Mining Essay

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Professions: The Miner
The Miner, by Basara, April 2009 (Updated January 2010)

The way of the miner is potentially one of the most profitable professions in Ultima Online.

Not only is it a means of supplying one’s own Blacksmith with raw materials, it can also be used to make gold from selling ingots to others, or donating ingots to the Britain Library Collection to get Talismans for resale. While mining may seem a rather boring method of play, it does have its own exciting elements, depending on where and how you mine.

Becoming a miner:

The path one takes to become a miner depends on the type of miner you wish to have. There are several basic types of miner:

  • A Crafter (Blacksmith and other skills), who mines his own ore, sand & stone.
  • A Dedicated Miner who does not craft, but instead sell his wares and/or donates them to the Library Collection. This can be someone who specializes in Mining only, or is a general Resource Gatherer that also collects leather & wood.
  • An “Extreme Miner”, that can be either of the above types, but is designed from the outset as a combatant that mines. This can be either an anti-PK miner (one that can mine in Felucca and potentially kill those who would attack miners), an Elemental Hunter (who digs with gargoyle pickaxes to bring up ore elementals to kill for additional ore) or a hybrid of both.

Unless you are playing on Siege Perilous (where the city does not exist), all these paths will pass through New Haven at some time.

A Crafter can start their character as either a standard Blacksmith template, or as an Advanced character. Generally, it’s best to use the Stygian Abyss Enhanced client, as it currently gives greater options for the characters than the “Classic”/2D client.

Differences in Template options:

Templates
Template Client Stats (S/D/I) Skill 1 Skill 2 Skill 3 Skill 4
Blacksmith 2D 60/10/10 Mining 30 Tinker 30 Smith 30 N.A.
Blacksmith SA 60/15/15 Mining 30 Tinker 30 Smith 30 Tailor 30
Advanced 2D 50/10/20 * 50 Mining 49 Smith 2 N.A.
Advanced SA 60/10/20 * 50 * 50 Mining 19 Smith 1

A. If starting fresh on a new shard, or if you’ve never played a crafter before, the Standard Blacksmith started with the Stygian Abyss client is your best move, as it is the most gold efficient.

B. If you have access to the gold to buy up all the quest-supported skills, then the Advanced method is probably your best route.

* For a multi-purpose crafter, it is advised that you put 50 points into one of the crafting skills with no New Haven quest (Tailor, Carpenter, Fletching or Alchemy are common choices), as your first choice. For the second choice, it depends on your client of choice; if in 2D, you’d only put 49 points into the second skill. But, in SA, you’d either put 50 points into another non-quest skill, or 49 points in a quest-eligible skill (to get the quest reward) such as Magery or Chivalry. In any case, you will start with the tools for every skill you put at least 1 point in.

Why these? Magery & Chivalry are recommended for purchases because they can be trained with Accelerated Gain quests in New Haven, have a travel spell (Recall for Magery, Sacred Journey for Chivalry), and the ability to cure poison & heal wounds. Magery can be more useful for a carpenter, down the road (as some items require Magery to make), while Chivalry’s advantage is that it uses gold donated to the shrines to power it, instead of requiring the character to carry reagents or make a special suit to replace reagents. If you aren’t going to be a carpenter, I recommend Chivalry, since you’ll want the extra room in your pack for more ore (and you can always go back and buy Magery and take its quest, later).

A Dedicated (pure) Miner will create the character for its non-mining skills (typically a combat or spellcrafter template, either standard or advanced), and, if advanced, put 1 point into mining for the free tools, and buying it up the rest of the way before taking the accelerated gain quests. A Resource Gatherer will go the Advanced option (preferably in SA), and have Lumberjack as one of the 50 point skills, their travel skill as the other major skill, and at least 1 point in Mining (buying the rest up). If you intend to gather leather with the character, you will buy combat skills and use the New Haven quests to train them.

Extreme Miners will create their combat character using one of the standard templates, then add mining using the gold they will take in from their kills in the Old Haven area that gives accelerated gains for most of their combat template skills. Or, they will be an existing character with much more complete combat skills, that will go to New Haven to add Mining.

The Mining (and related) Accelerated Skill Gain Quests:

The first thing you will do in New Haven, before accepting any quests, is to take what gold you have (for new characters, this is 1000 gold, plus any looted from kills in the SA new character tutorial), and going around to the various NPCs to purchase skill training. Note that, after getting past the Dark Knight in the SA new character quest, you can go ahead and switch back to 2D if more comfortable with it. This is done by clicking on the NPC, and choosing the skills you wish to train, one at a time. The NPC will state how much gold you will need to spend, which you then drop that amount on them. Then, you pick the next skill you wish to train (from the same or a different NPC), repeating the process as needed. Now, dump all remaining gold into your bank box (by saying “bank” at the bank), plus any other gear you won’t be needing immediately. Typically, you’ll only need to keep your pickaxes and (if you have one) a tinker’s tool. Most skills one can buy in New Haven can be trained to 33.3 or 40.0 from NPCs. This Atlas Page has pictures and coordinates for the various New Haven Quest locations.

Now, go to the “instructor” NPCs for the skills you want, and accept the quests. Most combat-usable skills have their “accelerated gain area” in the ruins of old Haven. Crafting skills typically have their training area in the building where the skill instructors reside. The Mining instructor, however, is located along the coast of the former lake, now bay, where it runs into the mountains, on the west side of the bay. His name is Jacob, and he will want you to mine the nearby valleys in the mountain.

You mine by clicking on your pickaxe (can be in pack or in hand, but if you have one in hand you MUST use the one in hand), then targeting the rock to mine from. Only successful digs will take uses off your pickaxe. When there is no more ore to mine, shift your location to find a new vein. Ore spawns in an unseen grid of 8×8-step “resource squares”, so it might be able to mine an adjoining area without moving, but other times you will have to move several steps to find more ore.

Ore you mine will automatically appear in piles in your backpack. However, you must take care not to go overweight, as this will leave you unable to move. Plus, if you exceed your 550 stone capacity for your backpack, the ore you mine will be lost. If you do find yourself overweight, you can put the amount of ore over your carrying capacity on the ground, and “leapfrog” it to a forge, by stepping to the side of it closest to the forge, picking it up, then dropping it on your opposite side, over and over. You can also buy a pack horse or pack llama at the stables, that can carry 133 large ore in their pack. (More on pets, later).

Once you are at your weight limit (which will go up as you train), go to the forge near Jacob and the other two NPCs. Now, split off one large or medium ore at a time (in SA, this requires holding down the shift button as you pull off the pile, the exact opposite of the 2D method), double click that single ore, then target the forge. Either the ore will turn into ingots, or will be reduced to half as much ore (or no ore at all). If reduced, try smelting the remaining ore again. Smelting failures will be more common than successes until you reach 50 skill, but each attempt is a chance for skill gain (and each gain can give up to 0.5 skill, while taking part in the mining quest), which is why you do not want to smelt more than one large or medium ore, or 2 small ore, at a time.

Standard pickaxes & shovels are only good for 50 uses (100 if made by a grandmaster Tinker). You can use your ingots to make new ones with tinkering skill (shovels weigh less, but both use the same number of ingots), or you can use the quest from Mugg (who stands by the forge) to trade 5 large ore for several more pickaxes. (To mark the ore as quest items, click yourself to bring up your context menu, and select the option to mark as a quest item, target the ore, then hit the ESC key to get rid of the cursor).

Once you get Mining (or any other skill that has an active quest) to 50 or greater, return to the Instructor that gave the quest, click on them, and accept your reward. For Mining, it’s an indestructible pickaxe that has 20 uses before requiring downtime to recharge, that gives an additional +10 mining when held (to a maximum of being temporarily raised to 100). As such, it is best used when you are smelting ore (and then only if you want the ore more badly than you want skill gains).

