I’m prospecting for Manganese in Gregtech 5U.
I have a love / hate relationship with the ore generation in the mod. There are some 40+ types of ore, and 30+ types of ore vein (veins generally combine 2-4 ores). The fact the ore veins generate in distant lumps means you’ve got a real need for exploration and long-distance transport. Sooner or later you’ll need all the ores out there, pretty much. Because the veins are really huge (40-80 blocks in diameter) stuff like trains make sense, since you’re hauling a ton of stuff from a distant location.
But man, actually finding what you need when you need a specific ore to progress can be a huge, time consuming pain. Even if you do the vertical-shaft prospecting technique, which seems to be the most effective way to determine what’s in a particular area.
It forces you to explore, which is kind of interesting. But since the actual ore can be anywhere between 2 and 60 levels below ground, there’s a lot of repetitive digging. The conventional wisdom for Minecraft exploration is often to follow caves, since it’s a nice, hollowed-out space, no time or effort required to dig. That doesn’t work so well with these Gregtech ore deposits, because anything other than a chasm or vertical shaft means you’re not really seeing the ore. Chasms and vertical shafts do exist, of course, but just breaking in to a conventional cave system or abandoned mineshaft isn’t much of a leg up.
It kinda sucks to dig down all the way to bedrock and find nothing, which seems to happen about 50% of the time. It’s supposed to be more like 25%, so maybe I’m missing some veins, but it seems unlikely given the size of even the smallest ones.
One answer, of course, is the Seismic Prospector. That tells you what’s available in a large area without any digging. Except, y’know, the reason I’m hunting for Manganese is that I tried to build a Seismic Prospector. Manganese is required for Stainless Steel, and the high-tech tools I need to etch crystals to build a Prospector require a lot of stainless steel. I ran out of all the manganese I somehow managed to acquire without finding an appropriate vein about halfway through the process.