The Long Dark (aka Gah...Wolves!)


Sarah’s record is a bit north of 150 days. She just knows the game pretty well at this point. Our latest video ends around day 96. She’s going to stream some more later today (noon central) and probably make it above 100


I think the longest I lasted was ten days. The cold is a cruel mistress.


Once you play you know maps where to find shelter and starting gear. Harvest some already dead deer for meet but especially guts and hides. Once you are able to either craft deer boots or pants and rabbit snares game is much easier:

I so love this game. It is pretty unforgiving so if you are careless you can die quick even with full gear.

I also love you that things that make sense in real life work in this game: waterways lead to civilization, wind matters for how far your scent goes to prey and predator and others. I am savoring exploring each map and I still get a kick of finding new stuff. Haven’t climbed the mountain so that is my last map.

running 60 days on Stalker and weather in the valley is hurting. But getting a steady diet of rabbit and just got some deer so will be ok. But did have to starve a night or two.


She made it to 104 today.


Enjoyed her viewpt on podcast. I think the sandbox early access mode is quite fun, even if end game gets boring. I can’t imagine playing hundreds of days b/c once you explore every map how much left to do? I guess at some pt it gets really challenging since everything eventually will wear out except for rabbit snares and knowing how to steal deer from wolves.

Be interested to see how latest run ends.


Apparently since the last post, this game has changed quite a bit.

There was a “Tireless Menace” update on April 20th that changed the UI to a radial menu, added challenges, (short scenarios like “survive a bear attack” or “get from the lighthouse to the lookout tower”) and overhauled the decay and rest systems.

On June 22nd, Hinterland released “Penitent Scholar” that added an RPG skill system for Firestarting, Cooking, Carcass Harvesting, Ice Fishing, Rifle Firearms, new Feats, which are in-game achievements that give bonuses across the player account, a couple more challenges, and a few balance changes.

I may have to check this out again.


The version naming scheme makes me less interested in this game. That’s always been a step of geekery too far for me.


(It’s just me – but I think if we are posting here we may have already stepped beyond geekery – I mean --call me old fashioned)


Like some other fellow gamer friends of mine, the last week has had something of a “Wanna get away?” feel to it. I’ve indulged that impulse with The Long Dark, and it has been perfect for that.

Now I know what you’re thinking. “Dude, this game is still in Early Access. I’ll play it when its done.”

I hear you, and I get that. But I’m also going to put this out there: as far as I’m concerned, the game pretty much is done. Story mode sounds great and I’m really looking forward to it, but that’s going to feel almost like a really amazing piece of free DLC or a free expansion at this point.

Right now the game feels completely polished a well balanced. In case you’ve not been playing, here’s what’s happened through the three major updates from spring into fall of 2016.

The Long Dark has four difficulty levels now.
Pilgrim level is really easy. If you’re having trouble surviving for more than a day or two, try things on Pilgrim. Your condition degrades very slowly, items (especially food) decay slowly as well. Best of all for newcomers, wolves and bears leave you alone, unless you’re dumb enough to try to corner one.

Voyageur level is probably the best balanced of all the levels so far. It’s a good challenge mix. The cold will definitely kill you at this level, and wolves and bears won’t shy away from chomping on you. This is usually the level I play on. If we were naming the levels according to convention, this would be “Normal” difficulty.

Stalker difficulty was the most difficult way of playing the game until we got the most recent update in September. Stalker makes the cold more deadly, and brings accelerated wear and tear and decay to clothes, food, and other gear. Wildlife will hunt you. Scarcer resources and distribution.

Interloper difficulty level is The Long Dark’s version of Nightmare levels. It was introduced with the September update, .364 or “Vigilant Trespass” (I deliberately used the update name there because fuck Tim James.) Cold affects are fast, weather is terrible a lot of the time, decay is accelerated beyond stalker difficulty. Even scarcer resources than Stalker.

New areas.

Ok, most new players are going to spend a lot of time in the Mystery Lake area, and they should. There’s a decent number of manmade structures here to shelter in, and a lot of resources. Wildlife isn’t so plentiful that it menaces too often.

Coastal HIghway is connected to it, and is a great intermediate area. Pleasant Valley is an area that I think is even more suited to my intermediate level style of play. Although there are fewer resources, it’s solid for players who have a natural tendency to nest over exploring. (Although both can get you killed…)

The two newest areas I haven’t played yet, but Desolation Point and Timberwolf Mountain are the two most challenging areas. The three areas I have played in are so different from each other that I’m guessing these all feel very new too.

Sandbox mode in The Long Dark is incredibly rewarding. You can keep score by just seeing how long you can live, and that’s game enough right there.

But I’ve finally started to play the challenges, and they’re the sort-of story mode that adds a ton to this. For instance, I’m currently playing White Out challenge. In that scenario, you have 30 days to get set up before the mother of all blizzards comes in and forces you to shelter in place. You have to be smart about how you use and gather resources and use your time wisely. I’m also eager to try the Hopeless Rescue challenge. In that one you have to make your way to an isolated outpost to fire off a distress flare…but that involves crossing maps and making sure you’ve built strong enough gear to survive the ascent to the distress flare point. Hunted mode also look kind of awesome. A giant ravenous grizzly wants you especially, and hunts you across maps until you find the only weapon in the game that can kill it.