Mining, after New Haven:

Once you are done with New Haven and its quests, you will be ready to seek out other venues for mining. While any place with exposed rock will work (including cave floors), you will probably want to avoid areas with hostile monsters or hostile people (Felucca), until your skills are near completion. There are even exposed rock outcrops in many grass/forest areas, but these may not be visable in the Stygian Abyss client (but can still be mined using Target by Resource mining). Typically, though, the safer places to mine are typically the ones with the most competition. Examples of safe places for the no longer new, but still training, Miner, are as follows:

Trammel:

Minoc: The Mines east of town, and rock outcroppings in/near town. The mountains to the north and south of town are also good, but there are occasional monsters to be found (especially to the south).

Cove: This city has lots of exposed rock in and around it, but is as close to being in the “boonies” of Sosaria as any city in the main lands, having no moongate (the only other cities without gates are on islands, or are limited in access due to location in hidden parts of the map)

Delucia: This city in the “Lost Lands” has lots of exposed rock facings – it’s just very remote for most training miners (requiring someone to give you a rune to get there, or to make your way through tunnels).

Felucca:

Cove, and the Minoc mines are options (but be prepared to run to the edge of the guard zone if a PK threatens), as is Delucia in the “Lost Lands”. However, there is typically a lot of (potentially hostile) competition for these locations (due to Felucca’s bonus resources – see below), and worse yet, Delucia can only be reached via the underground passages, in its Felucca incarnation.

Ilshenar:

Probably the least-mined area, due to there being no travel into the facet except by the permanent gates (you can recall back out, however), but there is a stretch from the Sacrifice moongate east, all the way to (and a bit past) the Spirituality moongate, that is completely safe for persons of non-evil alignment. There are even forges for smelting in the Meer town, as well as in a ruin at the Spirituality end of the run (go past the small ruin, and you’re likely to run into minor undead). North of the Meer town, there are additional excellent mining faces (just don’t go too close to the ratmen that are to the west of the town, and don’t go past the server border along the road to the northwest). There is also a huge empty cavern near Spirituality, originally meant as a dungeon for an earlier expansion, but left abandoned until it was made the entry point for the Twisted Weald in Mondain’s Legacy. The cave itself has no naturally occurring spawn, and lots of places to mine. It is also a good place to experiment with Gargoyle’s Pickaxes, once you reach the skill to use them to full effect, as any elemental you dig up cannot chase you outside.

One of the most overlooked features of mining that region of Ilshenar is that most of the locals are “blue” and will attack any monster that would normally attack other creatures. So, if a brigand, ratman, undead or dire wolf (or even an elemental conjured by use of a Gargoyle’s Pickaxe) comes after you, if you can retreat into a group of meer, pixies, ki-rin or unicorns, the blue creatures will attack the non-blue attacking you.

Malas:

As long as you stay clear of the woods (which have monsters in them), the mountainsides near Luna and Umbra are good mining areas, and there are several mining caves in the mountains. The desert areas bounding mountains are a bit more dangerous, but only for the rare sand vortex (or if you get too close to the Pyramid and its undead). There are a series of mining caves in the crumbling mountains between the two cities, that have an orc camp at the Umbra end of the network. There are additional orc groups in the mountain passes and frozen areas of Luna’s mountains, but once you know their static locations they are fairly easy to avoid.

Another, not so obvious, mining area is Umbra itself. The entire inner rim of the “moat” around the city can be mined, as can much of the outer rim (but it’s best to avoid the outer rim where it borders the Corrupted Forest).

Tokuno:

Plenty of areas where one can mine, but nearly all of them are loaded with spawn too dangerous to be worth the risk. The mountains on Makoto-Jima (north of the city of Zento) are probably the safest, as long as you stay out of the desert, but even the desert side isn’t too dangerous to the miner (more a threat to one’s pack animals). But, avoid the other two islands like the plague.

Ter Mur:

The land of the Gargoyles, it has many safe areas to mine, as well as many not-so-safe areas. It also has the bonus of allowing the Imbuing skill ingredient “Crystalline Blackrock” to be mined as a side-effect of the normal mining process.

Conclusion: The best thing to do, keeping these locations in mind, is to set up a home in Trammel or Malas, or maybe in some little-traveled area of Felucca that has local mining spots. If you mine Ter Mur, Ilshenar or Tokuno, recall with your goods to your home (or a bank) to stow them away on a regular basis, or be sure to take a Bag of Sending.

 

Mining Techniques:

This is divided into two categories – tool use and ore collection strategy.

Tool Use:

Tool use is a little more complicated than one would think at first glance. First of all, there are multiple strategies to even swinging the tools.

One can -

  1. Swing a tool manually (either one in your pack or in your hand, but you MUST use the one in hand if one is held)
  2. Set a macro to swing a tool (the two-line macro in UO 2D client options of “last object / last target” UO macro will allow you to hit a spot repeatedly after one manual swing)
  3. Set a macro to use multiple tools on your last target spot; this can be done easiest with the UO Assist 3rd party add-on (one of the few legal add-ons authorized by EA). One of the reasons for going for multiple tools, is that each tool has a specific timer between uses, and one can get in more swings per minute using multiple tools, rather than just one.
  4. Set up a “Target By Resource” macro in Stygian Abyss Enhanced to mine all areas within reach – and doing two or more tools in the macro will have it work quicker, as in #3.

Note that in the cases of both #3 & #4, when a tool runs out, you have to modify the macro to replace the used up tool with a new one (if you cannot figure out how to do this on your own, ask on the UO Player’s Corner or Stygian Abyss Stratics forums, respectively).

Then, there are the special tools that alter the ore type. The Prospector’s Tool will alter the ore type one step up, but is difficult to use reliably with the Target by Resource macro, as one has to manually target each area with the tool, that the macro will hit – and the macro can target areas that a player would find difficult or impossible to target normally. More on the Prospector’s tool later.

The Gargoyle’s Pickaxe also raises the ore type one type, but as used instead of as a pre-mining preparation. However, in using it, you stand the risk of bringing up an ore elemental that will attack you. It can be used in any of the macros above, without issue, though having it bring up multiple elementals during a single macro can be hazardous to the health of the miner. The Gargoyle’s Pickaxe will also be described in more detail later in this essay.

Collection Strategies:

Deciding what methods are right for you.

All these methods have advantages and disadvantages, and its up to you to decide which you are going to use. With pack horses, boat mining or strip mining you should be getting over 2000 ingots an hour, even in Trammel, once you have settled into a method. Mining methods using a Fire Beetle can achieve in even higher numbers. It depends on your additional skills and play style to what method you should use. The changes of the last few years has cause many of the old methods to blur together, and radically altered the rest (including rendering some totally moot).

I. Recall Mining with Bonded Pets (especially the Fire Beetle, for Recall Mining 3.0)

For most of modern UO history (going back to the introduction of rune books), this was the preferred method of mining, until 2007. Recall mining (with or without a pack animal – pack animals became a staple when pets gained the ability to bond) became so common, that many miners gave up mining when the Ore Randomization changes occurred, having used it for so long, they’d forgotten all other methods.

A Historical Look at Recall Mining, Prior to the 2007 Ore Changes

Rather than running back to a forge, which might be some distance, when you are loaded up, you would recall to a forge and smelt and recall back to that mining spot’s rune (or the next in your mining pattern) and continue. It was good for gaining skill as you were always moving, and for finding ore, up a mountain side. However the cost of constant recalling was a downside – then along came Chivalry, and the ability to sacred journey a lot cheaper than recall. Still, you needed to have some magery (or a cooperative Mage friend) to help you mark the runes you needed for a typical ore rune set, as described below.

The real power of this method was the gathering of colored ore of one specific (and high) color for miners of high skill (95+). Basic requirement was a set of runebooks. Miners would fill one or more runebooks with runes for each color. You would recall to the first spot, mine it empty, drop the iron ore and recall to the next. When your pack was fully loaded, recall home and either smelt it or store for a later smelt. In some Trammel locations, one could even find public houses along the hillsides to smelt your ore. And, if you could keep your pack horse and/or blue beetle out of trouble, they could go along for the ride if bonded.

