Note: Our Deep Rock Galactic: Driller Guide has been recently updated for Season 2.
If you want to conquer Hoxxes IV and uncover all of its untold riches for yourself, you’re going to have to dig deep. Real deep. Thankfully, the Driller is fully prepared to mine through the entire planet, if that’s what it takes. With his arsenal of tools, no rock or threat can keep the Driller out for long. However, being a good Driller means recognizing where you’re needed the most in every situation. Which is why our Driller Guide is so clutch.
Whether it be creating a path to connect your split team or focusing on keeping enemy swarms under control with your main gun, you’re constantly needed somewhere. To ensure your success and help you gain the most mileage out of the Driller, we’ve created our comprehensive Driller guide on everything Driller-related in Deep Rock Galactic.
We’ll go over what’s expected of your role, the best builds for the Driller, how to utilize your equipment, and other tips and tricks to help you conquer Hoxxes IV.
Let’s get started!
- Deep Rock Galactic Beginner’s Guide
- Deep Rock Galactic Best Class for Solo & Co-Op
- Scout Guide
- Gunner Guide
Table of Contents
Role of the Driller Class
As the Driller, you’re effectively leading your team’s charge. It’s your job to drill through the Compacted Dirt walls that separate sections of the map, clear out any annoying terrain that prevents easy traversal, and create paths to hard-to-reach areas.
It’s not uncommon for your allies to get separated or lost in the winding caverns of Hoxxes IV, so you can drill straight to them if the distance is too great. Alternatively, you can dig tunnels to key objectives (like the exit pod) if finding a natural path is too troublesome.
Digging convenient tunnels is especially critical when you’re dealing with Morkite refinery piplines and hacking pods. In these cases, you can create convenient straight tunnels to lay down the pipelines and connection pods. This removes the headache of trying to connect points A and B in caves with severe inclines and obstacles.
Sometimes you have to carry heavy objects like Aquarqs or Drilldozer batteries to certain locations. Drilling tunnels that you can simply walk/jump through while carrying objects is much better than trying to parkour your way across the environment.
Additionally, Season 2 introduced turret nests as a new enemy hazard in some levels (mainly missions with the Rival Presence modifier). While you can deactivate all the turrets by hacking the control node, reaching it and being able to safely do so is another issue.
This is where you shine. Digging out the area underneath a turret, will instantly destroy it. You can remove the turrets that are preventing you from reaching the control node, or you can dig a tunnel to the control node and hack it from the safety of the ground (assuming you’re in reach of it).
As for fighting, your primary weapon is fantastic for providing AOE coverage to deal with swarms of enemies. If your team is at risk of getting overwhelmed, you can lure the enemy to an area where you can effectively funnel them into a stream of death.
Also, if a teammate gets downed in an inconvenient location, you can bathe their surroundings in fire/ice/acid to create an opening. Alternatively, you can drill a tunnel under them to safely revive them.
No matter what equipment you take on a mission, there’s one perk that is an absolute must on the Driller — Friendly. All of your primary weapons have massive AOE presence, and your arsenal of explosives tend to have large blast radiuses. Reducing friendly fire damage is an absolute must on the Driller, or your team will hate you.
Beyond that, we recommend taking Dash as one of your active perks to get you out of danger quickly. You’ll often be up close spraying enemies with your primary, so having an exit strategy is always useful.
The rest of your slots can be filled with whatever you feel fits your playstyle.
Related Reading: Best Perks for Deep Rock Galactic
Driller Builds and Equipment
What are the best builds for the Driller in terms of weapons and equipment? Let’s discuss in this lengthy section of our Driller Guide.
Primary Weapons & Builds
Regardless of whether you choose fire, cryo, or acid, the Driller packs the best weapons for keeping swarms under control. You can turn any environment into a hellscape for your enemies (just be sure to keep an eye on your ammo).
1. CRSPR Flamethrower
The CRSPR Flamethrower is the Driller’s default primary weapon, and arguably the best starting weapon of all the dwarves. Its performance holds up even after you’ve unlocked the other guns.
As you’d expect, this flamethrower lights your enemies on fire and steadily eats away at their health. When you fill up your enemy’s heat meter (indicated by a flame icon next to their health bar), they’ll ignite and take periodic damage.
