Deep Rock Galactic – Driller Build Guide & Class Tips

Last Updated on March 9, 2024 by Samuel Franklin

With this driller build guide and tips players will be the master of enemy swarm management and cave pathways to be a crucial asset to your team of dwarves. The Deep Rock Galactic (DRG) driller is often overlooked by new players for the critical utility and damage they can provide with this guide offering a comprehensive foundation for your driller build.

I personally recommend the driller as the best coop class in Deep Rock Galactic with this guide to building the driller based on my hundreds of gameplay hours with this class. From this foundation of suggestions below players can adjust these decisions to their own preferred playstyle build choices while employing these general tips to maximising the driller role.

Table of Contents:
Driller Overview
Driller Tips
Best Driller Builds Overview
Primary Weapon Builds
Secondary Weapon Builds
Driller Equipment
Driller Throwables

Driller Overview

The driller name instantly gives you insight into the playstyle of this class with your primary goal to drill out paths for your allies to the objective. When you aren’t creating pathways through terrain the driller is a capable fighter alongside the gunner with high damage and even crowd control depending on your selection of weapons.

This is reflected in the heavy flamethrower, cryo and sludge options available that are paired with weaker secondary weapons for backup damage and additional range. For utility the driller comes equipped with the powerful satchel charge that can be placed in strategic locations to be detonated later against enemies or simply to clear terrain.

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Driller Specific Tips

The driller is effective across low and high hazard levels with the right focus and use of Bosco in solo gameplay. The driller tips below will boost your survivability and speed across the various mission types of Deep Rock Galactic.

  • Your primary goal when playing as the driller is to save your team time, this means looking for potential locations where you can create a tunnel with particular focus on those that will be used multiple times.
  • Don’t limit yourself to the horizontal plane when using your drills as they are highly effective at creating stair like structures that provide a reliable and permanent source of vertical movement.
  • Use your satchel charge early and often, there are many Deep Rock Galactic game types that you’ll know where the swarm and other attacks are coming from so placing one to trigger at the right time can be a team saving action.
  • The driller has the strongest terrain manipulation abilities in the game with satchel charges and drills. Using this to clear firing lines for your team of obstacles or flattening terrain can be a useful advanced tactic that might seem like a minor activity but can vastly boost your allies ability to deal damage and survive. For an advanced although limited tactic you can even create bunkers from the environment although you should be careful when doing so and ensure your teammates are on the same page with this strategy.
  • As a driller your role can vary heavily depending on your weapon selection. If you’re using the flamethrower for example your goal should be sweeping the area for small enemies to let your team focus on the larger threats. The reverse is true if you opt for a cryo based build though as your focus shifts to controlling the larger enemies and boosting other damage sources against them.

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Best Driller Builds Overview

This overview section provides a quick reference for beginners to driller weapon builds and I recommend players use the following combinations for primary and secondary weapons:

  • Flamethrower & Subata 120: A simple but highly effective loadout that focuses on area of effect damage with a simple pistol backup weapon. This blend is ideal for most mission types particularly Mining Expedition, On-Site Refining, Escort Duty, Salvage Operation and Point Extraction.
  • Cryo Cannon & Plasma Charger: Focused on the utility of cryo and paired with the plasma pistol for high burst damage that makes it ideal for large objective battle missions like Elimination and Industrial Sabotage.
  • Corrosive Sludge Pump & Wave Cooker: A fantastic generalist driller build that offers the utility of sludge and the damage output of the wave cooker with both being extremely fun to use on enemies. Like the flamethrower build this can be used on most mission types although does not excel at bosses (Elimination).

