Getting started in Deep Rock Galactic can be a bit daunting at first. This beginner’s guide will ease you into your first 10-15 hours of Deep Rock Galactic. Although the intro mission explains the general handling of your dwarf, it will not get into too much detail about the abilities of each class, how to use Bosco or how to play solo. This article shares many things I stumbled across in my first days with Deep Rock Galactic. – If you prefer a video guide you can just jump to my youtube guide.
Deep Rock Galactic overview
Deep Rock Galactic looks like Borderlands and Minecraft had a child with an obsession for resource grinding. But it is so much more. It is a coop mining shooting crossover that combines thrill and chill throughout each mission in a unique way. The developers are very active and large parts of the community are adult gamers.
You prepare your missions on your space rig by choosing one of four dwarf classes, your equipment and the mission type. It is up to you if you want to completely solo a mission, join other players randomly or want to be joined by random players. Enemies will scale according to the number of players. The whole process of joining or being joined is seamless similar to Warframe. Player interaction between squads is minimal and very well done via a laser pointer.
Movement and Abilities in Deep Rock Galactic
Movement is controlled by WASD, running is Shift and jumping is Space. Holding Space on ledges will pull you up to a certain extent. Do not expect a pullup on ledges like in Doom (2016) but it is more than enough in most situations.
The key you will use the most is F because it throws one of your flares. Most caves are very dark and throwing flares will become second nature. Flares do regenerate over time but you should keep a watchful eye on your “flare economy”.
With your right mouse button you will take out and swing your pickaxe. You use the pickaxe to destroy your environment, mine minerals and kill damage enemies.
You can use the mouse wheel choose what equipment you want to use. Each dwarf has a primary weapon, a secondary weapon, a support tool and a defensive tool to choose from. Instead of using the mouse wheel you can directly jump to each item by using the keys 1 to 4.
The key 5 will order a supply drop if you have farmed enough Nitra resources. After activating your supply drop you will see a transparent preview of the pod. If the preview has a bluish color the drop is good to go. A reddish color indicates either an unsuitable drop location or insufficient Nitra, you need 80 Nitra to order a supply drop. A supply drop provides 4 chambers each recharging 50% of you total ammo.
Another important key is C because it will call the M.U.L.E. also called “Molly” to your location. You can only carry a limited number of resources and Molly takes every resource you mined and carries it for you.
You also need to know how to use your scanner. To pull out the scanner you just have to press the CTRL key. A small display with a laser pointer will show up. The display shows what the laser pointer detects. By pressing the left mouse button you mark that spot, mineral or even enemy for you team to see. Your character will also tell the rest of the team what he has found. The scanner is extremely helpful to show your team where certain resources are, where a dangerous enemy can be found or where items are located.
There is also the option of chat. Like many other games you can hit Enter to use the chat.
Every class has a different grenade type equipped. You can use your G key to throw the grenade. Some grenades just explode, others work like molotov and there is even a lure grenade that draws enemies towards it.
Finally, there is your in-mission map, also known as terrain scanner. Keep your M key pressed to pull it out. You will see a 3-dimensional representation of the area around you. Depending on your mission type certain locations will be displayed. You can zoom in and out with you mousewheel and tilt the map by using your mouse.
How mining works
Once you enter a mission you will find a number of resources you are able to mine. You can spot most of them immediately because they have a slight glow compared to the rest of the environment. The black glowing crystals in your tutorial mission are called Morkite. You can mine them by using your pickaxe. Dark red glowing crystals are Nitra. Every 80 Nitra will fund a support drop that contains ammo and health. The gold colored stones are gold. Any gold mined during you mission will reward you with credits afterwards.
There are a number of different resources that you can mine. Different zones have different resources and not all of them are surface resources. Jadiz or Enor Pearls for example have to be dug up from the ground or dug out of walls.
You can only carry a limited amount of each resource. If you are full of one resource you need to call Molly, by pressing C, and deposit all your resources. Rinse and repeat until you found all resources the mission wants you to find.
Solo play in Deep Rock Galactic
You can play Deep Rock Galactic completely solo because the game does a good job at scaling enemy numbers. You also get a helping robot named Bosco. Bosco can mine resources in areas you do not reach by using your laser pointer; just point at the resource and press the left mouse button to mark the resource for Bosco.