However, dealing direct damage with flamethrower can be rather ammo intensive. Instead, it’s usually more practical to light the enemy’s path on fire so they have to walk through the flames. Create lines of flame and kite enemies through them.
Do note that at higher difficulties, the enemy AI will usually try to patrol around your flame lines, so you may need to light more areas on fire to keep them under control. However, the flamethrower is still one of the best weapons for crowd control when a massive swarm approaches.
Another important thing to note – fully lightning mechanical enemies on fire will instantly kill them. Given the increased appearance of mechanical enemies in missions with the Rival Presence modifier, you’ll often be relying on this trick to conserve on ammo.
While it’s fairly easy to fully ignite turrets and such (mainly by igniting the terrain around them), it’s considerably more difficult to ignite enemies that fly around (we’re looking at you drones). In those cases, it may be more ammo efficient to use your side arm.
And yes – the new mini-boss Nemesis will also instantly die if ignited. Just be careful with your distance when dealing with it. You’ll want to find the sweet spot where you’re in range of burning it, but also far away enough to avoid getting grabbed by its tentacle arms.
Build A: Direct Damage
This build emphasizes just directly burning your enemies to a crisp. You’ll want as much max ammo as possible, so resupplies will give you more. Don’t stop firing till they’re dead.
-  High Pressure Ejector
-  Unfiltered Fuel
-  More Fuel /  Oversized Valves – if you’re not worried about ammo.
-  More Fuel
-  Targets Explode
- Overclock: Face Melter — The damage boost is easily worth the reduction in range and slightly more frequent reloads.
Build B: Sticky Flames
This build is all about keeping those lines of flames you create burning for as long as possible. This is the build we most recommend for the CRSPR Flamethrower, as it’s fantastic for keeping swarms at bay. While incredibly ammo efficient, you’ll still have to anticipate the enemy’s movement to make the most out of this. Try to keep to small puffs of flame to light the terrain on fire.
-  High Pressure Ejector
-  Sticky Flame Duration
-  Sticky Flame Slowdown
-  Sticky Flame Duration
-  Heat Radiance — Makes it easier for nearby enemies to ignite while kiting them.
- Overclock: Sticky Additive / Sticky Fuel — If you’re very good at managing your ammo.
2. Cryo Cannon
This is the Driller’s best weapon for helping his team deal massive damage. This time, you’re working with ice and a cold meter. Blast enemies with cryo long enough and they’ll freeze solid, taking triple damage from any direct damage (AOE damage doesn’t count!).
You don’t have to worry about hitting frozen enemies in their weak points — their entire body takes extra damage. We recommend swapping to your sidearm to finish off high-health frozen targets.
As a bonus, frozen enemies don’t trigger special death effects (like the Praetorian’s death fog). Even better, flying enemies instantly die after freezing and hitting the ground!
Keep in mind that, unlike the flamethrower, the cannon is better suited for direct damage. Don’t bother altering the terrain — freezing the area will only slow the enemy at best.
The Cryo Cannon functions off a pressure system instead of reloading. The more pressure, the longer the gun can fire before having to wait to rebuild pressure. You can check the pressure gauge on the far right of the weapon.
Do note that larger and tougher enemies typically take longer to freeze and break out quicker than regular enemies. In those cases, you may want to continue blasting them with the Cryo Cannon to keep them frozen while the rest of your team takes advantage of the frozen damage multiplier.
We also advise against using the Cryo Cannon when dealing with mechanical enemies, as they have a very high resistance against being frozen. If you do manage to freeze one, you’ll probably have depleted half your ammo on a single enemy.
Build A: Freeze and Shatter
There’s only one real build we can recommend for the Cryo Cannon, and that’s one that focuses on freezing enemies as quickly as possible with direct damage. Thankfully, the cannon can do a surprising amount of damage and will instantly kill most low-health enemies.
We recommend pairing it with the Subata using our Mag Dump build below to ensure that you can finish off bulkier enemies who won’t die instantly from being frozen.