These are my recommended default weapon configurations when using each weapon, the numbers referenced are based on the left to right position of the modification in game:

Primary Weapon Options:

  • Primary (Flamethrower): 2/1/2/2/2 – Balanced weapon with reliable damage
  • Primary (Cryo): 2/2/2/1/1 – Long ranged weapon that maximises charged shot output
  • Primary (Corrosive Sludge): 3/2/1/1/1 – Fast firing rifle with no reload

Secondary Weapon Options:

  • Secondary (Subata 120): 2/2/3/2/3 – Boosts area of effect for swarm management
  • Secondary (Plasma Charger): 3/2/2/3/2 – Mitigates some of the ammo usage for an enemy cleanup tool
  • Secondary (Wave Cooker): 1/1/2/2/3 – Turns enemies against each other with pheromone darts

Other Equipment:

  • Equipment (Reinforced Power Drills): 2/1/1/1 – Optimise ammo and fall damage reduction
  • Equipment (Satchel Charge): 2/1/1/2 – Fast to deploy single turret with improved targeting
  • Armour (Mole Rig): 1/2/1/2
  • Throwable: Impact Axe or Neurotoxin Grenade

Best Driller Builds Guide

With the driller role being driven by your choice of weapon modifications are generally straight forward to support that weapons playstyle which are detailed below.

Driller Primary Weapons

The driller primary weapons can vastly impact on your role and all of your weapon options are viable at their intended role though provided you use them as intended and their elemental theme (flame, cryo and sludge).

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CRSPR Flamethrower: A flame based weapon and the default for all drillers which gives you fantastic area of effect damage and control over the battlefield as you hold down the trigger to burn your bug enemies for additional damage although at a short range in comparison to other DRG weapons. It also has the unique ability to leave some lingering flame for further crowd control although it’s primarily going to be a direct damage tool with some ability to get under the armoured plates of the stronger foes if you desire this in your flamethrower build.

For recommended flamethrower mods you primarily want to focus on boosting the range of the flamethrower as this is one of it’s greatest drawbacks and making the sticky flame mechanic even more deadly.

  • Tier 1 – High Pressure Ejector
  • Tier 2 – Unfiltered Fuel
  • Tier 3 – Sticky Flame Slowdown
  • Tier 4 – Sticky Flame Duration
  • Tier 5 – Targets Explode
  • Overclock – Lighter Tanks or Sticky Additive or Fuel Stream Diffuser

deep-rock-galactic-driller-cryo-build

Cryo Cannon: Your second primary weapon option for the driller that offers a completely opposite playstyle to your flamethrower although both have an element of slowing down incoming attacks. Focused on supporting your team through damage boosting cryo effects this is not a weapon you’ll want to use solo and instead reserved for games with at least 2 or 3 other players that bring sufficient damage sources. Building your cannon to reduce wind up time and extended range can improve its flexibility and the recommended pathway below:

  • Tier 1 – Faster Turbine Spinup
  • Tier 2 – Overclocked Ejection Turbine
  • Tier 3 – Increased Flow Volume
  • Tier 4 – Hard Mixture or Larger Reserve Tank
  • Tier 5 – Fragile
  • Overclock – Improved Thermal Efficiency or Ice Storm

deep-rock-galactic-driller-corrosive-sludge-pump-build-s4Corrosive Sludge Pump: Introduced in the November 2021 patch this sludge pump (or CSP) has similarities to the other driller weapons with an emphasis on crowd control and often compared directly to the sticky flame mechanic on the flamethrower weapon. The CSP is particularly effective at narrow chokepoints where you can cover the ground in goo and enemies are forced to walk through it although its charged fragment shot can still hold its own in open areas. While the damage is okay from this primary weapon the utility of the slow and map control in a team setting is its strength and thus predominately what you’ll be designing your Corrosive Sludge Pump build around.

  • Tier 1 – Air Sensitive Compound
  • Tier 2 – Atomizer Nozzel
  • Tier 3 – Superaturation
  • Tier 4 – Spillback Extension or Improved Spooling Mechanism
  • Tier 5 – Protein Disruption Mix or Fluroantimonic Acid
  • Overclock – Goo Bomber Special or Disperser Compound or Hydrogen Ion Additive

Driller Secondary Weapons

Driller secondary weapons give you a weapon option with longer range than your primary weapons and an alternative method to remove basic enemies from the map.

