The Long Dark Best Difficulty - Which To Choose

Pick your Poison

The Long Dark is a very challenging game, it is a survival sim after all. But while the game’s challenging nature can feel very fun and rewarding even at its most difficult, it’s not going to be for everyone. Good thing is that you’ll have the option to pick just how difficult your time on Great Bear Island can be and as it turns out, it needn’t be so harsh at all.


4. Pilgrim

“you know what? it’s actually nice out here”

The Easiest difficulty for Story Mode and Survival Mode. For New Players stepping into the cruel world of The Long Dark for the first time, it doesn’t have to be so cruel from the get-go. As it offers a more passive than aggressive wildlife and an Abundance of Supplies.

How it Works:

  • Great Bear Island is abundant with items.
  • High-quality and abundant starting supplies.
  • High-quality items may spawn.
  • Firearms may spawn.
  • Needs erode slowly.
  • Wildlife will not attack unless provoked. (All Wildlife flee from the player unless attacked or harassed.)
  • Safe starting condition (indoors, during good weather, in a hospitable Region).
  • The decay of items is slow.
  • All Fires prevent freezing (regardless of ambient temperature).
  • Automatically wake from sleep when freezing.
  • Allows five active Feats.

Choose this Difficulty if:

You’re just starting and learning all of the mechanics of the game and basic survival methods.


3. Voyageur

“It’s rough out there”​

For a Taste of The Long Dark’s Challenges, Voyageur lets you experience Great Bear Island as an explorer navigating a dangerous land. The Wildlife is more aggressive, supplies are less abundant. You also start with worse gear.

How It Works:

  • Great Bear Island has regular items to be found.
  • Moderate and mid-quality starting supplies.
  • High-quality items may spawn but are uncommon.
  • Firearms may spawn.
  • Normal Needs.
  • Hostile Wildlife will not spawn for the first 24 hours.
  • Chance to start at night, outdoors, during poor weather, or in an inhospitable region.
  • Moderate Decay of items.
  • All Fires prevent freezing (regardless of ambient temperature).
  • Automatically wake from sleep when freezing.
  • Allows four active Feats.

Choose this Difficulty if:

You would like an extra bit of challenge mixed with your exploration and enjoy nature as it is intended, with caution.


2. Stalker

“Let me in, let me in, let me in!”

You are not welcome in Great Bear Island, you are constantly in danger with the Stalker Difficulty not only from the numerous and very very hostile wildlife but from the elements as well.

How it Works: 

  • Great Bear Island is sparse with items.
  • Limited and/or low-quality starting supplies.
  • Incomplete starting clothes; the head will be exposed.
  • High-quality items may spawn but are rare.
  • Firearms and ammunition may spawn infrequently.
  • Needs erode quickly.
  • Hostile Wildlife may spawn immediately, are more numerous, and are found in more locations.
  • The detection radius for hostile wildlife is extremely large.
  • The start will be outdoors: a chance to start during the night, poor weather, or in an inhospitable region.
  • Fast Decay of items.
  • Fires do not automatically prevent freezing
  • No automatic waking from sleep when freezing.
  • Allows three active Feats.

Choose this Difficulty if:

You would like to test your survival abilities, your knowledge of the land, and go against threats that will without a doubt go after you. This difficulty is perfect for experienced players.


1. Interloper

“Only for the Brave and the Foolish”

You are not supposed to be alive and the Interloper difficulty will do everything in its power to fix that error. The Hardest Difficulty the game has to offer, only for the most experienced of players

How it Works: 

  • Great Bear Island has few items to be found.
  • Critical items have limitations on their spawn frequency (more details can be found in this Google Docs spreadsheet)
  • Matches and other ignition items are rare.
  • Hunting Rifles, Revolvers, Hatchets, Hunting Knives, Bows, Arrows, and Moose-Hide Satchel do not spawn; Improvised Hatchets and Knives must be Forged to craft Bows or Arrows.
  • Start with a Recycled Can and an incomplete set of low-quality clothing (head and hands will always be exposed).
  • Several Cargo Containers do not spawn on Timberwolf Mountain, and the quality remaining containers is downgraded.
  • Needs to erode very quickly.
  • The game will start outdoors. Chance to spawn at night.
  • Random starting region (cannot spawn in "Beginner" regions).
  • Higher chance to start in Advanced (most dangerous) regions.
  • Rabbits, Deer, and Fish are scarcer, and Wolves/Timberwolves are extremely deadly (but with Detection Radius and Frequency akin to Voyageur).
  • The world's wildlife becomes scarcer and the environment colder over time (up to a limit).
  • Fires do not automatically prevent freezing
  • Hypothermia and Frostbite progress faster and heal slower.
  • Very fast Decay of items.
  • No automatic waking from sleep when freezing.
  • Allows two active Feats.

Choose this Difficulty if:

You want the ultimate challenge and truly master the game down to every nook and cranny of the map and survive for as long as you can.


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A huge nerd with a lot of love for stories about overcoming the odds, love prospering and well executed violence
Gamer Since: 2000
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Halo: Infinite
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Walking Dead, Metro: Last Light, Dark Souls 3

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