-  Stronger Cooling Unit
-  Larger Reserve Tank
-  Increased Flow Volume
-  Supercooling Mixture
-  Fragile — Chance on freezing enemies to do massive damage. Higher chance on low health targets.
- Overclock: Improved Thermal Efficiency / Tuned Cooler / Flow Rate Expansion
3. Corrosive Sludge Pump
This is the final primary weapon you can unlock for the Driller. A bit of an inversion from the Driller’s other weapons, the Sludge Pump immediately afflicts hit enemies with a nasty corrosion DOT (damage over time) to chew away their health.
Additionally, it’s a projectile-based weapon that has a bit of an arc to its shots. Normal shots do direct damage and have a small splash radius, so you can afflict multiple grouped-up enemies at once.
Alternatively, you can charge up a shot at a higher ammo cost to create a cluster of goo puddles that slow and eat away at the enemy. Do note that the puddles don’t reapply the corrosion DOT, though. You have to directly hit them again to get the effect.
Proper usage of the charged shot can create death zones that you can keep kiting enemies back and forth through to kill them quickly and safely. Unlike the flamethrower, the enemy AI doesn’t try as hard to avoid these puddles.
Just note that it’s not really effectively to apply puddles to walls and vertical surfaces due to the game’s coding being somewhat inconsistent. If you want to do so, angle your charged shot slightly higher than where you want the puddle to be and try to get closer before you fire it.
Thanks to some buffs with Season 2, the weapon now chews away enemy armor by default! This makes it highly useful for dealing with armored enemies like Praetorians, Glyphid Guards, and Dreadnoughts.
Fun fact: you can ignite the puddles to deal extra fire damage to enemies! If you’re running the Experimental Plasma Charger with the heat mod or have another Driller on the team with the flamethrower, you can do some nasty combos. Don’t worry — igniting the puddles doesn’t reduce their duration.
The weapon also has less ammo than its counterparts, so it’s important to consider when to use it. That said, it’s probably the Driller’s strongest weapon due to how effective corrosion is and how few enemies resist it. Even more so now that it’s received a boat load of tweaks and buffs with Season 2 (mainly to corrosion and puddle effects). Just make sure to reapply the effect when it wears off on enemies!
Build A: Charged Shot
This build focuses on turning areas into death zones and kiting enemies back and forth through your corrosive puddles. It’s fantastic for holding chokepoints and buying time for your team.
-  Air Sensitive Compound
-  Atomizer Nozzle
-  Supersaturation /  More Goo Canisters – if you’re worried about ammo.
-  Spillback Extension
-  Protein Disruption Mix
- Overclock: Disperser Compound — More reliant on kiting enemies through goo puddles.
Build B: Direct Damage
Pepper your enemies with as many single shots as possible and just steadily chew away their health. Any major threat will fall to your acidic onslaught.
-  Better Air Pressurizer
-  Potent Goo Mix
-  More Goo Cannisters
-  Spillback Extension
-  Fluoroantimonic Acid
- Overclock – Hydrogen Ion Additive
Side Arms & Builds
The Driller has three options for his side arm. The first two are effectively pistols and sit on wildly opposite ends of the difficulty curve to master. The third one is basically a beam cannon that amplifies status effects. However, all three are respectable weapons in their own right and drastically help with ammo conservation on the Driller’s main weapon.
1. Subata 120
This is the Driller’s default side arm — a standard pistol with reliable aim and decent damage output. There’s nothing fancy about it. This gun shoots as fast as you can fire it. The Subata is mostly used to handle threats that your primary weapon can’t reach and to help conserve on ammo against isolated threats.
It’s also surprisingly effective at taking advantage of enemy weakpoints if you have steady aim and build appropriately. Depending on which modification you take for its final row, you can either devastate burning enemies or any of the flying Mactera bugs.
Build A: Deep Pockets
Our recommended build for the Subata is largely focused on ensuring you have plenty of ammo to help offset your primary weapon’s ammo consumption. Depending on which primary you’re using, there are small tweaks to the Subata’s build to help it synergize more.
-  Quickfire Ejector
-  Expanded Ammo Bags
-  Expanded Ammo Bags
-  High Velocity Rounds — If using the Cryo Cannon / Hollow-Point Bullets (1) — If using others.
