Aly's World EMag - May 2019

As mentioned on Casual Citizen Episode 32, at the end of my content writing cycle, I will produce Casual Citizen or Nightbus, as well as combine all the content into an eBook. In addition to working more on my own fiction, I’m also teaching myself interior book design and self-publishing. This gives me the opportunity to use one of my guilty pleasures toward a future goal. I hope you enjoy.

You can easily find directions on YouTube if you want to actually import the associated format into your Kindle, iPad or Nook. Otherwise, go for the Print or EPUB format.

AVAILABLE FORMATS

As mentioned in the show, I’ll be compiling the content produced during a cycle into an eBook/eMagazine for those who might enjoy reading the articles as chapters with the ability to use bookmarks and whatnot.

eBook Formats

I hope you enjoy.


Alpha 3.2 Prospector Mining Guide

As was CIG’s intent, mining will not support AFK behavior. They want all professions to be engaging and require some level of interaction by the player. They want there to be skill involved, in this case, monitoring and muscle memory are a factor in the outcome. For this first release, we can only mine on moons, asteroid mining will arrive later. Using the Prospector, there are (4) parts to the mining mechanic once you arrive at your desired location.

Edit June 26, 2018: Click Here for Enhanced Step-by-Step Video Version Available on YouTube

Step One – Scan the Area

Your first step is to scan the area for minable objects.

  • Toggle scan mode using the [TAB] key
  • Click the left mouse button to scan/ping the area.
  • Land the ship or float slowing over the surface of the moon pinging as you go.
  • Mineable rocks will be marked with a blue icon and orange outline.

Step Two – Start Mining Rocks

The next step is to fracture the rocks down into smaller units that can be extracted.

  • Hover over the rocks identified as mineable to view their composition. You want to spend your time mining rocks that contain the highest concentration of sellable materials. Even better, are those that contain decent percentages of multiple metals.

  • To mine, press the [M] key which activates the mining mode called Fracture.
  • Fracturing is a mini-game of heating the rock enough to break it into pieces without blowing it up. In order to accomplish this, you must watch the two gauges on the left part of the HUD.

Step Three – Control the Mining Laser

  • The mouse scroll wheel controls the mining laser intensity
  • Watch the Laser Throttle indicator to see your laser intensity setting.
  • Simultaneously, monitor the Rock Energy Level.
  • The Energy Gauge measures the rock’s internal temperature for combustibility.
  • Gradually increase the laser throttle until the rock’s internal temperature moves into the green zone on the Rock Energy Level.
  • Watch the Energy Transfer Graph (line chart) to see the trending effect of your current throttle setting. Is it stable – showing a flat line? Is it increasing – line trending up? Is it decreasing – line trending down? Use that to guide whether or not you need to increase, decrease or maintain your current laser throttle setting.
  • Once you’ve moved the Energy Gauge into the green zone, hold it there until the Fracturing Sensor on the right side of the HUD reaches 100%.
  • At 100%, while in the optimum energy zone, causes a successful fracture.

Note: If you overheat the rock it will explode causing damage to nearby objects, including your ship.

To avoid overheating the rock you should be slowly ramping up the throttle on the mining laser, watching to see how that impacts the rock’s energy and throttling the laser up and down as appropriate. You’ll hear a warning sound if the internal temperature is getting too high. If throttling down isn’t letting it cool fast enough, turn off the laser or point it away from the rock until it cools down a bit.

Step Four – Extract Ore

When you’ve fractured a rock successfully, it splits into smaller pieces.

  • Hover over the fractured pieces to locate ones with a purple outline.
  • Click the right mouse button to active Extraction Mode.
  • Extraction will vacuum up the smaller pieces into the Prospector’s cargo canisters.
  • Any rocks that still have an orange outline will have to be fractured further before you can extract the ore.

RECAP

In a nutshell, you

  1. Scan for mineable rocks
  2. Inspect them to find the best compositions
  3. Switch to mining mode
  4. Use the fracture laser to break the rock into smaller pieces.
  5. Monitor the rock’s internal heat temperature and control the laser throttle accordingly until the energy bar is sitting in the green zone
  6. After a successful fracture, toggle to the extraction laser to vacuum up your earnings.

Like most things in games, the harder it is the bigger return. For now, at least, Cellin has the lower level metals so it’s easier to learn the basics of mining there. Whereas Daymar has the more lucrative materials making them harder to mine successfully. This is likely to change over time as CIG rolls out more of the mineable components. Either way, mining isn’t as complicated as it sounds on paper. You’ll have the hang of it in no time. Head on over to Cellin and enjoy!

