The Long Dark (Xbox One, PC, Switch) – 10 Survival Tips for Noobs

The Long Dark is a first personal realistic survival simulation created by a small indie developer Hinterland Studio. The project was started in 2013 and a steady stream of updates and new game functionality has been added over the last 8 years. In my opinion, The Long Dark is the most realistic and complete survival simulation on the market with an extremely passionate community and incredible roadmap.

Their most recent update, hesitant Prospect added a new region called Ash Canyon, new gear, challenges, feats and custom settings. The discovery aspect of the Long Dark is what makes the game so unique. If you want to learn everything yourself then feel free to skip this guide and jump right into the game.

Tips for New Long Dark Players

1. Walk, don’t Run

One of the biggest and most common mistakes a new TLD player can make is to sprint around the entire map like a maniac. While springing can get you out of imminent danger in a pinch, the cost of always sprinting outweighs the benefits. You really just need to take your time when exploring the Canadian wilderness and make smart decisions. Every second you waste not advancing towards an area, is a seconf wasted.

  • Depletes your stamina bar – You will quickly become fatigued and be forced to walk everywhere, potentially making it impossible to escape a dangerous situation when you need the strength to do so.
  • Noisy –Wolves, bears, moose or other woodland creatures are more likely to hear your movements and aggro on to you.
  • Bars deplete quicker – Your primary stat bars (hunger, thirst, energy) that keep you alive will quickly run out when sprinting everywhere, making it harder to play catch up and ultimately survive.

2. Carrying too much

Pretty self explanatory, but essentially don’t be a pack rat. It is important to have a main base but also several mini bases scattered along the way so you can make pit stops on long hauls. By looking at your character menu, you can easily see if you are over encumbered and how much weight you are carrying. Remember, you only really need to be carrying the essentials most of the time and you will find plenty of look on your excursions.

  • Slow movement – Your character will noticeably move slower due to all of the extra luggage. Good luck escaping the wrath of the wolves and bears
  • Stats deplete quicker – Say goodbye to your hunger, thirst and stamina.

3. Overcooking food and evaporating water


With the new Vigilant flame cooking update in 2018 that enables real time cooking and boiling of water has created additional immersion by forcing the survivor to multitask and ultimately not burn their food and evaporate beverages. If you are optimizing your gameplay, there will be times when you take a quick 1 hour nap while you have items on the stove. This tends to be the time when new players miscalculate and ruin their goods.

  • Watch cooking times and fire temperatures closely
  • Make sure you have enough firewood on hand to finish your cooking session
  • Utilize multiple burners to save energy and get more done in each cooking session

4. Not freezing your meat and fish

Is a post-apocalyptic world with no heat or refrigeration, new players panic and don’t know what to do with fresh meat and fish. Instead of over-eating, you can simply place raw uncooked meat in the snow by your base and it will not deplete in %.

  • Pro tip – You can wait until the meat get’s to 0% condition while raw, leave it outside and when you cook it, it will be at 50% and perfectly safe to eat after cooking
  • When you kill a bear or moose, try to harvest the meat as quickly as possible and store it outside. The corpse will eventually dissapear.

5. Look carefully for hidden items

When you play the Long Dark, you need to really feel the desperation to survive and leave no stone unturned. Look in the nooks and crannies of every structure you come across as the developers just love hiding important items in hard to see places.

  • Destroying crates, boxes and chairs and under beds can sometimes reveal items hidden under them
  • Take the time to really look

6. Take hostile wildlife seriously

Wolves, bears and moose are extremely deadly and you should proceed with caution when engaging. Even if you win a fight with a wolf, they may rip all your clothing, cause you to bleed and be infected or cause a sprain. Be prepared and have a plan with how you will deal with each predator.

  • Don’t think a few bullets will kill a bear – headshots do the most damage and are very hard to execute.
  • Create a wolfskin coat to mask your scent from wolves
  • Avoiding is the best policy most of the time
  • Throw stones to disctract wolves
  • Crouch and sneak through areas
  • Don’t carry meat on you – they have great smell

7. Take this one item everywhere – The Bed Roll

In most cases you can probably find a shelter to spend the night, but on some occasions when you are desperate, you will have to camp out in the woods or some run down shelter. In this case you will need a bed roll to be able to sleep. A bed roll keeps you warm, safe and allows you to replenish your stamina.

  • Don’t keep just a bed roll will keep you warm in all situations. Camping out in a cave, a car or shelter that protects you from the wind in combination with a bed roll is ideal.
  • Make sure you repair your bed roll
  • You can harvest a bed roll for an insane amount of cloth. Do this with any additional bed rolls you find if you are in need of cloth.

8. Increase your carrying capacity

There are two ways to increase the amount of weight you can carry. The first is to acquire a moose hide satchel. This will add 11 pounds to your carrying capacity.

Taking down a moose, curing the hides and crafting the satchel is no easy feat, so don’t think you will have a moose hide satchel in the early game. The second way to increase your carrying capacity is to get the well fed bonus by keeping your hunger from keeping red or empty for 72 consecutive hours. This gives you another 11 pounds of carrying capacity.

  • If you are playing below the Interloper difficulty, you can find one pre-made moose hide satchel in hushed river valley

9. Learn how to Trap Rabbits

Craft snares and set up a trap line. You can’t really just survive on rabbits, but they can keep you going for a while and help you craft items to keep you warm like mitts.

  • Remember that snares can break so keep them out of blizzards
  • Don’t get impatient if you are not catching anything – look for areas that have a lot of rabbits
  • You can also throw stones at rabbits to stun them

10. Just have fun

There are so many mechanics in the long dark that it can be overwhealming at times but the game is truly a gem and the best part is learning, dying and restarting new runs in which you will slowly progress your survival skills.

Have any other tips we forgot to mention, contact Corexbox and we will check them out!

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