But you should consider playing with other players. Joining and being joined in any mission is a seamless experience. There is no need to have voice chat enabled because your laser pointer will help you making statements about environment and mission status. Whenever you want to play a mission you can choose to join other player currently on that mission or open your mission to other players by making it public. I always play that way and have yet to have to encounter an unfriendly player.
In Deep Rock Galactic you can choose between 5 base mission types. They will occur on any of the 8 different biomes. Each mission is procedurally generated and there is also a variety of difficulty options to further spice things up. I have a separate chapter about the different difficulty settings.
The first mission type is called Mining Expedition. This is exactly the mission type you have to do in your tutorial mission. You have to find and mine a given quota of morkite to finish the mission. There is always a side objective collecting a given number of special items scattered throughout the cave.
In the Egg Hunt mission type you have to find glowing organic masses that are located in different areas of the cave system. You can see the locations in your terrain scanner. You have to learn to properly use the terrain scanner. When you uncovered a location you have to dig out the alien egg and deposit it into molly. There is also a side objective of collecting special items for a higher credit reward.
The Salvage Operation mission always start with finding abandoned mule parts. You have to find and dig out 3 white glowing legs and move them one by one to a green glowing mule. Next you can construct the mule. You have to repeat this two times before you start the second part of the mission. This will be a multi-point defense until a drop pod drops.
In Point Extraction you have to find you way to a stationary mining rig. Once there you have to dig out big Arquarq crystals and carry them back to the mining rig. The mining rig has 4 pre-installed turrets that will fire upon enemies as long as they have ammo. Like all other missions there will be a side objective of collection certain items scattered throughout the cave.
The final mission type is Elimination. Here you have to find 2 or 3 big Dreadnought eggs. Shooting those eggs will spawn Glyphid Dreadnought mini-boss that has to be killed. You have to shoot his weak spot on the back. You will also have side objective collecting specific items for a higher credit reward.
Mission difficulty, hazard level and modifier
Whether you start your own mission or join other players’ missions, you need to understand hazard levels. Hazard levels control the difficulty of the mission and the resource multiplier. The higher the hazard level the tougher the enemies you face but also the more resources you get.
Hazard level 1 makes enemies rather slow, replenishes a large chunk of health after reviving and has the least friendly fire damage. But on the flipside, it will only provide a 25% bonus to resources found in mission. Hazard level 2 makes this a bit more difficult with faster enemies, less health after revives and more friendly fire damage. But you will get a 50% bonus to resources.
As a new player early in the game you should stick to hazard level 1 and 2. Going to hazard level 3 will be your first challenge. And you have to survive a hardard level 4 mission in order to unlock the tough hazard level 5.
Mission length and cave complexity also influence resource bonuses but provide their own challenges. The longer the mission the more time you will need on your way back. Cave complexity means more obstacles, more verticality and resources in hard to reach places.
Missions can also carry red symbols that are warnings. By hovering over the icons each warning is explained. If you are in the early stages of the game – less than player rank 10 – I would advise not to play missions with red symbols.
Yellow symbols beside mission are anomalies that provide a buff while in that mission. Just hover over an icon to see what buff you can expect in a given mission.
All 4 classes, a short overview
You can choose between four different classes. Each class has its own class level, going from 1 to 25. The class level is displayed in red and is needed to activate weapon mods. Your player level is displayed in blue. All classes have an initial primary and a secondary weapon. You can obtain one additional primary and secondary later in the game through specific missions.
The Driller is equipped with a Powerdrill that can drill its way through the environment. He can be used to dig through walls, build stairwell-like tunnels and drill straight to the escape pod. His flameflower will sweep through hordes of enemies but can also burn teammates. His secondary pistol is a powerful emergency weapon or if you just want to focus on a single enemy target. Finally, there is his Satchel Charge, a remote controlled explosive you can use to blow up large enemies like the Praetorian.
The Engineer has a Platform Gun at his disposal. He can build Mario-like platforms, combine platforms to build a bridge or soften a steep fall by building a platform below him. To keep enemies away he has a trusty auto-shotgun that tends to get out of ammo fast. Against larger hordes or bigger enemies his grenade launcher is the perfect choice. Finally, there is his grenade that lures in enemies. You can use this to get some breathing space or to have a juice target for your grenade launcher.
