Mining Quarry and the dangers of automatic resource gathering.

the automatic mining quarry is an interesting addition to the world or Rust, but it is one that I think requires a little more care to implement properly. I think there is a real danger when you consider adding items to a game that encourage players to sit in the safety of their bases and allow resources to accrue automatically.

With the ability to drop a autominer next to my base and wait for resources to stockpile, my incentive for leaving my base inorder to gather diminishes. whereas before i might be forced to cover a 1 sq mile area of the map during a mining run, now i’ll just sit in my base and wait for the resources to come to me. I’m not being forced to cover ground for the purposes of gathering resources so what reason do i have to go out and possibly be attacked and killed in the wild?

I would suggest that inorder to balance autominers, they cannot be placed anywhere on the map. instead, they should be required to be placed on a new type of “infinite” resource node. These infinite nodes would be comparatively rare compared to other node - think radtowns only for resources. The could be mined with an item such as a pickaxe, but the yield/time would be less than standard nodes. If standard nodes give 100minterals per pickaxe hit, quarry nodes should give something less, say 20 minerals per pickaxe hit. compare the nodes as they exist:

loose minerals (added in recent patch - rocks you pick up) rarity:uncommon | yield/effort:high | total yield per node:low
mineral nodes (the rocks you hit) rarity:rare | yield/effort:moderate | total yield per node:moderate
Quarry nodes (proposed new resource variant) rarity:very rare | yield/effort:low | total yield per node:infinite

the cost for building an autominer should be fairly high. the invisible cost of protecting the autominer/infinite node from other players should be even higher. The value of these infinite nodes in terms of map resources should be eclipsed only by that of radtowns. I picture new or solo player avoiding infinite nodes/autominers entirely. clans of players might fight over these infinite nodes the same way they fight to protect radtowns.

You would still have to go out for wood, would you not?

you would. but wood is the easiest resource to come across in rust. trees are abundant in just about every biome. When i’m gathering minerals, the search for mineral nodes is by and large what motivates me to travel the greatest distances.

rad towns are one of the best sources for advanced materials in the game. for this reason there is competition for control over these areas as they provide predictable material returns. how much fun would a deploy-able junkpile be that constantly spit out an endless supply of loot barrels right outside your base?

Radtowns : autominers :: loot barrels : mining nodes.

my feeling is that things in rust should be setup as breadcrumbs inorder to pull people out of and further away from their bases. I like that resources are somewhat unpredictably scattered around the map and players are forced out into the world inorder to gather them.

I would even go so far as to make the automatic miners non-deploy able. make them points of interest scattered throughout the map. say its build into a mining-radtown with no radiation and very minimal static resource spawns. if you come across one as a player, and want to feed some oil into it, it might be a very profitable resource transaction for you if you can manage to guard it long enough to haul away the minerals it produces. as it stands, most of the generic points of interest are pretty boring… the lighthouse looks cool but why would i ever want to go there? a giant empty sphere tank? a mining town POI complete with a functioning autominer that only required a small input of oil inorder to yield crazy amounts of minerals would be something i’d be motivated to hunt the map looking for and try to protect once i found it.

These are interesting ideas. I’m almost inclined to agree to most of your points because they do promote the kind of gameplay that Rust needs.

However, I think the dev team is doing the best thing they can do right now, which is pump out assets and features crazy fast. This way they can build up the framework so that the game has growth potential. Lots of this balancing will be done by the community over time anyway(thats a good thing). Having the devs spend time balancing is kind of a waste right now.

Last i checked the mining quarry requires low grow fuel. That requires cloth and fat.

So while the automated mining is “automated”, it still requires a ingredient that makes you leave your base and hunt for it.

Given the low rate of cloth/fat that you get from killing a animal. Combined with animals sometimes being extreme rare on specific map points ( depending on the spawns ).

Frankly, i think that the current automated mining is at best a “surplus” mining ability for when you log off. You are going to gather way more stone resources just mining them yourself then what the quarry does. And the amount of cloth etc being used will cut down on other tools/weapons/etc that require these ingredients.

Add to this the big no-build zone, the added defenses you need. I see big clans being able to use it to there advantage but no way that small groups or solo players have a lot of gain from them. The resources you put into the quarry, the defenses, the resources needed to make it even run and potential loss if somebody jumps your wall and steals your resources out of the quarry.

These are all good points. the relative value of low grade fuel in relation to the value of the minerals obtained from the miner will largely determine whether or not the autominer has any real objective value. My feeling is that an automatic miner ought to to produce so many mineable resources in relation to its ongoing operational cost as to make it a no brainier. if we assume that the autominer is the most efficient means of gathering minerals in Rust (which may or may not be correct, but bear with me) the question becomes how should the game prevent every tom dick and harry from dropping one immediately outside their base and AFKing their way to a huge pile of minerals. Keep in mind that people will typically take the path of least resistance to a goal. even if a person busting their ass can gather marginally more resources/hour running around and farming, how many people will choose this option when its so much easier and safer to just logout, and comeback after a few hours and pickup a big bag of resources. Gameplay in rust should reward active, intelligent play over hours spent waiting for an autominer to mine. Autominers SHOULD remain very powerful. Their scarcity (either as static spawns or tied to placement on infinite nodes) should be a means of rewarding players who are able to protect and objective for an extended period of time. Think of the autominer as a capture the flag node, if you will.

