Fleet Carriers Versus the MB4 Mining Machine

Hi Folks :)

Footnote, I thought it might be prudent to include this statement first as it might have a bearing on peoples reply to this topic. I myself don't have a Fleet Carrier, for various reasons. I understand other peoples like of Fleet Carriers so I've no problems with that. :)

Okay, way back in the first few years after the release of Elite Dangerous I seem to remember that the concept of an MB4 mining Machine, (which was included in the Frontier game FE2) , was, if I remember correctly, not considered to be very successful / doable?
I can't remember what the reasons were, or if Frontier ever considered it to be a good feature. Maybe someone could enlighten me (either the Development team or someone with knowledge in that direction! :))

Anyway, down to the main topic, and questions.

1. Would the MB4 mining machine, or a more 'modern' incarnation of the feature be more useful (or fun) in a general game sense than the Fleet Carriers role as regards the mining features of the game?
Okay, the Fleet Carriers 'main' role is to transport your fleet of ships anywhere you like. As a trading platform it's pretty useful, and I can see it's usefulness as an platform from which to explore areas of space. The thought has occurred to me though that the Carriers 'upkeep' depends a great deal on two main areas of play. One being the monetary upkeep costs, which really we can probably discount in the short term?....and two, the need for tritium, which obviously fuels (pun not intended) the mining aspect of gameplay, or the trade aspect of gameplay in obtaining it.

2. Would the introduction of a mining machine take up more game recourses in general than what is being used at the moment by Fleet Carriers.

3. Would game players like the idea of a mining machine that was similar to the version in FE2, (Which was a semi automatic machine, you deployed on a planet and it mined automatically until it's hopper / cargo bay was full, or it depleted the mined recourse. It could also be left on the planet whilst the player played other aspects of the game. A player could have several of these machines mining different areas of the planet or even separate planets in different systems).

4. Would machines so described create a more fun aspect to the game in relation to what mining (for the upkeep of Carriers) entails now.

5. Upkeep, longevity of function, initial cost and persistence in the game (in the sense of what Carriers are at the moment) are considerations. I myself favor a non persistent machine in the sense it could be destroyed by another player, or maybe a random catastrophic event and / or quite possibly a certain 'shelf life' without maintenance.

These are just thoughts btw....The 'MB4' or it's siblings probably won't ever appear in Elite Dangerous or Odyssey, no big deal, the game is what it is, I enjoy it most of the time so... 🤷‍♂️
Your views or thoughts?...more than welcome! :)


Jack. :)
 
Back when the rumours about the not-called-Odyssey-yet expansion surfaced, the base building part made me think that the mining outpost things you sometimes see on a planet’s surface might herald a return of the MB4 mechanics.

Not my sort of thing in FE2 or ED, but I could see gameplay around the concept.
 
I don't understand Frontier's aversion to "passive income". It's easier to balance than active income, and ED is heading in that direction anyhow, with Carrier upkeep and the ability to make money while offline.
The MB4 was never really passive income anyway - certainly less so than the UC or Redemption service aboard a Fleet Carrier is

- it had a limited hopper size which needed regularly emptying
- it would exhaust the deposit entirely after a while and need moving
- you didn't get anything remotely valuable until you'd spent literal weeks carting it out to the middle of nowhere, and then another few months round trip to sell that and return for the next load
(I don't think I ever got anything better than a few tonnes of water or low grade minerals off them, in practice)

So in Elite Dangerous terms, you'd need to:
- have lots of them deployed
- have spent some time looking for 'hotspots' of valuable minerals on landable worlds (or you end up with a hopper full of Rutile)
- regularly fly between them to take the hopper contents onto your ship (Fleet Carriers would at least mean you then wouldn't have to make repeated round trips to the bubble to sell up)
- have somewhere to sell up at the end
With the right set up of them it'd be more like trading than mining for collection speed - so I wouldn't expect anything more valuable than Gold to be minable in any significant quantities - but you'd need to continually be maintaining them (maybe a visit a day or so for optimal performance), looking for new hotspots to use them on, moving them around from place to place ... and of course hoping no-one else stumbled across them and thought "free minerals!" which would mean deploying them too close to the bubble was a bad idea without needing to actively enforce it.

