That's close to an 80% drop and that's with setting timers and alarms to log in and kick the mining cans. 

 

Quite a chore for 20% of what you were making. 


Not to mention, his operation is very well min/max optimized, which will not be the experience of most players, and if you don't want the game dictating when you play, then you will mostly be restricted to 1-3 tiles and the average player will be seeing a profit per week what he is getting per hour if lucky.

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8 minutes ago, NQ-Deckard said:

Very well written feedback, a pleasure to read. Much appreciated! :)

 

- Deckard

 

I will add nothing here.
But I want to tell you that I appreciate seeing you react to this kind of topic on the forum.


And I imagine not to be the only one.

Now I leave you and I will wait for Demeter to pass and my personal concerns to return to the table to discuss then.

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40 minutes ago, NQ-Deckard said:

Very well written feedback, a pleasure to read. Much appreciated! :)

 

- Deckard


 

It's interestingly written, right. 
Please note that this comparison is made with at least 3 accounts, which is operated by this player. So is it intentional to use multiaccounts to get such advantages in the game as a result?

So through this he gets the 60% area and the others with 30% to reach these values with very high skills. So considering that he can get out more because he uses multiple accounts and even says he has them with about 50Million skill points. I find the values not particularly good, considering how long new players will need to skill everything through.

So in the end he calls 5,000,000 per area at 1,000,000tax per area. I find that sufficient for now. At the same time, however, frightening, because this is only possible because he plays with several accounts and spends at least 90 minutes a day calibrating them and does not play at all. Many players have 90 minutes a day of pure gameplay, so it's not even possible for them to fully miner for 90 minutes or even run this calibration game in this mass.

So when do we get to enjoy this game with game content?

From all the text and calculations, thank you yes. But it also shows how dull and boring the Demeter game is and the direction it will go. Have you read the whole text?

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On 12/6/2021 at 7:03 PM, Roustabout said:

I have seen several posts of people complaining the taxes are too high..

 

I really appreciate this post and although you explain quite well how to make a living selling T1 Ore on Alioth, you also highlight everything that is wrong with the current game mechanic.  What about those of us that came to this game to design and build and now live on an outer planet?  I'm on Jago and this update has killed my gaming entirely.  I have spreadsheets, I generally do use them to keep on top of games similar - it's impossible not to.  But is this what NQ wants, casual gamers are not going to look at this game at all or they are looking at one-time monthly subs never to be seen again.

I'm still trying to get it to work, I've even invested in Industry as well as mining (60 Mil and counting) after the previous update killed the months I'd put into that -  to make Warp Cells as the travel costs eat into any kind of profit I'm likely to make - as obviously Market 6 is the only place people go - utter crap (where are linked markets?)  I have access to Chromite/Chromium and Petalite/Lithium - neither of which is selling on the market and the price just keeps getting lower as people try to sell.  This week it's gone from 300+ to less then 100.

So, I appreciate you are doing fine but there are plenty of people that are seeing the only option is to head back to Sanctuary OR become a mining zombie on Alioth.  Talk about limiting your options.  There is no passive play in this game anymore, it's a chore and monotonous mining tasks.  It's great you have Alts, but for those that don't options are limited.

I love(d) this game, why is it always punishing me so?  Reach for the stars and go broke.  

The range of play in the game is so limited and restricted now I can see why my own Org and others have moth-balled and left.

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2 hours ago, virtualburn said:

 

I really appreciate this post and although you explain quite well how to make a living selling T1 Ore on Alioth, you also highlight everything that is wrong with the current game mechanic.  What about those of us that came to this game to design and build and now live on an outer planet?  I'm on Jago and this update has killed my gaming entirely.  I have spreadsheets, I generally do use them to keep on top of games similar - it's impossible not to.  But is this what NQ wants, casual gamers are not going to look at this game at all or they are looking at one-time monthly subs never to be seen again.

I'm still trying to get it to work, I've even invested in Industry as well as mining (60 Mil and counting) after the previous update killed the months I'd put into that -  to make Warp Cells as the travel costs eat into any kind of profit I'm likely to make - as obviously Market 6 is the only place people go - utter crap (where are linked markets?)  I have access to Chromite/Chromium and Petalite/Lithium - neither of which is selling on the market and the price just keeps getting lower as people try to sell.  This week it's gone from 300+ to less then 100.

So, I appreciate you are doing fine but there are plenty of people that are seeing the only option is to head back to Sanctuary OR become a mining zombie on Alioth.  Talk about limiting your options.  There is no passive play in this game anymore, it's a chore and monotonous mining tasks.  It's great you have Alts, but for those that don't options are limited.

I love(d) this game, why is it always punishing me so?  Reach for the stars and go broke.  

The range of play in the game is so limited and restricted now I can see why my own Org and others have moth-balled and left.

 

This is what happens when you take all T1 off a planet and when you have warp.  Looks like its back to alioth/sanctuary for you. 

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On 12/14/2021 at 12:50 AM, Calisius said:

Hi Roust, I saw your spreadsheet in the post. Looks awesome! I'm working on my own version right now but was wondering. Are you willing to share yours?

 

Spreadsheets and shite .... Bloody hell, you might as well play Excel - it certainly has more features than this tripe.

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On 12/16/2021 at 12:45 PM, sHuRuLuNi said:

 

Spreadsheets and shite .... Bloody hell, you might as well play Excel - it certainly has more features than this tripe.

 

Playing excel can be a lot of fun! You should try it! Plus no idea what a tripe is so i'l just assume it is something fun.

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My solutions is, screw the MU's and fly around in my space ship mining roids, as this is a space game after all..  More roids please NQ!!!

Mining unit are not a replacement for ground mining, if you dont want to manage loads of them, set up a couple and fly into space and mine stuff.  

Edited by Kobayashi
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