What are the best beginner tips for Dark and Darker? After numerous well-received playtests, Dark and Darker was set to dominate the hardcore, high-fantasy extraction genre it was pioneering until some legal trouble forced it off Steam. Developer Ironmace was keen to get the game back into players’ hands, surprising its clamoring community with a sudden early access release on August 7, along with a new distribution partner.
Dark and Darker provides a slower, challenging multiplayer experience that many have latched onto for its glorious highs and crushing lows. While the Dark and Darker release date might seem far away, at least we have the early access build to play. So, aside from checking whether you’ve got the right system requirements to run the multiplayer game, what are the best things a beginner can do to get started in Dark and Darker?
Play solo to learn the ropes
Once you’ve chosen your class, we recommend jumping into the solo Goblin Caves on the northwest of the game’s map screen to cut your teeth on some little green guys – and the odd player too. This area gives you a good opportunity to practice the fundamental abilities for your chosen archetype, just don’t be afraid to get into a few scrapes and get a feel for combat.
The Goblin Caves also offer similar item drop rates to the normal dungeon, so it’s a good chance to equip your character with decent gear. Pay attention to how each weapon swings, what spells you have at your disposal, and how to loot quickly while managing your time in the shrinking zone effectively. Remember, unless you manage to extract using a blue portal, you won’t be able to earn any experience points.
Crouch jumping and managing your height
A great skill that every veteran takes advantage of is the crouch jump: hit the Spacebar and quickly press Ctrl to gain extra height to your jump. This ability allows you to stand on objects your normal jump can’t reach, or to explore various nooks and crannies from above for a stealthier approach.
Abusing the crouch jump messes with the simple enemy AI, many monsters won’t know what to do with you standing atop a barrel. This is the perfect opportunity to freely swing, shoot, or sling spells at ease. In PvP, this is great for mixing up your position while the enemy aims for your noggin.
Always aim for the head
Speaking of noggins, always, and we mean always, aim for the head of the enemy. You can inflict nearly double the damage depending on the weapon you’re using, and given how fast an encounter can go south, you’ll always want to end things quickly. This aiming method works for both PvP and PvE enemies, so get used to aiming high and managing your weapon’s attack trajectories so you can hit those angles.
Listen out for other players
Pay careful attention to the audio in Dark and Darker as you can hear an audible difference between the types of armor, weapons, footsteps, and spells players are using. Learning the differences between each type of sound will be paramount to your survival and preparation for any incoming encounters.
A good ear will let you identify whether a nearby teammate is weakened and ready to be ambushed. You may need to run in a different direction if you hear a hulking barbarian or fighter in full plate clanking towards your little rogue self. Figuring out what’s what obviously comes with time, but at the very least, paying attention to echoing footsteps and the sounds of doors opening is a great start to unleashing strategic plays. Take the ranger’s Enhanced Hearing perk to amplify the distance you can pick out telling noises from.
Holster your weapon to move faster
The movement speed stat is one of the most important in the fantasy game, so we cannot stress how important it is to holster your weapon when the situation calls for it. Whether you’re fleeing a battle gone to the dogs, or chasing down a weakened foe for their loot, remember to press ‘X’ to put your weapon away and increase your speed substantially.
You can take advantage of this easy trick to quickly weave around some simpler enemies and keep yourself in motion. If you’re playing a heavier barbarian or similar, this is best for keeping up with your faster teammates.
And those are the best beginner tips for Dark and Darker. If you’re ready to delve into Ironmace’s hit dungeon experience, make sure you’re aware of the game’s legal trouble and current relationship with Steam. Speaking of Steam, we also have a guide if you want to know whether the game runs on the Steam Deck.