With the Fleet Carriers showing that persistent player-controlled assets are possible, it could be an interesting addition: it would probably also need some direct use for deep space minerals or it'd just be rejected as "you can't make 500M/hour with them so they're useless"
 
Back when the rumours about the not-called-Odyssey-yet expansion surfaced, the base building part made me think that the mining outpost things you sometimes see on a planet’s surface might herald a return of the MB4 mechanics.

Not my sort of thing in FE2 or ED, but I could see gameplay around the concept.
Hi :)
Yes, I had similar thoughts around the mining outposts (when I saw them for the first time). (y)

Jack :)

With the Fleet Carriers showing that persistent player-controlled assets are possible, it could be an interesting addition: it would probably also need some direct use for deep space minerals or it'd just be rejected as "you can't make 500M/hour with them so they're useless"
Hi :)

Yep, I'd agree that the MB4 mining mechanic could be a bit tedious, and as you say, it was a very rare occurrence that it gathered any real value minerals or metals, so in that respect it wouldn't be a good game mechanic in it's original form in the present game we now play. Unfortunately, the present game seems to have gone far to much into the realms of 'instant gigantic profits' imho., hell knows why, it's not done the game any favors.
I think you could be right, a direct use for some rare? materials maybe, and maybe not a single machine, (thinking along the lines of the outposts mentioned above) maybe a 'cluster' of components that worked together as a single unit....if you get my drift, not a 'base' in the true sense.

Jack. :)
 
I suppose... you could allow players to prospect a suitable spot and then set up a mining base (in a similar manner to fleet carriers) but then force the operation of the base to rely on supplies ofn tradeable commodities to keep going. You put supplies in to do the the mining, feed the crew etc. and get minerals and metals out.
 
Hi Folks :)

Footnote, I thought it might be prudent to include this statement first as it might have a bearing on peoples reply to this topic. I myself don't have a Fleet Carrier, for various reasons. I understand other peoples like of Fleet Carriers so I've no problems with that. :)

Okay, way back in the first few years after the release of Elite Dangerous I seem to remember that the concept of an MB4 mining Machine, (which was included in the Frontier game FE2) , was, if I remember correctly, not considered to be very successful / doable?
I can't remember what the reasons were, or if Frontier ever considered it to be a good feature. Maybe someone could enlighten me (either the Development team or someone with knowledge in that direction! :))

Anyway, down to the main topic, and questions.

1. Would the MB4 mining machine, or a more 'modern' incarnation of the feature be more useful (or fun) in a general game sense than the Fleet Carriers role as regards the mining features of the game?
Okay, the Fleet Carriers 'main' role is to transport your fleet of ships anywhere you like. As a trading platform it's pretty useful, and I can see it's usefulness as an platform from which to explore areas of space. The thought has occurred to me though that the Carriers 'upkeep' depends a great deal on two main areas of play. One being the monetary upkeep costs, which really we can probably discount in the short term?....and two, the need for tritium, which obviously fuels (pun not intended) the mining aspect of gameplay, or the trade aspect of gameplay in obtaining it.

2. Would the introduction of a mining machine take up more game recourses in general than what is being used at the moment by Fleet Carriers.

3. Would game players like the idea of a mining machine that was similar to the version in FE2, (Which was a semi automatic machine, you deployed on a planet and it mined automatically until it's hopper / cargo bay was full, or it depleted the mined recourse. It could also be left on the planet whilst the player played other aspects of the game. A player could have several of these machines mining different areas of the planet or even separate planets in different systems).

4. Would machines so described create a more fun aspect to the game in relation to what mining (for the upkeep of Carriers) entails now.

5. Upkeep, longevity of function, initial cost and persistence in the game (in the sense of what Carriers are at the moment) are considerations. I myself favor a non persistent machine in the sense it could be destroyed by another player, or maybe a random catastrophic event and / or quite possibly a certain 'shelf life' without maintenance.

These are just thoughts btw....The 'MB4' or it's siblings probably won't ever appear in Elite Dangerous or Odyssey, no big deal, the game is what it is, I enjoy it most of the time so... 🤷‍♂️
Your views or thoughts?...more than welcome! :)


Jack. :)

I am strongly against MB4 mining machines, because I want planetary mining to be an interesting player activity.
I would like it to make use of special tools like specialized mining SRV's for example.

