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An Endorsement of Deep Rock Galactic. Plus an Illustration of Why I Love Cooperative Gameplay

"I'm a Dwarf employed by the Deep Rock Galactic interplanetary mining corporation. It seems like I've been working for them on Hoxxes, AKA the arse-end of the galaxy, for as long as I can remember. I applied after seeing the staggering payouts for mining Morkite in the dangerous caves, only to see my earnings whittled down by fees for room & board, equipment rentals, and having to pay back my passage there.

At this point, there's really only two ways to get out of the deal: Manage to save up enough to buy a ticket home, or die trying. Still a job's a job, and I'm Dwarf, so mining's literally in my bones. It's impossible for any one Dwarf to carry all of the gear that you'd need down in those caves, so we specialize. Me, I'm a driller. Means I get to walk around with big flarkin' drills hanging off my arms. If you ain't carrying these, you have to rely on a measly pickaxe, it's good for harvesting ores, like Morkite and Gold, but for cutting a pathway out of solid stone, they can't be beat. They're also not bad at ruining the day of any of the shite load of bugs that call Hoxxes their home. I don't know if they don't like the noise we make, or if we're just too close to their territory, but every mining expedition involves fending off a number of waves of the bawbags. A pair of drills aren't the answer to every situation involving them, so I also carry a pistol, a flamethrower, some grenades, and some remote detonated satchel explosives, for the big bugs.

Only a mad Dwarf whose forgotten the stones of his home would be willing to do this alone, my only surviving teammate is an engineer, he's generally the better equipped for fighting, with his shotgun, grenade launcher, and automated sentry guns. I know I can count on him to watch my back while I'm molding the sediment to my will. He's also got a handy tool that will produce ledges to help reach ore seams high up on the walls.

It's not uncommon for me to bite off more than I can chew, and while I lay their bleeding my last, see explosions that send insect limbs in every direction, and then before I know it, there's a sentry gun covering my buddy while he patches me up.

We have one last helper, a M.U.L.E. that's probably older than I am. We call her "Molly" and she accepts any ore we've dug out, you can only carry so much of it yourself when you're carrying as much hardware as we have to. Once we've hit our quota, we signal back to Deep Rock Galactic, who, in their infinite wisdom, never fails to deploy the extraction pod as far from our current position as possible. At this point they give us a whopping five minutes to get back to the pod, through a constant assault from the gob-shite bugs, or else the pod will leave with Molly, and leave us to be bug food. Molly, dear that she is, will at least leave us a trail of glow sticks to help us find our way to the pod, but she can climb straight up walls, which is a hard act to follow for a couple of start Dwarves with whiskey for blood. So far, it hasn't been anything that couldn't be bypassed with two diesel powered drills, but I know that if it ever is, Molly would ride the pod back with all of our hard earned ore, and not shed a tear for us. As it is, my friend helps keep the bugs off of me while we hoof it back, and once we've reached the pod, I turn around and cover him with a field of flames to help protect him while he gets in the pod with me.

It's almost a living."

Thanks for indulging me, I felt like getting a little flowery. Deep Rock Galactic is pretty great, it's still in early access, and while it feels like it's a little... shallow? There's still lots of room for improvement. As you earn money, you can turn around and invest them into your gear, so that you can take on more dangerous, and thus more profitable missions. None of the upgrades that you get really change how your character works, though. My driller will never get access to a machine gun. His pistol will do more damage, and hold more in the clip, but it's still just going to be a pistol. Same with his flamethrower, drills, etc. You should definitely check it out if you've ever wanted to be a space Dwarf mining out an alien planet. To be fair, I didn't know I wanted to be that, until I played it.

More importantly, this got me thinking about something that I love about most cooperative games. In pretty much all of my favorites, when you "die" you don't just disappear, and then have to wait for a respawn timer to count down. Instead there's usually a period of varying length were you're downed, but you can still look around, and one of your buddies that you're playing with can risk getting shot at in order to bring you back. I feel that this is some of the most cinematic, and intense experiences to be found in gaming. Your buddy will call out, and you take a snap judgment of the situation, maybe kill a couple of enemies, start running towards him, drop a grenade at your feet, by the time it goes off, you're already out of the blast range, but all of those baddies chasing you aren't. Maybe you jump a gap, or dive over a barricade. You feel like a bad ass. What I think is even cooler than feeling like a bad ass in that situation, though, is being the guy who's being rescued. It's not because I've got a damsel complex, but because you get to watch, you see your compatriot who has a different playstyle than you, and depending on the game, has an entirely different tool set to work with, and you get to see how much of a badass they are.

When I'm "alive", I'm generally so focused on doing my own thing, that I don't get to see how the other person deals with different situations. In the situation in my little story, I told you how it looks from the Driller's perspective to be rescued by the engineer. Conversely, the Engineer might die up on a cliff, and see the driller billow flames all of the surrounding bugs, before running towards the cliff face. Right as the Driller dips below the line of visibility of the Engineer, a massive explosion sends horrible bugs flying high into the air. A couple of seconds later, a hole opens in the ground next to the Engineer, and the Driller pops out and revives him.

I think it's fabulous.


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