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The Complete Miner's Guide by Halada

Version 2.2

8.2 Minimizing the traveling time factor effect

Parking your ship as close to the roid as you can will minimize the traveling time. If you can be under 1KM of the roid you send your drone on, the traveling factor will almost be neglectable. Our 31 200 units of Omber per hour still won't be true, but it should be close. It has been argued and debated that doing so renews the role of Harvester or Elite mining drones, that is, that neglecting their speed makes them superior to T2 mining drones.

Although this is true in theory, it is not in the real world. In my experience, which I like to think is quite extensive, there will never always be a roid within that range for your drones to mine. That is, not a roid worth mining at least. Furthermore, their insane prices means losing them puts an enormous blow on your wallet ­ and you will lose mining drones. There is no competence argument to be had in this matter. Losing drones, especially in 0.0, is almost a certainty. A simple CTD will result in your drones dying when facings rats. If jumped by pirates, you will always prioritize your ship over your drones, and the chances you can recall them back before you get popped are next to zero.

For those who cannot grasp the huge cost difference, harvesters cost 100 times more than T2 mining drones. It is true that, throughout this guide, I have proposed you buy expansive ships, modules and implants and although it is probably impossible to statistically prove the chances of losing drones versus the chances of losing the said ships, modules and implants are higher, simple logic tells us so. Mining drones are paper thin, one smartbomb will send them to hell... and I promise you, they are the favorite targets of pirates when they jump mining operations, and they won't miss them!

For all the aforementioned reasons, I will stand by my original comment, that is, that harvester mining drones are an absolutely waste of your well earned ISK. In 99% of situations, their superior yield will be neglected by their speed. If you are a miner that falls in the remaining 1% of situations and think harvesters still bring you more dough for your efforts, hop in Jita and get a quintuple to serve your needs.

That's it for the drones section. As you can see, they are far from useless. In fact, mining Crokite, it'll bring an extra 7mil ISK per hour (approximately, as always) so they are not to be ignored. However, maxing your drones' yield shouldn't be prioritized over barge or crystals training, for example. It's a nice long-term (if not last) objective for veterans. As always, you can weight the pros and the cons for yourself.