Deep Rock Galactic: The Solo Experience

Deep Rock Galactic: The Solo Experience

Until quite recently, I was playing Deep Rock Galactic as an exclusively co-operative experience. I would have gone so far as to say: Deep Rock Galactic is a co-operative game. And sure. That’s how I would expect that most people with a high degree of interest in the title would play it. But DRG does allow for solo play. And more than that — it has additional systems to make the solo experience actually somewhat enjoyable.

Namely a lil flying robot buddy called ‘Bosco’ that can mimic many of the abilities of your absent teammates. It won’t drill passages straight to your extraction point unfortunately, but it will fly up and drill any mineral seams you point out for it, raining down a shower of sparklies for you to lap up down below. It mines really quickly, too!

Or if you point it at a ‘normal’ outcropping of rock it will turn into a psuedo-flare, lighting up the area. It will shoot, dealing similar damage to an Engineer’s turret too.

But perhaps most useful of all; it will revive you a limited number of times if you go down. How many times is going to depend on the upgrades you’ve unlocked and selected for Bosco. If you’re playing exclusively co-op like I was previously, you might not have upgraded your Bosco at all. He goes into hiding the moment another player joins you, so there really wouldn’t have been a point.

Fortunately; I had a good number of minerals and credits left over. Enough at least that I could get him an upgrade option from every tier.

Where I’m up to — I’m working on an assignment (essentially a quest chain, where a string of mining ops will result in you unlocking something — be it a new weapon, promotion, or access to something in the game) to unlock the hardest ‘Hazard’ rating (difficulty), Hazard 5.

In order to do that; I need to complete a number of Hazard 4 missions successfully. Hazard 4s are… Tough. Really tough. I’ve seen much more seasoned characters than my own wipe to these things.

Enough so that I can’t help but wonder: WHY OH GOD, WHY? am I actually pursuing unlocking Hazard 5, which I can only imagine to be a zillion times worse.

But there isn’t any room for logic here. There is gold in dem dere hills caves. And so I continue.

I’m on the very last one in the assignment now. But it’s… It’s probably one of the hardest mission types available. You have been sent in on a salvage operation, to recover the equipment of a previous failed incursion. Presumably all the dwarves involved with said incursion are dead which should give some indication.

In any case, you need to repair their ‘mules’ — another type of robotic companion that follows you around, and allows you to deposit your shiny-finds in. The idea being that should you die, being all squishy and fleshy, the mule might still leave autonomously ensuring the mining corporation isn’t down on any profits. ;)

But the repair is only the first part of the mission, and relatively speaking — the easiest part once you’ve located them… And the robotic limbs that have been pulled from their frames and strewn around the area.

Once you’ve done that, you need to find the previous party’s drop pod. Sure… The company could just send you a freshly fueled new one. But there’s a perfectly good one already on the map… Once, you know, you repair and refuel it.

These actions require a number of point defense sections. During which if you leave a relatively small zone of control, your progress backtracks. And by the voice over, I believe can lead to losing the mission if you let it slide all the way to nothing.

So! You need to fight on the spot, leaving only for the briefest moments of time.

A swarm? No problem.

Praetorians? Pffft.

Oppressor? Sure. Bring it. I can handle it. I might be pushed off point for a while; but I can easily deal with it and get back before it becomes a problem.

Bulk Detonator? Ohhh…. Nooooooo.

For the unfamiliar — they are… They are pretty big. They can rear-up and slam the ground in an explosive shockwave. They are also covered in explosive pustules similar to their much smaller detonator brethren.

Worst of all, even if you kill them — they will (unless frozen while they die) explode in a 15m radius for incredible damage.

After successfully salvaging all three broken mules. After successfully recreating an uplink between the dormant drop pod and base. After just about successfully restoring the fuel rods… All on my own (well; with Bosco too), one of these guys turned up to say ‘Hi!’ right in the midst of an already awkward spawn.

Panic ensued. Especially as my shield device1 simply refused to recharge again in time to be useful.

I died, for the first time on the run. Bosco dutifully got me up.

I died, for the second time on the run. Bosco dutifully got me back up.

Still my shield device when pulled out remained dim, the reassuring blue-glow of it’s ‘ready’ light not coming on.

It was getting frantic; but at least the detonator died. A little too close, but I thought I could clear the blast zone– I was wrong. My body was hurled against the hard wall of the waiting, now refueled drop-pod.

Bosco was out of revive charges. He did not get me back up. You see- at the time I had spec’d him out for the easier missions (Hazard 2, maybe 3) that I’d been doing. I saw no need for additional revive charges. If you note the screenshot above though, now I do. I’ve switched his skills around.

Those two additional revives? Almost certainly would have recovered this mission from the failure it was into a success. Almost. I still had another minute or so for the drop-pod to recover and fully activate; but in that stage you’re no longer bound to a point defense and may roam as necessary.

So live and learn: If you’re leaving home with a Bosco; make sure he’s ready to get you up as many times as possible! ;)


This was a post for Blapril 2020, the annual blogging event (albeit usually as Blaugust), brought forward to help bring a sense of community during the challenging time of COVID-19. Blaugust is an event aiming to welcome new blogger blood into the fold and revitalise those who’ve been at it a little longer.

The Blaugust Discord is still available to join in, year round!


Footnotes

  1. The gunner can throw down a portable shield generator which restores your own armor’s shields, and more importantly creates some breathing room by pushing all enemies outside the radius

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