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Inconsistencies in Skill Requirements for Ice Processing

Author
Krominal
Vigilance Training Bureau
#1 - 2015-11-02 18:57:51 UTC
Greetings space friends,
I've been mining for a good few years now, mostly ice mining but I dabble in ore mining from time to time as well; If I were to rate my competency on a 5 point scale I would give it a solid 4. It's for this reason that I've recently been training newbros how to get started in this lucrative and relaxing career field. Ahead of time, I want to ask your patience with me, as this post may get a little long as I cover all the necessary background information as well as the current problem that the thread is inspired by. Next is an outline to better organize my thoughts and enable easy navigation for yourself in reviewing the issue.

==Table of Contents==
I. Background
a. The EVE Economy
b. Types of Mining
c. Theoretical Mining Yields (Raw Ice/Ore)
i. Common Skills
ii. Ore Mining
iii. Ice Mining
II. The Issue
a. What is Reprocessing
b. Ice Processing Skill vs. |Ore| Processing Requirements
c. Arguments For and Against Requirements
III. Conclusion
a. Request for rebalance of requirements
IV. Appendix
a. Related Situation - Sharpshooter vs. Trajectory Analysis Training Time Modifiers
Krominal
Vigilance Training Bureau
#2 - 2015-11-02 18:57:58 UTC  |  Edited by: Krominal
==Ia. The EVE Economy==
Mining is perhaps the oldest and most lucrative professions in EVE Online. It's been with us since the beta in 2003 and is an integral part of the EVE player driven economy. Nearly every item in the game is manufactured by players using minerals that are also procured in the game. What makes EVE so fascinating as a game is it's realistic economy, just about every item in the game is 'vacuum sealed' within the game world, every component used to manufacture is sourced in a manner that comes from the game world as opposed to any outside influence. There are a variety of means with which to obtain the minerals that serve as building blocks for everything else: Reprocessing dropped items from non-player character (NPC) opponents (sometimes known as rats), destroying NPC rat 'Convoys' (specific types of rats that mainly haul quantities of minerals), and of course mining itself.

The interesting thing to note here is that from all 3 methods listed, 2 of them have a common need, reprocessing. Again, items in the game are manufactured using minerals, however both npc rat drops and mining result in a base product of ore, not minerals. Examples of ore included familiar names such as Veldspar, Scordite, and Pyroxeres. So how does one transform ore to minerals? If you said 'reprocessing' then good on you, I now know you're paying attention.

==Ib. Types of Mining==
I feel obligated to briefly cover the types of mining so that you the reader can better understand the content from the above discussion on the EVE Economy. The types of mining include: Ore mining, Ice mining, and Gas mining. While it would be easy to make the mistake of thinking that all 3 types are the same and don't deserve their own classifications it is a very wrong assumption. Each type of mining is very nuanced, requiring its own special, specific equipment in the form of ships and ship modules.

As an example, the entry level Venture class mining frigate that most budding miners would begin their careers with can only
be fit with mining lasers and gas cloud harvesters, it is physically impossible for a Venture to carry out ice mining. Likewise, a Hulk class exhumer that is fitted with Modulated Strip Miners will be unable to perform either gas or ice mining, as this activity requires Ice Harvesters to be fit. As you can see, these are all very important distinctions and readily prove the nuance and fitting skill required of miners to successfully carry out their activities.

The different kinds of mining are also important to note because each base product that comes as a result of mining is used for different end products in the game world. My earlier explanation of Ore > Mineral > Product was vastly simplified, it gets far more nuanced as we dive deeper into this discussion. What follows is a slightly more detailed lifecycle of in-game items, this time focusing on the role of the type of mining being performed.

Type | Base > Refined | (Usage)
Ore Mining | Ore > Mineral > Product (Generally 'standard' items/ships)
Ice Mining | Ice > Isotopes/Liquid Ozone/Heavy Water > Product (Generally fuel)
Gas Mining | Gas > Fullerite > Product (Combat Boosters / T3 Production)

==Ic. Theoretical Mining Yields (Raw Ice/Ore)==
Next we must cover the stakes of skills and their requirements to justify the purpose of this discussion. As with all things in EVE Online, the skill training system provides significant impact in the ease and effectiveness of operations. Remember as I stated earlier, I want to really hit this home on its impact to newbros who I've taken a liking to training in the art of mining, so I will be focusing on the burden faced by this class of player.

