How to actually play Dark and Darker

Learn how to create a character, start up a dungeon with other players, and what you actually do in Dark and Darker.


Dark and Darker is the hot new game that fans of Tarkov and Hunt: Showdown have been flocking to. For those that want to get in on the fun, it can be overwhelming to try and work out how to play Dark and Darker. We’ve spent a bit of time spelunking and fighting through the dungeons, so we’ve prepared a guide to help you get started, from creating your first character to completing your first dungeon.

Create a character

The character creation screen in dark and darker
Each class has its advantages and also some negatives. Choose one that fits your playstyle and what your team needs.
Source: Shacknews

Before you can go on an adventure, you’ll need to create a character. At the main menu, click the Create Character screen and choose one of the six classes you want to play. These classes all have different positives and drawbacks. You can create more characters, so if you don’t like the class you picked just create another one. The options include:

  • Fighter: Your standard soldier, can use most weapons but can’t cast spells
  • Barbarian: Higher health stat, bonus damage with two-handed weapons, but a bit slow
  • Rogue: Quick, sneaky, and can pick locks, but has low health
  • Ranger: Uses a bow and arrow, can set traps, though does not use melee weapons
  • Wizard: Casts spells and magical weapons, but like the rogue has low health
  • Cleric: Can wield a weapon and cast healing spells suffers from low damage and a bit slow

Unless you have a preferred class you like to play in fantasy games, the fighter is a safe bet. It comes with a sword and shield and enough health so as not to be too squishy. As you get more accustomed to how the game works, try one of the other classes. Using different classes is especially important when playing with others as group variety goes a long way.

Join a lobby or invite a friend

The Gathering Hall in Dark and Darker
The Gathering Hall is where you can chat with other players from specific regions. It's basically a Looking For Group within the game.
Source: Shacknews

With your character created, the next step is to join a lobby or invite a friend (or you can play solo). Use the plus signs on either side of your character to invite a player from a massive list. The Find ID search bar will let you search for a specific character’s name. Right click a name and hit invite to send them a join request. If they join, you’ll see their character appear at the table.

Alternatively, the Gathering Hall is a place where you can find players from a specific region. This screen has a chat box for talking and a list of other players you can invite. This is great if you don’t want to just invite random people from the other menu.

Starting an adventure

The dungeon select screen in Dark and Darker
The Forgotten Castle is the classic adventure. The Normal version is best for those that are just starting out.
Source: Shacknews

When you’re ready, you can select which dungeon you want to visit. From the main menu, select the Dungeon Map button and choose the location. If you’re playing with other people, select the Forgotten Castle on Normal or the Goblin Caves if you’re solo.

Next, make sure you’ve selected a region. The game may have already prompted you to do this, but select it from above the dungeon map. Ensure your teammates click ready and then the host should select Start.

At this point, you will load into the pre-game lobby, which is a tavern. Shortly, you’ll be transported to the dungeon.

Surviving the dungeon

The player stands in the dungeon looking at a teammate near a chest
Loot chests, avoid traps, kill monsters and fight players. If you can, escape through a blue portal.
Source: Shacknews

This is where the real challenge of Dark and Darker begins. The goal of each adventure is to defeat monsters, scavenge for loot, and escape using blue portals. Chests contain various goods like weapons and armor, potions and magical items, as well as jewellery and other bits to sell to merchants.

While you’re dealing with monsters, you’ll also need to contend with other players. You can either try to avoid fights by fleeing into the darkness or stand your ground and engage in combat. If you defeat a player, you’ll be able to loot their corpse of anything they’ve found.

A blue portal in Dark and Darker
The blue portals appear after activating a blue totem. This is the only way to escape with your life and all the loot you've gathered.
Source: Shacknews

The only way to successfully finish a dungeon is to escape. This can only be done by finding and using a blue portal. Portals will appear randomly as you adventure or at the very end when you’re the last team remaining.

There is one last thing to keep in mind and that’s the Death Swarm. This is an encroaching darkness that will slowly constrict into a small circle, like many other popular battle royale games. Every few minutes, the playable space will shrink, forcing you to explore a smaller area and corralling all the players together.

How death works

The character inventory and stash shown side-by-side
If you die, you'll lose everything on your character and start with beginner items. Thankfully, nothing in your Stash is lost. 
Source: Shacknews

In the event you fail to escape, the only other outcome is that your adventurer died. While you get to keep your levels, progress, and items in your Stash, anything you had on your character will be lost. Any awesome equipment you took into the dungeon will be gone and any loot you found along the way will be removed. Thankfully, you’ll get a fresh set of starting equipment each time you die.

There’s still a lot to learn about Dark and Darker, like selling items and making gold, gathering resources, using magic and so much more. Be sure to keep it locked to Shacknews as we dive deeper into this dark and dangerous game.

Guides Editor

Hailing from the land down under, Sam Chandler brings a bit of the southern hemisphere flair to his work. After bouncing round a few universities, securing a bachelor degree, and entering the video game industry, he's found his new family here at Shacknews as a Guides Editor. There's nothing he loves more than crafting a guide that will help someone. If you need help with a guide, or notice something not quite right, you can Tweet him: @SamuelChandler 

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