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Mining Profession

Show Transcript

As this will be one of the professions many new players gravitate toward, here’s a quick overview of the mining profession.  It was one of the first career design documents published and is supposedly representative of their philosophy for all careers.  Which is that career associated tasks contain activities that require skill, dext, rity and intelligence, where mindless repetition or idle monitoring are explicitly avoided.

This is after all, deep space and although a career isn’t combat oriented there’s danger present.  In the case of mining, the more valuable materials will reside in dense asteroid fields that must be piloted through without suffering serious damage to your ship.  While mining, you can encounter compressed pockets of gas and other volatile materials that can explode in the presence of excessive energy or detonate from seismic activity.  In other words, this isn’t an auto-pilot profession and careless players can die.

 IN THE BEGINNING

Visiting your local Trade and Development Division (TDD), which serves as the marketplace for commodities, can provide a sense of what’s in demand, at what price and where.  Once you’ve decided on what you want to attempt to mine, it’s time to decide between going freelance or acquiring a contract for those materials from a NPC run corporation.

There are benefits and risks of working freelance.  On the good, you are your own master.  You set your mining schedule and pace.  You may be able to sell your cargo for a higher than average price based on market changes.  However, the opposite is also a risk.  By the time you return with your cargo and list it for auction, the prices may have decreased.

If a committed payout is preferred, working on contract is the better option.  You know exactly how much you will be paid for your cargo.  However, this isn’t completely without risk.  If during the excursion your ship suffers damage OR unforeseen setbacks delay your return or reduce your cargo, your reputation will take a hit. In the end, you are paid less than you expected because of your performance and that performance has a lasting impact on future employment.

LOCATING THE RIGHT ASTEROID FIELDS

After deciding between freelance and contract, it’s time to locate asteroids that contain the materials you seek.  Every solar system will contain a variety of public information on major asteroid fields. It’s probably best to head into the known when you’re starting.  However, don’t expect to find the more lucrative materials there.  If they existed in that location, they’re likely long gone.  However, it’s still a good place to start mining common materials.

Freelancers wanting to maximize their profits can opt to spend money on an Information Broker.  This is someone who has knowledge about asteroid fields which aren’t public.  They either bought the information from someone else or obtained the coordinates through exploration and are using that information to provide a service.

Lastly, you can explore the galaxy yourself.  This will be the most time-consuming approach and not likely to be feasible for contract work that contains deadlines.  However, combined with an emphasis on exploration, a freelancer could turn an excellent profit by harvesting from isolated/unknown locations and/or selling the information to an Information Broker. You could also be an explorer and information broker yourself but we’re here to talk about mining. *Smile*

GETTING THE JOB DONE

Mining consists of multiple roles, and is done using a ship configured for mining, such as the Orion.  The more proficiency you have with performing a role the more efficient the results, which ultimately impacts effort versus profit.  Note that any or all of these roles can be performed by NPCs.  The NPC’s proficiency will be commensurate with their fee.

As for solo play as a miner, the design document leads me to believe that it’s not possible to mine completely solo – without players or NPCs. Roles that happen sequentially can be carried out by the same person.  However, there are activities that take place simultaneously and as such, require multiple bodies.

The pilot is responsible for safely navigating the ship to and within targeted asteroid fields.  This may not be as simple as it sounds.  Rarer materials will be located in dense fields which require nimble navigation skills to avoid costly ship damage.

A scan operator is responsible for identifying an asteroid’s composition.  This is accomplished by injecting remote material analysis packages (RMAPs) into nearby asteroids. The telemetry data is sent to the pilot and scan operator. Once a site is selected, the optimal injection orientation is displayed.  The scan operator launches and manually controls RMAP-equipped missiles used to impact the asteroid at the correct location to expose the materials you want to mine.  Actual mining efficiency is impacted by the accuracy of the scan operator’s efforts to expose the asteroid’s components.

Next up is the beam operator who is responsible for wielding the mining beam affixed to the ship’s robotic arms.  They have direct control over beam output and if they’re good, are able to precisely extract materials.  Their control of the beam is also critical to safety, as an injection of surplus energy into volatile materials can cause explosive chain reactions.  The result of such a mistake can range from ship damage to the loss of the ship and its crew.

The cargo operator is the sifting and pick-up role.  Mined materials are NOT automagically deposited into your vessel.  The cargo operator monitors the fragments being excavated by the mining beam and interrogates them using an integrated Fragment Scanner. Fragments of interest are directed into a ship’s input port.  The input port houses a crusher that pulverizes the fragments into rubble and stores the contents into cargo modules.  The skill of this person also impacts the value of your payload. They can miss important fragments or be so slow that they impact your efficiency, putting you behind schedule for contract deliveries.

