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How to Use and Build the Shard Diffractor in Deep Rock Galactic

Last updated by Jeffrey Hsu  on Oct 10, 2023

Human Made

While the most common problem in Deep Rock Galactic is usually the swarms of enemies, you can’t forget about the massive bulkier threats. Luckily, the Engineer believes in having a variety of problem solving tools for every problem. So today, we’ll be going over everything you need to know about how to use and build the Shard Diffractor in Deep Rock Galactic.

Shard Diffractor Overview

shard diffractor deep rock galactic drg
You too can wield the power of Ommoran Heartstone! | Image: Ghost Ship Games via HGG / Jeffrey Hsu

While the Engineer’s secondary is typically designed for handling crowds with devastating shots, the Shard Diffractor takes a slightly different approach. Instead of firing projectiles, the Shard Diffractor utilizes a laser beam to melt anything you aim at.

Though the Shard Diffractor doesn’t have the same AOE presence as the Engineer’s other secondaries, there’s still a bit of splash damage at the laser’s point of impact. Additionally, as you would expect from concentrating a high-powered laser on a target, the Shard Diffractor can light enemies on fire.

Strengths

Compared to the other options the Engineer has, the Shard Diffractor has the potential to deal the highest single-target damage. As long as the enemy has a weakpoint you can exploit, you’ll disintegrate their health bar.

Making this even easier is the sheer precision you have with the Shard Diffractor. The beam travels almost instantaneously with no range limit, allowing you to reliably snipe targets from afar with it. Given that the Engineer typically doesn’t have many other great long distance options, this is quite nice.

Disintegration - shard diffractor deep rock
Disintegration helps reduce clean up. | Image: Ghost Ship Games via HGG / Jeffrey Hsu

As mentioned above, the weapon is also fully capable of lightning enemies on fire. While, it’s not quite as efficient as the Driller’s flamethrower, the Shard Diffractor comes close. While smaller enemies will die before they ignite, you can rely on the burn damage to handle bringing larger enemies to death’s door. Plus if your team is running a Driller with the flamethrower, he’ll love the synergy you provide.

One final advantage we want to note is that any enemy slain by the Shard Diffractor’s direct damage will not trigger their on-death ability. Instead, they’ll simply disintegrate and disappear. This makes it great for dealing with annoying things like the Praetorian’s death fog or the Bulk Detonator’s death explosion.

Weaknesses

Unfortunately, the Shard Diffractor comes with some glaring weaknesses that make it less popular than the Engineer’s other choices.

Its most egregious weakness is its rather low ammo pool. While you can put out some tremendous damage with the Shard Diffractor, you’ll soon realize just how quickly you chew through your ammo. If you’re not constantly focusing on enemies’ weakpoints, you won’t get too much usage out of the Shard Diffractor.

The other issue is that you’re giving up most of the AOE presence you would normally have with the Engineer. Yes, the Shard Diffractor does have a bit of splash damage. However, you won’t be capable of clearing out large swarms of enemies on demand. This can be incredibly problematic on higher difficulties, where repelling a swarm is usually the hardest part of the mission.

Melting a praetorian
The annoying part is keeping their weakpoint in sight. | Image: Ghost Ship Games via HGG / Jeffrey Hsu

Not helping this is that your movement speed is cut in half while firing the weapon. Plus, it takes time for the Shard Diffractor to deal its damage. You’ll have to maintain a sight line to an enemy’s weakpoint for a few seconds. If you can’t, you’ll notice a sharp drop-off in the weapon’s performance.

Finally, the “reload” mechanism of the Shard Diffractor is a bit awkward. While it’s a battery powered weapon, you have to let the Shard Diffractor fully recharge before you can fire it again – even if you don’t fully deplete its charge. This can lead to some awkward moments, as you can’t really space out any of your shots.

Best Builds for the Shard Diffractor

Despite having some rather detrimental weaknesses, we’ll do our best to make the Shard Diffractor the disintegrating doomsday weapon it was meant to be in Deep Rock Galactic. Just make sure to bring a reliable primary that can cover any of its shortcomings.

Build A: Face Melter

Build example for the shard diffractor deep rock galactic drg
Optimized for face/butt/squishy-bits melting. | Image: Ghost Ship Games via HGG / Jeffrey Hsu

This build focuses on amplifying the Shard Diffractor’s potent direct damage. We’ll be trying to improve the ammo efficiency on the weapon as much as possible, so you can just melt anything bulky enough to survive more than 3 seconds of direct laser to the face (or any other weakpoint).

Thankfully, the build path is rather simple for this one. The overclock only comes with bonuses to your ammo and firing time. Just remember this build is focused on single-target and hitting weakpoints.

Try to bring a primary that can handle swarms, otherwise you’ll have no way to reliably handle multiple enemies. We especially recommend the Stubby with an electrocute build, as it’ll provide good coverage and enable you to take another modification to further boost the Shard Diffractor’s damage.

If you do bring the Stubby with an electrocute build, make sure to take Hydrogen Rupturing on the final modification row. Electrocute is easy to apply and also provides a slowing effect on enemies, letting you get to their weakpoints more easily. On bulkier targets, you’ll quickly notice the 33% damage boost.

