Dig away the mountain: Mining in "Free Realms"
Ever wanted to grab a pickax and dig away at the mountain, without actually getting dirty? "Free Realms" gives you the opportunity to do just that with the Miner job.
What is a Miner?
In "Free Realms", the Miner job is simple: complete the mining minigames to collect ore and gems. Ore can then be made into metal bars with the smelting minigame, which, combined with gems, can be used in the Blacksmith job to craft special weapons.
Miners wear tough clothes they can get dirty in, and carry shovels, pickaxes, and dynamite to help them get the job done.
Why be a Miner?
On its own, being a Miner in "Free Realms" is not the most beneficial job. Unlike a Chef, miners only harvest the resources for crafting items, while the crafting of items itself takes place in the Blacksmithing job.
The primary benefit for being a Miner is to gather the materials necessary for the Blacksmith job. Of course, as a miner, you can also benefit from making money. You can do this by either selling the ore and gems you find to a vendor, or by selling it to another player who needs it for their Blacksmithing.
Naturally, you can also just play a Miner because it's fun!
The Mining Minigame
The mining minigame is a match-three style game. The goal is to match three or more icons (representing rocks in this version of the game) in a long chain, thereby clearing the way for special ore and gems to fall to the bottom and be collected. You have a time limit that ticks away; matching tiles add time back to the time limit. Each vein of ore (for instance, copper ore, rich copper ore, iron ore, etc.) has a different board shape and difficult level associated with it, but remains the same matching game throughout.
While you are matching tiles, beware. Brown blocks cannot be matched with anything, and can only be destroyed by dropping it to the bottom of the game board. Locked tiles (normal tiles with a lock on them) can't be destroyed or shuffled, but can be unlocked by matching them with other tiles in a regular chain. Star tiles act as wild-cards that you can match with any other tile in a chain.
There are several types of power-ups that can be used in the mining mini-game:
- Star Circle: A small circle with a falling star, using this power-up will create star tiles on the board.
- Dynamite: A circle with red dynamite, this power-up will destroy several nearby tiles.
- Shuffle: A circle with a tornado, the shuffle will randomly move tiles around on the board.
- Explosion: A circle with a small explosion in the middle, this power-up will destroy some random tiles on the board.
The Smelting Minigame
The second mini-game used for miners is the smelting mini-game. Found at forges, this mini game has you use the ore you've harvested, plus coal purchased from a merchant, to make metal bars (usable for crafting in the Blacksmith job.) There are four stages to the smelting mini-game:
Smash! Use the hammer to break the ore into smaller pieces and flatten it. Waiting until the power meter reaches the top will make the ore break up faster.
Measure! Click the handle of the pot, and drag it upward to begin pouring the ore mixture into a new container. Pull the handle back when the mixture reaches the yellow line.
Heat! Activate the bellows to heat the furnace. Drag the mouse back and forth quickly but steadily in front of the furnace.
Pour! Like Measure!, you want to click the handle and drag it upward to begin pouring the smelted mixture into the mold. However, you must be careful not to go too fast, or too slow - otherwise you'll spill the mixture, and possibly end up making less than five bars.
Mining can be leveled up without completing the quest chain. However, it is recommended that you complete the quest chain as it provides bonus experience, as well as gear, to the Miner job.
- You can pause the minigame at any time by clicking the question mark icon in the upper right hand corner of the screen. This brings up the help screen, and pauses your game.
- Always match as many as you can in a single chain, but don't be afraid to clear small chains too.
- Work toward the additional goals and bonuses for each game you play. The more of these you accomplish, the more experience you get as a miner. Completing these also gets you a chance at gear that has useful bonuses.
- A usual bonus during the smelting minigame is for speed, especially in the Smash! phase. The best way to save time here is to not wait for perfect hits: just wail away with your hammer until everything is flattened, even if it means a ton of quick weak hits.
- Take your time during the Pour! phase of the smelting minigame. Trying to beat the clock during this phase will make you produce less than the full amount of metal bars you would normally.
When looking at equipment for the Miner job, there are a few statistics you need to be on the look out for.
Matcher's Advantage: Represented by a small hammer icon, this stat will increase the chance that special tiles will spawn during the mining mini-game.
Matcher's Skill: Represented by a small blue star icon, this increases the chance of making a match by increasing the chance that similar tiles will appear next to each other on the mining board.
Matcher's Timing: Represented by a small stopwatch icon, this stat slows down the timer.
Make sure that you equip items with high Matcher's stats when doing the mining mini-game. Always check your gear; sometimes higher powered gear has less stats on it than lower level gear (or none at all.)
Looking for specific ores or gems, but not sure where to go? Check this list for the best locations.
- Copper Ore, Turquoise, & Malachite: Singing Crystal Mines (Snowhill), Highroad Junction, Crossroads, Southern Snowhill
- Tin Ore, Topaz, & Garnet: Dartmoor Quarry, Merry Vale
- Iron Ore, Tourmaline, & Amethyst: Southvale Quarry, Greenwood Forest, south of Crossroads
- Silver Ore, Onyx & Ruby: Quagmire Quarry (Blackspore), Lakeshore wilderness, Blackspore Swamp
- Gold Ore, Moonstone, & Fire Agate: The Mother Lode Quarry (Briarwood), Briarwood
Learning Mining, and reaching level 5
To begin your mining training, travel to Snowhill. Head to the crystal mines; just inside the entrance, you'll meet Therin. Your first task will be to use the "Mining Practice" minigame next to him to demonstrate that you're worthy of being a miner. This is the easiest time you will ever have mining, so if you're new to the matching minigames of "Free Realms", now's a perfect time to practice.