=Common Skills=
Some skills are shared between the various mining types. For our purposes we will assume a relatively new character with the following skills:
a) Mining Frigate III
b) Mining III

=Ore Mining=
Ore mining is perhaps the easiest form of mining to get involved with. Fresh from a new character role, the newbro is only 16 minutes away from training mining frigate I so that they may step into a mining laser equipped Venture and begin. The resulting yield of a venture fit with a mining laser upgrade with the common skills I have listed is a meagre 1.85m3/s. With two lasers and a cycle time of 60s, this equals 222m3 ore yield per cycle.

=Ice Mining=
Ice mining is a bit of a step for new players as it requires training of the mining barge skill which will set the player back more than 9 days. The skilling required to fly both a retriever and ice harvesters involves getting Mining to 4, Astrogeology to 3, Industry to 5, and ice harvesting to 1. A a result, our newbie in a retriever with ice harvester I's and 3 ice harvester upgrades has a yield of 5.21m3/s, a full cycle from both harvesters yields 2000m3 each cycle of 192 seconds
Krominal
Vigilance Training Bureau
#3 - 2015-11-02 18:58:45 UTC  |  Edited by: Krominal
==IIa. What is Reprocessing==
Where we begin to get to the heart of the problem I would like to see addressed then is this mechanism of reprocessing ore into minerals. As noted earlier, all items in the game world require that base ores be reformed into minerals/other products, you can't manufacture anything with pure ice or pure ore, this is where we begin to see a problem. Reprocessing then is the act of taking ore/ice/and gas and breaking it down into its sub-products. Now I realize your probably asking, why should the miner be concerned about reprocessing? If they're just mining then why not just sell the ore? The problem with ore is that the demand is low due to it not being used for anything and so you will generally make less isk for the ore than if you were to reprocess it, in a perfect world. Additionally, ore is very heavy in terms of m3 hauling capacity used and it is prohibitive to move any reasonable quantity of ore to a market for sale. Minerals on the other hand are very light and many more can be crammed into a hauler for movement. Because of this, it is effectively required that players reprocess their ore to make a meaningful living in the game.

This is where our problem lies. One cannot reprocess ore into minerals with 100% efficiency - A variety of factors including station services quality, standings to station owner, and player skills all impact the waste factor when reprocessing items. Going back to our example of high sec reprocessing, a station can have a base efficiency for reprocessing of 35% or 50%. This number goes down effectively the lower the players standings to the station owner are. The number goes up according to what is being reprocessed and the players relevant skill. As an example, say the player has 222m3 of Veldspar they want to reprocess into tritanium. A station in High Sec with perfect standings (not realistic for our newbro) will have a base yield of 50% - If the player however were to train Veldspar Processing to level 4, an 8% bonus would be applied, bringing the yield to 58%. As you can see, the player is already taking a huge hit to profits as they lose half their ore's value by reprocessing without any skills. It is vitally important then that newbros be able to train their 'xxx' Processing skills in order to maximum their profit from mining.

==IIb. Ice Processing Skill vs. |Ore| Processing Requirements==
The requirements for training any of the ore processing skills is Science Lv3, Industry Lv1, and Reprocessing Lv4. Characters begin with Science level 3, so that leaves the other 2 skills and by my estimates a 1 day train time, not bad at all. However lets say our newbro wants to mine the more lucrative ice product, what then are they required to train to get reprocessing boosts? Industry Lv1, Reprocessing Lv4, Power Grid Management V, Science V, and Hydromagnetic Physics IV; Drumroll please... 17.5 days!!! Wow! What on Earth is so special about ice reprocessing that a newbro has to wait for a half month before they can get their meagre 2% bonus to reprocessing? Aren't there more important things a newbro should be training such as ship fitting skills, direct mining skills maybe, but certainly not a bunch of esoteric skills like Hydromagnetic Physics!

