Zen and the art of asteriod mining

Zen and the art of asteriod mining

It’s the lure of easy money, with a very strong appeal

Perhaps you’d understand it better

Mining in my shoes

It’s the ultimate enticement,

It’s the asteroid miner’s blues.

You see it in the help channel, you hear it every day

Pilots say they’re gonna stop it but it doesn’t go away

They move it trough Jita, some mine it while away

No matter how boring it is, Asteroid mining’s here to say

(Vaguely based on Smuggler’s Blues by Glenn Frey)

It has been some time since I have played Eve Online in earnest. Like many I have spent a good deal of time paying a monthly fee that, as Paul Barnett pointed out when he was a guest on the show,  amounted to little more than a “parking fee” – like many I was paying to sit in a station and train my character.

On the face of it there may be some that feel the whole spiel with Hulkageddon and the 25 million isk reward that some reader or other put on my character’s virtual head (never collected by the way) had something to do with it.  Nothing, of course, could be further from the truth….

In fact I was in a null security corp for awhile as a larger corp war dec’ed us and laid siege to our system (only two ways out or in).  The last time I saw corporate warfare was when someone in the small corporation I was part of for some time decided to go back with a big, bad ship and blast away at some one who flipped his jet can while he was mining in Amarr space – only to find out that said “can flipper” was an alt of someone in a large pvp corp with a very bad attitude.  Still, none of that is what drove me out, nor was I lured out by other games.  In fact, as my primary activity was in mining I was for practical purposes bored out (as the title of the last article I wrote on the subject entitled “In space no one can hear you yawn” will tell our readers).

The last time I was actively involved in Eve Online the game we call Star trek Online (STO) was something only promised, Jump Gate Evolution was a promise that appeared a lot more likely to be kept, and no one had yet thought to combine the words Hulk and Armageddon.  Now that Star Trek Online is out, as Joe Blancato, marketing specialist for Cryptic pointed out when he was on the show, Star Trek Online and Eve Online aren’t aimed at the same target market.  Player versus Player (pvp) in STO is simply a matter of evenly matched players (or relatively so) shooting it out and re-spawning upon character death, until one side gets enough points.  The outcome of pvp in Eve Online (especially one on one), as any Eve Player knows, is usually decided before the match even starts and is a matter of who can bring a gun to the knife fight – whether it is a matter of a bigger ship, more ships, more training points or all three. 

There is little doubt that the last factor, who has the most points trained, will always assure that there will be a well populated niche for Eve Online’s target market.  The wild west, winner take all, and very real possibility of losing everything in a moment nature of the game will likely never change; it is truly a game where just about anything goes, short of actually hacking CCP’s software.  In fact many players will tell you that is exactly the reason for Eve Online’s popularity…the possibility of emergent game play that is unparalleled in most other games.

An interesting note is that while I occasionally see Star Trek Online replacing   the choice for “competing game to be denigrated” in Eve Online, I don’t think I have even seen it mentioned once while playing Star Trek Online.

So why come back to Eve Online at all?  Is it that I simply miss the hum of the mining lasers and the columns of light playing back and forth across my keyboard?  Perhaps, but only in the same sense of the word as “hey you missed the target, reload the shot gun and shoot at it again” meaning of the word “miss”. Still, in a game where veteran pvp players measure their points in the tens of millions, it is possible to be flying a top of the line mining ship, with top of the line mining skills in 6 million points or so. And if you can stand the mind numbing boredom it is still a great way to make a fast 800,000 isk per trip mining Veldspar.

On a previous show, Saylah  from Mystic Worlds pointed out that crafting in Eve Online isn’t really crafting at all.  She is, of course, correct in the sense that you don’t see your character actually crafting (as Eve players know you don’t see your character at all except for a portrait).  All you really do is schedule factory time.  Still with the mind numbing boredom of mining, and high end ships that are out of reach for the average single player who doesn’t buy and sell plex (read 30 days of game time for in game currency, which is legal in Eve Online) there is one thing that ccp has that does not have its equivalent in any other game…industry.   While it may be several lifetimes before I can buy a freighter without selling game time, it is well within abilities of even the average player to manufacture and sell spaceships, and their parts. And what other market in any other game bears study by someone with a graduate degree in economics?

So why come back to the game Eve Online and play it actively?

Perhaps I am simply a closet masochist.

See you online,

Julie Whitefeather

One Response to Zen and the art of asteriod mining
  1. The Perfect 9 1/2 | No Prisoners, No Mercy
    January 25, 2012 | 3:19 am

    [...] In fact an article I wrote about it earlier, called Zen and the Art of Asteroid Mining can be found here. And for those players who long for games where NPCs stand by mutely while players read a wall of [...]