If your ship is equipped with a refinery, the refinery operator will process raw ore into its purified forms, ejecting waste elements out into space.  Purified materials consume considerably less storage space which allows your operation to continue for extended periods of time before it becomes necessary to dock and unload.

Whew, that’s more involved than the mining I’ve done in other games such as EVE Online. I have no intention of mining in Star Citizen.  Even in this interactive model, there are other things I’d rather do to earn a living.  However, I’m sure this is going to appeal to a lot of people which is why I wanted to provide a short overview of the mechanics involved. Here’s a link to the design document for a more detailed look at the profession.

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Passenger Transport & Genesis Starliner

Show Transcript

OH MY GAWD, they had me at profession…

For a long time now, I’ve had a vision of the role I wanted to play in Star Citizen. I saw myself playing out a female version of Mal from Firefly. My love for FF is undeniable.  I create and sell FF inspired jewelry. On some level, this role would also mirror my career in EVE Online, which existed long before there were salvage specific ships available.

In EVE, salvage appealed to me because I liked the freedom to engage random rats and salvage their ships while exploring, salvage kills from riding shotgun during mining ops, leech cleaning around AFK miners and cleaning up after my own PVE missions.  It certainly didn’t hurt that salvage was lucrative, even for freshies, which is what I was when I started.  I suddenly had a license to print ISK in EVE, after a long suffering stint of poverty. As such, my vision for SC was a more RP and environmentally lush version of this.  I knew there would be piracy/PVP, FPS pew-pew, industry/mining, etc., none of which excited me as a primary focus.  I was content and excited about the vision I held.

To cement my vision, I purchased a Freelancer, now upgraded to Freelancer MAX before they announced the salvage specific ship, the Reclaimer. Even so, the FM would be good enough until I upgraded in the future to the Reclaimer. La la la, all was settled in my SC world.

That was until I saw a YouTube video discussing the recently unveiled Genesis Starliner and the accompanying transport career.  My mouth fell open, hit the floor and remained there.  I watched the video multiple times. I went to the RSI website and read the content for myself.  Why oh why, did RSI include interactive content allowing you to see the travel brochures someone might read when planning a vacation and then choose a destination from an airport departures board, which tied to a short RP story of a passenger aboard the ship. It was a sucker punch to my gut that excited me for a SC experience that was very different from the one I had planned in my head.

I could pilot and manage a civilian transport business. I COULD PILOT AND MANAGE A CIVILIAN TRANSPORT BUSINESS. I could do this with friends. I could do this with guildmates! WhatchootalkinboutWillis??

SHIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Mid-range luxury civilian transport ship.
  • Modular design seating up to 100 economy passengers, or less as a mixture of economy, business class and luxury.
  • Versatile interior design can also used to transport and repair race ships, military troops transport or fitted out as private luxury liner.
  • Is same ship-class used for the SC equivalent of Air Force One, The UEE Imperator’s transport ship.
  • Is big. Is beautiful. Is WOW.
  • Comes with Lifetime Insurance (LTI)

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

  • Formal career and mechanics being designed around civilian transport.
  • Requires obtaining licenses to operate out of your desired travel hubs.
  • Requires clean criminal record to obtain and maintain licenses.
  • Incorporates a reputation systems based on passenger satisfaction.
  • May require actual crew depending on configuration/passenger count.
  • On-board mini games provide customer service tasks such as food and beverage service, entertainment centers, in-flight mechanical and medical emergencies, etc..
  • Crew roles can be fulfilled by other players or you can hire NPC flight attendants.

WHY I’M ENTHRALLED

  • I prefer when there are mechanics in MMOs that allow me to take on a role that feels as though I have an on-going existence in the world beyond showing up to do quests and craft.  The EQ2 crafting and housing system allowed me to establish and run a decorating service. ArcheAge for all its other faults, had a detailed crafting and economy which served the same, that I really enjoyed.
  • I play and enjoy task based / time management games such as the various Dash games and the survival but heavily time management slanted, Don’t Starve / Don’t Starve Together.
  • I’m a long time The Sims fan who is brimming with ideas of how you can really RP this ship and career, not to mention the modularity of the ship itself, which will lend to all sorts of personalized and flavorful transport services.
  • Get tired of transporting civilians, carry race ships.  Get tired of trucking race ships, it can be outfitted for military operations for your corporation and allies.  Over that, setup for search and rescue.  Lots of options to choose from to change up your game play or help your friends and corp.
  • It’s a completely new and unique gaming experience/profession!
  • I’m like a cat.  When I enjoy an activity in game, I can do it routinely without becoming board.  Just ask my ArcheAge guildmates about me a running trade packs. LOL Who I would also transport goods for using my farm wagon, for the modest price of one free trade pack for me to turn in too and some boosted fuel.

