First off lets run through an overview of what a Mining Drone is, what they do and how they might differ.
Mining drones are deployed at Asteroid Fields. They have to be on board your ship at the time and you have to meet the requirements to deploy them. A mining drone will mine the location it is deployed until it’s hopper is full. Once Full the MD drone will scan for the nearest Refinery, travel to said location and deposit its load. Then upon a successful unloading the drone will return to the Asteroid field it was dropped at and begins mining once more. Thus you can gather Ore whilst you are busy else where in the game or in fact offline altogether.
Drones require Drone Skill and Drone Points.
Drone Points: Each captain when he starts is issued 10 Drone Points. This can be raised with an upgrade from the CE Store should you wish, but is not required for normal drone operation. You can increase your Drone points to a maximum of 15 per captain. Each drone has a requirement of X amount of Drone points. These are used when deployed and returned when the drone is either recalled or destroyed.
Drone Skill: One of your Captains skills is the ‘Drone Skill’. Each drone will have a specific amount of Drone skill required. Please Read THIS GUIDE on how to spend IP on skill points.
Basic Vs Advanced Drones: I will cover this more in depth later in this guide but for now understand that basic / normal Mining drones mine ONLY ore and return it to the nearest Orbital Refinery for you to access later.
Advanced Mining Drones can mine ‘more than just ore’. but still return the ores they mine to the Orbital Refinery. The main difference here is that these ores are placed in the Advanced Ore Store. (more on this later).
OK Moving On – Lets Get Started: So we have covered the basics of what a drone is and what it does. Lets go ahead and actually deploy one and see how it works. We will need to locate an ASTEROID FIELD in a system on the navigation screen.
I happened to be in Mork in the Furnace but you can use any field for the purpose of mining basic ‘Ore’.
Once you have moved to the Asteroid Field you will see a RED sonar type Icon appear in the green bar next to the Mining Icon. There is NO NEED to enter the asteroid field. Simply Click the RED icon.
Use the Red radar style icon on the green bar. This will take you to the Deployment Screen. The game will filter your view for any Mining Drones you have in your ships store. It will list them by name and display the Quantity you have on board plus their Drone Point cost to Deploy.
Listed is also the Ore Per Hour (OPH) they can extract. Plus of course the Level Required. On this screen it will NOT display the skill required, but a check will be made during the deployment phase. It is assumed that having gone to the trouble of purchasing or crafting a drone that you will have done your home work on the skill required.
Note this screen also displays your Drone Points. The first number is how many you have remaining out of the second Number.
Quick Note on Drone Types:
Basic Mining Drones
There are Three types of basic (standard) Mining Drones these in order of usefulness are as follows.
Remote Mining Drone MD 1-4
Remote Mining Drone (Hermes, Hera, Hestia, Hades)
Deep Core Heavy Retrieval MK 1-4
Each range has various qualities, generally (but not always) they gain more Ore Per Hour. Some can be accessed at lower levels for more skill and some at higher levels for less skill. It is up to the individual to go seek out the Drones and decide which ones you want to use at any given time during your mining profession.
Advanced Mining Drones
ADV Automated Mining – Agricola, Bessemer, Speller, Grachev
This last group of Advanced Drones are Designed by Penworthy Industries, they are fitted with a high gain deep penetration radar. This drone can detect and mine ores ‘other‘ than standard ore from an asteroid Field.
Once deployed it can detect the small ‘fragments of asteroids’ normally left by most industrial miners. It will then engage in mining till the asteroid is depleted. These drones are capable of mining almost any resource that has been located and discarded by miners in any asteroid field. Once full the drone will deposit its mined ore to the local refinery ‘Advanced Ore Store’ then return and scan for another fragment asteroid.
This Advanced type is DISTINCTLY different from all others. They mine ores other than normal ‘ore’ and rather than depositing into the general store of a orbital refinery place them in the ‘Advanced Ore Store’
Moving On : For now lets deploy a Remote Mining Drone MD2. I’m using a low level basic drone for this initial example. Once deployed we need to ‘See the Drone’ and ‘Keep an eye on it’. For this we use the Right Hand Tab ‘View Assets‘ and then ‘View Drones‘
Then Tab is on the Far Right of your screen…
This screen can be accessed from anywhere that you can access the Tabs. That way you can deploy and ‘almost’ forget about them for a while, but at the same time look them up to keep an eye on them.
