A Beginner's Guide to Darkest Dungeon
Darkest Dungeon is meant to be a tough game. These rules should help you through your first playthrough and make the game much more fun and a little less frustrating... because let's be honest, you are a bit of a masochist if you've decided to play Darkest Dungeon.
Upgrade your carriage (and the rest of your town)
The very first thing you should do is upgrade your carriage twice. This allows you to recruit up to four new heroes per week. Prioritize recruiting based on the character's postive and negative quirks.
Having a fresh stream of new heroes allows you to dismiss (or kill off) those with afflictions. Don't bother curing/destressing heroies that you haven't invested in.
After the carriage is upgraded to 4 heroes a turn, upgrade the armor (then weapons) in the blacksmith, then the guild, sanitarium, and finally the abbey (the tavern has too many risks associated with it).
Keep your light level above 75
Light level has a strong impact on the game and it's part of what makes Darkest Dungeon the game it is. Until you can take advantage of lower light levels, get in the habit of burning a torch whenever the light level goes below 76 (each torch adds 25 to your light level).
The classes have skills that increase light level by 5-6 for each use during a battle (and those skills add up).
Remove curio affecting quirks
The worst quirks early on tend to force you to interact with curio because interacting with curios in the wrong manner quickly stresses your entire party out (and afflictions are really bad, especially when starting out). Other quirks have worse effects, but most of them can be worked around (like not bringing the hero certain dungeons).
Generally speaking, you don't want have any heroes that have the following quirks (especially kleptomaniac):
- Dark Temptation
- Guilty Conscience
- Kleptomaniac (by far, one of the worst negative quirks)
Overprepare for dungeons
Don't try level 3 missions until you have level 3 heroes and the general rule of thumb for selecting a proper mission for your party is the following:
- Level 0 heroes (1/1) go on short level 1 missions (if those heroes get an affliction. dismiss them).
- Level 1 heroes (upraded to 2/2) go on medium level 1 missions.
- Level 2 heroes (upgraded to 3/3) go on long level 1 missions.
- Level 3 heroes (upgraded to 4/4) go on short level 3 missions.
- Level 4 heroes (upgraded to 5/5) go on medium level 3 missions.
Always bring more supplies than you need. As a general rule of thumb, bring the following supplies:
- 12 food, 8 torches, 2 shovels/holy water/antivenom/bandages/herbs for short mission
- 18 food, 13 torches, 3 shovels/holy water/antivenom/bandages/herbs for medium dungeons
- 24 food, 16 torches, 4 shovels/holy water/antivenom/banages/herbs for long dungeons
During medium and long missions, take advantage of camping. Camping skills often reduce stress and that saves you a lot of money. Grave robbers have a camping skill that cures diseases on herself and on a companion (and that saves up to 2,500 gold for each use). Some other camping skills provide insanely strong party and indvidual buffs. Also remember that camping resets your light level to 100 (that's up to four torches).
Save your gold
Upgrades get expensive quickly and trinkets are almost always too expensive. You want to spend your gold upgrading your main heroes in order to complete longer or more difficult dungeon expeditions.
Ignore the Nomad Wagon; trinkets are too expensive and don't provide that much value until later in the game (25% of 1 isn't nearly as much as 25% of 10). Instead, choose missions that reward good trinkets (but make sure you can do them).
Upgrade your heroes
Focus on two or three primary teams to progress through the game (each of those teams should have at least one vestal or occulist). Once you have a hero with one or two good positive quirks, you should teach them their best skills, upgrade their armor, then upgrade their weapon, then finally upgrade their skills.
Quirks that you should look for (and eventually lock in) are the following:
- Clutch Hitter
- Eagle Eye (for ranged classes)
- Hard Skinned
- Natural Eye (for ranged classes)
- Natural Swing (for melee classes)
- Precise Striker (for melee classes)
- Quick Reflexes
- Second Wind
- Slugger (for melee classes)
- Unerring (for ranged classes)
Focus on a single playthrough
Resist the urge to restart if your favorite hero dies or you lose your strongest trinket.
Heroes and trinkets can be replaced easily, the heirlooms that you find in a dungeon don't get replaced. Every time you start a new game, you lose all of those hierlooms and all of those town upgrades.
Learn to break these rules
These rules are meant to help you out at the beginning of the game and are over simplified. Once you have a better understanding of the game, you should start breaking these rules: bring less supplies (like no torches, these are called dark runs), destress your afflicted heroes, buy trinkets, etc.