Then came the fire beetle, and the second incarnation of this method. Now, one could then smelt as you went, able to stay out longer before recalling home, and even being able to keep the iron as well as the colored ingots.

But, with Publish 46, this all came apart, as the ore location randomization was finally implemented.

With one fell swoop, this method became obsolete, as every time you mined a spot, you could change its type. Within a week, nearly every marked Gold and Valorite spot had changed. The lamentations of the recall miners filled the air. But, some of us took heart, for as bad as we were hit, the poor lumberjacks were totally destroyed by the change.

And, that’s when some of us realized – while the ores were changing, they were still putting out colored ore in the same ratios as they did before, just a different color (well, if they’d changed to iron, we had to use a Prospector’s tool first). Over the years, many people reduced their runes to only their best producing sites, and now that would pay off. While the ore was random, the sites were still good producers – and like a box of chocolates, you never knew what you’d get until you dug in. The Recall Method in its old forms, is dead. Recall Mining 3.0 lives; long live the king.

Essentially, the current version of Recall Mining involves taking your most productive (in terms of ore output and average percentage of colored ore) runes, be they new or from the old books, and recalling with a fire beetle, to smelt on the spot. Return home to unload when you get to the point where you start losing ore from a full pack. If may take longer to get more of a specific ore, but you’re bound to come back with a lot of colored ingots (especially if you’re a “Combat miner” – see below).

II. Boat Mining

Boat Mining refers to mining while on a boat. This is done by sailing out on a boat to places you can mine without having to leave the Boat, and then moving the boat up or down the cliff face and keep on mining, storing the ore on your deck. When you are done you would sail to a forge to smelt. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to this method. The advantage is you can mine large amounts and it is very difficult to steal. (but not impossible! see below)

However mining these large amounts take time. The main disadvantage lies in the places where you can boat mine, The most popular place is the seaward side of the North Minoc Mines. This is a large stretch of mountain side where the patches are quite large. A lot of people mine here and also leave many boats blocking the higher ores (this is against the rules of UO and GM’s often go and sink the boats) making it hard to sail around them because your up against the server line.

The few other places where it is possible to boat mine are the Cove cliffs, but there’s not much ore there, or in T2A (aka “the Lost Lands”). T2A has a lot of sea cliffs, but a lack of seaside forges, so bring a fire beetle. In the old days before Samurai Empire introduced the Fire Beetle, one often had to gate to a stable, grab pack animals, and run back through the gate before it fell (as one can gate FROM a boat, but not TO one), in order to unload the boat. Now, of course, you can just ride a Fire Beetle to the boat (even use it to guard you from water elementals), or go fetch it when time to smelt the metal, bringing the forge to the ore instead of the ore to the forge.

Dangers of boat mining are pirates (aka PvPers in Felucca), ore thieves, decay and a few water based monsters. If in Trammel you do not have to worry about pirates. But ore thieves operate on both facets! Since you tend to carry a lot of ore on your boat the reward for successful thieves is very high. Regardless of the size of your boat, on the open sea there is NO safe spot for ore. Decay can also be a problem, While your ore is on the ground (and the boat deck counts as “on the ground”) it is subject to normal item decay. With a Fire Beetle, of course, one can end up storing up to 4000 ingots in the boat hold, but one best make sure to keep your boat from decaying.

III. Strip Mining (Past and Present)

Originally, was the most dangerous and fastest way of Mining. To get top speeds you needed to leave a lot of ore on the ground, often out of your sight. For instance, when using this method, one could have over 1000 large ore on the ground in various piles, and often in different mines. Ore thieves are the main danger, especially casual ones that just happen to see your ore and no one around. They will take your ore and you have a hard time beating them to the forge or getting it back. Even if it is only a small pile in general, an ore thief will spend more time trying to get that pile of 100 ore than it would take him to mine it (5min).

Move to the present… Now, there is the fire beetle, and the only time one needs to strip mine the old fashioned way, it is leaving the iron behind, to hopefully come back for after they have all their colored ore.

For the method itself, it can be used for both cave and mountain side mining, but cave strip mining will yield far better results. The idea behind strip mining is to mine as much as fast as possible regardless of the dangers. So to this end here is what a strip miner will do: A Strip miner will have a few favorite caves and at certain times of the day will strip mine them, i.e. mine them dry in as fast and optimized a way as possible. He will have a route through the cave to get to every ore spawn point in the cave(s) with as few time consuming movements as possible. If in medium sized caves he will recall to other caves as part of route. He will also know how many shovels are needed to mine all that and have that number or more ready.

In the old days, the strip miner would place the ore on the ground at his or her feet (And UOAssist will move all ore of that type and size to that pile as you mine, as long as it is within range, after the first pile) when a patch is mined, then move on to the next patch. The modern strip miner will simply smelt the colored ore on a fire beetle, and leave the iron behind, to possibly return for after getting the colored ore home. One can also use the “hidden pouch” trick described in “Run Mining” below.

When a strip miner has finished a spawn (reminder: spawn is about every 20 minutes, and in that time you can “strip” several caves), he will make/get more shovels and start again at the beginning of his route. After a few times you learn which caves to mine in which order, so that waiting for respawn is reduced to a minimum or not even required. After a certain time of mining, or when your nerves give out for having so much ore lying around, a strip miner would gather up the ore (drag it together in all the caves visited) and smelt it.

The old method required getting the ore to a forge by gate, packys, or just walking it (see the next section) to a nearby forge. The modern, fire beetle, version, only has to do this for the iron, at the end of the hunt, and is effectively bringing the forge to the ore.

The advantages of strip mining is that you don’t waste any time. Persons managed to get 5000 ingots per hour on a high speed connection, at an off time and with no ore stolen; and that was before fire beetles. The major disadvantage is of course the risk of ore thieves (which the fire beetle minimizes for colored ore). In Felucca, though, also be prepared to fight for your ore if you spot another character, as they will likely try to kill you and take your ingots.

The rules of mining (in a later section) are a bit blurry for strip miners. As a rule all their ore is covered by the mining code (they mined it so it is their own), but in many ways they are abandoning it. So, when dealing with an apparent strip miner, if you come to the cave of a strip miner: leave it alone for the time being. If you’re the strip miner, and someone is already in your cave, come back later.

IV. Dragging/Leap-frogging:

This is often used alongside the other methods, it’s not a mining method as such but a way of moving large amounts of ore in emergencies. Once you have a pile of ore too heavy to carry in your backpack, you can place it on the floor. If you then stand in front of it, and pick it up again, you can’t move more than maybe one step at the most. This one step will drain all your stamina. Have a look at your weight on your character statistics while holding a large pile of ore: it will be horribly high, as even 100 large ore weigh 1200 stones already. But what you can do is place the pile down in front of you, while not actually moving yourself. With a reach of 2 tiles all around you (in all 8 directions) you can effectively move it up to 4 tiles at a time. You can do this with any amount of ore and for any distance. All it takes is some practice: pick the ore up, drop it off 2 tiles away, now move 4 tiles forward, pick the ore up again, … etc. Experienced Leap-Froggers can reach near to normal walking speed with this method. The only thing that will stop you is a server line.

There is a certain danger, though. While your ore is on the ground it can also be stolen by someone walking by. Since this is for him just a picking-up operation, he will not even be flagged as a criminal for the theft. On the Felucca facet, however, you can choose to defend your ore, by attacking the thief. But beware the consequence, as this will flag YOU as the attacker (you will go grey) and it is YOU that gets the murder count if the ore thief dies. On other facets, there’s nothing you can do. There is one basic precaution: while a pile of ore is picked up (held in hand) it cannot be seen by other players. So whenever someone approaches pick up your pile of ore and hold it until all is clear. This will of course only work for one pile of ore But leapfrogging more than one pile is a pain anyway, and a waste of time as well.