I shouldn’t have but I COULD NOT HELP MYSELF.  I pledged / purchased the Genesis Starliner.  As I said, they had me at profession.

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Search and Rescue

Show Transcript

To provide a gaming experience that is more tactical and varied, Star Citizen has devised a limb-based injury system which includes varying degrees of damage severity and permanence.  It’s not going to be the more common scenario where after sustaining damage, a player runs and hides until his health magically regenerates to full.

In Star Citizen, various areas of the body go through damage states from Normal (no injury) to Ruined (not usable or gone).  To recover from a state below normal, player intervention is necessary. A detailed overview of the health system can be found here.

WHAT WE KNOW

If a player is incapacitated in proximity to his allies, they can be dragged to safety. Some assistance can be provided on the spot using field tech, such as the ability to stem bleeding.  However, field tech cannot be used to heal a player back to full capacity.

Beyond moderate injury or to be returned to a normal 100% health state, a player must undergo more intense treatments, such as those provided by Medbays and Medstations.  This is where Search and Rescue (SAR) comes into play. Given that Star Citizen has a permadeath mechanic, I expect SAR services to be in high demand.

Based on the Healing your Spacemen article, we know for certain that a robust SAR system is being designed. Requests to rescue players and NPCs is one of the major mission types being planned. Players will be able to send distress calls if they’re shot down or otherwise stranded in space.  A fellow player, whose ship is SAR equipped, can retrieve them and provide medical services aboard their ship.  If the injuries are beyond what they can provide, the responder can stabilize the patient and transport them to a dedicated medical facility.

Beyond what CIG has published on the topic, we know that providing SAR will range from small operations to larger player run medical services, based on the ships being developed.  They’ve talked about a large medical treatment ship being delivered in the 4th wave of Persistent Universe ships.  I have no idea what wave we’re on now but SAR capable ships are already in the line-up.

Here are the small to mid-tier SAR capable ships that have already been announced:

PLAYER SPECULATION

If MMOs have taught me anything, it’s that the vast majority of players like to pew-pew at every opportunity and even a cautious PVE carebear dies.  There will be no shortage of players needing medical attention.  Even if you die in space, there’s a possibility that your body can be healed if you receive intensive medical attention in time, which will save you a tick on your permadeath life counter. Yup, medical services will be in demand.

Even with the little, we have to go on beyond the ships announced thus far, player run organizations are forming around this career. One such group is Corporate Search and Rescue, which is 325 members strong at this point.  And there’s a SAR association for players who are in the medical/SAR career – even though the career itself hasn’t been announced.

SC backers are not short on imagination or enthusiasm for carving out their personal niche in space. Here’s a player made video illustrating what he thinks the SAR/medic role will be like in Star Citizen.  And a thread where players are discussing which ships can be used as space ambulances – no real treatment, has gotten traction.

As for me, I think SAR will be an interesting and diverse career that will also provide a lot of social interaction with the community.  I’ve already decided on commercial civilian transport as my primary career.  However, there’s always room to play multiple roles in MMOs.  I’ve picked SAR as a secondary.

I think SAR is a support role I can provide for guild/corp PVP operations or any endeavor where one of us might get hurt.  It’s also a service you can provide after the fact!  A friend is hurt while out mining, exploring, doing PVE, etc., and makes it back alive but with long term injuries. I can bring them aboard my ship to take care of their injuries, likely saving them some coin and hassle. I can also do sporadic rescue services while exploring.

DRAKE INTERPLANETARY CUTLASS RED

My decision to purchase the Genesis Starliner to accompany my goal of obtaining a commercial pilot license left me with redundant ships based on their roles.  I had a Freelancer MAX with the idea of doing salvage and hauling cargo but I missed the concept sale for the dedicated salvage ship and am not sure when/if I’ll pursue it at all now.

Lacking an exploration focused ship, I exchanged the MAX for the DUR variant, which left me with a store credit.  I also had the Aurora LN which is a combat ship but one that’s inferior to the Origin 325A I purchased.  I decided to melt the LN, which gave me full credit for the original purchase price.  Using my store credits plus $50, I bought the Cutlass Red, a dedicated SAR vessel.

It’s the smallest of the SAR ships announced thus far which is all I need.  I’m big on PVE in MMOs.  Although not typically a completionist, I like to do as much of the PVE content as possible, assuming that it’s decent.  Knowing that there will be missions specific to SAR, I decided that owning one was a something I wanted up front.  I also plan to team up with my guild from ArcheAge which contains a LOT of PVP/FPS gamers.  I think I’ll have a plenty of bodies to mend.