Dig big holes, shoot big bugs, get a little (okay, maybe completely) lost, and … profit!
The four tenets of dwarven ethos ring true in the brand-new Early Access release Deep Rock Galactic from Denmark-based Ghost Ship Games. There’s nothing like getting further down through the deep places than anybody else, especially if there’s treasure down there for the taking.
While it’s not exactly brimming with storied campaign, there’s some solid, super fun gameplay in here that about makes up for the lack of spit and polish. On the surface, the first-person mining elements might superficially resemble the pickaxe action of Minecraft, but that’s largely where the similarities end.
Blending mining for different kinds of sparkly treasure with high-energy bug shooting, Deep Rock Galactic puts all of its efforts into making co-op priority number one. Sure, you could run off into the darkness to hunt for stuff (and there will be plenty of games where you’re going to find yourself doing just that), but you’re also just as likely to get overrun and downed that way too.
If you want to make sure every game is a Mission Complete, here’s what you need to know!
Choose your classes wisely.
There are four classes that you can choose from (all are available right away through the Select Character terminal):
- armed with a platform gun that shoots climbable platforms on any surface
- can lay down sentry turrets for support fire
- carries combat shotgun and grenade launcher
- armed with a minigun and heavy-duty revolver for front-line spider duty
- carries zipline launcher that allows the entire team to zipline across large chasms/obstacles
- equipped with titanium power drills that allow you to drill through blocked tunnels and obstacles to get to your objective (whether it’s getting in or out); you also mine faster
- carries a flamethrower
- carries a flare gun for greater area of light
- equipped with a grappling hook which allows for faster mobility and greater maneuverability
- carries assault rifle and sawed-off shotgun
It stands to reason that normally it’s a pretty good idea to bring one of each — and when you’re just getting started, it’s definitely an excellent idea to bring a balanced team while you’re learning all the game modes.
However, because there are different mission types with different objectives, you can also change up the numbers of each class you want to bring.
For example, if you’re running a Collection mission where you know you’ll be doing a lot of digging, it might be a better idea to bring two Drillers and forget the Scout (all classes can throw flares, so you won’t be wandering around completely in the dark). This way you have more digging power, and, as an upside, it’s easier to see your minerals and gems glittering in the dark.
Know your mission!
This may sound a little odd, but it’s not exactly something that’s discussed too deeply when you’re in the middle of jumping into a game.
There are currently five different mission types in the game:
Classic digging experience: mine x amount of Morkite plus an optional number of collectibles (x caps out at about 250 Morkite).
- What you mine sits in your own personal inventory — what actually brings the counter down is calling over the M.U.L.E. and depositing your hard-earned minerals.
- This game mode is procedurally generated to be full of different (generally tight) chambers and areas accessible by digging through walls of common dirt.
There isn’t really a huge amount of difference between the Mining Expedition and the Search & Extract mission. You will be required to bring back 325 Morkite plus an optional number of collectibles.
- This game mode has a higher objective count and will require more hunting, gathering, and digging.
- The cave is generated randomly but always in a relatively large single chamber. You’ll find that a lot of the minerals you’re trying to get to are located up in walls higher than you are, which will often require some ziplining or platforming to get to.
While still a mine and dump kind of mining mission, the biggest difference is that you are hunting for 10 Aquarq plus an optional number of collectibles but without the benefit of the M.U.L.E., so your miners will have to return to the static rocket site to make your deposits.
- The Aquarq is not out in the open like the Morkite in other mission types; you will need to look for small, blue crystals embedded in the walls and start digging through them to find the large chunk of Aquarq to be deposited. These can’t be added to inventory; you’re going to have to carry it to the rocket in order to deposit it — and it’ll take both hands to do.
- If you’re alone, feel free to drop it and take care of the spiders that are likely to swarm. It’ll stay on the ground and roll around some, so keep an eye on where you’ve left it while you’re busy kiting and killing!
- The cave is procedurally generated to be a large, single cavern with the items deep in walls or high up in pillars.
Similar to the above mission type, the difference lies in the layout of the caves again — plus, this time, the M.U.L.E. is back in play. To succeed, you need to bring back 10 Eggs and an optional number of collectibles.
- As with Aquarq, the Eggs are rarely out in the open — you will need to dig into panels of dirt with squishy-looking red bubbles on the wall to dig out the large eggs buried within.
- This mode makes it a little easier because you are able to call the M.U.L.E. to you for the deposit.
- The caves are randomly generated to be small, multiple chambers accessible to each other by walls of common dirt.
Slightly different from the others (but let’s be honest, there will still be plenty of digging to do), Elimination missions require you to take on some big bosses — so heavy firepower is encouraged. You need to kill 3 targets, plus bring back an optional number of collectibles.
- Hunt down the large, pulsing Glyphid Cocoons, which will pop under enough firepower and release a large boss-level alien spider to kill.
- The caves are randomly generated to be in tighter, multiple chambers, with some open (just not enormously open) areas for the Cocoons.
Know your exits.
Or, at the very least, how to make your own. After you’ve completed your objectives, there’s still the task of getting out — and it doesn’t always mean going back the way you came in.
- Once you activate the escape, a five-minute timer will count down. Follow the M.U.L.E. to get to it — it’s best if you’re in a group in order to do this because the caves get confusing.
- If you get lost or left behind, it will leave a trail of green lights to lead the way, but these also can get a little difficult to follow depending on the cave layout.
- Only one person needs to make it to the exit for the mission to complete.
- If you have Diggers, sometimes it’s just easier to just drill your way through everything. Especially helpful if you get left behind a little.
Other things to keep in mind.
- Don’t hog the M.U.L.E., especially if you split off to go explore different areas — other people probably have objective items to drop into it, and it’s really no fun lugging around giant alien eggs that take up a third of your screen forever.
- There is fall damage. You will fall, and it will hurt. (At the moment, there is an interesting Scout bug that will help you survive this — if you’re falling from a long distance, just as you’re about to hit, use the grappling hook. Your health and armor go down to zero. None of it will regenerate until you find more health, but while it’s like that, you won’t take any additional damage from enemies. Once you grab some health, everything will regenerate as normal.)
- There is friendly fire damage. When engaging in big spider wave battles, be careful where you’re throwing your grenades/where you’re pointing your flamethrower!
- Just because you aren’t a particular class doesn’t mean you can’t pull your weight. Everyone has a pickaxe, everyone has flares, everyone can dig and explore and shoot things.
- Keep your eye out for Cave Leeches, particularly in the large cavernous areas — these are long, snake-like creatures that don’t really damage you much but will snatch you up in the air and drop you down to kill you with fall damage. One skinny, little cave worm can down your entire party if they’re not paying attention while trying to revive you.
- Don’t be afraid to put your cash to good use — make sure you upgrade your gear between missions at the Upgrade console! If you’ve found rare gems during your adventures, these can be put towards purchasing cosmetic items for your dwarves.
- Put your Nitra to good use — use it to call down ammo supply drops when you’re running low on supplies.