What is Mining in Star Citizen?
Mining in Star Citizen is a new gameplay mechanic introduced along with the release of Alpha 3.2. As a career, it offers opportunities to explore exotic locations and generate substantial income. As a craft, it offers exciting gameplay and an opportunity to develop a skill set that will continue to reward you as you improve your skills and instincts as a miner.
The process of mining in the 'verse can be broken down into three phases: Scanning, Fracturing, and Extraction.
Scanning is the process of identifying which rocks around you are mineable, as well as which ones are worth mining. The MISC Prospector can charge and send out a pulse designed to detect all of the mineable rocks in your vicinity, but beware, pinging will also expose your presence to nearby ships. Upon entering mining mode, aiming your targeting reticle directly at a rock will analyze it and provide you with additional information on the targeted rock, such as its composition, resistance, and instability. Composition is the breakdown of what percentage of what elements are present in the rock. Resistance deals with how effectively your targeted rock is able to shrug off the effects of your mining laser. With that information, the risk vs. reward of mining that particular rock can be properly assessed.
Fracturing is the phase in which a miner's skill set really comes into play. The goal of fracturing is to use the mining to laser to break large rocks into smaller pieces so that the precious elements can be extracted and stored in the Prospector's saddlebags or Orion's storage pods. During this process, a miner's goal is to adjust the laser throttle to raise the rock's energy level enough to break the rock without overcharging it and causing it to explode. After thoroughly scanning a rock and going into Fracture Mode, the Prospector or Orion's HUD will provide new meters designed to aid with the fracturing process. These meters include the Energy Transfer Graph, Laser Throttle percentage, Rock Energy Level percentage and Charge Gauge, Ship Cargo Capacity, Fracturing Sensor percentage, and Overcharge Sensor percentage. Each of these meters will provide you with valuable feedback necessary to properly fracture your targeted rock. More information on each tool will be available in the next section, How to Mine.
Extraction is the process of gathering the precious elements from the rubble left behind after successfully fracturing your targeted rock, and loading those elements into your ship. Rocks that your ship's HUD highlights with a purple glow are ready for immediate extraction. Bigger rocks highlighted in yellow need to be fractured again before they can be extracted.
How to Mine
- Upon approaching an asteroid cluster, or the surface of a planet or moon, hit the Tab key to activate Scanning Mode.
- Click and hold the left mouse button for around two seconds and then release the left mouse button to send out a pulse. This pulse will highlight all of the mineable rocks in your vicinity.
- Upon settling on a rock to mine, press M to enter Mining Mode.
- Now that you're in mining mode, set your targeting reticle on the rock you're preparing to mine to have your ship analyze the rock and provide you with additional information concerning its composition, resistance, and instability.
- Make sure you're in Fracture Mode and not Extraction Mode. Right click to toggle between the modes.
- Left click the mouse once to activate your mining laser. Whenever you activate your laser, the laser throttle will automatically be reset to 0.10%.
- Slowly scroll the mouse wheel up to increase the Laser Throttle percentage evenly. It's a good idea to increase the Laser Throttle slowly to test how much power it takes to get the Rock Energy Level rising. Once you figure out the Laser Throttle percentage necessary to move the Rock Energy Level gauge, refine your Laser Throttle setting to enter the Rock Energy Level Green Zone slowly and evenly.
- Once you get Rock Energy Level inside the Green Zone, continue making minor adjustments, as necessary, to keep the Rock Energy Level from dropping out of the sweet spot or overshooting it into the Overcharge Zone until the Fracturing Sensor reaches 100%.
- Once the Fracturing Sensor reaches 100%, the rock will break into a few smaller pieces. Some of those pieces may be ready for Extraction, immediately.
- Right click to switch into Extraction Mode and left click to start pulling the precious minerals from the rubble and into your saddlebags. Once you've extracted all of the materials from a fragment, it will vanish.
Aside from the purple fragments ready for Extraction, there should be more yellow fragments among the rubble that need to be fractured again before you can collect their materials. Repeat the Fracturing and Extraction processes until either your saddlebags are filled or all traces of the rock have vanished.
Where Can I Sell My Mined Materials?
Now that your Prospector's saddlebags are stuffed with precious materials, it's time to go and get paid for your labor. Any major port or hub, such as Port Olisar, Levski, or Grim Hex, purchases precious materials obtained from mined rocks throughout the 'Verse.
In order to sell your materials:
- Land legally at a major port.
- Locate a Trading and Shipping Kiosk and touch the screen.
- Select your ship in the drop-down menu under 'Sell From Location.'
Make sure the amounts, values, and percentages under Acceptable Items looks as intended and click Sell to Refinery in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.
- You should receive a message confirming your transaction and notifying you of the amount of aUEC you've been credited. Congratulations, you've completed your transaction!
Mining and Hover Mode
Hover mode creates new challenges for miners. Because hover mode is designed to keep ships parallel to the ground, it no longer allows for the option to tip the nose of the Prospector down to aim it's fracturing laser at the rock or asteroid being mined. Tipping the nose down will 'helicopter' the ship forward and potentially cause a crash or loss of control.
To better handle this interaction, once hover mode initiates pilots will either need to land the MISC Prospector completely or match the altitude of the mining laser's target to keep the ship level with the ground.
If you have feedback on how mining works with the implementation of the hover mode feature, please head to Spectrum using this link and give constructive feedback on how this can be improved.