-  Volatile Bullets — If using the Flamethrower / Mactera Toxin-Coating (2) — If using others.
- Overclock: Chain Hit
Build B: Mag Dump
This build is designed specifically to complement the Cryo Cannon and execute any frozen enemies that are still alive. Given that frozen enemies have all their weak points temporarily disabled, you just want to pump as many bullets into them as fast as possible.
-  High Capacity Magazine – Ensures you have enough bullets to kill a foe before it unfreezes.
-  Expanded Ammo Bags
-  Expanded Ammo Bags
-  High Velocity Rounds – weak points are disabled while frozen, so flat damage is better.
-  Mactera Toxin-Coating
- Overclock: Automatic Fire – You’ll want to be up close and personal so your bullets don’t miss.
2. Experimental Plasma Charger
This is a bit of an oddball of a weapon, and arguably the hardest weapon to master in Deep Rock Galactic. The EPC can be used as a standard pistol with a heat sink system. Instead of reloading, simply stop firing for a bit to let the weapon cool down. It also has the option of charging up a more powerful shot that travels a bit slower but explodes on impact for AOE damage.
What makes this weapon so interesting and difficult to master is its last row of modifications. The Thin Containment Field mod lets you detonate a charged shot with a follow up normal shot. This manually detonated shot does a tremendous amount of damage. You can also mine minerals with the explosion (though be careful, it usually sends the loot flying in every direction). The only problem is getting the timing down to trigger the detonation at the right moment.
If you plan to go down this route, we strongly recommend practicing with it in a solo mission where you have plenty of Nitra to call in multiple resupplies. While it sounds easy on paper, actually gauging the distance and timing is rather difficult.
Alternatively, you can mod the weapon to heat up enemies and light them on fire as well. It’s a great way to further complement the Flamethrower’s playstyle or to ignite the Sludge Pump’s puddles (do note that it takes a couple shots to ignite).
Build A: Normal Shots
This build is designed for uncomplicated straight damage and as a secondary way to ignite things.
-  Larger Battery
-  Overcharged Plasma Accelerator
-  Tweaked Radiator
-  High Density Battery
-  Plasma Burn — It takes about three shots to light a Sludge Pump puddle on fire.
- Overclock: Energy Rerouting
Build B: Charged Detonation
This build is for you if you’re all about that high risk, high reward charge lifestyle.
-  Higher Charged Plasma Energy
-  Overcharged Plasma Accelerator — Makes detonating the charged shot a lot easier.
-  Improved Charge Efficiency — This one is personal preference.
-  Reactive Shockwave
-  Thin Containment Field — This is what lets you actually detonate the charged shot manually.
- Overclock: Overcharger / Energy Rerouting / Magnetic Cooling Unit
3. Colette Wave Cooker
The latest in microwave technology has been added to the Driller’s arsenal in Season 2 for easy cooking on the go. This beautiful portable microwave is the Driller’s best secondary weapon and can be customized to further enhance his primary weapon’s role or as a standalone oven of invisible death.
The most notable aspect of this weapon is its range. As in it has infinite range. If something is in your line of sight, you can microwave it from any distance. This makes it amazing for dealing with dangerous threats that you can’t reach easily or don’t want to risk getting to close to (like the new Nemesis).
Making this even better is that the weapon’s beam is wide enough to do AoE damage. Everything in its reticle will be hit by the microwaves. Depending on which modification you take from its 4th row, you can further increase the beam’s width or sacrifice a bit to increase the rate of fire.
The weapon’s damage is also quite impressive for a secondary, easily shredding through health bars. It even ignores armor! However, it can not take advantage of an enemy’s weak points (except for the unique ones it can make through its Blistering Necrosis overclock). This makes it less ideal for dealing with enemies that you usually eliminate through weak points like the flying Mactera.
However, enemies killed with this weapon will not trigger their death effects, much like frozen enemies.
Additionally, it functions on a battery system, so you have to juggle the weapon’s heat bar. Even with modifications reducing heat generation, it’s prone to overheating so careful management is needed.
One final thing to note about the Wave Cooker is its potential to complement elemental effects. Its 3rd and 5th row of modifications focus on this, allowing you play off whatever element you primary weapon focuses on and cause more devastating effects on afflicted enemies.