==IIc. Arguments For and Against Requirements==
I'm going to attempt to play devils advocate and theorize why the skill requirements for Ice Processing are so heavy comparatively to their ore brethren. When the game began, it could be that ice was though to be 'special' and that only advanced players would be capable of mining it. I cannot speak for early skill requirements to get into ice mining, however times have changed now. As noted above, a player can be an ice mining capable vessel within a week. Why then should a player have to spend a week getting into a procurer/retriever, only to then have to train an additional 2 weeks and some days to efficiently reprocess it? The base yield of reprocessing is already abysmal, at best 50%, and denying nee and older players this critical reprocessing skill behind 2 weeks of training seems ludicrous. In addition, CCP restricted the amount of ice in the game at any given time a few expansions ago, thus driving up demand moreso for the product. By restricting the amount of ice product that enters the system via wastage, prices for ice product are much higher than they need be.
Krominal
Vigilance Training Bureau
#4 - 2015-11-02 18:59:30 UTC  |  Edited by: Krominal
==IIIa. Request for rebalance of requirements==
With all this being said, I believe I have sufficiently advocated my position that the training time for the ice processing skill is comparatively long and unnecessary compared to its similar ore processing brethren. New players, who often begin their careers making money from mining are unusually hit hard by this restriction, and the entire eve economy is hampered by the wastage factor of miners being delayed having this skill trained due to burdensome prerequisites.

==IVa. Related Situation - Sharpshooter vs. Trajectory Analysis Training Time Modifiers==
Unrelated to mining but with a similar problem to the above, the Trajectory Analysis skill has a 5x multiplier whereas the Sharpshooter skill has a 2x multiplier. Sharpshooter provides a 5% bonus to Optimal Range whereas Trajectory Analysis provides a 5% bonus to falloff range. Why is there such a large deficit between the two when they are both essentially the same thing? This skill training time gap seems oddly specific and targeted against Minmatar players, who rely on falloff as their primary engagement range. Why should a minmatar specced character have to train 3x as long to have their primary range enhanced as opposed to other gun platform users?


Food for thought in any case.
Rancid Meat Hook
Doomheim
#5 - 2015-11-02 19:46:01 UTC
I agree. Also, bring back scrapmetal processing for the modules.

A couple small corrections:

Krominal wrote:

Fresh from a new character role, the newbro is only 16 minutes away from training mining frigate I so that they may step into a mining laser equipped Venture and begin.

Mining Frigate I is a starting skill now.

Krominal wrote:

The requirements for training any of the ore processing skills is Science Lv3, Industry Lv1, and Reprocessing Lv4. Characters begin with Science level 3, so that leaves the other 2 skills and by my estimates a 1 day train time, not bad at all.

Industry I is a starting skill, too.

Shiloh Templeton
Cheyenne HET Co
#6 - 2015-11-02 22:09:28 UTC
I'm confused, The Conference Elite is writing a mining guide and complaining that it takes too long to get into ice mining??

Are there not enough fresh fish in the barrel?

Kleptain
Sea World
#7 - 2015-11-02 22:43:27 UTC
I don't really see how the person's alliance/corporation makes an impact on the quality of the post. Whatever the motivation here, it seems the OP has made a pretty hefty argument for re-balancing a skill that would benefit miners. As odd as it is, I don't see anything wrong with it, and I in fact support the idea.
Lament von Gankenheim
The Conference Elite
CODE.
#8 - 2015-11-02 23:12:43 UTC  |  Edited by: Lament von Gankenheim
This is not a guide.

This is an in-depth analysis of time involved for reprocessing.

Perhaps you are unaware that Code-compliant miners exist in every highsec region of Eve, as well as the other areas.