The table view displays ANY normal and Advance drone you have deployed and their various conditions. In this instance we can see my MD2 drone in Mork.
O.P.H: stands for Ore Per hour. It’s how much ore your drone will collect each full hour its in the asteroid field.
Status %: This is the Health of the Drone. Mining Drones can take damage from Asteroid collisions and Pirate activity. Keep an eye on the Drone and recall it before it hits Zero% or risk loosing it!
Days Active: Simply the full amount of calendar days since the drone was launched.
Recall Cost: Each drone type and model will have a Recall cost. This varies and on more advance models this gets expensive. The recall cost is based not only on the drone type but the amount of damage done to the drone.
Total Mined: A simple one. This is the amount of ore the drone in question has mined since being deployed.
Recall Drone: When you recall a drone it empties its hopper and is recalled to your ship Via a repair service at the local Orbiting Refinery. There is always a cost involved with the cheapest recall being 5,000 credits for an undamaged basic drone. This cost rises as the drone is damaged and as the size / type of the drone increases. It is UP TO YOU to monitor your drones.
If a Drone Reaches Zero % Status it will self destruct and you will loose it. Drone Points will automatically be returned upon the loss of a Mining drone.
OK so we deployed and let our drone collect ore. Eventually you are going to want to go GET the ore or Refine the Ore.
Moving on – The next stage looks at Advanced Mining Drones. You can ignore this for now if you are not interested at this stage
Advanced Mining Drones
As mentioned above several times the last category of Mining drones (Currently in game) are Advanced Drones. These are special drones that can mine actual ores. Not just base ‘ore’. They locate small fragmented parts of normal ores you or I might mine by hand and gather them up and return to the Orbital Refinery with these instead.
Lets take a look below at the ‘View Drones’ from my View Assets Tab with a few more drones deployed.
As you can see I have Four Drones deployed. My MD2, and Hades and a Deep Core MK4. These are all classed as Standard Drones. Below that though you can see I also deployed a Speller ADV Drone.
So lets take a look at WHERE and HOW we can access the ores that an Advanced Drone collects. It’s STILL at the local Orbiting Refinery but it’s simply located a bit deeper within the structures screens.
From the Navigation Screen locate the Orbiting Refinery and close in to use its facilities OR Simply use the RED Spanner that appears on the green bar as this takes you directly to the Refineries Facilities.
Once inside, there is a section at the top with a link to ‘Enter Advanced Refinery Management‘ – use this link,
OK, once there we need to go one deeper. Now look for the ‘Advanced Ore Store‘ link like that in the picture below.
Finally, we arrive at the Advanced Ore Store. It’s actual term is a Global Refinery Account. Lets see if we can’t explain why.
Global Refinery Account: This is a storage space that reflects ALL the ores collected by your Advanced Mining Drones from ALL the Galaxies. It’s not just one view on one store. The view is global and the nice chaps at the Orbiting refinery will allow you to access it ALL in one go. (nice guys huh!)
So if you have Advanced drones mining in the Sphere and also in say the Furnace Galaxy, you only need to Visit ONE of the refineries to access your Global Refinery Account.
Above is a small collection from my account. But it shows you that you can do a few things at this point. You can choose to haul off a Ships Hold full or you can simply have them transfer the ore (of your choice) to a Commercial Store again of your choice.
Overview: So we have learned that we can deploy Standard Mining drones that will collect ‘Ore’ for us, or deploy Advance drones that will collect ‘other ores’. Both are stored for you at the local Orbital Refinery for you to decide what to do with later.
We have also been warned that we need Drone Points and Skill to deploy a drone. We also need the drone to be on-board our ship at the time. We learned that recalling a drone when it gets damaged can get more and more expansive but cheaper than buying a new one if it gets destroyed!
Some players struggle getting their heads around Mining Drones, but its actually very simple and I hope that this guide has given you what you need to get going.