Deep Rock Galactic Mechanics
In this post we will go through the core mechanics and the victory condition of Deep Rock Galactic to give you an idea what you can expect from the movement, looting, etc. We take a vertical slice of your typical mining expedition to see what you can expect with every run.
In Deep Rock Galactic you get to play as a dwarven character. The character movement in Deep Rock Galactic feels snappy and responsive. This is crucial for a game where you will be doing lots of jumping and running.
The jumping mechanic in Deep Rock Galactic is an absolute necessity because you sometimes have to reach for that fossil or even jump from ledge-to-ledge to avoid certain death. One amazing addition to the jump mechanic is the fact that you can grab onto a ledge and pull yourself up. There is no explicit grab, but you can see the pull up animation when you jump towards a ledge. Had this mechanic not been present, we probably would have fallen to our death multiple times.
Luckily Deep Rock Galactic has a ping system which helps players find each other and ore in the enormous cave systems. The first ping mechanic that we will discuss is when you broadcast your current location to all your friends. When pressing “X” on your keyboard your character announces where he is, highlighting your location on the map to other players in your game. The one thing that makes this mechanic underwhelming is the short duration of your highlighted location to other players. You sometimes end up spamming your location until your friends finally see the highlight. You will also use this ping system when you die, and need your friends to revive you.
The second ping system is mainly used to let your teammates know that you see valuable minerals or to ping a dangerous foe up ahead. This ping’s duration lasts significantly longer than when you ping yourself. We ended up using this ping system when we wanted to know each other’s whereabouts due to the short duration of the ping when using the “X” button. When you hold left control on your keyboard, every crucial aspect of the game gets highlighted. From seeing where Molly is to exactly how much Nitra how have at your disposal. Say goodbye to your friends asking you to ping your location or guessing how far Molly is from your location!
The last communication mechanic is not necessarily a ping but a call. When you press “C”, you call Molly to your location. Molly is a robot in which you can deposit your collected ore to free up space to collect more. Depending on how often you call on Molly, it can take some time for her to reach your location.
The core gameplay mechanic of Deep Rock Galactic revolves around mining, so it is no surprise that this mechanic feels solid and polished. You can mine away any surface in the game, to reach new areas or simply out of curiosity. There are many types of ore that can be mined in Deep Rock Galactic. As you give the ore a hit or two, you notice that the resources are being chipped away. If your inventory is not at full capacity for the ore you are mining, you will gather the ore.
We love the simplicity around the inventory system. You have a certain carrying capacity for each kind of ore in the game and once you reach that threshold you won’t be able to pick any more of that resource until you deposit the ore. The ore and resource along with their carrying capacities are neatly displayed in the HUD at the bottom of your screen.
You need light in a dark cave, and what Deep Rock Galactic has done to turn the lighting into a crucial part of the experience, is genius. They equip each character with a certain amount of flares that can be thrown to light the area. As you throw your flare into the darkness, physics takes over in glorious fashion and it bounces off the rocks and walls to light your way. Lucky for us, the flares recharge, enabling you to be less stingy with the use of flares. Lighting is important, when you throw out a flare in front of you, it sometimes reveals a deep endless pit as you see your flare’s light disappear into the darkness. The light also becomes crucial when a swarm of enemies are approaching. You will most probably make a stand close to where you are, lighting that area up gives you the best chance to spot every single enemy coming to get you. As a side note, this mechanic is extremely satisfying. We tried countless times to see who could throw their flare the furthest.
Ammo and Supplies management
You do not have infinite ammo, introducing a bit of a management mechanic to your ammo. As a result of having to constantly manage your ammo, this will alter your play style. Every class has unique weapons and equipment that makes them good to have around in a cave. Having limited supplies forces you to think about creative ways how you’ll get that fossil that is stuck to the roof of the cave without using all your support items. It also forces you to think about whether you have enough ammo for the next wave.
You need to have 80 Nitra deposited to call in a resupply pod. Nitra is a red crystal-like ore that can be found in each cave system. Each resupply pod holds four resupplies and each will give you back 50% of all your ammo. If you want to be as efficient as possible, use all your ammo and supplies before resupplying because you cannot exceed your maximum capacity in any given category. When playing with an uneven number of friends, the one with the best negotiating skills usually gets two resupplies or the one that ninja’s it. PS the resupply pod can and will kill you if it falls on you, so stand clear of the landing zone as you call it in.
As mentioned in the inventory mechanic, once you reach a threshold for a certain ore that you mined, you must deposit that ore to secure it. Once you called in Molly, simply walk up to her and hold “E” to dump all your ore into the indestructible robot.
If you sent Molly back to the drop ship before depositing some ore, or even the last piece of the secondary objective don’t worry, you can still deposit those at the side of your drop ship before it takes off.
Every mission has both a primary and secondary objective. The primary objective needs to be completed before you can return to your headquarters and the secondary object is optional, but it gives a decent chunk of extra experience. We have found it to be worth our while to always complete both objectives.
If you are stuck between a reload and two empty weapons, then your pickaxe can save the day to finish off that last enemy. You might ask, can’t I just save ammo and destroy all the enemies with my pickaxe? Well, the short answer is no. Melee damage is not high enough and you will probably have to deal with more than one enemy at a time, and therefore melee attacks are a last resort when your life is threatened.
There are lots of dangers in the Deep Rock Galactic world which will kill you, luckily when you go down, you are not taken out of the game just yet. Your friends can come to rescue you if they manage to eliminate the horde of spiders camping your corpse. The revive mechanic is simple, you have to hold “E” to revive a fallen ally, enemy attacks do not disrupt the revive, but we advise it to clear the area before attempting to revive. You can revive your fallen allies as many times as you want, but if all the players in your game go down, you will fail the mission.
Just as mining is important in Deep Rock Galactic, so is shooting. The gun handling feels great, if it’s a heavy weapon you can actually feel the weight, and when it’s a secondary lighter weapon, you feel the difference.There is decent array of weapons to choose from, ranging from guns that need reloading after each shot, to guns that have no reload at all, there will surely be a gun that you will fall in love with.
Enemy weak points
Deep Rock Galactic enemies are designed with a challenge in mind. Instead of just blasting enemies mindlessly, Deep Rock Galactic wanted to add a little strategy to each battle by creating enemies with different strengths and weaknesses, adding yet another level of depth to this brilliant game. The weak points of every creature differs,and the visual weak point design makes it easy to spot the weak points on most enemies. This varies from abdomens to sac like weak points. To maximize your damage output and save ammo, focus your combat efforts towards the enemy weak points.
Once you have successfully completed the primary objective of a mission, you will have to trigger an event that will call in a drop pod that will take you to your headquarters. There are different variations to your last stretch, some missions will start a five-minute timer, and you have to get to your drop pod within that time period. Other times you will have to defend an uplink for two minutes. Each mission ends with you having to make it to the drop pod in one piece.
That is it for our overview of all the core mechanics and the victory condition you can expect when entering a mission. The game has much more to offer than just the list we mentioned. Be sure to give it a try, it truly is one of the best coop experiences we have had in a while.