I always understood that people with comp ops below 5 basically shouldn't bother prospecting and based on this information, assumed that skill level had a substantial effect upon the odds of finding RM deposits. However, if I'm reading the formula in the rules correctly, this doesn't appear to be the case at all.

Chance of finding = ( 1 + Total Sensors(Comp Op÷(30+0.05)) ) × Terrain Prob

If we assume 12 sensors (I presume that's the sensor output of 12 groundhogs, but am not fully sure how sensors work), then the Terrain Prob "modifier" is x1 for Comp Ops 0, x1.29 for Comp Ops 3 and x1.53 for Comp Ops 5. Given a maximum Terrain Prob of 10% in the case of mountains, we're talking a 5% difference...which is fairly small in the grand scheme of things.

So...I have two questions:

1. Are my calculations actually correct, or am I misunderstanding something?

2. If my calculations are correct, why the need for a Level 5 Operator? Assuming the RM deposits are not generated by a successful prospecting check, but in some way already exist, wouldn't it be better to have two lower level operators prospect the same square?

I'd be most grateful for any insight into this area of the game! :)

check the rules page for the Groundhog and take a look at the Icons. There's a special Icon for Mining Sensors in which the Groundhog has 40. So you're looking at a total of 480 Sensors for a full squad.
Having comp ops 4 or 5 makes a difference then.

Comp-Ops 5 gives you a Chance of 48.10% on mountains.
Comp-Ops 4 gives you a Chance of 41.01% on mountains.

You can do it with 4 on certain terrain-types but on grids with less than 10% base-chance, it's just that much harder to find something.

Aha! That does make a difference! Although with 480 sensors in a squad, I'm still only getting 27.94% for mountains at Comp Ops 5 and 22.75% at Comp Ops 4.

Thanks for the tip about the sensors!

Edit: Okay, I was using the formula in the guide, which is different from that in the rules and likely wrong (the one in the rules makes more sense). I was also using the wrong formula incorrectly!

With prospecting each coordinate has a hidden score that you have to meet or exceed to reveal the resource but some hidden scores are impossible to meet at this time. This is why a Computer Operations skill of 5 is preferred, so that the client will know whether or not a particular coordinates deposit can be revealed at this time and so they will not have to have to pay someone else with a higher Computer Operations skill to reprospect to be certain.

But even with Comp Ops 5, there's still less than a 50% of finding anything...so even then, you can't be certain whether there's no deposit or simply one you missed.

Hmm. It occurs to me I may have been looking at this back to front. Thanks for the advice!

The percentages are a little misleading because the percentage is not the chance of finding raw materials on a specific terrain but your score.

How it works is a coordinate is assigned a hidden score which never changes. The final percentage from the prospecting equation is your score. If your score meets or exceeds the hidden score then you will reveal the raw material deposits on the coordinate in accordance to the type of deposit checks. If you do not meet or exceed the hidden score then the deposit is still hidden.

All planetary coordinates have a deposit but they have hidden threshold scores ranging from possible to impossible. The impossible ones cannot be revealed until it is possible to increase the amount of sensors, which will not be possible until R&D is implemented. That is why a Computer Operations skill of 5 is so important because it allows the prospector to reach the highest score possible and reveal all deposits that are equal to or below that score. Meaning that only coordinates with impossible hidden scores cannot be revealed.

Note:
Alazhixazha vehicles can only find alazhi, meaning if a deposit is found on jungle or forest terrain by these vehicles then it is always alazhi. Of course, if no deposits are found you would typically reprospect with groundhogs because groundhogs have a higher amount of sensors, and therefore a higher score, which may find a deposit that is higher than the Alazhixazha combined sensors but lower or equal to the groundhogs combined sensors.

Yes, because FKs have fewer sensors than Groundhogs, and will therefore produce a lower maximum threshold score.

It's a bit confusing because the random number generated to determine your success chance is not, as Dol was getting at, 100, meaning that your score is not a percentage. The code generates a number from 0-50 to test your score against, and the current maximum with a Comp Ops of 5 is 48 (the terrain probability is represented as a whole number, not a decimal, so the mountain terrain's probability is simply 10), so you are very close to being mathematically certain of finding a deposit if it exists.

This is also the case because in the future, through R&D, we have left open the possibility of creating prospecting vehicles with a larger number of sensors, meaning a company could design and produce prospecting vehicles they could advertise as being guaranteed to find any deposits, even with a lower Comp Ops skill.

It is out of 50? After all this time and even being a prospector and trying to find out just how deposits worked I am still learning and it still hurts to think back about how much time effort, and energy was wasted because the rules were not (and still aren't) clear.
That information should be posted ASAP.

CompOps 5 in mountain/cave with 480 sensors gives you 48 points to discover a potential deposit that could go up to 50.
Did everyone know that for a decade and just not me?