I have seen many pull requests targeting Mining mechanics, and the one that was actually implemented may have been one of the worst. Simply put, the changes completely and absolutely gut most of the fun out of the department in changes that are plainly fueled by spite. In its current state, Shaft Miner is an unrewarding grind with little reason to play. There were certainly balance problems, but this was not the way to go about making changes. But instead of ranting, allow me to provide explanations to what the changes have really done:
Meat Hook Nerf: This item was and still is good for its intended purpose, but the main issue is that it has little to no use against actual Lavaland fauna. To those not looking to target actual players, the weapon is next to useless. Has been, and still is. Adding additional functionality versus simplemobs would make it much better designed.
Hierophant Club Nerf: A nerf that is justified, but makes the weapon, similarly to the Meat Hook, unusable versus mobs and megafauna. With the innate 50% heat resistance, most Megafauna creatures take tickle damage from this thing. If anything, the weapon is now only usable as a transportation and PVP tool.
Cleaving Saw Nerf: A change that baffles me, and makes me wonder if the changes were made by a person who has any experience with Shaft Miner whatsoever. I have never once seen a Shaft Miner actually use this thing, and the nerfs, while minor, make an already useless item even worse. The Proto-Kinetic Crusher is an all-around superior melee choice, and now the difference is even greater. The fact that Blood Drunk Miner drops the best upgrade for the weapon doesn’t help.**
Necrochest Gutting: With a TON of items removed and nothing added to compensate, the Necro Chest pool is laughably small with most of the remaining drops ranging from niche to utterly useless. Items like the Hardsuits were fine rewards considering Shaft Miners have easy access to unlimited hardsuits through their machines, and the Mysterious(Hivelord) Core could have been fixed by simply making Healing Holoparasites unable to heal while unmanifested (A needed global change!). The remaining drops are helpful utilities(Red/Blue Cubes, Ladder) or are only useful on station for PVP (Talisman of Immortality, Memento Mori, Rod of Aseph, Hook). It doesn’t help that…
PKA Mods are made more common: Another change made with no knowledge of how Shaft Miner actually functions. Out of the four upgrades, three are utterly useless with the remaining one being niche and often not worth taking(Repeater). The more reliable and all-around functional mods you can purchase or create from the Mining Protolathe are the better choice. This does not even account for those who use the PKC over its ranged counterpart: These mods are COMPLETELY useless to those who prefer it. Having the Lavaland Puzzles only drop these makes them completely ignorable as a waste of time.
Megafauna Loot Changes: After their implementation, fighting Megafauna has gone from a challenge with good rewards to a challenge with little to no rewards. I’ll cover how each Megafauna’s loot:
Ash Drake: The Ash Drake Suit now stands as the only useful drop from Lavaland, period. The main benefit of fireproofing and ashproofing makes for good convenience and the armor values are nice. However, the new Bottle of Blood is a complete disaster. Out of the three options, you are either gimped out of your feet slot, given a buff that Xenobiology can make much easier, or given a transformation that Botany AND Xenobiology can both make and mass produce. The whole point of the Ash Drake transformation was to make the Bottle a gamble. Now, taking it isn’t worth it. The Lesser Ash Drake transformation could have instead been changed (I personally find it to be balanced with its slow movespeed, long cooldowns and relatively low HP) instead of removing a cool and fun mechanic out of spite.
Colossus: Voice of God was always more of a flex than an actually usable item, especially considering implanting it can be a chore. But now that it’s the ONLY drop, there is little reason to fight the titan outside of personal challenge.
Bubblegum: Speaking of personal challenge, the hardest Megafauna got quite the short end of the stick. The gimmicky Heck Suit was already a meh choice when the Ash Drake Armor does (and still) exists, but the Slaughter Demon’s loot pool was previously not too great. Removing it completely was a terrible choice, and something should have been added in place of the Blood Contract and Bottle that were less grief oriented.
Legion: It’s a shame that one of the weakest megafauna in terms of loot was made even worse, by forcing Colossus’ other drop onto him. The Staff of Storms was never an overly powerful weapon by any means, and the Crystal was a fun gimmick that, when bundled with the Voice of God, made fighting Colossus on the occasion fun. As the ONLY reward, however, I can’t see myself or anyone else going to the trouble of getting it.
Hierophant: While the loot from it is still good, Hiero’s staff remains mainly useful in regards to PVP and on-station usage. If the goal of the changes was to lessen the impact of miners in the round, congrats: You’ve done the opposite.
Megafauna now drop 1500 points of Ore when killed: This change is laughable. Honestly, laughable. A slap in the face. That amount of ores is utterly pathetic. Getting resources on Lavaland was NEVER an issue.
In Conclusion: I sincerely hope that this pull request can be completely reverted, as I see no reason to play Shaft Miner outside of gimmicks and masochism. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that many other Shaft Miner players feel similarly. While the reward for fighting mobs for cool trinkets is mostly gutted, Shaft Miner’s power against actual players remains very much the same. I won’t lie and say that the job was perfectly balanced, but this extreme of a nerf puts the job under as one of the worst on station. I hope that as other Miners move to other departments and/or incidents of powergaming miners rises, Lavaland will return to how it was before.