Escort Duty Overview
Escort Duty is a relatively simple Mission type in concept: protect a large Drilldozer, affectionately referred to as Doretta, as it makes its way towards an Ommoran. The Ommoran contains an Ommoran Heartstone at its core, which Deep Rock Galactic is very interested in acquiring. Unfortunately, the Drilldozer can’t land near the Ommoran and it makes a lot of noise as it approaches its target, rolling across the ground and drilling massive tunnels through solid rock. As such, it is going to be an absolute magnet for nearby bugs with their acute senses of hearing and perceptions of vibrations. Once that Drilldozer gets moving, get ready for a real scuffle or two.
Escort Duty missions are primarily about threat-prioritization and situational awareness. It’s one of the few Mission types that is complex enough to warrant a specialized class loadout preset for. This guide is intended to walk both Greenbeards [new players] and Longbeards [veteran players] through the general process of guarding a Drilldozer as it serves its purpose, providing various tips and strategies throughout.
So you’ve just landed at the AO, either with your teammates or with Bosco. The Drilldozer will arrive shortly in a heavy cargo drop, which will give you time to scour the room for any nearby Gold or Nitra before starting. It may be worth mentioning that the phases of Escort Duty missions are not time-sensitive. As such, you can take your time with scouring areas for valuable resources before or in-between different phases. The Drilldozer will arrive shortly after your team exits the Drop Pod. Like with Supply Pods, if the heavy cargo drop lands on you, it will kill you instantly, so stay a good distance away from its landing zone!
You may also see a strange “ore” in the area called Oil Shale. It is exclusive to Escort Duty missions, and won’t serve much purpose for you until later on; just leave it all be for now.
Activating the Drilldozer is done in two stages:
1. Press one of the buttons at the corners of the heavy cargo drop to access the Drilldozer
2. Press the large button at the Drilldozer’s rear to get it moving
Once you’ve mined out and deposited any valuable resources in the room, activate the Drilldozer and ride it forward.
Shortly after the Drilldozer gets moving, a large Swarm of enemies will spawn up behind it, requiring you to destroy them before they can damage it. If you’re playing in solo, or if you are still waiting for teammates to arrive, you can mark the Drilldozer with your Laser Pointer to have Bosco idle near it. He will stay near the Drilldozer and engage nearby enemies for you. For these phases, enemies will be coming at you in tight clumps down the tunnel the Drilldozer is boring; as such, it can be very easy to push them back with the right weapons. Enemies will approach and attack the Drilldozer, dealing damage to its outer armor. It is recommended to repair the damaged components as soon as possible to prevent the Drilldozer from taking permanent damage. The Drilldozer will be destroyed if it takes permanent damage three times, failing the mission immediately. Each class has their own roles they can play while the Drilldozer is moving forward:
- The Driller is apt at close-in defense of the Drilldozer. Enemies will likely be moving towards the Drilldozer in clumps, meaning that the Driller’s Flamethrower can make short work of them at close range. Additionally, the Driller’s Satchel Charges (often erroneously referred to as C4) can be incredibly effective against hostiles moving through the tunnel; provided allies are far away from the Charges, many enemies will likely get very close to it as they pass by, allowing the Driller to deal with many enemies at once.
- The Engineer‘s area-denial capabilities can make him a useful asset in Drilldozer escort work. His Grenade Launcher and Breach Cutter are all decent tools for neutralizing large clumps of enemies in short order. With the right setup, an Engineer can make liberal use of his Sentry Gun(s) to provide support fire against incoming hostiles. It is also a somewhat uncommon misconception that the Engineer can repair the Drilldozer more quickly than other classes, which is a very false notion.
- The Gunner is usually the most blatantly obvious choice for pushing back Swarms behind the Drilldozer. His primary weapons are both well-suited to eliminating large clumps of enemies and his secondaries can make short work of bigger hostiles at close range. Moreover, the Gunner’s indiscriminate grenades shine in Escort Duty, making good use of the bottlenecking going on to easily remove groups of hostiles in the area.
- The Scout doesn’t have great crowd-control capabilities, nor is he really well-known for his concentrated firepower, so he can only do so much in terms of clearing out hostiles behind the Drilldozer. That does not, by any means, discount his potential usefulness, though! Aside from his well-rounded support-fire capabilities, the Scout won’t have much to do where distant hostiles are concerned. As such, Scouts can focus on maintaining the Drilldozer while their allies push enemies back. In more lenient scenarios, Scouts can easily disembark from the Drilldozer to mine nearby ores or remove threats at the Drilldozer’s other flanks while still being able to Grapple straight back to the Drilldozer if it starts taking damage.