If you have ever played the Heavy in Team Fortress 2, then the Gunner will feel familiar. He has a huge minigun that loves to overheat when it is needed the most. His pistol packs a lot of punch and his explosive grenades are a joy to use. The Gunner also carries Zipline Gun that can deploy stationary ziplines all teammates can use. They are especially useful in large caves with lots of verticality, in Dreadnaught fights and in combination with Engineer platforms. He can also deploy a shield generator that protects the team and regenerates friendly shields.
The fastest moving class is the Scout. His Grappling Gun allows him to get very fast from point A to B. But it also allows the scout to grapple himself to hard to reach places and mine minerals. He synergizes perfectly with an Engineer who can provide a platform wherever the Scout needs one. For his defense the Scout carries an SMG that has a COD-like reload animation. His secondary is a close quarter sawed-off shotgun. The scout also carries a very useful Flare Gun than can lighten caves for a sustained period of time.
In your mining rig – before you start a mission or after you have finished a mission – there are many terminals that you can and have to use. Some are availble right from the start, others have to activated by playing specific missions.
Starting in your cabin room you will spot a News terminal to your left. There are some random news but they can be ignored in terms of gameplay.
When you walk towards the door you will find your Character Selection terminal to the right of it. It does what it says: You can switch your class and see your class ranks. It also contains a preview video for each class that shows class weapons and abilities.
To your left you will find the so-called KPI (Key Performance Indicator) terminal. It is just a perk station where you can claim your perk points by completing milestones and use them to unlock perks. It is important to use this terminal and unlock your perks regularly.
When you leave your cabin room you will enter the main hall where most of the important terminals are located.
The wardrobe terminal is the one that is the nearest but the most hidden because you will instinctively try to make your way towards the big green shiny thing in the middle of the room. But you have to turn around and face the door of you cabin room to spot the wardrobe terminal. With this terminal you can change you appearance and will begin your beard obsession.
The big green glowing thing in the middle of main hall is your Mission terminal. On the upper floor to the far right you will find the Abyss Bar where you can buy beer that provides buffs for missions.
On the lower floor to the right of the mission terminal are two terminals that are more interesting. The first one is the Accessory Shop terminal. Here you can buy some bling or new beards for your character. It is not important to win missions but a decent beard will earn you respect when playing in public missions.
Next comes the Mineral Trade terminal that you have to unlock through a separate beginner mission. Here you can sell surplus minerals for a tiny amount of credits and buy minerals you need for exessive credits.
If you go straight ahead you will find the area for Deep Rock Galactic end-game terminals. Both terminals have to be unlock at a later point of the game. But you can take a sneak peak with the picture below.
Head back to the Mission terminal in the middle of the room. It is a huge terminal with a green hologram of the planet Hoxxes on top. This is the spot where you start you select and start your missions.
Once you started your mission you can head up the stairs into your drop pod.
Left of the mission terminal on the same level you will find the Assignement Board terminal. With this terminal you can choose open assignments. Assignments are a collection of missions that have to be finished to get the assignement rewards.
There are weekly recurring assignments as well as game progress assignments. Once you have accepted an assignment a blinking icon will highlight the needed missions in your mission terminal.
The last two terminals are to the upper left of the assignment board terminal.
The Equipment terminal is your goto terminal for upgrading your dwarfes, your weapons and equipping any skins. This is the terminal you will spend the most time in because upgrading each weapon, selecting perks and upgrading your equipment are what keeps you alive in missions.
To the right of the equipment terminal you find the Drone Modification terminal that you could just call Bosco upgrade terminal. When you play solo or you are alone in the first few minutes of your public missions, having a properly equipped Bosco to support you is important. Do yourself a favor and do a few updates.
The final terminal on this floor is to the left of the equipment terminal and the elevator. It is called the Pick Axe modification terminal. You can make visual modifcation to your pick axe later in the game.
There is an upper floor for you to discover but this not relevant for your actual gameplay.
Youtube Deep Rock Galactic Beginner’s Guide
If you prefer a video over reading all those words there is my 2019 Deep Rock Galactic Beginner’s Guide on youtube. But a few things like the terminal locations have changed since I created this video.