Note: While you are holding a large pile of ore you can NOT move more than a few steps, due to being overweight. This is a huge disadvantage in Felucca or Siege Perilous shard, where you thus become a sitting duck for any PK that strolls by. Your only chance of survival as a leapfrog miner in Felucca would be to have high hiding skill. When hidden you can still pick up your ore pile and thus both you and the ore pile become invisible. Now hold your breath and pray that the PK does not find you.

V. Run Mining / Pouch Mining

Often used in conjunction with Leap-frogging, this of course is one the slowest, and typically done as an expedient (for a quick few ore for a BOD, etc.) when you don’t have a fire beetle. The pouch variant described below can however speed it up considerably. The name of the game in this method is never ever put the ore down. You mine – run – smelt, mine – run – smelt, always running to a forge and smelting when you can not carry anymore. With all the running you don’t mine that much, though. The efficiency of this method depends on the distance between where you mine and where the nearest forge is. Do not forget that many player owned houses have publicly accessible forges. Normal run mining with a forge close by and with not too much competition can produce 1000 to 1500 ingots per hour.

Typically, this method is used by persons who can mine areas adjacent to their house, or adjacent to a smithy (for example, many a young smith started out in the Age of Shadows era, Run-Mining the interior edges of Umbra’s moat, bringing the ore to the Umbra smithy). To maximize the ingot production, you’re best doing this naked wearing no clothes and putting any un-needed items in the bank, so weigh as little as possible. The only things you should have on you are a shovel, tinkers kit, whatever ingots you have smelted already, as well as your runebook. Tinkering is a great help with this method, because to stay as light as possible you should not burden yourself with more than 1 shovel.

This method is used on both facets, but on Felucca it can be a dangerous method because anyone who sees you doing it will know you are carrying ingots. But if you manage to run or recall away you don’t lose anything. You are a clear target for thieves and PKs who can’t mine.

A sub-method (modification) which is sometimes used with this method when done away from bank access is the “hidden pouch”. You hide a pouch somewhere where it can’t be seen except with circle of transparency. If you use the real “a pouch”, which is the smallest bag available, you can even find plants that will cover it no one else will notice it. Whenever you smelt your ingots place them in the pouch, when finished grab the ingots and recall out. If you can’t tinker shovels (or you don’t want to waste mining time tinkering shovels), you can also keep a supply of shovels in the hidden pouch. This very effectively protects your ingots against thieves and PKs (if you die you don’t lose the ingots), but stands the risk of the pouch being found either by mistake or by someone watching you hide it. In Felucca you should even keep some ingots on yourself, so that a PK or a thief doesn’t go looking for the pouch when they kill/steal from you and get no ingots.

VI. Combat Mining (aka Extreme Mining)

Combat Mining is sort of the Extreme Sport of the Mining community. It is centered around a simple set of premises:

  • Gargoyle Pickaxes (when used alone or in conjunction with Prospector Tools) give a tremendous amount of freedom and ore possibilities that cannot be matched by other mining methods
  • The Elementals that spawn from the use of the Gargoyle Pickaxes are fairly easy to kill with warriors, and also can carry on all facets, Crystalline Blackrock as additional loot (not just Ter Mur).
  • With suitable armor and the high health associated with the typical high strength of miners, a Miner/Warrior should be able to easily kill any such elemental that dares attack them, without even pausing their mining stroke.
  • Of course, if one doesn’t have to stop mining, that means that the 25 ore in each ore elemental is a bonus over and above any normal mining gains for your chosen method from above. See the sections on Ore Elementals, and on the Prospector Tool & Gargoyle Pickaxe, for more information of these parts of the combat miner’s methods.

What it really boils down to, is that these are some tough miners – able to kill the ore elementals (some of them mine in Ilshenar, just for the challenge of trying to dig up and kill paragon ore elementals, like the dreaded Paragon Valorite), hold their own against ANY wandering monster in Trammel, Felucca and Malas (and all but the toughest ones in Ilshenar, Tokuno, and in the dungeons of all the facets), and even put some serious pain and greyscreen time into the life of any PK that tries to jump them while Fel mining. During the Candle of Love event, when the Compassion Desert area was overrun by ore elementals, these warriors rode out on their fire beetles, carving a path through the spawn with their elemental slayers, and bringing back tens of thousands of ingots from their kills. Imagine the shame that PKs have to endure, once they are publicly declared to have been killed by a Legendary Smith (you don’t have to mention your legendary weapon skill). If one feels up to the task, this sort of template also allows one to mine the cave-style dungeons (Despise, Shame, Covetous, Destard, Fire, Yomotsu Mines, and more) as well.

The method for this type of miner is simple. Swing once with a normal shovel. Then, use a prospector tool if needed. If you get dull copper, and need dull copper, stay with the normal shovel. Otherwise, start mining with a gargoyle pick, digging up the ores from Shadow Iron to Valorite in much larger quantities than normal miners, before factoring in the haul from the eles. If an ele pops up, cast enemy of one or evasion, and keep digging as you kill it on autodefend (slapping on a bandage or drinking a pot if needed). In one famous event on Lake Austin, my combat miner Lang had FIVE Shadow Iron elementals spawn in a period of 9 Garg pick swings. By the time the third one got its first swing, the first was falling; by the time the fifth came up, the second was dead. A few seconds later, I was surrounded by 5 shadow ele corpses, and was 125 shadow ore better than I was a minute before – I never healed, and never dropped below 50 health.

The only thing that slows these miners down outside Ilshenar are Blackrock eles (they have to run from em, just like everyone else), and those stopped spawning as of Valentine’s Day 2008 (though there are still some event leftovers on most shards in the Lost Lands/T2A desert). Those that mine in Ilshenar for the challenge (not to mention the lack of competition for the ore) also have to deal with both normally occuring paragons (it’s a Paragon Greater Dragon – RUN AWAY!), and the dangers of the Copper & Valorite Paragons, that have their ability to reflect 50% of the damage back to their attacker (requiring attacks be done at a distance, or by jousting techniques).

Ore Types:

There are 9 colors or types of ore listed below in order of difficulty. Iron is the default ore that ones starts mining up a 0 skill. Each ore color afterward requires a specific minimum mining skill before you can find it while mining. Even when mining up another color of ore, some of your take from that color ore vein will be normal Iron ore. I have included rough percentages that the older versions of the FAQ provided of the relative rarities of the different Ore Veins. While relatively accurate, the system of changes in ore veins introduced in Publish 46 (August 2007) makes the actual numbers constantly in flux.

Ore Types
Ore Type Location % Skill to mine* 100% Smelting Chance at Skill…
Iron ~50% 0 Mining Skill* 75 Mining Skill
Dull Copper 11.2% 65 90
Shadow Iron 9.8% 70 95
Copper 8.4% 75 100
Bronze 7.0% 80 105
Gold 5.6% 85 (Theoretical: 110**) 90% at 105 skill
Agapite 4.2% 90 (Theoretical: 115) 80% at 105 skill
Verite 2.8% 95 (Theoretical 120) 70% at 105 skill
Valorite 1.0 to 1.4% 99 (Theoretical 124) 62% at 105 skill

* Iron starts being able to sucessfully smelt at 25 skill, at 0%. Unlike Iron, all colored ores start at 50% to successfully smelt, at the skill level one can start mining it.

** Theoretical levels cannot currently be reached. However, in the past, bugs existed with Gloves of Mining that allowed some characters to go over GM skill (105 with +5 Gloves of Mining)

Note: While the actual fraction of spots being only Iron Ore is not given in the UO Playguide , what is noted is that Valorite is the rarest, Verite (the next highest) is twice as common as Valorite, and so on, down to Dull Copper (the most common colored ore) being 8 times more common than Valorite. If Mining holds true to the same pattern as other skills and resources, then 50% will be iron, and the percentiles above for the other numbers will be accurate to within 0.1%, at least for static veins as existed prior to Publish 46.

If you mine a spot that would normally yield colored ore, but you do not have the skill required to mine that color, you will only get iron out of that spot. So as a beginner, bear in mind that each iron spot might just be a colored that you lack skill for.

