Darkest Dungeon 2: How to Beat Chapter 1 | 5 tips for surviving

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Catherine Le Nevez
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Darkest Dungeon 2 has landed on the Epic Game Store in early access, and the infamously difficult rogue-like hasn't gotten any easier in its new form. You'll always gather a band of intrepid explorers as you battle against impossible odds ‚Äď slowly succumbing (or rarely succeeding) to the nightmarish creatures of the night.

As far as rogues go, Darkest Dungeon 1 is infamously difficult. Incredibly difficult. Beating this game is a madman's badge of honor, and Darkest Dungeon 2 doesn't hold your hand either. If you want to overcome the very first chapter, we are going to present you 5 important tips that you absolutely must know. And the first concerns stress management.



Darkest Dungeon 2 twists the formula, sending your party of heroes outside the domain and on a long road trip. You'll have to survive on the road, building relationships (both positive and negative) with your heroes as they try to maintain their sanity. Inns are rare and the roads are full of strange creatures.

#1. Manage stress with the plague doctor

The stress is back. In Darkest Keep 2, Stress goes from 1 to 10 ‚Äď at age 10, your character will crumble and may gain new negative quirks as a result. Surviving a collapse brings you back to 4-5 stress, and the cycle continues again. Stress management is one of the most important skills in the game and the only way to keep your heroes alive for long.


There are two classes that can help you deal with stress; the plague doctor and man-at-arms. The Plague Doctor Ounce of Prevention will reduce stress by 1 each time it is used for the entire party. This makes it almost essential for any race (so far). The man-at-arms has Bolster, which is a support buff that only has a 50% chance to reduce stress by 1. It's a good save in a pinch, but the Plague Doctor is what you'll want.


#2: Improve the Ounce of Prevention

Ounce of Prevention is already a premium ability, but upgrading it makes it even better. To have Ounce of Prevention for your Plague Doctor and upgrade as soon as possible. You'll thank yourself for a way to seriously control your stress levels. Simply stay in fights with enemies (don't kill them) to use Once of Prevention more often and reduce your overall stress to avoid collapses.

#3: Keep your stress under 4 and torch over 40

Now that you have an effective way to control stress, you'll also want to watch your flares. Stress and your torch percentage are related ‚Äď the darker you let your torches get, the more stress will increase when exploring or fighting. Be sure to spend money to keep your torches above 40 and use an ounce of prevention to keep your party's stress below 4. If you do this your party will be more positive and help each other out . Positive relationships lead to more assists and auto counters in combat.


  • NOTE: Your party passively heals while traveling by coach. Prioritize stress over health. You will heal by traveling.

And really, just have a basic party of Plague doctor, grave robber, highwayman and man-at-arms is enough to overcome Chapter 1 if you keep these basics in mind. Level up the plague doctor, manage your stress/torch, and your party can pretty much overcome any challenge. But let's get into a few other things you might not know.


#4: You can save and quit at any time


Races can be stressful in Darkest Dungeon 2. You can save, quit, and come back later to resume your race. All you have to do is quit a race. There's an option in the main menu to resume your run ‚Äď you'll start at the start of any lap you've taken.

#5: There are more hero classes to unlock

You will start with four hero classes (Plague doctor, grave robber, highwayman and man-at-arms) but there is more to unlock. You can also unlock the following heroes:

  • Run away
  • Jester
  • Leper
  • Occultist
  • Hellion

To unlock more classes, you need to earn a special resource called Hope. Hope is earned by completing a journey well ‚Äď by achieving certain goals, such as having 40% torch or more, or winning 3 assist encounters. Simply completing a journey will earn you hope, which you can spend.


Throwing away items you don't want will also earn you hope. Hope is a powerful resource, so use it wisely.

And that's all! Right now, Darkest Dungeon 2 is much easier than the original ‚Äď but that's only the first region of the game. Like any roguelike, it will get exponentially harder as we progress through the game. And who knows how much harder Darkest Dungeon 2 will become.

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