Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Elite Dangerous Outfitters - Mining in an Asp

Hey Space Cadets!
I'm Cmdr TwingTwang and welcome to the outfitters.

In this article we'll be taking a Lakon Spaceways Asp out to a resource extraction site and starting up a mining operation.  I've chosen the Asp because its a big enough ship to equip with mining gear as well as a good range of safety features - there are some inherent dangers in hanging out for long periods of time at Resource Extraction Sites and I want a ship that's ready for trouble.

I'm looking forward to raking in the gold, so I've fitted an A3 refinery and an A3 Shield Generator, giving me over 100T of space for all that valuable cargo. My mining Asp also has a pair of medium gimbal Beam Lasers, and a pair of 1B seeker missiles to see off any trouble if things get hot. I'm not planning on picking fights, so as long as I keep a low profile those weapons can stay stowed.

The mining lasers don't really look that threatening, unless you are a giant space potato.

Thrusters, FSD, etc.. seemed hardly relevant so you don't have to overspend on these, but since I had a couple of million spare I did upgrade mine. I'm not going to say you have to though and you could start a mining operation on a budget easily enough.

With the outfit completed by the expert engineers at HeHeng and Leestsi, I started a one-hour stopwatch and flew to one of Leestis Resource Extraction Sites to try and approximate the profit returns from mining, and possibly improve and optimise my ship for maximum profitability.

I know how many tonnes of cargo I can trade in an hour, as well as what my profits were like when I ran rares across the galaxy. A one-hour mining trip will let me ballpark profit margins, and I'll be able to try different outfits and locations and see what I get.

Starting a stopwatch from launch, I set up and soon dropped out of supercruise in the mineral rich asteroid field and deployed my twin mining lasers.  Within seconds I was in range of a giant space potato and started releasing its delicious minerals.  Success! A rich chunk of leopodite came off and I was quick to scoop it up.  Before long I had a second, and the third one gave me unanite. Its not the gold and beryllium of my mining dreams, but its free money for the scooping.

However three chunks of rock got me less than a tonne, and the clock was ticking. To beat the profits I could make from hauling freight, I'd need to be earning a tonne of gold-equivalent ore per minute so I had to step up my game.
I reconfigured my fire groups so that both mining lasers would fire at once and engaged thrusters so I could cover the largest surface area as quickly as possible.

And that's where the trouble began, not only was I behind schedule but I became the center of attention of a skirmish between an Anaconda and security-service Eagle.  A few lashings on my shields and I decided I had to break from mining and return fire. The mining Asp has a few more upgrades than the minimum cost Freight Asp that I built but is nowhere near as capable in a fight as the Gold Plated Viper I've been flying recently.

Dogfighting in an asteroid field is super exciting, and you can use rocks to hide from your target and give your weapons a second to cool off before engaging at point blank range but even then my pair of beams was going to take a long time to cut through an Anacondas hull so I openend both barrels and after my hull took some serious scratches I lit up the sky with missiles and took the 100K bounty.

The cycle of mining and dogfighting continued for the full hour, and I only managed to refine a few tonnes of cargo before my time was up and I decided to head home.

I consider this a very poor attempt at mining, as I'm sure you'll agree. Mining became a thing to do while I was waiting for the next ship to attack me.  For this reason, I'm glad I had those Class-A shields and other upgrades to keep my ship perky while I was navigating an asteroid field.

I'm looking forward to trying it again, and hope to show off better results and some more concrete numbers next time.

Until then, fly casual.