Elite Dangerous Avocado Farming Guide
Elite Dangerous Avocado Farming Guide by AntediluvianEmpire
I’ve been almost exclusively mining in Elite: Dangerous. Beginning in Elite, I found a lot of information about mining that just flat out led me astray.
My goal in this guide is to take you through some of my beginning processes and some of the things I’ve learned by doing the wrong thing.
The initial things you’ll need for mining are the following:
- Mining Laser
- Cargo Space
- The most basic parts will do
Mining is pretty painless, but there are some essential upgrades that will make your life easier to begin with. Start looking for a refinery with two hopper spots. This will make picking up resources much quicker, as you can simply scoop up a piece of ore and let it process both pieces. You can later eject the chaff if needed (such as Lepidolite or Uraninite), but in the meantime, this will make your pick-up job much quicker. You’ll also want to invest in a power distributor to keep your lasers running longer, though this can wait.
Where to mine
All of the information I was able to locate indicated that I should be mining exclusively Pristine Reserves in Metallic Rings around gas giants; however, there’s a problem with this: Pristine Reserve, Metallic Rings seem to be in short supply. You can hunt around for some in your local systems, but you’re unlikely to find much at all.
If you have dual monitors, I’d strongly recommend keeping the game open in one window and then copy/pasting each system name into your Navigation menu. Come up with a list of the closest locations and make a plan to jump there. But here’s our next problem: How do I get there? Odds are, you won’t be able to get there in a single jump and a series of jumps via plotting a course may not be successful either. Here’s where you first dip your toes into mining, with Metal Rich rings.
So what’s the difference between Metal Rich and Metallic? Essentially Metal Rich won’t have some of the most valuable metals and minerals, including Palladium, Platinum and Gold. While this will have an impact on your income, you can think about those higher end metals as mining “End Game.” You can’t or won’t be able to necessarily start with them, but after some initial foundation is laid, you’ll be off mining the rarer metals till your hearts content.
You’re going to want to start in a Metal Rich environment unless a Metallic ring is close by. Take a look at your system maps for your local area and try and spot a gas giant with some rings; take a look at the planet and see if it houses a Metal Rich environment in at least Common or better. Initially, you’ll want to focus on SBIG, Silver, Bertrandite, Indium and Gallite, in order of most expensive to least. All should be between 2000-3000 credits per full bar of ore, Silver being worth approximately double. Assuming you’ve found a Metal Rich ring that’s at least Major Reserves, you should be able to pull down about 40-50k credits an hour. Each run, depending on your speed, taking you about 20-30 minutes. After an hour of mining, you should have no troubles upgrading your refinery to a two hopper unit and upgrading your power distributor. Don’t be too hesitant to dump money into upgrades even if you’re not planning to keep your ship, as you can sell them back and recover all credits spent. A few runs afforded me an upgrade to a Hauler and with my new found ability to jump greater distances, make it all the way to a Pristine Metallic ring.
As for asteroid belts around stars? I’d recommend ignoring them altogether. Most of the time, you’re going to need to spot them via a discovery scanner, which will be taking up a valuable spot that could otherwise be used for cargo. Moreover, the avocado belts I see around stars tend to be very sparse and spread out. You’ll spend a lot of time cruising between about ten different asteroids and not turning up a whole lot of ore.
What to mine
So now that you’ve made it out to the Pristine Metallic ring, you’re only going to focus on Palladium, Platinum and Gold, right? Well, yes and no. Focusing exclusively on the more expensive ores is going to net you quite a bit of profit, but unfortunately, it’s going to make your life very painful. The reason being is since you’ve come into some money, you’re probably going to be able to carry more cargo, which is going to make your mining take a lot longer to fill your hold. If you focus on finding only the above three materials, you’re going to be spending either a lot of time looking for one with a solid percentage (15%+) or suffer the tedium of picking up a lot of small shards. This, in turn will make your mining on the whole, less productive and more risky.
So what do you want to focus on here? Rather than mining exclusively rare metals, pick-up the stuff you were mining before as well, it isn’t beneath you. You’ll find you might only be coming home with a few bars of Palladium and a spot of Platinum and Gold here and there, but you’ll be hauling in 15+ bars of the cheap stuff to supplant the more expensive. With this method, you’ll easily be pulling in about 250-300k credits for each 45 minute to an hour run. Each trip will net you less than if you’d been pulling in Palladium and Platinum, but your overall net will be far greater.
Resource Extraction Sites
Avoid these. There isn’t any tangible benefit to going there, as they don’t necessarily have any better resources than anywhere else in the ring. Moreover, pirates like to use RES as a good place to stop and locate miners; so drop out of supercruise anywhere in a ring but the RES.
Depending on your lasers (as you get better lasers, you’ll chip off more fragments faster) and skill level at picking up your chunks, you’re going to want to lase off about 4-5 chunks at a time. Give them about 20-30 seconds to come to a proper stop next to your asteroid and ensure they aren’t just hanging out near it, waiting to get whacked off in some random direction. There’s nothing you can do about that anyway, so just let them go and pick them up when they wander off.
I find the most efficient way to scoop is to simply throw your ship into reverse and align yourself so that the belly of your ship is facing the asteroid–If your chips are in close to their mother, this will help you avoid being ravaged by any nearby avocados–and then head towards your chips, making sure not to go so fast as to miss them completely or misalign yourself and knock them off into space. Once you’ve hoovered up the first chip, back-up and do it again. Think of yourself like a bulldozer when you’re scooping up your chips and things should start coming in efficiently and quickly. It’s much easier to backup and make minor adjustments than it is to use your thrusters to slowly turn around on your next piece.
Maintaining your Avocado
Most times, you’ll be focused on scooping your fragments and then ready to begin mining again only to discover that the asteroid you’re now hitting is different and not the one you were on. Suddenly, everything is lost in a sea of avocados.
To this, I have one rule that’s helped me maintain which asteroid I’m on and that is: How big is the one I’m currently looking at?
Avocado fields are large, confusing and look much the same wherever you look; it’s very easy to get turned around and lose the asteroid you were working on. Before you take off, thinking your asteroid is some distance away from you now, keep looking around. Take the time to use only your thrusters and turn your ship in different directions, keeping an eye on your radar. Your asteroid is closer than you think and should take up your entire view when you’re looking at it. It will also appear on your radar, helping you identify its location.
Edit: As pointed out in the comments: Your avocado will also have burn marks from your lasering, making it slightly easier to pick out of the crowd.
I find I’m less likely to be attacked by pirates than I am to be humped to death by an avocado that snuck up on me or to smash directly into the station I’m trying to land in. Shields save lives and on some ships, you’re really only giving up a small amount of cargo space to insure that you won’t die by your own hand. If you feel confident that you won’t be smashing into too many things, go for the extra cargo space. For me, I prefer to use a shield, since the extra two cargo slots I can have equate to less than my repair cost after I’ve had a brush with an angry avocado.
If you have any suggestions, please comment on this and we can start adding them to this list.
The Bulletin Board
Before you set out, make sure to check the bulletin board at your local station. Extraction missions for the station will usually net you 4-5k per bar for cheap ore.
Choosing Your Ore
Generally, my simple rule of thumb is the following:
Palladium, Platinum and Gold – Pick these up if they’re above 15%
Silver – Pick this up if it’s above 20%
Bertrandite, Indium and Gallite – Only pick these up if they’re 30% or better
Sometimes you’ll find veins of the cheaper stuff that’s sporting between 50-70%. These are great for filling up your cargo hold and back to market quicker.
- Metal Rich is a fine place to mine for your first 200k credits.
- Be a patient scooper.