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Subata 120: Your default sidearm that is simple to use with modifications boosting damage and capacity. Players also have some interesting decision points with this weapon capable of being a two shot pistol with high armour breaking (tier 3) or a fully automatic pistol (overclock). Tier 5 mods for the Subata 120 also has a major decision though and while I default to the Acid Coated Bullets (previously known as Mactera toxin) as a counter to flying enemies you can also run Volatile Bullets as a solid DPS boost when paired with your flamethrower although needs some micromanagement while playing to maximise this benefit.

  • Tier 1 – High Capacity Magazine
  • Tier 2 – Increased Calibre Rounds
  • Tier 3 – Expanded Ammo Bags or 2-Round Burst
  • Tier 4 – High Velocity Rounds or Hollow-Point Bullets
  • Tier 5 – Acid Coated Bullets or Volatile Bullets
  • Overclock – Automatic Fire or Oversized Magazine

deep-rock-galactic-driller-epc-build

Experimental Plasma Charger (EPC): A fun experimental weapon that is vastly different from the bullet focused weapons that many other dwarves carry and leads many drillers to design a fun experimental plasma charger build. The EPC comes with two firing modes allowing you to shoot single shots or charge up a more powerful attack when necessary. Both of these generate weapon heat that will stop you firing the weapon for a short period while it cools down but there is no reloading for this weapon. Damage wise this weapon at base deals nearly double the damage of the Subata 12 and five times the Subata 12 for a charged shot with the trade off being significantly less ammo. There are a few ways to build the EPC and I prefer focusing on strong shots and use the weapon accordingly but you can also build it for a more generalist basic attack sidearm (both options included below).

  • Tier 1 – Higher Charged Plasma Energy or Increased Particle Density
  • Tier 2 – Heat Shield or Overcharged Plasma Accelerator
  • Tier 3 – Crystal Capacitors or Tweaked Radiator
  • Tier 4 – Reactive Shockwave or High Density Battery
  • Tier 5 – Thin Containment Field
  • Overclock – Overcharger or Heavy Hitter

deep-rock-galactic-driller-cooker-build

Colette Wave Cooker (CWC): A secondary that provides the best range of the driller secondary options due to its microwave based weapon design. Like other weapons in Deep Rock Galactic the Cooker operates on an overheating mechanic which means you don’t need to reload the weapon but do need to manage the heat generated from continuous firing. While not as directly powerful as your other secondary options this is a weapon you’ll want to grab if you find yourself wanting to add an effective ranged weapon to your arsenal given only obstructions can prevent this wave of energy dealing damage to enemies. The Cooker is relatively flexible with the damage perfectly suited to picking off small enemies that are causing a nuisance to your team mates that are far way but equally powerful at focused burst damage if required when paired with the right primary weapon or ally. This burst damage relies on leveraging Exothermic Reactor to deal Temperature Shock damage so you’ll want to utilise your reliable sources of burning or frozen on your primary. Modifications are generally focused on boosting damage although you can trade away some of this for extra utility if preferred.

  • Tier 1 – Convex Lens
  • Tier 2 – Heat Sink
  • Tier 3 – Temperature Amplifier or Densification Ray
  • Tier 4 – Power Supply Overdrive or Wide Lens Add-On
  • Tier 5 – Exothermic Reactor
  • Overclock – Mega Power Supply

Driller Equipment

Your equipment as a driller is primarily about terrain altering options to help your team move around the map to key locations. This support utility should not be overlooked as a good driller can save his team significant time and pain during all hazard levels and game modes.

deep-rock-galactic-driller-drills-build

Reinforced Power Drills: The thing that gives you the driller name is your powerful hand drills that are ideal for clearing dirt pathways but also highly effective in melee range if required. This utility equipment item has simple upgrade options that focus on faster drilling, cooling them down after use and giving you a small uplift in ammo capacity.

