A Comprehensive Darkest Dungeon Guide

To start off, let me say that I already love this game. I was hyped for a very long time to get to play it, and have played it for over 50 hours since the steam early access release. I’m currently on week 116 and have 160k gold and about 500k gold worth in trinkets (yes I can be a digital hoarder.) All bosses were beaten by about week 50, and all classes leveled to 6 around week 110. I’ve done 50+ full-light runs, 50+ no-torch runs, and some in between. 7 heroes have given their lives for the cause – 2 when I didn’t know what I was doing in the first few weeks, and 5 since I switched over to doing no-torch runs. The atmosphere, art style, narration, and general game direction are all really, really awesome, and I’ve already recommended the game to my friends just based on the early access build.

A Comprehensive Darkest Dungeon Guide

Mechanically, the game plays very well, the 4 vs up to 4 enemy battles are alternatively fun and exciting, and/or tense and desperate. That being said, mechanics and balance are definitely the areas that could use the most polish, and having now played the game extensively using many many different early, middle, and late-game party compositions, I wanted to offer my feedback.

This post is in two parts – the first is a strategy guide style writeup of how the different hero classes currently perform in combat, where they’re strong/weak, and where they could use more work. Some of the power imbalances may well be intentional, and obviously opinions will differ from mine about the value of each hero, but nonetheless these are my takes on the classes after extensive play-testing and party variation.

The second part is a close look at a number of overall mechanical balance issues and quality of life improvements designed to keep the game fun and hard, but make the player feel like the different classes all have merit, and that getting brutalized in the game is a function of their decisions more than just random number generation and bad luck.

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