This is a very decent opener for this pilots looking to commence this PvE content.
I wanted to talk about this in further detail. There are three primary mission agent types; Courier, Mining and Security. In my opinion security will pay more, courier is easy to train into; and mining lies in between. However it is possible that even Alpha Clones can solo most of the Level 4 mining missions. As of this post, Alphas do not have access to Ice Mining which is offered in Level 3 and Level 4 missions. Plus for the mission "Drones to a Cloud", a gas mission; a Venture will not survive against drone spawns.
Reasons for doing this content;
- Earning ISK
- Earning Loyalty Points
- Earning Standings
- Reduced Taxes for Market selling ores and Refining
- Reduced Office Rental for Player Corporations
- Access to higher Mission Levels
- Eventual access to Faction Mission Arcs
- Players cannot merely warp to your location, but need to locate you through combat probes¹
- If the belts are mined out, you can still be mining here
- Instant content with a defined goal.
- Does not require investment into refining skills.
¹ Even though there is a safety margin, keeping a eye on Local Chat and D-Scan are your tools for advance warnings of danger.
- The missions are fragile. They require the exact amount of ore to complete. If another player steals from your jettisoned can or directly mines the ore. You cannot complete the mission. There is a complex alternative I will discuss below.
- If the jetcan expires because you were AFK for too long.
- A few of the missions will have rats which are tougher than standard asteroid belt rats.
- Some of the missions require a significant logistics for up to 45,000 m³ in ore
- Someone helping you disconnects and does not return with their portion of ore.
- If you fail to complete by server Down Time, you will need to start from scratch²
² You can intentionally do this to generate an "Insurance Policy". What you can do is; mine about 90% of required ore. Call it a day. The mission will reset over down time, and you need to start again. (yes, you will forfeit the bonus isk). But the game will let you keep the 90%. Later if someone steals from you or it is lost, you have some backup ore. The game does not care who mines the 100% ore, only that the player has the required amount at turn in, either in his cargohold, orehold or hanger. By the way, you cannot have some in a hold and some the hanger. All has to be in one place. I would really only suggest "insurance" for Level 4. Note that sometimes the ore can be obtained through contracts. It cannot be refined or sold on the market.
Who you mission for, can be as important as where you mission. Each of the High Security factions have two primary Mining Non Player Corporations (NPC). Looking at the Gallente; this is Astral Mining and Material Acquisition. Completing missions for with a NPC agent earns standings which flows like this:
Agent -> Corporation -> Faction -> Aligned/Ally Faction
Whilst mining corps they are more common, they have the drawback of offering less opportunities.
Typically they only offer the 32% refining, stations for the state Navy will offer 50%. So if you branching into Industry and Harvesting you want to be aware of the services that NPC offers. The other drawback is that the Loyalty Point store is more restricted. I do use Mining NPC to obtain faction ammunition, learning implants and harvesting implants. I will from time to time, sell implants.
From my own story; I did missions for Quafe to earn Prospector Implant series, so that I could improve my exploration skills. And I did missions for CreoDron for access to the Research Agents. Which got me access to Datacores and supplements my Invention industry.
The Location matters because between 1.0 and 0.5 security, the lower the security the higher the reward. This is because Concord has a slower response time, with lower security. Suicide Ganking is a Damage Per Second race both your own defences and the arrival of Concord. The more seconds it takes Concord, the more damage can be done. If you not vigilant and not in a tanked procurer or a skiff - you are a mug. You are contributing the idea that miners are there to be taken advantage of. Security starts with you, but it can benefit every miner.
Properly Prepared Procurer Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
Because you are not selling the ores or manufacturing, you are largely independent of the market. This gives more flexibility to chose a location away from the trade hubs.
Final point is that after completing 16 missions within a level and within a faction - you will be offered a Story-line Mission. Completed story-line missions increase your overall standing to; NPC that offers the mission and faction of that NPC. You can actually mix types within levels. Doing 8 Security and 8 mining of L4 will get you a L4 Story-line. Now, here's something special. I am not 100% sure about the mechanics how the game will chose which Story-line to offer. Usually it is the closest. Now, what you can do is "lock" a story-line agent. So you get through the 16 missions and the nearest agent contacts you with in a offer. But the NPC is not what you are interested in. Ignore the first story line offer - do not decline it. If you complete another 16 missions, the next story-line agent is then chosen. Keep in mind that the lock is only good for seven days. Then the mission offer from the first story-line expires. So roughly if mining L4 missions take up to one hour to complete with modest skills, will you get 32hrs of game play within seven days?
Purchased through the Loyalty Store a bunch of implants. Which I sold, and used the isk to buy some Moon Products, blueprints and some odds and ends. All through the power of mining, that made it fun.