  • [3] Larger Battery – Having more ammo will go further than dealing more direct damage.
  • [1] Soft Tissue Disruption
  • [2] Open Structure Battery – You won’t always be able to maintain an angle on a weakpoint. The sooner you can reposition and start firing again, the better.
  • [1] High-Intensity Heating – Personal choice, but armor breaking is rather lackluster.
  • [1] Hydrogen Rupturing / [3] Dazzler Module – If you’re using the Stubby, take the first option. Otherwise use the other one to keep bulky enemies locked in place.
  • Overclock: Efficiency Tweaks

Build B: The Floor is Lava

Digging a trench - shard diffractor deep rock
“Dig” a trench and laugh as they burn crossing it. | Image: Ghost Ship Games via HGG / Jeffrey Hsu

This build focuses on providing some AOE utility and control to the Shard Diffractor. You’re effectively turning the Shard Diffractor into the Driller’s flamethrower but with a greater focus on keeping the terrain a flaming deathtrap.

The lynchpin of this build is the Volatile Impact Reactor overclock. It’ll allow you to turn any terrain you shoot with the beam into molten lava for 7 seconds. Enemies that walk over the heated terrain will be slowed and begin to ignite.

Thankfully, you don’t take any hits to your ammo capacity with this overclock, but you will have an even more reduced AOE effect. Just make sure to carefully carve “trenches” as need be to affect as many enemies as possible. If you can strategically place the trenches to keep enemies in your turrets’ firing range, you can reliably hold a position and form a kill wall.

Unfortunately, most of the modifications for the Shard Diffractor don’t really contribute to this build. The last two rows in particular are largely irrelevant if you play this build as intended.

  • [3] Larger Battery
  • [2] Particle Splattering
  • [2] Open Structure Battery
  • [1] High-Intensity Heating
  • [2] Bio-Mass Converter
  • Overclock: Volatile Impact Reactor

All Overclocks for the Shard Diffractor

We’ll also be taking a look at each overclock for the Shard Diffractor in Deep Rock Galactic and giving our thoughts on them. Unfortunately, most of the overclocks for this weapon have rather large drawbacks that make them less useful. Someone might find a viable build for these, but we don’t expect much usage unless the developers rebalance them down the road.

Clean Overclocks

1. Efficiency Tweaks

Honestly, this is probably going to be your go-to overclock in Deep Rock Galactic for the Shard Diffractor. It helps offset the weapon’s biggest issue, having a small ammo pool, and comes with none of the weird mechanics that the other overclocks require.

Balanced Overclocks

2. Automated Beam Controller

This one is…interesting. While you do get more ammo and faster firing rate, the overclock turns the Shard Diffractor into an all-or-nothing attack. The second you pull the trigger you’re going to be forced to fire the weapon until it runs dry on charge.

Sure, you can cancel it by swapping weapons or swinging your pickaxe, but it’ll burn half the remaining ammo you have. Given that majority of enemies will die long before you empty out the battery, this is rather poor overclock since it forces you to burn your already limited ammo pool.

3. Feedback Loop

This overclock attempts to fix the limited AOE capabilities of the Shard Diffractor by increasing the AOE splash radius and damage for every second you fire the beam. The problem is that it also reduces the already limited ammo capacity of the weapon by 100.

You’re honestly better off using one of the Engineer’s other secondary weapons if you want a strong AOE presence. The Shard Diffractor is simply not built for it.

4. Volatile Impact Reactor

We’ve already gone over the use case for this overclock in our second build above. While it’s not the greatest thing ever, it does provide pretty good synergy with the Driller if they’re running the flamethrower. Though with that being said, you could just take a different weapon for more situational coverage.

Unstable Overclocks

5. Plastcrete Catalyst

Easily one of the most unique overclocks in the game. This one allows you to turn your Engineer platforms into bombs. If you fire the Shard Diffractor’s beam at a platform, the splash radius will double. If you continuously fire uninterrupted at a platform for a whole second, it’ll cause a rather sizeable explosion.

Plastcrete Catalyst overclock example - shard diffractor deep rock
Fun, but difficult to master. | Image: Ghost Ship Games via HGG / Jeffrey Hsu

While this sounds amazing in theory, actually detonating the platform is difficult. You have to basically pre-emptively fire at a platform before an enemy reaches it to ensure you can successfully blow it up. If an enemy happens to get in the way of your beam, you’ll find it incredibly difficult to trigger the explosion.

The reduction in your total ammo capacity doesn’t help either. While you can create a build around this, it’ll take considerable practice and understanding of how it works. With that much effort, you’re probably better off grabbing a different weapon.

6. Overdrive Boost

This is an even more extreme version of the Automated Beam Controller overclock. You won’t be able to move while firing the weapon, but your damage output will be increased by 2.5 times. However, it too suffers from the inability to stop firing the weapon. Switching out weapons will still cut any remaining ammo in half, rendering this less than useful. Though with that being said, you may find a use for this overclock on Dreadnought Hunts.

Join the High Ground

And that’s it for our guide on how to use and build the Shard Diffractor in Deep Rock Galactic! We hope you found it useful, but if you have any more questions, let us know in the comments below!

Also If you have any other recommended builds, let us know as well! We’ll gladly test them out and update this guide if we think they’re worth additions! And make sure to subscribe to our weekly newsletter for more Deep Rock Galactic content and other gaming news.

Happy looting out there miners, and remember – Rock and Stone forever!

 

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