When used with the Blacksmithy & Tinker skills to create weapons and armor, the different colors will generate different base properties of the item being created. For instance, Golden Ore will add 40 luck to the item being created, and reduce the minimum Strength needed to use the item.

For a detailed list of the properties generated by the different colors, The skill required to mine the different colors and a whole bunch of other information, please go to either the uo.com Item Properties page. Follow the “Mining” link at the top of this essay (above the title bar) for pictures of each individual ore type, by color. However, the colored ores are typically identified by name when dug up, as well as an identifier tag, if moused over, so it is rare that you will have to identify an ore type by sight.

Ore Locations

Simply, you get the proper skill, and some tools, and dig until you find it. On all the Official Shards, resources are divided up into 8×8 Resource Grids. This means that, if you take 8 steps in a straight line, and you mine the same distance from you in the same direction as before, you will be hitting a different resource area. If you can determine where the corners of these squares are, you can mine 4 different areas from one spot, then move 16 squares in a straight line, and be able to hit 4 new squares. Typically, such movements are only available in a few areas, so most people just mine one spot, walk 8 squares, and mine the next. Knowing how to find the borders is most efficient for target by resource mining with the Stygian Abyss Enhanced client.

In the past, ore types went YEARS without a change, and people built up libraries of rune books for their mining, each rune book filled with 16 runes going to one specific ore type. Some were even made available to the public via rune libraries or sets sold on vendors. However, this made the metals much more common than the game’s developers had intended, and to an extent encouraged certain types of cheating, as well as even selling of bulk ingots for real money!

In Publish 46 (August 2007), ore randomization, which was originally part of the plan for the ores many years ago, was finally put into effect, with a random turnover time many times more rapid than the original plan from long ago. As a result, rune books of specific color veins became worthless within days, if not hours.

In the current system, any place that is capable of producing ore, can eventually change to colored ore, or to iron only, or between colors. Your best bet for getting a specific color of ore is to simply go to an area to mine, and mine until you find it. You will find some, eventually – and there are tools that can change lower ore type veins to higher ones – see the sections on Prospector Tools and Gargoyle Pickaxes.

There are three basic weights and four basic sizes that ore comes in: Small, 2 different types of Medium, and Large.

Ore to Ingot Conversion
Ore Weight Ingots Produced upon Successful Smelt
small ore Two small piles 2 * 2 stones 1 ingot
medium ore 1 ormedium ore 2 One medium pile 7 stones 1 ingot
large ore One large pile 12 stones 2 ingots

Please note that for the different sizes of ore, if you are mining and insist on carrying raw ore around with you, the smallest pile gives you the best ratio for weight to ore! Both medium sizes are a total waste of time and effort, as 2 of them weigh more than the 1 large they are equal to in ingots. You should either convert them to small size or smelt them immediately.

You can convert ore from a larger size to a smaller size, but does not work in the other direction (combining the two medium styles produces the more spread-out graphic of the two). To convert a pile from one size to another, you must double click on one pile of ore and then target a different sized pile. This often will not work for large piles of ore, unless both piles are on the ground.

Ore locations differed in color between facets, and between shards, from the point of their introduction. Other than one early change, though, colored ore locations on each shard’s facets had stayed relatively permanent for five to seven years.

However, with Publish 46, ore veins began to randomize every few days – much sooner if mined often, as there were two triggers put into the system. One trigger has a change chance determined every few days; this chance is low enough that in some cases, some veins in rarely-mined areas lasted 6 months or more before having their first type change. The other chance was based on the frequency of mining. Each visit to a spot to mine, by any miner, has a chance to change the ore type when the vein “refills” from a mining attempt.

Despite rumors otherwise, there is no magical “number” of mining attempts that can be made before triggering this effect; even one dig has the same effect as emptying the vein. This question was answered recently by the developers.

Smelting Weapons & Armor

Smelting Weapons & Armor (either stuff rejected during crafting, or loot pulled off fallen monsters) is an excellent way of keeping your stocks of iron (and other metals you use to craft with) at a decent level, between mining trips. Remember that only items made (or can be made) with the Blacksmith skill can be smelted; tinker-made items currently cannot be smelted.

One needs a Blacksmith-skill crafting tool, and be standing next to a Forge & Anvil, to attempt to smelt such items, BUT…. The actual amount of ingots returned is based on the MINING skill, not the Blacksmith skill, at a rate of 0.66% times your Mining skill.

At GM Mining, one gets 66% of the metal back, rounded down. This means that if something takes 12 ingots to make, you will get 7 back. Why not 8? Because, 8 would be 66.667%, and the result is ALWAYS rounded down. To get 2/3 of your ingots back, you need a minimum of 101.1 total Mining skill.

At 105 Mining (Grandmaster plus wearing the +5 Ringmail Gloves of Mining), one gets back 69.3% of the metal, so one would get 8 ingots back.

The Salvage Bag is a tool for smiths (and tailors) to make such material recycling much easier, introduced in November 2007. It smelts all possible metal items in it at once, by selecting “Salvage Ingots” from its drop-down menu, when clicked. It has the ADDED BONUS of returning ONE EXTRA INGOT PER ITEM, so it is highly recommended that smiths make use of this item.

The Salvage Bag costs a little over 1000 gold from Provisioners, but STILL requires the user have the appropriate tools for the job (blacksmith tool of some sort, and be at a Forge & Anvil). For Tailor recycling (“Salvage Cloth”), one has to have Scissors, and the amount returned is based on Tailoring skill (up to a maximum of half the material at 100 skill).

Special Tools for Mining

Prospector’s Tools (Smith BOD reward, often found dumped on the ground in Blacksmith shops)

These items can be used as a macing weapon (similar to a sledgehammer, but cannot be used as a smithing tool), but their real use is “prospecting” an ore site. Before you can prospect a site, you must use a digging tool (shovel, pickaxe, Gargoyle Pickaxe) once on the target area. Such use does not have to be successful, just break the ground (which means, you can do a “false dig” while mounted, be told you cannot mine while mounted, then use the tool to get the enhancement, to maximize your digging tool usage at the elevated state).

A successful use of the prospector tool means that all colored ore you gain from a site will be one level higher. However, you can only use the tool to elevate a site to an ore type that you can already mine. For example, at 85 mining, you could elevate a bronze site to gold, but not a gold site to agapite. Elevating an Iron site to dull copper becomes possible at 65 Mining (the skill needed to mine DC ore), but only a percentage of the ore will be DC; all other elevations simply replace the usual colored ore with the higher type.

You can only use the prospector’s tool once per site, until the ore respawns, at which time you can use it again on that site. They have 50 charges when new, and that could easily add up to 1000 enhanced ore if used in Felucca, or even the best locations in Trammel, Malas, Tokuno & Ilshenar.

“Error” Messages you can get while mining, using a Prospector’s Tool:

  • Trying to elevate an ore vein to a metal (other than Valorite) that you cannot yet mine: “You sift through the ore, but do not feel confident with the prospects here.”
  • Trying to elevate a Valorite vein (whether you can mine that level of ore or not): “You cannot improve valorite ore through prospecting.” Note that this message supercedes the previous one, so you’ll always know when you’re trying to elevate a natural valorite spot, even if only 65 skill.

Neither of these will use a charge off the tool.

Gargoyle’s Pickaxes (Smith BOD reward, and also found as loot on most Gargoyle types, on about 5-10% of gargoyles killed)

Gargoyle’s pickaxes are magical tools as well. They allow you to mine ore colors one class better than you normally could at a mining site – this includes mining an ore type one could not normally mine yet with your actual mining skill. If used in conjunction with a prospector’s tool, this can allow up to a two-step improvement in ore type (but still at that maximum of one type better than you could with a normal tool). They can be wielded as a weapon, but the smart miner will use them from inside their backpack, and wield an earth elemental slayer in their hand.

Examples: With 83 mining skill -

  • One can get Gold ore from a bronze spot, by using the Gargoyle’s Pickaxe
  • One can get Gold ore from a copper spot, by first elevating the spot with a Prospector’s Tool, then using the Gargoyle’s Pickaxe.