There’s lots of other new-ish stuff, some of which Telefrog has noted. You have skills to level up in things like fishing, starting fires, cooking, and dressing game. Feats are a great system as well.

And the gameplay itself is just solid now. This is what survival should feel like, with all sorts of environmental variables playing different roles in the game. (For example, wind is never just wind. It varies in strength and coldness, and walking into the wind or walking in areas that don’t have natural wind breaks will chill you to the bone, quickly.) The interface seems to work best with a gamepad controller, and still at times needs a bit of help, but mostly it does what it needs to.

Pretty sure, absent anything else surprising me, that this might be my game of the year for 2016.


I love you. I got this super cheap on sale a while ago but forgot about it and this was just the thing I needed to hear (going to be a fun night with this Ashes Esc and OpenTTD). Is it better with a controller or mouse/keyboard you think (ie. play on computer with M/K or move to laid-back couch and play on big screen with controller over Steamlink)?


I prefer using a controller, but that may be a function of the gamepad being the native controller I learned the game with.


Interesting write-up. I probably would have never given the game another chance after the experience I had with it when it was released as an early access game on the Xbox One that you can try out for 30 minutes. But it sounds like they’ve added a lot to it since then. Just the difficulty levels alone sound like a huge change.

I kind of wish I’d never tried it in Early access, because mentally it’s really tough to switch from dismissal back to being willing to give a game a chance.


So I gave this a shot last night on @triggercut recommendation. Playing on Voyager in the starting lake area. So I found a big cabin and a bunch of other smaller shelters around a lake but it’s day 3 now and I’ve pretty much looted everything that’s not bolted down. I’ve got enough wood for fires but food is becoming an issue. I’m guessing you’re supposed to craft a weapon or snare to hunt but I’m not sure where I can find the materials for that. I’ve tried to range away from my primary shelter but I haven’t found anything nearby and I can really only stay out half a day or so before the cold threatens my survival. I do really enjoy the sense of isolation. Do I just set out with no intent to return and hope for the best or keep ranging nearby and hope to find the materials I need?


Sold. Damn it @triggercut, great write-up. Love the sound of the wind dynamics and the challenges.

Had a hankering for more survival since The Flame in The Flood so this could be perfect.


Yeah, it’s important to realize that–as in a lot of survival games–you’re going to need to come up with a sustainable way of life in The Long Dark. The energy bars, cans of tomato soup, and similar items don’t respawn. Think of them as a hold over for yourself as you transition to a more sustainable way of getting food.

The easiest available to you in Mystery Lake is fishing. You should be able to find a hook and line in the Base Camp office, but they’re also sometimes found in the fishing huts themselves. You can craft a hook and line together to make fishing tackle, or just find whole fishing tackle. You’ll need a tool to break the ice, either a hatchet, prybar, knife or hammer.

There’s usually a rifle to be found somewhere in the Mystery Lake area. It can be spawned in a variety of areas, from the trapper’s homestead to just with random dead bodies.

Which brings up another point: you can scavenge the leavings of the wolves and birds. Look for circling crows–they signify a dead something or other. Sometimes it’s a dead human. Sometimes, though, it’s a deer carcass. If you have a hunting knife or an axe, you can strip meat and sometimes gut and a hide off it.

There are also bows and snares in the game to hunt and trap game with.

If you’re on Day Three and still haven’t started transitioning to sustainability, it may be too late. You definitely need to get out though, and explore and try to learn Mystery Lake as best you can for your next go round! The camp you did find–with the base camp office–is a great place to set up as your permanent base. But, as you’ve surmised, you have to explore and find more…and there’s lots more around Mystery Lake beyond what you’ve already found. Look for roads, streams, and clear-cut paths. They’ll take you to points of civilization, just like they would in a real life survival setting.


December update, their biggest of the year!

Highlights: total overhaul to the clothing system. More clothes of different types, clothes can be layered, and the elements interact with them differently. (Getting wet, or frozen–both new–are not good.)

Added frostbite as a condition, which carries with it permanent condition loss.

Added an entirely new area.

Video on the update, can’t wait to try this!

Also, they updated progress on story mode. Lots of blahblahblah, but it sounds as if March is the earliest we can hope for that. Which will be version 1.0

The update today contains (so they say) the last major systems update in the game prior to story mode launch…but when story mode goes live, they’ll add some more systems as well.


I hope we can eventually amputate our frostbitten limbs. :)


Hello everyone,

In collaboration with Valve, The Long Dark will be available for 50% off its current $19.99 Early Access price during this week’s Steam “Midweek Madness” sale, which starts tomorrow (April 25th).

This is to acknowledge all the community support you’ve given us over the years, and to offer one last chance to purchase the game at the Early Access price point.

Thanks for your support, and we can’t wait to share what’s coming next!

  • The Hinterland Team

I picked it up for £7.49 because I guess this will be leaving Early Access soon.


…one last chance to purchase the game at the Early Access price point.[/quote]

Until the Christmas sale.


the front page for the game’s site has a counter up. Currently at 6 days, 20 hours, 33 minutes.