If you're not into the chill deep-space vibe of Mass Effect 2's resource-gathering minigame, where you launch probes at planets and watch your pile of iridium tick up, other options are available. The One Probe All Resources (opens in new tab) mod, like the name suggests, gives you every resource on a planet with a single probe. Or you could just Cheat Engine your way to a massive stockpile and never run out of element zero again. If neither of those seems satisfying to you, now there's another way to get around hearing the words "probe launched" about a hundred times.
Nos Astra Mineral Exchange (opens in new tab) is a mod for Mass Effect Legendary Edition by beccatoria and Team Pyjak that lets you trade resources and currency on a galactic stock market, buying and selling commodities instead of—or as well as—mining them. In addition to being a spaceship commander, hostage negotiator, and advertising spokesperson, now Shepard can be an investor as well.
The mods also includes new missions, with additional lines for existing characters created with AI dialogue tool xVASynth and voice acting by modder Gaige Barker. To begin the mod, head to Nos Astra on the asari world of Ilium in the Crescent Nebula where you'll find terminals for public trading near the docks entrance. There you can sign up to buy and sell element zero, iridium, platinum, palladium, and galactic standard currency for varying trade rates.
As the mod's description explains, "Trade rates refresh after each mission, along with randomly generated economic conditions that have given rise to any surplus, steady supply or shortage." You can also play the market from a terminal on the Shadow Broker's ship. It's not the same as exploiting supply and demand in games like Elite or Wing Commander Privateer, but it's nice to have an alternative to planet-scanning that adds something rather than trivializing what's already there.
To install Nos Astra Mineral Exchange you'll need to download it from NexusMods (opens in new tab) or Mod DB (opens in new tab), then install it with the ME3Tweaks Mod Manager (opens in new tab). Apparently it's incompatible with the New Dresses for Females (opens in new tab) mod, since both alter content in the Ilium docks area, so I'm afraid you'll have to choose between playing the stock market or having every woman wear a minidress.
For more, here's our list of the best Mass Effect Legendary Edition mods.