Note that the skill level above could not elevate bronze to gold with the Prospector’s tool, then to Agapite with the Gargoyle’a Pickaxe, as the Prospector’s Tool only works if you can smelt the new type with your current skill. As of Publish 56, you will be able to get dull copper ore from digging an Iron-ore-only site with a Gargoyle’s Pickaxe (but prior to then, it had no effect). As you may not be able to smelt the ore you mine, one must be careful as where to use it (unless you intentionally are stockpiling ore for later use).

Another nice feature of gargoyle’s pickaxes is that they start out with 101 to 125 uses, unlike normal tools (that start out with 50) or exceptionally crafted tools (which have 100 at GM tinkering). Only the “Sturdy Tool” rewards have more uses on production shards, at 150 or 200 when new. And, like all other mining tools, if you fail to dig up a piece of ore, no “uses” are lost.

But as with all things that sound too good to be true, there is also a danger! There is a chance that you will pull up an ore elemental of the color you are extracting, hence the need for a miner with any combat skill to be wielding an Earth Elemental Slayer. All types that spawn from gargoyle’s pickaxe use are susceptible to the standard Earth elemental slayer, or the Elemental super-slayer. These dangerous monsters range from fairly easy (shadow iron & agapite elementals) to very very hard (copper & valorite elementals).

Ore elementals spawn right next to the miner and usually attack him first, though on rare occasions a nearby pack animal or mount will be targeted first. Upon death they carry 25 ore of their color as loot, which is especially rewarding with the valorite elementals. Some miners specifically dig with just gargoyle’s pickaxes, in order to get the elementals.

Note that if you can’t mine the normal ore of a spot (say, using a gargoyle’s pickaxe on an agapite ore spot, while only able to mine bronze), all your ore mined will be iron, but you STILL can end up spawning an elemental of the type that the ore vein would spawn (in this example, a verite elemental). This ability seems to kick in only once the miner gains the ability to dig dull copper normally, as repeated tests with a sub-65 miner (prior to publish 56) resulted in no elementals, while numerous ones spawned for a 65 mining skill miner, mining WAY out of league, and getting only iron and the ore from the elementals to show for it.

Another interesting feature is that you can use a gargoyle’s pickaxe on a Valorite spot, and get valorite elementals (since there is no higher ore type to elevate to). This method, if one can mine valorite, greatly increases your valorite haul.

A guide to the Ore elementals that spawn from the Gargoyle’s Pickaxe can be found below.

Common strategies for the “Smith Reward” tools (Prospectors Tool & Gargoyle’s Pickaxe):

  1. Playing it safe: Using normal tools with the Prospector’s tool only. The only danger are miner-killers in Felucca, and normal monster spawn everywhere.
  2. The Fearless Elemental Hunter: Mines mostly in the “safe” facets, and is typically a warrior (or paladin) with mining. Uses gargoyle’s pickaxes almost exclusively (the only exception is when they HAVE to get Dull Copper ore for some reason), tweaking it with the prospector’s tool as needed for the ore types desired. Typically is armed with a good Earth elemental slayer someone priced really cheap (or made by their own smith), a high-resist suit, and an ample supply of bandages (if they have healing) or mana (for healing spells and special weapons moves).
  3. The PARAGON Elemental Hunter: A variant of the above, it is growing in popularity, thanks to the exploits of the Extreme Miners Hunting Club (XMHC) guild of Lake Austin. These are miners who fit the description of 2. above, but do their mining IN ILSHENAR, purposefully trying to bring up paragon elementals, and the very, very rare ore elemental paragon chests they have the potential to carry. With these types of hunts, it might be advisable to bring along a melee or archer warrior friend (As spells and pets don’t work too well, if at all, on some of the elementals even when normal – let alone as paragons).
  4. The Townie: Similar to #2 above, but with less combat skill. The Townie will typically mine in a guard zone (Umbra, Delucia), and try to kill elementals. But, if the elemental is too tough for them, then they can scream for the guards. They’ll lose the ore, but keep their life.

Gloves of Mining (Smith BOD reward, come in +1, +3 and +5 versions, depending on the BOD turned in)

The one of the most useful additions for Miners are the three types of “Gloves of Mining“, which come as Blacksmith BOD rewards. They come in Leather (+1 skill), Studded Leather (+3 skill) and Ringmail (+5 skill). All of these come in the colors of the 9 ingot types, despite being made of their normal material, and retain that color when enhanced, regardless of the color of the material used to enhance them. The leather gloves do not interfere with meditation, but the other two types prevent meditation when worn. However, for maximum ingot return when smelting crafted/looted items, you need at least the +3 gloves (see below).

These gloves ignore the skill cap for mining (100 skill), increasing the ingot return and (if below 99 skill) allow you to mine ores normally out of your range when worn.

  • For smelting ore, each +1 of the Gloves is a 2% increase to the chance of success.
  • For smelting metal items, each +1 of skill appears to give an additional 0.66% to the ingot return. As the return for Grandmaster Mining is 66%, it requires either the +3 or +5 gloves to reach 66.67%, and get back the most ingots from items made with multiples of 3 ingots. Similarly, the way the numbers factor, one gets one more ingot with the +5 gloves when smelting 25-ingot items (plate tunics, chaos shields, order shields), than with +3 or lower gloves (69.3% vs. 67.97%, with 68% needed).

This is best seen in the use of the +5 gloves, where most items return 69.3% (or whatever whole ingot amount is closest yet less than this precentage). At Grandmaster real skill, There is a 1 ingot difference between +3 & +5 gloves when dealing with items requiring 25 or 28 ingots, which isn’t much an issue. However, there is 1 ingot difference between +1 gloves (or no gloves) & +3/+5 gloves, for most items, as a vast majority of items in the games require a multiple of 3 ingots to make, and 101 mining falls just short of the 66.67% target for 2/3 ingot return.

Note that for the specialized mining tasks of mining stone, sand or gems (described later), one can wear gloves to reach the level required to learn those skills.

Other Items

The next item to aid your ingot conservation (as noted before, if you are a miner/smith) is the Salvage Bag, which returns an extra ingot each time you recycle an item, over and above what ones mining skill would allow.

Another useful tool for the below-Grandmaster miner is the reward from New Haven. Jacob’s Pickaxe is a tool one gets as a result of training mining up to 50 with the New Haven miners quest. It has 20 uses (that regenerate – rate of 1 every five minutes, and does not break at 0, like normal mining tools), and gives +10 mining when held. However, this skill bonus functions like normal bonuses, and cannot put you over 100 skill, by itself. If you need to combine it with the bonus from Gloves of Mining, you must equip the Jacob’s Pickaxe FIRST, then put on the gloves (doing it gloves-first will not go over 100 skill). However, it is a fine accessory, for sub-GM miners, when it comes time to smelt their ore. And, the fact that it is blessed, means the miner is never without a weapon, if they can use it.

Sturdy Shovels and Sturdy Pickaxes are BOD rewards from the Blacksmithy Bulk Order Deed (BOD) System. The advantage to carrying these around are that they have an enhanced number of uses to them over regular or exceptional tools of the same type. Note that these are the uses on a regular shard. Uses are calaculated much differently on Siege Perilous shard.

  • Regular Character-created shovels / pickaxes come with 50 uses.
  • Exceptional Character-created shovels / pickaxes come with 100 uses.
  • Sturdy shovels / pickaxes come from turning in low-end Blacksmith BODs, and randomly have either 150 or 200 uses.
  • All Shovels weigh 5 Stones each.
  • All Pickaxes (including the Gargoyle’s Pickaxes) weigh 11 Stones each.

The Bag of Sending is another useful tool, allowing you to send items to the bank from most locations. While the Bags of Sending were crippled in 2007 in a misguided attempt to reduce gold farming (making it weight based for the amount of charges used), it ended up hurting the resource gatherers (miners and lumberjacks) more than the gold (money) farmers. In 2009, the change was reverted, and gold actually made LIGHTER, to allow people to bring more gold back from hunts (by devaluing gold, it gets rid of “gold for real money” sellers by making it too cheap to be worth doing).

The Bags now, once again, use 1 charge, meaning at most, one can send 45 ore large (540 stones) at once to the bank. That’s not very efficient, and even reducing ore to small ore would only allow 250-270 small ore to be sent back (depending on pack contents. A bag can be used more efficiently, if the miner takes a fire beetle into the field with them. This allows the miner to send thousands of ingots per powder charge to the bank; 5000+ if all of one type.

Another use one might have with a Bag of Sending and ingots, would be to do an “emergency send” of your best ingots to the bank, while being chased by a PK in Felucca. However, under most circumstances, one can gate to a bank, or at least recall or run to one, outside of Ilshenar, Fel T2A and some specific dungeons.

Mining Specializations (Stone, Sand and Gems)

To mine either of the first two of these resources, one must travel to the Gargoyle city Vel Lor Reg, in Central Ilshenar, or Royal City, Ter Mur and purchase the books needed to learn these skills. One must be a Grandmaster Miner (real skill), or be 100 skill in Mining with help from equipment, to read these books.

  • To learn how to mine for stone a GM Miner must read the book “Mining for Quality Stone”. Stone is a Masonry (a Carpentry specialization) resource.
  • To learn how to mine for glass a GM Miner must read the book “Find Glass-Quality Sand”. Sand is a Glassblowing (an Alchemy specialization) resource.

There are two places that sell the Stone Mining books; one in the western end of the city, and one in the south. The Sand Mining book is sold in the shop at the north end of the city. these books cost about 10,000 gold each, as do the books that allow a Grandmaster Carpenter to learn Stoneworking (aka Masonry), and a Grandmaster Alchemist to learn Glassblowing (found in the same shop that sells the books on mining their raw material). The Stone mining book is also available in Ter Mur.

A map of the Ilshenar city, showing the shops, is in the UO Stratics Grand Atlas. The stone masons are in areas 2 & 9. The glassblowers are in shop 16.  The map of Royal City is also found in the Grand Atlas with the location coordinates of the Stone Crafter and Alchemist listed below the map.

The skill Glassblowing can be found Here.

The Masonry skill (sometimes called “Stonecrafting” on Stratics, but Masonry on talismans) can be found Here.

Note that to mine stone, your mining tools have to be set to mine ore and stone (menu brought up by clicking on the tool). If you only wish to mine ore, make sure the tool is set to mine only ore. Once your tool is set that way, every mining tool you use will use that setting, until you change it again.

Mining sand just requires targeting a patch of sand with a mining tool, such as in a desert, on a beach, or even the “sandbox” half-filled with skulls between the bank & inn in Umbra.

Both Sand and Stone became stackable resources in Publish 56 (October 2008), and the weight of stone mined after this point is “1 stone” per stone. Stones mined to this publish they are not stackable. and weigh 10 stones each (and older sand may still be unstackable as well, though it has always weighed 1 stone), and this made mining for them very unattractive, hurting the trades of Glassblowing & Masonry. Crafting with stone (Masonry) is supposed to be a much more important skill in the Stygian Abyss expansion of 2009, and may or may not be expanded to a full skill (currently, it is a specialization of carpentry, much as glassblowing is an expansion of Alchemy, and the mining of stone and sand expansions of Mining).

Mining NORMAL Gems (As opposed to the Mondain’s Legacy special gems that are semi-rare crafting ingredients) was added with the release of Stygian Abyss, and can be done in either client, so long as the account has been upgraded to have access to Stygian Abyss content. This kind of mining functions similarly to the mining of Stone, for setting the tool to mine for the items, and also requires buying and reading the book ‘Mining for Quality Gems’ bought in the Royal City of Ter Mur from the Gargoyle Blacksmith.

 

Ore Elementals

When using the Gargoyles Pickaxe as described in Section 9, there is a chance that you will pull up an ore elemental of the color you are extracting, hence the need for a miner with any combat skill to be wielding an Earth Elemental Slayer. All types that spawn from gargoyle pickaxe use are susceptible to the standard Earth elemental slayer, or the Elemental super-slayer. The Stygian Abyss change to how the Slayer property works makes the Earth Elemental slayer property more valuable, in this regard (triple damage, compared to only double damage from the wider effect Elemental slayer). These dangerous monsters range from fairly easy (shadow iron & verite elementals) to very very hard (valorite elementals).

Ore elementals spawn right next to the miner and usually attack him first, though on rare occasions a nearby pack animal or mount will be targeted first. Upon death they carry 25 ore of their color as loot, which is especially rewarding with the valorite elementals. Some miners specifically dig with just gargoyle pickaxes, in order to get the elementals. They can also have the Crystalline Blackrock Imbuing ingredient on any shard, that is otherwise only available from mining in Ter Mur or as loot from some Abyss monster spawns.

The following list of Elementals are those that are spawned by using the Gargoyles Pickaxe:

Shadow Iron: Immune to magic spells and most pet damage, but a relatively easy melee or archery kill. Also occurs naturally in the Yomotsu Mines of Tokuno.

Copper: 50% Reflect melee damage, 100% Reflect spell damage back to caster – can be tricky to fight without dying.

Bronze: Ranged Gas Attack that can be a pain for those trying to back off and heal. Also does mostly (70%) fire damage, compared to most other’s physical-only attacks.

Gold: Has a very High physical resist (75)

Agapite: Stronger than most ore elementals, but less hitpoints. Special weapons moves are your friend.

Verite: Damage is 50% Physical, 50% energy. Has the rare ability to DESTROY equipment worn by those they fight, regardless of resists. Luckily, this special ability rarely triggers (has happened to me 4 times in 5 years, but two of them were in one night in March 2008), and this ability cannot destroy insured or blessed items (at least, that’s the intent – it might be bugged to allow such items to be affected, rarely – I could have swore the item broken in 2003 was insured)

Valorite: The mother of all elementals. Has the special abilities of the Shadow Iron, Copper, Bronze and Verite elementals (yes, including equipment destruction), the best resists of all elementals(75/60/60/60/50) and the strength of the Agapite elemental, all rolled into one lethal package. Its damage is 25% physical, 25% fire, 25% cold, 25% energy. Hunt these only if you have an archer handy, or a melee type good at “jousting” (running through the target, then away to heal, if necessary). With the reflect combined with a hard hit and possible gas attack, I recommend that you do NOT use damage-increasing special moves (concussion blow, double strike, etc.) on one, as you could well kill yourself. It’s funny when you kill a monster with reflect physical damage from its last attack – it’s not so funny when you’re on the receiving end of such a death.

Blackrock: An event-related elemental that spawn when mining with any tool (not just the GPA) if you had blackrock in your pack, these spawned up until 14 February, 2008, after being introduced in 2006. This creature was an insanely amped up Valorite elemental (about as powerful in relation to a paragon Valorite elemental as Dreadhorn is compared to a paragon Unicorn), black in color, with a constant area effect attack and near-impervious to damage. The only known way to kill one that was ever done successfully more than once, was to have two present, have a legendary Bard discord the first one, then provoke the SECOND blackrock elemental onto the first to kill it. Ironically, while one often got one while trying to mine for blackrock, they didn’t HAVE any on them.

Dull Copper Elementals exist, but only spawn in Compassion desert, Shame Dungeon, The Yomotsu Mines, and the Sorceror’s Dungeon, as monsters, not from Gargoyle Pickaxe use. They carry only 2 large Dull Copper Ore, and are not vulnerable to the Earth Elemental slayer (requiring the Elemental “super” slayer). While Gargoyle Pickaxes to allow one to mine Dull Copper ore, as of Publish 56, they do not, as yet, cause DC elementals to spawn.

Paragon Ore Elementals

When mining in Ilshenar with a Gargoyles Pickaxe, there is the possibility that the Elemental that spawns will be a Paragon! These are especially nasty creatures as all their stats and abilities are greatly enhanced.

