Flieger, grüß' mir die Sonne, grüß' mir die Sterne und grüß' mir den Mond. Dein Leben, das ist ein Schweben, durch die Ferne, die keiner bewohnt! - Hans Albers, F.P.1 antwortet nicht (Adaptation in the 80s: Extrabreit)

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Estray miner

Since my cash is dangerously low, I need to go back to some mission funding. At the same time, I do not want to do planetary missions again, but something linked to space combat. For that, I need a system with conflict zones. The galaxy map can show systems with "civil war" or "war status", but they seem few and scarce in Aisling Duvals "powerplay bubble".

Two full sessions pass where I try to find a new base for doing combat missions. However, it seems to be impossible to get access to such missions even in systems which actually do have conflict zones, with a neutral standing and only a "competent" combat ranking myself. Instead, I get very low-payed transport, deliver, courier or mining missions. Even skimmer missions are rare at this stage. How boring is this!? I am very tempted to go back to my old system where I have friendly/allied status and just grind planetary skimmer missions. But I want to experience different content. 

In the end, I do some transport missions and manage to raise to a cordial status in HIP 114530 with two of the four empire related agents there. I figured that four empire related agents in one system would boost the spread of available missions, but right now, I don´t see much difference: Contrary to Mula Wendes, missions seem to have a lot of different target systems. Thus, stacking missions is much more difficult then it was in Mula Wendes, where there were by large only three different systems. Maybe this is because Mula Wendes actually sits at the border of the civilised space bubble, whereas now in HIP 114530, I am more deep in it.

Anyways, after those two game sessions of only hopping about without earning anything, I accept three mining missions, one for gold, two for Osmium. The total amount corresponds to the size of my cargo hold. Then I start equipping my Asp for a mining operation. As usual, it is at first difficult to understand what equipment I need, and some tutorials in the internet are needed as a preparation. Then I just start and drop into an asteroid ring. 

Some twenty minutes later, I am severely annoyed. Most asteroids offer only tiny percentages of Osmium, and I need a bunch of 16 tons of them. Also, I feast way too fast through the few limpets which I brought along.  I hadn´t realized that a prospecting limpet is a one-use item, basically being the UI instrument to target and show the mineral concentration of an asteroid. Even more annoying, the outpost I travel back to at about 1000ls does not have stock of them.

I need some more time and research to understand that mining is only profitable, game-time-wise, if you find and drop into an asteroid ring with a rich or pristine “metal rich” or even better “metallic” composition. So, how to find one? Again, hopping randomized from system so system, a permanent browsing of that clumsy galaxy map, five second for loading it, five seconds for loading the system map? No, please, this is not how I want to play this game! 

After that, I can finally travel about 60 lightyears to Bhare system. Planet A3 has two rings and of course I first drop into the wrong, icy, one. But finally, I am where I need to be. The asteroids have high percentages of gold and osmium. It takes just about 20 minutes until my cargo hold is full. This time, I brought more than enough limpets, so that I even have to jettison some in order to make room in my cargo hold. Well, until I discover that the busy cargo limpets actually put also jettisoned stuff back into the cargo hold. So, instead, I fire multiple prospecting limpets, which self destruct.

Bingo, finally, some mining missions finished, no attacks or interdictions, and I am back in HIP 114530. Despite having four empire agents there, the next batch of mission are totally crappy. Sure, transport this or destroy a skimmer, but looking at the target systems, the mission targets are way too many lightseconds away, promting endless boring 200k lightseconds of travels in supercruise, for some measly 100k Credits as a reward. Nono. How annoying. This again is a block of gameflow, again the need to look out, literally research, for something more efficient to do. This late in a game session, I am not ready to go “back to the drawing board" and instead, for once, log out early.

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