If the developers intend to balance the output of auto miners to be inferior when compared to active, open world pickaxe mining, they have two ways of accomplishing this goal.

1 - auto-miners are fast but inefficient. Auto-miners would produce minerals at a rapid rate, however would also require a large quantity of fuel to get the job done. They aren’t so much resource “gatherers” as they are resource “traders.” this is probably the best method of limiting the effectiveness of auto-miners… but isn’t very exciting from a gameplay perspective.

2 - auto-miners are efficient buy slow. Autominers would produce a large quantity of mineral per fuel, but would work very slowly. Compare this to the situation with rank 1 furnaces today where most large bases have “furnace rooms” with many furnaces all chugging away simultaneously. in this scenario, most players will clutter the landscape surrounding their bases with as many auto miners as possible. the developers work on a rank 2 furnace is an indication to me that they want to avoid this type of repetitive and tedious gameplay.

If, on the other hand, auto-miners are made to be very powerful resource gatherers (fast and efficient) – developers still have a problem with ensuring they are balanced with regards to the rest of the game. As I’ve already stated above, i think the best way to accomplish this balance is to leave the auto-miners very strong, but limit their availability to players – either tie them to “point of interest” world spawns and let players fight over them or make them deploy-able only on certain world tiles and let players compete for territorial control.

What if it was similar to the way resource gathering was in Star Wars Galaxies? In SWG, resource density shifted randomly. One day a spot could be THE spot to collect iron, only for anywhere from hours to days later the density lessens or the resource just vanishes from that spot(possibly being replaced by another resource that could be better or worse). With regards to Rust, I mean in addition to defending the Quarry from other players, you have to be REALLY sure you picked a good spot as moments after set up it could yield nothing and thus you are out the resources expended.

Just FTR, I have yet to get my hands on a Quarry in Rust, so please excuse me if it actually is like this as is.

This is an option that had not crossed my mind. logically, it makes sense to me that resource allocations should be established at the creation of the server and should not change. If they did change over time, it might make for interesting game play to make the auto-miners mobile – mine one area until its spent and then move your miner somewhere else once production diminishes.

It’s and interesting idea, but it seems a little overly complicated to me. i tend to favor gameplay mechanics that motivate competition between players (limited number’s of high value nodes scattered throughout the map) I LOVE the competitive gameplay that comes from the air drops – really cool stuff. If the mineral densities change overtime and miners continue to be immovable, i see players just dropping a large number of miners all around their base and just hoping for an average rate of return that makes it worth their while.

my understanding is that currently, mineral yields are tied to various areas of the map, are established when the server goes up and are static throughout the game. I am not sure how much variance exists between one region and another. It is possible that there are regions of the map that far out scale others (10x returns or more), but i THINK that the biggest differences you get from one region to anther is in the ratio of the minerals you pull up rather than the rate. there are specialized explosive charges that are able to help determine what kinds of minerals are available in a particular region. if certain area’s of the map are designated extremely resource rich when compared to others, some of my gameplay concerns when it comes to balancing auto miners might already be “fixed”. locating these high value regions would be pretty goddamn tedious… effectively necessitating gridding off the map and checking each box with an explosive charge until you find a “hot spot” worthy of putting up a miner on.

Yesterday i did a run of the island to see how much active mining was going on.

Like predicted the map is full of rigs. And … they almost all are doing exactly: Nothing!

The only one’s with active rigs are the two big clans on the server, with the resources to keep them going and able to protect them ( from people taking the fuel ).

On the other hand, because it has been 2 weeks+ from the last wipe and most people have established bases and the rest of the people do not bother anymore ( typical Rust problem ) we have:

  • Low active playing population
  • Abandon bases everywhere
  • Non-active mining rigs / abandon?
  • So many stones now everywhere that you fall over them ( as the building rush is over + low active population after 2 weeks ).

So yea … stone … not a big deal to get. And less dangerous now because maybe 1/4 of the people are playing now ( compared to the few days after a map wipe ).

Same here. On all of my servers, I’m seeing massive numbers of abandoned mining rigs. They’re everywhere. I think a large part of this is that you can find 8x rigs in a drop, making them incredibly low value. They’re so cheap it’s almost not worth bothering with a seismic charge. People just spam away.

The rigs that ARE attended to are usually hotspots of sniping and harassment. Great game dynamic overall.

I haven’t gotten a chance to play it yet… How loud are rigs? In my heard they should be heard from a pretty large distance.

This aspect of auto-miners excited me greatly. I would love to see the auto miners implemented randomly around the map like other points of interest. The current points of interest are pretty, but don’t offer any compelling gameplay. Points of interest that offer useful or powerful gameplay components FTW!

I imagine larger guilds competing over auto miners the same way they compete over rad towns today . Two smaller clans, one which has monopolized an auto miner and another that have staked claim to a refinery might come to an agreement to share resources in order to raid an even larger clan on the far side of the map that has taken over a rad town.

Think about mad max 2 and the settlement that has grown up around the old refinery. It gives the inhabitants of that area a material advantage, but also makes them a target for marauders. Some of the residents give up on the refinery and try to leave, only to be captured and killed by the marauders. Sounds pretty kewl and also pretty plausible in rust if auto miners and refineries are implemented on a limited and static basis.