Dark and Darker: Tips For Beginners (2024)

Dark and Darker's 4th alpha playtest is currently running at the time of writing this (February 6th), and the game is popping off on Steam.

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In just the first couple of hours, after the playtest became available, the player count peaked at over 100k, which is just mind-blowing for an alpha. In any case, this means that there are a lot of new players coming to Dark and Darker, so let's go over some tips that should help people bridge the gap between them and those who played in previous alphas as quickly as possible.

Height & Knowing How To Gain Height Is Important

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Just like in games from older generations, crouch jumping is back. It seems like a lot of stuff in recent memory has a crouch that, when pressed in the air, allows players to get a bit of extra height to their jump. in Dark and Darker, this is the way veterans get on top of objects to confuse the NPC AI, hop over things to avoid or approach enemies quickly, or make jumps they normally wouldn't have made.

It's important for new players to learn that crouch-jumping exists and to get used to it as quickly as possible. Once this is an established practice, players have tons of advantages over opponents who don't use this feature. Plus, it even allows players to protect their weak point, their head, by keeping their noggin just out of reach.

The Importance Of Aiming For The Head

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Likely the most obvious but most important initial combat tip for beginners is the importance of headshots. In melee combat, with arrows, or even with magic, hitting NPCs or other players in the head should always be a priority.

This is not one of those games where headshots only deal a minor amount of additional damage. In Dark and Darker, headshots essentially deal double damage, so getting accustomed to aiming for the head can make combat in PvE or PvP much faster overall.

Differences In Interaction Speed Between Classes

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Normally in games like this, the stats players should pay attention to are all pretty obvious. Usually, it's stuff like strength, intelligence, constitution, and sometimes even charisma. But, in Dark and Darker, there's a stat called 'interaction speed' that is of vital importance. This stat (which is influenced by the Agility stat) determines how fast a player interacts, activates, or loots anything in Dark and Darker. This includes:

  • Looting bodies/chests.
  • Opening doors.
  • Turning lights on or off.
  • Reviving allies at an altar.
  • Activating different altars.
  • Placing campfires.
  • Opening either the blue or red portals.

And that's not even everything this stat affects. So, knowing which classes have more interaction speed by default or even just knowing that items can have buffs that affect interaction speed is vital knowledge for beginners. In general, from slowest to fastest, the class rankings for interaction speed are:

  • Barbarian: -12 percent
  • Cleric: -12 percent
  • Ranger: 0 percent
  • Fighter: 5 percent
  • Wizard: 5 percent
  • Rogue: 30 percent

Movement Speed & Holstering Weapons

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Another stat of incredible importance in Dark and Darker is Movement Speed. While this may not seem like something to put over raw damage, it truly does make a huge difference. This game's combat is, while fun, very awkward, and players don't have a lot of evasive or defensive options. Because of this, once an enemy gets close, it usually just turns into wild swinging/casting to see who dies first.

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But, if a player is able to move faster than their opponent, they choose when the actual fight happens. And, on classes with range, this is absurdly powerful. So, beginners should keep an eye out for any Perks, Skills, or items that buff or debuff movement speed at all times. And, if they're playing a class that moves pretty slowly, such as a Cleric or Barbarian, remember that the X button (by default), holsters their weapons and increases their movement speed while they're holstered.

Attack Trajectories & Movement In Combat

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On the subject of combat, while simplistic, there are a lot of small changes a player can make/learn in Dark and Darker to see massive improvements during combat. For example, if a player learns the course of their swings on all the attacks for the weapons they use or that are typically used against them, they'll be able to attack at a great angle and evade attacks much more often. Not only that but knowing this will also help players avoid hitting walls or the roof by accident when in battle.

Another tip that should help beginners that are struggling with DaD's combat is constant movement. For much the same reason that dolphin diving or crouch-firing in modern shooters (Call of Duty, Fortnite, etc) is so universally useful, so is crouch swinging and constant movement while attacking in Dark and Darker. Hitting with a swing against a stationary target can be difficult in this game, so just imagine trying to hit a Rogue that's running circles around somebody, all while stabbing them constantly with a dagger and building up poison stacks.

Potion Rarities & Healing Types Stack

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This next one may just be more of a tip for everyone, as many players are simply unaware they can stack the effects of healing potions. To be more specific, using two of the exact same healing potion will not stack the effects. But, if they use two different rarities of healing potions one after another, those will stack. So, there's actual merit to buying the grey and white-name potions from the Alchemist.

Additionally, it should be noted that using a different healing item or healing type while under the effects of a potion also works. This may be common sense, but a lot of players probably stopped themselves from using a bandage or popping a healing Skill while their potion was in effect, just in case.

Sound & Sound Identification Is Everything

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Lastly, and likely most importantly, beginners to DaD need to know how important sound is in this game. Player footsteps, enemy noises, different types of armor, the sounds of magic being cast, and so much more can be identified from multiple hallways away in DaD. And, on some classes that are able to hear things even farther away (such as Ranger's Enhanced Hearing), being able to tell if it's a solo Cleric player approaching or a full party with the Wizard casting buffs on a Barbarian can make all the difference in the world. Here are just a few of the many things players should keep an ear out for and why:

  • Footstep Sounds: Is it one set of footprints or multiple? Is it barefoot or heavily armored? Are they approaching quickly or walking?
  • Interaction Sounds: Doors have a telltale noise when someone is interacting with them to open them, and so do chests. Choosing these times to bust into the room and attack can give a party a huge advantage.
  • Any 'Arcane' Noises: Each spell has a different audio tell, from fireballs to healing spells. And, veteran high-level players will be able to tell that the approaching party is likely hurt if they hear Cleric spells being cast, but beginner players only need to be able to tell if it's the NPC caster or a player that's using magic.

And remember, anything that a player can hear an enemy doing, the enemy can also hear them doing too.

Dark and Darker releases in late 2023 on PC.

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