For a detailed list of Paragon abilities, please go here: Paragons

The “Miner’s Code” (aka the Unwritten Rules of Mining)

Well, by this time, they are hardly unwritten, anymore.

These are a guide to being a considerate miner, especially to your fellows in the trade.

1. Don’t Steal other Miners Ore. Even if they leave it on the ground, if you find some ore on the ground, ask around even if you don’t see anyone before taking it. There is a chance (if in Fel) that a miner is hiding or stealthing, thinking you are a PK, not a fellow miner. There and elsewhere, they could also be using the “Strip Mining” method, so take a run through the area to see if you find another miner. Wait a half-hour for the spots to respawn (mining yourself if they already have), and if they still haven’t come back for the ore, it’s likely they aren’t coming back. Smelt it, (if you have a beetle), but keep it separate in case they do return, looking for it. One day you might be using the same method and you dont want to see YOUR ore stolen than, do you?

2. Don’t Mine the same resource square as another miner. Mining the same 8×8 area simultaneously is being impolite. Most often, it occurred with the recall-based script miners, but happens much less since the scripters can’t get the same ore every time from a few spots.

3. Don’t deprive Fellow miners of a spare shovel or tinkers Kit. This should extend to one or two, rather than a full supply, but that’s your choice after the first one. Be friendly and generous, one day it might be you who needs something. This rule goes double if the person asking is a fellow guild or alliance member.

4. Don’t EVER leave boats blocking access to ore, ie. boat mining spots. This is not only rude behavior, it is also against UO rules and can lead to your boat being deleted by a game master.

5. If sharing a mining location with a Miner more skilled than yourself, be so kind and ask if there are any preferred spots that you could leave untouched. Not as big an issue with the ore changes, but if a person has been mining a region for a while, and knows the spots with higher ore output, if it currently is outside the range of a sub-GM miner to get the current ore type, they should let a more experienced miner get that ore, if one is present. There are few things worse to a GM Miner than seeing a low level miner mining a Valorite spot (and therefore potentially turning it into iron). In return, expect access to ore spots you can mine, that he will pass over (and offer those to the younger miner, if you’re the one in the position of the better miner).

Mondain’s Legacy and its additions for Miners

Gems

Mondains Legacy added several special resources that are used with recipes by the various other crafters to create special Weapons and Armor, and are also major components for the Imbuing skill of the 2009 Stygian Abyss expansion. All accounts were upgraded, free of charge, to Mondain’s Legacy prior to the relase of Stygian Abyss. There were six mining gems originally, plus two from use of other skills. A seventh mining gem was added in Stygian Abyss.

  • Blue Diamond (called “a flawless diamond” by the message you get when you dig one up)
  • Fire Ruby
  • Perfect Emerald
  • Dark Sapphire
  • Turquoise
  • Ecru Citrine
  • *Crystalline Blackrock was added in 2009, and occurs in the same manner as the above six gems – but only in Ter Mur.*
  • Two more gems are produced by skills other than Mining
    The “White Pearl” is gathered from Fishing.The “Brilliant Amber” is gathered from Lumberjacking.

GEM NOTES:

  1. You MUST be a GM Miner to get the mining Gems. (Note: You can be at 95.0 or greater and put on mining gloves to raise your skill to 100 or above and you can still get gems. The check for Gems involves your total skill, not your base skill.)
  2. You can get gems with your tool set to “Ore”, or “Ore and Stone”. Either one, it doesn’t matter, though some people cling to their superstitions.
  3. You can get Gems from Cave Floors, Mountain Sides, and EVERY place one can mine for ore.
  4. Ore type does not affect the Gem Type. You can get a Blue Diamond from a Iron spot, or any other kind of Gem from an Iron spot, just as you can get any kind of gem from a Valorite spot also.
  5. Gem spots are not fixed! If you find a Blue Diamond from a specific Ore Spot, and come back later, you may pull a Fire Ruby next time. Gems are random in this regard. There is, however, some ancedotal evidence that some 8×8 resource squares may have a slightly higher chance of a gem, much like how some consistantly produce 70%+ colored ore, when others produce a much lower amount consistantly (and the percentages stay the same even when the ore type changes). This is a question that needs to be answered by the Devs.
  6. Luck does not help or hinder Gem finding! Gems are about equally common. However, the streakiness of the random number generator makes it likely that you will get considerably more of one or two gem types in a single long mining session, than the rest.

New Forge & Anvil

While the Anvil is more Blacksmithy related, there is a new Elven Stone Anvil and Elven Forge available with Mondain’s Legacy. Both items hold the same properties as regular Forges and Anvils, but have a distinctive Elven look to them. Strangely, unlike their human counterparts, they do not require blacksmithy to create, just carpentry for the forge, masonry specialization for the anvil. They retain the color of their material type used.

Racial Abilities

With Mondains Legacy came the introduction of Elves as a Race to choose when creating a character, or you can complete a quest to become an elf (or go to human, if already an elf). They also added “Racial Abilities” Unique to Elves and Humans.

These are the abilities as they relate to Mining:

Elf Ability: “Knowledge of Nature”

Elves Have an increased chance for the special Gems, when mining. There was also supposed to be an increased amount of colored ore (and get more colored wood as a lumberjack), but the effect appears to be spotty. Some people testing it seem to get more colored ore compared to a human friend, from the same number of swings. Others get the same percentage of ore, but more swings at a vein than their human characters. For Mining, the difference is hard to notice except when looking at total proceeds from tens of hours mining (and is within the possible variance for a spot normally, especially given that humans get a 10% chance of an extra ore with each swing), though probably more pronounced if one is a Felucca miner. This seems to carry over to Lumberjacking, where some people get the same number of chops per tree with higher color output, while others report double or triple the number of swings, at the same ratio as when they were human. The only difference for Lumberjacking is that, due to trees giving 10 logs a swing, either effect results in a much more pronounced bonus to the amount of colored wood attained.

Human Ability: “Strong Back”

Elves use the old STR formula for carrying capacity, that existed for characters prior to ML. Humans now use an enhanced formula, that gives them the ability to carry heavier loads than an Elf (or pre-ML human) with the same STR.

* In terms of crunchy bits in the code, a “times 3″ multiplier in the Elf/pre-ML code is “times 3.5″ for Humans upgraded to ML (a 1/6 improvement).

Human Ability: “Workhorse”

Humans have a 10% chance with each swing of a mining tool to get +1 ore over what they would have normally (i.e. they can get 3 ore in one swing in Felucca, 2 in once swing everywhere else). In practice, this seems to occur substantially more frequently than 10%, but I’m not gonna look a gift packy in the mouth.

Summary: Typically, the human’s extra carrying capacity and extra ore outweighs the elven traits, for a Miner. The mining bonuses for an Elf (ore and gems) seems to be insubstantial, and from tests, are within the statistical margin of error for there being no bonus at all. This is especially true when one considers that for crafting, none of the recipes requires being an elf. The only type of Miner that might benefit from being an elf is one that is a Lumberjack as well, and that is from the bonuses to Lumberjacking, not mining, and their mining will suffer from being overweight more often.

Stygian Abyss Race note – Gargoyles and Mining: Gargoyles have none of the above benefits, as well as being unable to ride mounts (making it that much harder to get a Beetle that starts fighting something out of its league out of danger). They also start in Ter Mur, instead of New Haven, eliminating some of the benefits of starting there. It is STRONGLY recommended that you do not make a Gargoyle miner.

 

Additional Tips:

Consult the following stickied posts on the Stratics UO Craftsman Forum for more hints and expanded information on Mining.

UO Crafter Help Guides

UO Craftsman Mining FAQ

Special Thanks to Morgoth & Crafters, Inc., for their previous Mining FAQ entries, and other contributors to the Mining FAQs over the last 12 years. Many sections of this essay were drawn directly from the 2008 version of the Mining FAQ from the UO Craftsman forum.

Last modified: February 11, 2013

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