Bottom line, the New Order, CODE. Alliance, its supporters AND even its detractors should have this info, and a simple thank you would have done just fine.
Sheeth Athonille
Rabid Dogz Mining
The Bastion
#9 - 2015-11-02 23:31:19 UTC
A little clarification, a miner does not lose half their ore value by reprocessing without skills. The max refining possible is about 88%, were as the max possible in high sec and without expensive implants is 70%. So you could say that the miner loses out on roughly 28% of their profit by not having perfect skills, but they're newbros, they shouldn't have perfect skills...

Also, they aren't really losing out on much by selling the ore as opposed to the minerals. Because people tend to specialize, you have people who are able to refine very well, but don't mine. They will buy ore and reprocess it themselves to make a quick buck, and in so doing equalize the ore/mineral market.

Newbros shouldn't be able to be a master of mining and reprocessing within a short period of time. If they were, the market would adjust to making mining an even lower paying career, not to mention it would make them run out of things to train to get better at their chosen field rather quickly... Training up and accomplishing a better return for your time is part of the fun of this game in my opinion P Everything has prerequisites. No, not all of them make sense, but welcome to industry lol
TheInternet TweepsOnline TheInternet
Assistance Group.
#10 - 2015-11-02 23:56:53 UTC  |  Edited by: TheInternet TweepsOnline TheInternet
Lament von Gankenheim wrote:
This is not a guide.

This is an in-depth analysis of time involved for reprocessing.

Perhaps you are unaware that Code-compliant miners exist in every highsec region of Eve, as well as the other areas.

Bottom line, the New Order, CODE. Alliance, its supporters AND even its detractors should have this info, and a simple thank you would have done just fine.


CODEdot is a harsh mistress. But she is benevolent. What more proof do we need?

Edit: All joking aside, it actually doesn't surprise me to see CODEdot publishing this sort of literature. Love them or hate them, they know their mechanics.
kalyte Sinulf
Dreddit
Test Alliance Please Ignore
#11 - 2015-11-03 00:14:47 UTC
Not sure what is the goal of this article, but as industrial player who started in high sec long time ago I can say, that nobody is training reprocessing skills, if you need to reprocess something you just use other players in corporation or actual best way to do is to sell ore, instead of reprocessing and losing actual value of it. Same goes for Ice, you have hundreds of high sec corps with players who have max reprocessing skills.

As for the CODE making this thread, nice job guys, I hope you will have more barges to kill in the Ice belts....
epicurus ataraxia
Illusion of Solitude.
Illusion of Solitude
#12 - 2015-11-03 00:18:44 UTC  |  Edited by: epicurus ataraxia
Please note, very shortly, there is the endeavour, a new ice mining frigate as well as ice mining turrets that will make ice mining far more friendly to lower skilled pilots. All detailed in patch notes.
As an aside, the financial reward for ganking these may considering the effort involved, be somewhat insufficient, and the low signature and speed more troublesome.

There is one EvE. Many people. Many lifestyles. WE are EvE

Kira Linari
Doomheim
#13 - 2015-11-03 01:13:59 UTC  |  Edited by: Kira Linari
I really think Ice mining needs a rebalance!
Andrew Indy
Cleaning Crew
#14 - 2015-11-04 08:49:26 UTC
Krominal wrote:


==IVa. Related Situation - Sharpshooter vs. Trajectory Analysis Training Time Modifiers==
...................... Why should a minmatar specced character have to train 3x as long to have their primary range enhanced as opposed to other gun platform users?

Food for thought in any case.


Hell looks at Missiles if you want to see and even worse example, They have 2 skills for range and 2 skills for application where as guns have 1 and 1 (yes optimal and falloff are separate but each weapon system only really uses 1 with a few exceptions) not only that but each of those missiles skills provides a larger benefit so players with low skills are nerfed hard since the base range of missiles is very low.

In regards to ice Mining.
The only thing I don't really under stand is the science skill requirement for ice reprocessing, If CCP want to make a time sink pick something that relevant to mining in someway. As it currently stands science skills are almost a total waste of time.

Most skills have prereqs are at least partly relevant. Boosting skills for CS, cloaking skills for recons, repping skills for carriers ect.