The Drilldozer will carve a path through the cave towards the Ommoran, prioritizing open cave chambers along the route. Players should make certain to check the Terrain Scanner every once in a while to check if they are coming up on a new chamber. Getting waylaid by a Spitballer Infector or snatched by a Cave Leech when least expected will only make things worse for you all in the short term, so be careful! Situational awareness is key to your success here.
Eventually, the Drilldozer will reach a point where it can’t move forward any further without a fresh supply of fuel. It will stop in an open cave chamber and two canisters will pop out from its rear. This is where Oil Shale comes into play. You and your fellow Dwarves (or loyal drone) will now need to harvest the Oil Shale in the area to get the Drilldozer back up and running. Grab (interact with) a Canister from the back and use it on nearby Oil Shale deposits to fill them back up.
There will be 1-2 refueling phases per each mission, and depending on the volume of nearby Oil Shale deposits, this process could take a while. Dwarves are encouraged to use their traversal tools to get to hard-to-reach Oil Shale deposits in the area. It is largely impractical to attempt to mine Oil Shale like one would with regular Ores. Oil Shale takes 4 pickaxe hits to destroy, meaning it could take a while to s*rip-mine it out from a wall. Drillers can make good use of their Drill Arms or Satchel Charges (latter method not recommended) to bust Oil Shale deposits out from walls, turning them into Chunks and making them easier to harvest. When playing with Bosco, it is often an effective strategy to order them to mine a deposit of Oil Shale out from the wall; Bosco’s faster mining pattern can quickly bring down hard-to-reach deposits for harvesting. Dwarves must harvest Oil Shale until the meter on the Canister is filled; at that point, one may simply toss the Canister back towards the Drilldozer and insert it back in. Repeat with the other Canister and the Drilldozer will be ready to go.
While refueling, a Swarm may catch up to your group and waylay the Drilldozer. If this happens, players are advised to return to the Drilldozer and mount a defense until the Swarm clears. Make sure to repair the Drilldozer if it takes damage!
Once the Drilldozer is refueled and all Dwarves are ready, press the button at the rear of the Drilldozer to get it moving again.
Ommoran Drilling Phase
The Drilldozer will eventually track its way through the area and park in front of the Ommoran shell. If sufficient Nitra has been deposited into the M.U.L.E, it may be a good idea to order at least a couple Resupply Pods for the coming struggle. The Drilldozer is now ready to start drilling through the Ommoran shell and awaits the team’s input before it commences. Before you start, take the time to scour the Ommoran’s chamber for any valuable resources and plan out your defense. Press the button at the rear of the Drilldozer to start the extraction.
Once it commences, the Drilldozer will start carving out the Ommoran shell with its massive drill head. A near-constant wave of enemies will now enter the chamber and make for the encroaching Drilldozer, requiring all Dwarves to be ready to mount a solid defense while the Drilldozer does its work.
PHASE 1: SWARM
A large Swarm will appear and attempt to destroy the Drilldozer. Make sure to watch for any Glyphid Grunts getting under the Drilldozer and destroy them before they can deal permanent damage to it. Like with the Escort phases before, make sure to correctly prioritize between the tasks of attacking incoming enemies and repairing the Drilldozer if it needs maintenance.
PHASE 2: FLOATING ROCKS!
Once phase 2 commences, the Ommoran will start forming large boulders to hurl at the Drilldozer. Dwarves must be ready to destroy the incoming Floating Rocks while maintaining an awareness of other incoming enemies. The Gunner‘s primary weapons are very capable of making short work of individual Floating Rocks. Make sure to prioritize the Rocks closest to the Drilldozer; they will hover over it for a few moments before crashing down on it if they are not destroyed in time, dealing moderate damage to the Drilldozer’s armor.
PHASE 3: SWARM
Same as phase 1, no tricks here. Push the incoming Swarm back and repair the Drilldozer as needed.
PHASE 4: BEAMERS!