Adding MB4's will not contribute to increasing the possible planetary player activities.
It will be completely uninteresting as a mechanic. It will just pump credits in your bankaccount account (you only need to fetch and sell), as if getting credits is a problem in this game at all.

If FDev adds MB4's instead of some cool player driven, hands-on planetary mining mechanic, then they miss another chance to add gameplay activities to planets.
It would be a stupid thing to do, because we have too few activities on planetary surfaces as it is.

Perhaps they could add both: hands-on planetary mining and MB4 mining. Hands-on active mining should then be much more effective and lucrative than passive MB4 mining to stimulate this type of planetary activity.
 
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The last time I used a MB4 mining machine was on a planet in the Hotice system to extract a mycoid vaccine. Bring back the mb4 and link it to some kind of space-legs mining loop. Deploy from ship, setup mining platform on foot.
 
It would also provide a use for the larger vehicle hangars (other than just carrying spare Scarabs).

How about a mining rig that you drive (requiring a size 4 hangar), and a big automated one (requiring a size 6 hangar)? You could use the smaller one either to mine directly, or to visit and unload the big one.

Of course you wouldn't fit these through the existing SRV hatch, so some remodelling would be needed. Maybe limit that to the T-series freighters, with only the T7/T9/T10 being able to handle the biggest ones. That would give a new role to the T7 in particular, as the one with the smallest landing footprint.
 
With the right set up of them it'd be more like trading than mining for collection speed - so I wouldn't expect anything more valuable than Gold to be minable in any significant quantities - but you'd need to continually be maintaining them (maybe a visit a day or so for optimal performance), looking for new hotspots to use them on, moving them around from place to place ... and of course hoping no-one else stumbled across them and thought "free minerals!" which would mean deploying them too close to the bubble was a bad idea without needing to actively enforce it.

With the Fleet Carriers showing that persistent player-controlled assets are possible, it could be an interesting addition: it would probably also need some direct use for deep space minerals or it'd just be rejected as "you can't make 500M/hour with them so they're useless"
Yes, the actual act of "harvesting" would have to be faster than existing asteroid-mining, or you'd be better off abandoning them and using that time to go mine instead, which would be silly. But much slower in total time taken (including time you're logged off).

Playing with some numbers here:

A size 4 cargo rack can hold 16 tons. So a size 4 mining truck shouldn't be heavier than that when empty, but could presumably "unfold" somewhat, and should be able to carry more than its own mass. Let's assume 25t cargo, which you have to transfer to your ship before you can board.

A size 6 cargo rack can hold 64t. So that's the upper limit for the automated miner suggested previously, and again it should be able to carry more: let's say 100t. And it's too big to fit under your ship for boarding when not folded up, so it has to be emptied by the truck, in four 25t trips.

Loading/unloading will take whatever amount of time Frontier decrees, but waiting several minutes would get tedious. Let's say 30 seconds each. Add a minute for dashing to and fro between a ship and a mining machine, that's 2 minutes to harvest 25t, which works out at 750t per hour. That's faster than mining. But not actually possible from one machine, as they only hold 100t each. It's reasonable to suppose that you can't put these things too close together, as they'd get in each other's way and compete for the same resources. So an arbitrary amount of travelling between machines.

I think the mining machines should be persistent across modes, lootable, and destroyable (though I'm not sure how to handle the situation where one of your machines is being attacked from another mode while you're right there: perhaps it becomes temporarily invulnerable while the owner is present). Fairly easy to avoid this by placing them out in the black, in uninhabited systems. But you'd have to be wary about visiting these systems in a Carrier, as these can be easily followed: they announce where they're going before each jump, and can be found on the galmap. You could park in another nearby system, but a determined pirate could start searching from there, and the DSS should find any currently-present mining machines on a probed planet. The smaller, non-automated mining trucks will be non-persistent (like existing Scarabs).

Quite a bit of potential gameplay there.
 
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Another thought...

I've seen cold icy planets with helium atmospheres. Perhaps Odyssey will let us land on them. And if cosmic radiation knocks a proton out of a helium nucleus, it becomes a tritium nucleus.

Extracting trace quantities of tritium from a helium atmosphere would be very slow. Ideally you'd want to leave a machine on the planet to do the job for you.
 
Mb4 should have been in years ago.
Only issue is fdevs appalling attitude to any reasonable request to have alternative collection method, passive collection not boring/grindy enough.
 
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