Deep Rock Galactic is an online co-op game where you play as space dwarves mining for rare minerals and trying not to get killed by alien bugs in the process. It’s kind of like Monster Hunter by way of Minecraft, in that it’s a methodical, cooperative game where the main gameplay is digging and collecting, rather than slaying. At the moment, it can be a little hard to get into the game owing to its early access status, so this guide will help you get comfortable with the ins and outs of Deep Rock Galactic.
1. Pick a Class
Deep Rock Galactic is a class-based game. There are four choices: Gunner, Driller, Scout, and Engineer. Each class is capable of fighting bugs, digging tunnels, and collecting materials, but they each have different loadouts that make them more useful for different tasks.
The Gunner, as his name suggests, carries a large machinegun that gives him the highest damage potential of any class. He also gets a short-ranged but damaging pistol, a shield generator that can be thrown to instantly recharge friendly shields, and a zipline launcher that sets up permanent lanes of travel for the entire team.
The Driller is equipped with dual power drills that make tunneling a breeze. He also gets a powerful close-range flamethrower, explosive satchel charges, and a semi-automatic handgun.
The Scout is the traversal expert, getting a flare gun and grappling hook to navigate the caves, plus a shotgun and assault rifle for bug control.
Lastly, the Engineer is something of a support class. He can build sentry turrets to watch the team’s back, and has a gun that can fire climbable platforms to help everyone navigate the caves. A combat shotgun and grenade launcher round out his kit.
When you’re just starting out, the Gunner and Scout are probably the easiest dwarves to get a handle on. If you’re playing solo, go with the Scout for his great movement capabilities. If you’re playing with a team, the Gunner’s damage output and ziplines are always appreciated. The Driller and Engineer’s skills, meanwhile, require a little more strategy to use effectively, so you may want to hold off on trying them until you’ve got the basics down.
2. Explore the Space Rig
The Space Rig is your center of operations in Deep Rock Galactic, and it can be a little hard to navigate at first. There are a ton of screens to interact with, many of which will be blocked off until you progress further in the game.
Before and after each mission, you’ll spawn in your Quarters. In here, you can access the Perk Board. This board lets you claim Perk Points for completing various tasks in the game, then spend them to unlock Perks — permanent upgrades for your characters. Note that once you unlock a perk, you’ll need to equip it.
Out in the open area, there’s a lot going on. But when you start out, you only need to worry about a few things.
Just to the left upon exiting your room, you’ll find terminals for Equipment Upgrades and Drone Upgrades. You can use these to spend resources to improve each class’s gear, as well as the capabilities of the drone that supports you in solo mode. Most upgrades not only cost resources, but are level-gated, meaning you won’t be able to purchase them until you level up that class by competing missions. This is also where you can equip unlocked perks.
The Mission Terminal in the middle of the area lets you select missions. You can join public games, host public or private ones, or go solo. If you choose to go solo, you’ll be accompanied by a helpful robot — just like the palicos in Monster Hunter World. After you select a mission, climb up the steps into the Drop Pod to get started.
Oh, and to the right of the Mission Terminal from your room is the all-important Cosmetics Terminal, where you can spend credits on new hats, outfits, and beards for your dwarves.
3. Dig, Escape, Repeat
There are a number of mission types in Deep Rock Galactic, but each of them follows the same basic loop of digging deeper into the caves to find what you’re looking for, defending yourself against swarms, and escaping once you’ve got what you came for.
The most basic kind of mission is the Mining Expedition. Here you’re tasked with extracting a certain amount of a mineral. Use your Terrain Scanner (defaults to CTRL) to identify what you’re looking for, and when you find a vein, hack away at it with your Pickaxe. Once your pack is full, call your M.U.L.E. over (defaults to C) and deposit your haul. Rinse and repeat until you’ve filled your quota. Throughout, you’ll encounter hostile bugs and will occasionally be informed that a swarm is on the way. That announcement is your cue to hunker down and get ready to fight.
After you’ve got all the minerals you need, interact with the M.U.L.E. to call the Drop Pod. Here’s where things can get dicey, because you now have five minutes to make it back before the company leaves without you. Follow the M.U.L.E. or the lights it drops as best you can, and try to plan ahead for this stage — consider how you’re going to get back up as you’re digging your way down, and save some traversal items in case you need them.
Once you get to the Drop Pod, congrats! You’ve completed a mission. Other mission types include Egg Hunt, where you’re required to find and recover large alien eggs; Salvage Operations, where you’re trying to reassemble lost M.U.L.E.s; and Elimination, in which you’re tasked with killing some particularly nasty bugs. Each of them follows the same basic principle of digging down, fulfilling an objective, and them climbing back up to safety.
4. Completing the Probationary Period
When you start out, you’ll be in a “Probationary Period” as a miner. You’ll have to complete missions with white diamonds next to them in the Mission Terminal to advance your goal of exploring Hoxxes IV before this period ends and you’re free to go your own way. You can complete these missions on your own or with other players, and you’re free to switch classes along the way.
Once you’re out of the Probationary Period, you can choose your path. As you play more missions, you’ll earn resources you can spend on upgrading your gear and purchasing cosmetics, as well as Perk Points you can use to unlock perks. Becoming more powerful will let you take on more difficult missions that significantly increase the challenge but also the potential rewards.
Deep Rock Galactic tracks your player rank and class ranks separately. The player rank is the number in the blue gem in the top right corner of the screen, while your currently-selected class rank is the number in red underneath your class portrait in the top left corner. Increasing your player rank gives you access to more cosmetics, while increasing your class rank lets you purchase better upgrades, and eventually gives you access to missions that will unlock entirely new gear.
5. A Few Tips
That’s about it for getting started in Deep Rock Galactic, but here are a few more tips to help you out as you kick off your mining career.
If you’re hurt, look for Red Sugar, which appears as red crystal formations. Hitting it with your pickaxe will restore some health.
When you’re low on ammunition, don’t be afraid to call in a Resupply Pod. This costs 80 Nitra, but it’s all Nitra is used for and there’s no benefit to saving it until the end of a mission.
Finally, remember that you always have to escape the cave! Beginners often find getting back to the Drop Pod the most frustrating part of Deep Rock Galactic. Much of this angst can be alleviated by planning ahead — try to avoid dropping down vertical shafts, and if you’re the Engineer or Gunner, consider setting up paths back up as you progress down.
Have any tips you’d like to share with new miners? Let us know in the comments below, and stay tuned for more Deep Rock Galactic guides.