Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Darkest Dungeon: Surviving the Early Game

After my previous post, Jorge Jacoh commented:

"This game is really rought to play... My chars always to week/depressed/paranoic/ to see a second dangeon. It's really frustrating dying all time."

This is a common response from new players. Darkest Dungeon can be quite punishing. And once things start to go wrong, they often continue to get worse and worse as your characters spiral down into madness and death. So today I thought I would share some tips on how to survive the early game:

1. Remember that your early characters are disposable. It costs you nothing to hire new level 0 characters from the Stagecoach, and these new characters only need to survive a single mission to reach level 1. As such, there is nothing wrong with taking them through a dungeon, having them getting completely stressed out in the process, and then discarding them and taking on a replacement. It costs you significant time and resources to restore a character's sanity, and early on it's usually not worth it.

2. Upgrade the Stagecoach right away to increase the number of new characters each week. Right away, you should have the resources to make two such upgrades. Don't worry about increasing your roster space yet; just focus on getting as many new characters each week as possible. Otherwise, you might get stuck with subpar classes or traits, but still be forced to take someone to replace a previous victim.

3. Stick to a straight-forward team of two tanks, one support, and one healer. While all of the different classes have their uses, some are more generally useful than others. For tanks, the Crusader, Man-At-Arms, and Helion are best. For support, choose an Arbelest, Highwayman, or Grave Robber. And for healing, you can't do better than the Vestal. Straight from the Stagecoach, these characters have access to the best abilities. However, since their starting selection is random, it's often worth a quick trip to the Guildhall to unlock the ones you want.

4. Dungeon survival is all about avoiding stress. Damage and status ailments are easy to deal with, whether through character abilities or items. You can even use food as stop-gap potions, topping off a character's hit points after each battle. But, outside of camping, there is almost nothing you can reliably do to reduce stress on a character. So, you'll want to do everything you can to minimize stress. This could be a whole post in and of itself. But here are some quick tips:
  • Back-line monsters usually have abilities that cause stress, so kill those first. 
  • Keep your light level above 75% to minimize the stress you take while walking the long hallways.
  • Never activate a curio if there is a chance it will stress out your character. In the same way, a few curios can reduce stress, so use those to your best advantage. See #6, below.
5. Early on, take short missions, and finish them as quickly as possible. Better to get in, complete the mission, and get out than try to explore everything and take on additional stress. Take advantage of your scouts to avoid enemy encounters in the hallways. Be quick, be efficient, fight as little as possible, and get back into the daylight.

6. Bring the right combination of items to deal with curios and obstacles to minimize stress and maximize your loot. One of the best resources at your disposal is this Curio Guide found on the Steam website for Darkest Dungeon. It tells you exactly what your odds are with any curio, what will cleanse it to make it safe, and what kinds of curios you can expect to encounter in the different dungeons. Familiarize yourself with it - or even better, keep it open and refer to it while you play. You will almost always get better loot by cleansing a curio before you use it, so it's a smart investment to make. Also, always bring at least one Shovel to clear those obstacles, and at least three if you're going into the Weald. 

Follow these simple tips, and you should see the odds improve in your favor.

1 comment: