Dark And Darker is an extraction shooter with the same gameplay principles of Escape From Tarkov, except set in a Dungeons And Dragons world with swords, spells, and monsters. The aim of the game is simple: enter a run, loot chests and defeat monsters, and then extract with your loot to sell to merchants.
There are, however, a few problems in the way: this is a PvPvE game, which means you don't only have to contend with monsters, you also need to worry about other players. Here are some beginner tips in this guide to getting started in Dark And Darker.
This information is based on the December 2022 Playtest for the game – we will update this beginner guide after future Playtests and ahead of the game's full release.
Picking A Class
There are six classes in Dark And Darker: Fighter, Barbarian, Ranger, Rogue, Cleric, And Wizard. Each class has a distinct playstyle and unique mechanics.
We recommend you start out with the Fighter. This is a jack-of-all-trades class with no advantages or disadvantages, basically the perfect, clean slate to learn how the game works. The Fighter can pick up any weapon and use it, and comes with a handy shield that will help you on your path to smashing skeletons to pieces and defending from horrible flying skulls.
You can play around with your abilities and perks in the class menu. Try out a few different combinations to find something that suits your style, but for a beginner solo player, we recommend abilities and perks that improve healing and movement.
Once you've got to grips with the basics of movement, combat, looting (and maybe even extracting if you're lucky), then you can check out some of the other classes. Read up on these in our detailed class guide.
Explaining The Gameplay Loop
If you've never played an extraction shooter before, the premise is fundamentally simple: you enter a dungeon, a trial, a run (whatever you want to call it, you'll hear it go by many names online), defeat monsters/NPCs, contend with other players for loot, and then hopefully extract with all the loot you've picked up.
This game is not permadeath (as in, when you die your character disappears), but you do lose all your loot when you die. Loot can be sold to Merchants on the main menu for gold, potions, and other buffs and gear. These are required to contend with the harder levels of the game, but more on that later.
Beginner Tips For Gameplay
When you spawn into Dark And Darker, you'll start out with the basic gear for your class. In the top right you'll see a map. It's important to keep this in mind, as the ring will appear on it later – this works like a Battle Royale where the ring gets smaller and smaller. If you stand in the ring, you take damage.
The map is divided up into corridors, open rooms, secret passageways, boss rooms, traps, and all sorts of other nastiness. You'll also notice the game is extremely dark. You can equip a torch by hitting 3 on your keyboard, and it pays to check corners, the centre of the rooms, and other nooks and crannies – either for loot and traps, or enemy Rogues sitting in the shadows.
Here are some tips to help you get acquainted with the game.
- Sound is very, very important. The footsteps and other sound cues in Dark And Darker are what make the game so intense. Listen out for enemy footsteps, smashing pots, opening of doors, etc. Be wary, because if you can hear them, they can hear you. Headphones recommended.
- You can take your shoes off to reduce the sound of your own footsteps.
- Loot is found in pots and barrels which can be smashed by your primary weapon. Loot can also be hidden in secret areas (check bookcases for secret book levers, walls for levers, and the floor for pressure plates.)
- Memorize enemy patterns. Every enemy in the game has set patterns (this might change as harder levels are explored) which you can play around. Take a bit of time to try and memorize how the enemies behave.
- Health is crucial. There are Health Shrines dotted around which will refill your health, but you can also take a class with a healing ability (like the Fighter, Barbarian or Cleric), or pick up health potions.
- If you're playing with friends, make sure that one of your party is a Cleric. It's a massive help to have a healer around.
- Solo play is extremely difficult. Try not to take too many fights and stick to the shadows.
- Extract if you can with loot. The extract portals are usually close to the main boss room in the centre of the map/ring. Here's a guide on how to extract.
How To Progress In Dark And Darker
When you die, you lose your loot. You will die a lot. Don't worry, though, because your character will still earn XP even if you die. This XP goes towards unlocking new Perk Slots (you get a free slot at level 0, then a slot at level 5, 10, and 15).
Once you have a leveled character, you can start to experiment more with builds. You might even successfully extract a few times. Then it's time to progress to the deeper levels of Dark And Darker.
This is referred to by a few different names in the Dark And Darker community. Some players call it "the red", others call it "hell", and some might call it "infernal", as a distinction of the increased difficulty level of this part of the game. It's also because of the red portal that is used to teleport you (and your team) to the lower level. Blue Portals take you home, Red Portals take you deeper.
There is better loot down here, but to get there you need to survive the first dungeon, then enter the second. Other geared players are likely to show up, and that's without taking into account the more powerful monsters. It is difficult. We will include more info on this area in future Playtests.
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