Once you've finished the game (and collected three copper ore), Therin will officially unlock the Miner job for you, and then send you Trixi, who is nearby in the mine. Trixi needs 5 copper ore, so head to a nearby Copper Vein and get matching.
When you return to Trixi, she'll send you to Smitty, the local smith outside.This is a great time to train as a blacksmith! Smitty will have you buy 3 Singing Coal from the merchant next to him named Bruno Battlerock. Once you've gotten the coal, click on the forge next to Smitty to begin the smelting minigame. Finish up the bars, and tell Smitty you're done. He'll send you back to Trixi, who, after thanking you, will send you to Sorin - also in the mines.
Sorin will ask you to mine turquoise - a gem that appears in copper veins. Head over to a nearby copper node and mine up at least one turquoise gem. Turning this in will grant you some more gear rewards, and then Sorin will recommend you reach level 5 before he can let you continue. If you haven't yet reached level 5, you will need to either harvest more ore or smelt it to reach the level requirement for the next series of quests.
Miner: Reaching level 10
Once you've reached level 5 as a miner, return to Sorin in the Snowhill crystal mines. He will send you to the Dartmoor Mining Camp to deliver turquoise and malachite, the latter of which you'll need to mine at a Rich Copper Vein. Rich mining veins must be found in the wilderness, and are somewhat rare to find (some are also members only.) You should be able to find a rich copper vein just outside of Snowhill, along the mountains. Once you find the vein, mine up at least one malachite.
Take the turquoise and the malachite to Shimmer, who's at the Dartmoor camp south of Snowhill, west of Highroad Junction. Shimmer will take the gems, and then ask you to mine up tin ore at the Dartmoor camp, with a bonus for any topaz you bring him as well.
Shimmer will take the ore you mine up and then send you over to Hunter Surleytree, also at the Dartmoor camp. Hunter will ask you to mine up three garnets for her - these can be found at Rich Tin Veins, located around the nearby mountains. After giving her the garnet, Hunter will then refer you to Derp Axemaster, also in the Dartmoor camp.
Derp's challenge is to beat a high score of 100,000 in the tin mining minigame. This isn't the hardest challenge you'll face, but it will take some time and speed to keep your game alive long enough to net at least 100k. When you return with your high score, Derp will then ask you to smelt five tin bars in a single session. Succeeding at this task is a matter of being very careful on the Pour! section of the smelting minigame - more than a few spills, and you'll only make 4 bars.
Complete this last task for some bonus experience, and then return to Derp when you reach level 10.
Mining: Levels 10-15
Derp will send you to Mili Ironcall at Southvale Outpost (near the Lavender Coast) once you've reached level 10. Her first task for you will be to mine up five tourmaline at the nearby Iron Veins.
Next up, Mili will ask you to mine up at least one iron ore, along with four more tourmaline, for a wedding ring. Head back to mine, and when you return with the required goods, Mili will send you into the mines again, this time to talk to Grumpore.
Grumpore's challenge to you is to beat her high score of at least 100,000 in the Iron Mining minigame. Make sure you have your best equipment on, and work hard to beat the high score. Once you beat this challenge, Grumpore has one more thing for you to do - mine up enough iron for 300 arrowheads (a total of 15 iron ore.)
Return this ore to Grumpore, and then reach level 15 as a Miner.
Mining: Reaching Level 20
At level 15, talk to Grumpore again. She will refer you to Silverray in Blackspore. The Quagmire Quarry is at the far southern tip of Blackspore. Silverray will ask you to check with Ramberry nearby, who will reveal that there was a horrible mix up - she was given tin metal instead of silver to make jewelry.
It's your turn to fix it, so take a pickaxe to the nearby Silver Veins - you need to mine up at least 10 silver ore, and then smelt 10 silver bars. Return to Ramberry, who will be grateful, and then turn in the quest to Silverray.
To progress any farther, Silverray requires you to be level 20 (this last series of quests is also member only.) Once you've gone through the minigame grind, Silverray will send you to Pinkelug, at the Mother Lode in Briarwood. This mine is at the south east area of Briarwood.
Pinkelug will give you your first of the series of final challenges as a miner: chain 20 tiles (or more) in the Gold Mining minigame. Before you attempt this, it's recommended that you put on your mining equipment with the highest Matcher's Skill; this stat increases the chance similar tiles will appear next to each other on the board. If you're lucky enough, you won't have to spend a lot of time making matches before a long chain opens up for you.
Impressed with your skill, Pinkelug will then send you to Plunkawug. His challenge to you is to "smelt gold bars perfectly." What he means is that you need to beat a score of 20,000 on the gold bar smelting minigame. Focus on getting perfection on every stage, especially the Smash! phase - in order to beat this challenge, you'll need at least 15,500 in the first phase.
If you can beat the gold smelting challenge, talk to Plunkawug again, who will suggest you join the Miner's Guild.
Joining the Miner's Guild
Plunkawug will tell you that to join the Miner's Guild, you should start by bringing Snorg five mined moonstone (as with other mining quests, previously mined gems don't count.) Give Snorg the gems, and he will send you on a scavenger hunt of sorts: the Rare Rock Collection. You'll need to collect the following:
- 5 Amethysts (Rich Iron Veins)
- 5 Fire Agates (Rich Gold Veins)
- 5 Garnets (Rich Tin Veins)
- 5 Malachite (Rich Copper Veins)
- 5 Rubies (Rich Silver Veins)
All of these gems come from rich veins, so you'll have to search the countryside for rich veins and then mine them for their rare gems. When you collect them all, return to Snorg. Impressed, he will send you to Therin back in Snowhill, who will reward you with your last piece of gear, and membership in the Miner's Guild. Congratulations!
All screenshots and references from "Free Realms" by Sony Online Entertainment. Screenshots provided by author.