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The miner excavates precious ores, crystals and gems to be used by the weaponsmith, armorer and architect. Though a miner may manually attack ore nodes with their weapon, the process goes faster with a Laser Pickaxe equipped.
Mining on Nexus is a little different than what you might be used to. Occasionally, your ore node will uproot itself from the ground and scurry away, necessitating you to click/attack it again before it disappears.
You may also find a Wurm Tunnel which will transport you into a tunnel system filled with ores. You will have 2 minutes to gather as much as you can.
Even rarer, the node might turn into an Ore Wurm, a gigantic creature that will try to kill you. When you attack an Ore Wurm, chunks of metal starts to fall off its carapace, and should you kill it, you will unlock a Wurm Tunnel by climbing into the mouth of its dead corpse.