Deep Rock Galactic, the market's premier space-mining dwarf simulator, enters its third season on Steam's experimental servers today. The instalment, called Plaguefall, brings with it a bevy of add-ons and updates, plus "the sinister and highly transmissible Rockpox infecting the caverns of Hoxxes IV," which is certainly a series of words.
It all sounds quite gross. Players will have to avoid plague-bearing meteors as they strike Hoxxes and infect the resident Glyphids with "putrid boils," then use a cleaning rig to sterilise the area and extract valuable plague hearts from the meteor's centre. On the plus side, you are getting four new grenades—which electrocute, enflame, slice, and shred respectively—to tackle all this stuff with.
Plaguefall also sees the return of Deep Rock Galactic's performance pass (or season pass, to you and me), a 100-tier tree of unlockable cosmetics, resources, and weapon frameworks. It's all free, at least in real-world terms: you buy everything on it with in-game scrip that you earn from completing seasonal challenges and gathering up plague hearts.
The performance pass also includes the tantalising promise of "unique beards," which is a bullet point I want to see on the features list of all videogames going forward.
Deep Rock Galactic has been a bit quieter in 2022 than it was last year when it got mod support, announced a board game, and promised its "biggest update ever," so it's good to see it come out with something weighty for the end of the year. The update will also be accompanied by the Biohazard Pack DLC when it releases properly in November, adding a unique set of hazmat armour for each class that will hopefully protect you from the spill-over that comes with chucking grenades at boils.
Plaguefall is live on Experimental servers right now, and will roll out to Deep Rock proper on November 3.