The final phase of the bossfight involves Crystal Beamers popping up around the Ommoran shell. These are glowing crystal spikes that will fire energy beams at the Drilldozer, dealing consistent damage over time to it. Dwarves must neutralize these Beamers as soon as possible to prevent the damage from building up. The Driller is more than capable of quickly removing the Beamers with his Driller Arms by uprooting them at their bases. Additionally, the Gunner can actually shoot at the tips of the Beamers with his Minigun to disable them, nullifying their glow and leaving them inanimate and harmless. Please remember to keep an eye out for incoming enemies during this phase and repair the Drilldozer if needed.
Once the fourth phase is completed, the Ommoran shell will detonate and release a violent energy pulse which will destroy any enemies still left in the area. The Drilldozer will move back and self-destruct while the Ommoran Heartstone now sits exposed within the remains of the Ommoran shell. Mission complete!
Retrieving The Heartstone
The Ommoran Heartstone has been wrenched from its shell and is now ready for collection. Pick it up and deposit it “into” the M.U.L.E. The Heartstone will be fastened to the M.U.L.E’s exterior and you will then be able to call in the Drop Pod when ready to leave.
Optionally, players may opt to carry the Drilldozer’s head back to the Drop Pod, which triggers a special dialogue when it is brought in. There are no further bonuses for this aside from personal gratification. Do not go out of your way to do this.
All enemies will be a threat to the Drilldozer (aside from those puny Swarmers), but some enemies are much bigger threats to it than others. These enemies are major threats to the Drilldozer and should be neutralized as soon as possible if they enter the area. The priority threats to the Drilldozer, given in no specific order, are as follows:
- Mactera Tri-Jaws: These are some lesser-known, but dangerous threats to the Drilldozer. Unlike their Mactera Spawn cousins, the Tri-Jaws will fire a spread of three projectiles towards the Drilldozer; it is likely that all three projectiles will hit the Drilldozer, dealing moderate concentrated damage to it. Worse yet, Tri-Jaws like to gang up on Drilldozers. Kill these buggers on sight.
- Glyphid Menaces: These are a big threat to the Drilldozer as well. Their tactics of hit-and-run barrages make them apt at dealing concentrated damage to the Drilldozer. They should be killed quickly (preferably by a Gunner or Scout) before they can deal permanent damage to it.
- Glyphid Acid-Spitters: Another lesser-known priority threat, Glyphid Acid-Spitters make good use of their skills in support fire to waylay Dwarves and Drilldozers from afar. Though they are easily killed and have a low rate-of-fire, they can deal consistent damage to the Drilldozer when ignored for long enough, making them a definite threat to be dealt with sooner rather than later.
- Glyphid Bulk/Crassus Detonators: These are the most widely-recognized and extremely dangerous threats to any Drilldozer. Though they do not spawn very often, Detonators are a maximum-priority threat to the Drilldozer that must be eliminated as quickly as possible. The Detonator’s attack deals enough immediate damage to easily tear away at least 91% of the Drilldozer’s current armor integrity, meaning that it will need to be led away from the Drilldozer if possible. Furthermore, their post-mortem kiloton-scale explosions will deal well over 100% damage to the Drilldozer’s current armor integrity if the Drilldozer gets caught in the blast. Keep Detonators as far away from the Drilldozer as possible, but make sure you don’t forget about the rest of the enemies in the area either!
This section goes over various other tips and tricks for the Escort Duty game mode. Feel free to provide your own nuggets of wisdom in the comments section if desired; I might just show them here as well!
- As it moves through the cave, the Drilldozer creates a simple bottleneck with the tunnel it bores that enemies will be forced to pass through as they move towards the Drilldozer. Skilled Dwarves can make very effective use of this concept to mow down very large clumps of enemies as they move through. The Engineer’s Grenade Launcher can be fitted with the Fat BoyOverclock, allowing it to fire miniature nuclear warheads that deal massive immediate damage in a large area and leave behind a cloud of radiation which can quickly whittle down other enemies passing through. When used carefully, it can be even more effective than the Driller’s Satchel Charges at not only removing large clumps of hostiles, but also bogging them down and softening them up for easier destruction.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to check out my other Deep Rock Galactic guides if you’re interested.
For my bilingual Spanish readers: Es posible que yo vaya a traducir este guído a Español. Ya estoy aprendiendo Español y sería buenísima práctica para mí. Todavía no puedo garantizar algo, pero lo estoy considerando. Quedénse para más!
Cover image sourced from the Deep Rock Galactic Wiki.
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