  • Tier 1 – Hardened Drill Tips or Expanded Fuel Tanks
  • Tier 2 – Magnetic Refrigeration
  • Tier 3 – Supercharged Motor
  • Tier 4 – Increased Tank Pressure

deep-rock-galactic-driller-satchel-build

Satchel Charge: With the ability to remotely detonate this satchel charge (or commonly known by the player base as C4) this piece of equipment is equally powerful as a defensive and offensive weapon while also being a terrain clearing powerhouse. In terms of upgrades you’ll be able to pick up some extra damage, stagger enemies and an extra satchel.

  • Tier 1 – Bigger Charge
  • Tier 2 – Kill Switch
  • Tier 3 – Extra Satchel Charge
  • Tier 4 – Concussive Blast

deep-rock-galactic-driller-armour-build
“Mole” Armour Rig: Similar to your dwarven allies you’ll have an armoured rig that you can upgrade to boost your odds of survival. These upgrade options are fairly typical on most dwarves and give you a slight uptick in your survival chances if your shield does break while in the thick of it which is generally where you’ll be as the driller.

  • Tier 1 – Improved Generator
  • Tier 2 – Healthy
  • Tier 3 – Temperature Insulation
  • Tier 4 – Static Discharge

deep-rock-galactic-driller-icon

Driller Throwables

Like all classes in Deep Rock Galactic the driller has several options for throwable weapons that each have a different use case to consider in designing your personalised driller build.

Impact Axe: A unique variation of throwable items in DRG this axe is deadly on impact damage and allows for up to 8 to be carried giving you the highest number of throwables of any dwarf. An added bonus is this counts as a melee attack for triggering certain perks (Vampire) and if you miss the enemy it can be reclaimed so you’ll always get full value from your stack of 8. This results in a great default option that you can use for most driller situations without much thought.

High Explosive Grenade: Continuing the theme of high explosive power when it comes to the driller this is for players that want even more opportunities to blow things up. While a solid option with its 6 capacity its generally overkill given your other gear options already have ample explosive destruction so would be the lowest on my tier list of driller throwable items although a quality of life improvement added in November 2022 which allows players to cook the grenade before throwing does improve its utility.

Neurotoxin Grenade: The best grenade for your driller when running with the flamethrower and playing multiplayer as the effectiveness is dramatically enhanced with the option to light the gas cloud on fire. While not offering the damage of the impact axe it can be a viable way to deal with large threats or to protect a revive attempt for an ally.

Springloaded Ripper: Added in the Season 3 Plaguefall update this takes the arsenal of the Driller in Deep Rock Galactic to a whole new level and is a devastating throwable to foe and friend. For this reason it is not a grenade you should use lightly as the saws can quickly cut through an ally just as easy as the enemy swarm although when well placed and under the right conditions (preferably a clear line of sight with flat terrain) is your hardest hitting grenade option.

Written by
Samuel Franklin
Samuel Franklin is the founder and lead editor of the Games Finder team and enjoys video games across all genres and platforms.

Since the Early Access days of Deep Rock Galactic Sam has been blasting his way through mining expeditions, relishing the co-operative chaos and forging dwarven camaraderie. Playing solo or with a crew Sam regularly wields the Engineer’s wrench, crafting intricate platform bridges and unleashing turret hellfire on the swarm. With hundreds of game hours and more than 500 dives into randomised caverns under his belt Sam is an experienced dwarf who continues to “Rock and Stone” in between his other video game adventures.

1 Comment

  1. Don’t use Hardened Drill Tips as first one. You will not get a lot of difference with it.(about 2m difference) Because it scales on movement speed. You will not get the full potential if you have 2 drill speed increases. plus it uses more fuel. You will get less distance on a full fuel container, in high oxygen you might get value with the movement speed increase, but i havent tested that yet.

    Reply
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