Want to make them explode? Perhaps slow them down and keep them locked in your corrosive puddles longer. Maybe cause temperature shocks and spread burning/freezing mists to nearby enemies? Pick the modifications that you want to strengthen your preferred playstyle.
Build A: Temperature Shock
This build revolves around fully burning/freezing the enemy first with your primary weapon, then swapping over to the Wave Cooker to trigger a massive temperature shock to chunk their health bars.
This is one of the best builds in the game right now, letting you easily delete most major threats in seconds (don’t be surprised if it gets nerfed).
Given that it’s easier to ignite enemies than freezing them, we recommend using the flamethrower with the Sticky Flames modification. Enemies on fire already generate an aura of heat, and the explosion from the 5th row modification (Exothermic Reactor) produces another 50 heat.
This should be enough to light other nearby enemies on fire. The Sticky Flames will prevent them from being doused, allowing you to trigger the temperature shock reaction repeatedly by microwaving the next ablaze target. If it’s a single enemy you’re focusing on, just light it on fire again and repeat the process. Though do be careful when dealing with enemies that are immune to heat/fire.
-  Magnetron Tube
-  Thermoelectric Cooler – more efficient than Heat Sink.
-  Densification Ray – other option is unnecessary with Sticky Flames. Better to slow enemies.
-  Power Supply Overdrive – both options aren’t really necessary. This is better for large foes.
-  Exothermic Reactor – the lynchpin of this build.
- Overclock: Liquid Cooling System – you mostly just want better cooling/less heat generation.
Build B: Geneva Violations
Both the usage of radiation and chemical warfare tend to be seen as war crimes. That’s why this build combines them together to make you the ultimate war criminal.
This build is largely focused on eating away your enemies’ health with DoT damage and spreading poisonous clouds to nearby enemies. While it’s a bit overkill for smaller enemies, it’s fantastic for chewing away at bosses and other bulkier threats’ health bars.
Simply hit enemies with a direct round from the Sludge Pump first to apply corrosion to them, then switch to the Wave Cooler to spread poison and radiation via the 5th row’s modification (Contagion Transmitter) and overclock to enemies. Alternatively, you can use the Neurotoxin Grenades to easily apply poison to large crowds of enemies.
-  Magnetron Tube
-  Heat Sink – to help offset the overdrive mode’s heat generation.
-  Densification Ray
-  Power Supply Overdrive – lets you apply the overclock’s radiation very quickly.
-  Contagion Transmitter – spreads poison to nearby enemies and do extra 30% damage.
- Overclock: Gamma Contamination – If you hit the reload button and switch to the Power Supply Overdrive, you can apply radiation almost instantly to any enemy.
Reinforced Power Drills & Build
At last, we’ve reached the Driller’s namesake. These high-powered dual drills let you quickly dig through nearly everything in the game, as long as you’ve got the fuel for it. You can carve tunnels to get to objectives faster, reconnect split up teammates, make an ascending spiral ramp or staircase to get higher up, get your team out of bad situations with an emergency exit tunnel, etc.
The only thing these drills can’t dig through is minerals like gold and Nitra, solely because of gameplay balance reasons. However, if you dig out all the terrain that those minerals are attached to, the cluster of minerals will be immediately mined.
As a note, the drills will overheat if used for too long. Just ease off them for a few seconds when you reach around 95% overheat to give them a chance to cool down. If they reach 100% and overheat, you’ll be stuck in a very slow cooldown period.
While you can use the drills offensively, it’s really not worth it. The damage output is quite slow, consumes precious fuel that could be used for digging, and puts you in dangerous melee range. The only scenario where this might be decent is if you’re running the Cryo Cannon to freeze everything first and have the Vampire perk to regenerate health on melee kills (which the drills count as).
However, the drills are a decent fallback option for when you’re dealing with enemies that more or less die in a single hit such as Swarmers and Naedocyte babies. You can also use it to destroy armor plating on some enemies to grant your team easier access to squishy bits.
Build A: Dig Forever
On that note, our build for the Drills is designed to let you dig as efficiently and quickly as possible. Avoiding overheating is rather easy, so those mods are largely ignored.
