I've been playing EVE Online on and off since around the beginning of the year. I'm told the pvp is great, but I've been really attracted to the trade aspect of the game, so I've been spending a good portion of my time and skill training towards mining endeavors.
In EVE, you mine for ore in order to get the minerals needed for tradeskilling. It's not tha different than grabbing nodes in EQ2 or WoW, but you have to be sufficiently trained and have the right equipment to do this efficiently.
Everything in EVE is about having the right combo of skills and equipment in order to get the job done. Everything factors in. The particular ship I fly happens to have a mining bonus, which I couple with my mining skills, my personal skills, and the quality of my mining equipment. On top of all that, I have to find the "good stuff" out in space and keep myself from being blown up by other players and "rats" (npc ships).
Sounds like it might be exciting right? It can be when you are with your corporation buddies forming a gang doing a mining op. It feels very social when you all are working together, with people using their haulers to warp in and out of the asteroid field to haul the load back to base. In more dangerous space, it gets especially intersting, because generally, you will require an escort of a fighter ship just to keep alive.
The problem I have with the game is, I live on the west coast playing a game that is based in Europe. I pretty much fly alone. A mining op might be one of the lonliest things I can do, with the rare player flying in to check to see if the field has what the want and porting back out. These are the only real exciting moments for a solo miner, because you get that twinge of fear wondering if they are going to swoop in and blast you to bits (my mining ship is outfitted with mining lasers, I can only barely defend myself with missle bays) or just fly in to your mining canister and steal your ore.
Last night I made about 1.4 million isk on my solo mining op for about 2 hours of work, but all the while I'm watching Armaggeddon on TV (funny, a mining movie in space) and reading the DaVinci Code at the same time.
I wonder if they will ever introduce a mechanic with which you can actively aim the lasers yourself using some sort of "ore sensor" where you see the actual rock and what is in it, directing the laser around the rock manually to get the maximum yield.
I think being zoomed in and concentrating like that all the while someone can come in and blow me up might be exciting, and keep me busy while mining instead of the periodic check I do to see if my hold is full enough to transfer the rocks to my jettisoned bin.
Im heavily considering starting my own west coast US corp in the game, just to try and get people that play at the same time all on in the same place. I just don't think I play enough to manage the task.