Star Atlas Update: Mining mechanics, Armstrong ships and more

By Published On: 29 April 2022Tags: , ,

Mining has been a long-standing favorite activity in any MMO game, even more so in space based MMOs like Star Atlas. There are entire guilds dedicated to the industry and many players have their sights set on becoming mining tycoons. Today, information was passed revealing some potential ways mining could work in Star Atlas.

Disclaimer: The information contained within is derived from a brief Q&A that occurred on April 25th between game designer Bunthius and user Lysimach. Comments are not necessarily reflective of completed game design. Future gameplay design and elements are subject to change by the Star Atlas development team without advanced notice.

On Monday, some long sought-after information regarding the mining career was unveiled. Users have long suspected that a mining gameplay loop would be available sometime this year. Additionally, until the release of GAO Phase 2, future mining activities were restricted to owners of land claims and terrestrial mining facilities. The planned release of Armstrong mining ships added the possibility of space-based mining.

<Begin exchange>

The exchange began when user Lysimach asked if it was safe to assume that mining mechanics and Armstrong ships [would] be released later this year.

Game developer Bunthius summarily responds that mining mechanics may not be released this year, but the details on the mechanics would be released coincidental with the release of Armstrong ships.

Regarding the release of mining mechanics, user Virtuwul asks if that means SCREAM 1.0 or later.

Bunthius — “Aiming for these mechanics to be in the ue5 version”.

A few hours later, user Morpheus asks, “Will Armstrong also sell mining modules so other manufacturers ships can equip those [mining] modules and enter mining loop?

Bunthius — “…the first mining ships will be isolated to the Armstrong IMP (industrial mining platform, hint — platform) only. but that’s for asteroid mining only. all other mining would be done through mining structures built on land. when the follow up IMP Tap comes it will be for land-based ship mining…”

Multiple users ask more directly if there will be a mining loop in SCREAM.

Bunthius replies that asteroid mining mechanics are different (from land-based mining) and won’t be released for a while. Bunthius ends the exchange by deferring further questions to Chypto who appeared to have the day off.

<End exchange>

There’s quite a bit to unpack here so we’ll take it one step at a time.

Mining and SCREAM
We learn that a traditional mining gameplay mechanic may not be released with the first version of SCREAM. This does not preclude certain ships from being sent on mining missions, however, it would appear that pilots will not be able to physically engage mining objects for harvesting at the onset of SCREAM. Additionally, it would appear that true mining gameplay will not be released until UE5 gameplay. Whether that’s the full UE5 game or a beta module is undetermined.

Armstrong ships
The addition of the Armstrong IMP and the Armstrong IMP Tap during GAO Phase 2 was a surprise to many. Apparently, IMP stands for Industrial Mining Platform, with an emphasis on platform. The Armstrong IMP is classified as a Capital Miner with a planned price range of $25,000 — $30,000 USDC. If the IMP is indeed a platform, one wonders what the mobility of such a platform would be while mining an asteroid field.

The IMP Tap, on the other hand, is now best described as a terrestrial medium mining vessel, likely to be confined to planetary operations.

Additionally, it would appear that at first, ship mining will not be possible outside of the two Armstrong ships.

Final analysis
For now, mining enthusiasts may have to wait a little longer to pilot ships that are capable of mining resources and asteroids. While the two Armstrong ships are set to be released over the course of the remainder of the year, it would appear that they will not have direct mining gameplay mechanics available from the beginning. However, this does not mean that they will not have some other utility in SCREAM. Each Armstrong ship appears to be designed for a very specific type of mining, separate from the type of mining done by mining structures. It is possible that in SCREAM, mining will only be possible through these mining structures.

In many MMOs, careers in mining can be hugely lucrative and profitable. However, since mining is a core mechanic that supports a MMO’s economic system, careful consideration must be given between balancing accessibility and gameplay against long term economic viability. A low entry barrier to mining incentivizes many players to take up the activity, especially if they enjoy that type of gameplay. However, over-mining can lead to a huge supply side imbalance, devaluing the resources and economy. Conversely, a high entry barrier means that only the most wealthy, powerful, or capable are able to capitalize on the mining industry. Such an effect could eventually lead to a consolidation of mining power and imbalanced gameplay. This balance in cost barrier and gameplay will be one to watch.

About the Author: Krigs

An ardent supporter of emerging technologies, Krigs has been covering blockchain games for over two years and believes passionately in their power to revolutionize our collective gaming experience.

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