-  Hardened Drill Tips
-  Magnetic Refrigeration
-  Supercharged Motor
-  Increased Tank Pressure
Satchel Charge & Build
The Driller’s second piece of unique equipment is the highly explosive Satchel Charges. There are two main uses for these — blowing up massive holes in the terrain and murdering packs of enemies. As a bonus, the blast can mine mineral deposits as well!
Both options are incredibly useful, but we have to go with hollowing out the terrain in most cases. The satchels are a bit finicky when you try to stick them to walls, making positioning them for optimal murder a bit hard at times. Plus the blast radius is so large that you’ll often catch your own team in it.
Additionally, optimizing the charges for terrain clearing allows you to set up easy safe havens via bunker blasting. Simply drill a small tunnel horizontally, toss a charge in, and boom! Now you have a little Hobbit hole to hide in and defend a single entrance.
You can apply this to defending/holding objectives as well. Dig under the objective (say the uplink module) a bit, toss a satchel charge down, and now you have a bunker with the entrance at the top of it. Have your team’s Engineer surround the entrance hole with bug repelling platforms and simply funnel kill the approaching enemies.
However, make sure you have a partially completed exit tunnel. Sometimes too many enemies or exploders will pour in, forcing you to retreat. If you dig out too much, the exit tunnel can start spawning enemies. Dig out too little, and you won’t have enough time to get your team to safety.
This strategy is mostly only needed for harder missions, as it’s a bit overkill for Hazard Level 3 and below. Proper usage of it can be a life saver though. Just make sure to communicate to your team what you’re doing first. Also, this does not work in the Magma Core region, as explosions turn the terrain into burning magma.
As a side note, we do want to point out that the blast charges are very good at destroying armor on some of the tougher enemies. Like a Dreadnought who happens to be standing still to roar at your team. It’d be a real shame if someone tossed a high grade explosive right on top of them.
Build A: Terrain Destruction
This build focuses on creating large blast radiuses in the terrain.
-  Extra Satchel Charge
-  Kill Switch
-  Extra Satchel Charge
-  Rock Mover
The Driller’s grenades are all focused on one thing — murder!
1. Impact Axe
This is the first “grenade” you start with. We say grenade, but it’s really a throwing axe. However, it’s one of the hardest hitting attacks in the game, capable of removing massive chunks of the enemy’s health if you hit their weak points with it. Even better, you get eight of them (the highest count of any dwarf’s grenades). Plus, there’s something satisfying about throwing axes into a Praetorian’s face.
As a bonus, the axes do deal some AOE damage upon impact. Additionally, if you completely miss hitting an enemy with an axe, you can pick it up and use it again!
In fact you can cheese the system a little bit if you need to resupply your ammo but have excess axes. Simply throw the extra ones at the ground nearby, resupply, and you can pick those axes up again when you need them later.
Using these against high priority threats can make your team’s life a whole lot easier. We especially recommend pairing it with the Cryo Cannon to devastate frozen enemies with that damage multiplier.
2. HE Grenade
The High-Explosive Grenade does exactly what it sounds like. You toss it and It detonates after a few seconds, chunking any nearby enemies and terrain.
It’s great for breaking armor, clearing out crowds, and inflicting a fear effect on nearby enemies. You can carry up to four of them at a time. While not bad, it’s probably the weakest choice for the Driller.
3. Neurotoxin Grenade
An interesting variant from conventional gas grenades, the Neurotoxin Grenade is completely harmless to your allies and will only affect enemies. Its effect radius is the largest one of all the grenades in the game. Enemies who travel through it are poisoned, taking damage over time and becoming slowed. Additionally, the gas from the grenade can be ignited to deal massive explosive damage.
To get full usage out of this grenade, let the gas spread out as much as possible, then ignite it with any source of fire damage. Do note that the ignition flame has to be direct damage, so things like Sticky Flames won’t trigger it. Many players consider this to be the Driller’s best grenade.
Join the High Ground
And that’s it for our Driller guide — thanks for reading! We’ve updated it for Season 2, but if there are any other tips/tricks that you think we should include in our guide, please subscribe and leave a comment below.