Darkest Dungeon 2 was released for early access in October of last year. Since then, a number of updates have been made to the game along its route to full release. Most recently, a huge patch was released in February called beasts and burdens. Suffice it to say, if you haven't played DD2 since February, it's time to boot it up again and explore the plethora of improvements that have been made to the game since its early access release.
Fans of the original game should already be aware that Darkest Dungeon is extremely replayable thanks to the large amount of interlocking features this survival horror RPG boasts. Between hero stress levels, items, enemy types, party combinations, quirks, and more, there's no shortage of new discoveries to be made every time you open the game. Judging by its ongoing development, it appears that Darkest Dungeon 2 will be no different, so let's dive into some of the early access version's previously and newly released secrets to aid your heroes on their own road to ruin.
10 Master Hero Paths
One of the neatest features added to the game in the beasts and burdens patch is the introduction of hero paths. These paths are like a subclass for your heroes, allowing them a specialization in certain skills to which they already have access. For example, the plague doctor will now show up as either a surgeon or an alchemist.
Surgeons come with higher health and bring added increases to the hero's healing, melee, and bleed-related skills. Meanwhile, plague doctors show up with increased resistances and more damaging blight abilities. Along with these added hero paths, on rare occasion, a master hero will arrive at the crossroads. Master heroes come with every skill already upgraded, so keep your eyes peeled for them when scanning for new blood at the crossroads.
9 Academic View
Formerly referred to as the token view, academic view is accessible during combat by holding the ALT key while mousing over a hero or enemy. This is an especially useful tool since it provides a short summary of the figure's buffs, debuffs, and resistances.
Furthermore, the academic view will show you monster skills that your heroes have already seen in combat. Using this information, you can deduce where monsters are the most deadliest in their lineup and try to force them into positions where they can't use their most frightening abilities.
8 Combo Skills
When early access Darkest Dungeon 2 was first released, combo tokens were one of the newest additions to the game. These tokens were applied by certain skills and provided additional effects when triggered by other hero skills. Unfortunately, many of the combo effect skills were not available until higher levels of play.
This made it so that many players didn't have a chance to learn how combos worked, instead suddenly having the mechanic thrust upon them with no practice as they neared the middle to end of their heroes' journey. Thanks to recent changes, combo tokens and effects have been applied to the base version of many skills among all classes. So, get to practicing!
7 Managing Affinity And Relationships
Perhaps one of the biggest changes to arrive in Darkest Dungeon 2 is the introduction of affinity and relationships between heroes. As you adventure, your heroes form relationships with one another. Sometimes these relationships are helpful; other times, not so much.
Creating and maintaining as many positive relationships between your party members has become a key to success while traveling the long road to the mountain, but it's somewhat confusing how to accomplish this. For one, choose decision points that provide more golden light around your heroes as this reflects positive affinity gains between them. However, an even more important and less clear factor in creating positive relationships is managing your heroes' stress levels.
One added consequence of increasing stress in DD2 is a higher likelihood of negative affinity. As such, keeping stress levels low at all times is even more important. Once your heroes start to hate each other, it's a difficult road to convincing them to become friends again.
6 New Quirks
Seeing as quirks are one of the uncontrollable parts of the game, it's likely you don't notice them being added whenever the game is patched.
Some of the newer quirks, such as Braggart (which gives a 10 percent chance of gaining a Taunt token whenever you hit an enemy), are really great when on the right heroes.
5 The Infernal Flame: Dark Runs
So called "dark runs" are a tradition in Darkest Dungeon reaching back to the days of the first game. Though it might not make much sense, these are runs in which players purposefully douse their torch's flame in order to increase the difficulty of the game by a large margin.
Once your profile reaches level 20 in DD2, you unlock the ability to use a stagecoach upgrade called the infernal flame. When you mount this upgrade at the beginning of a new expedition, your flame will be stuck at 1 for the entirety of your run. This is the new and more strictly enforced dark run mode. Be warned: it's not for the faint of heart.
4 Creature Den Loot
Creature dens are a location added in the beasts and burdens update, which include some of the old beasties we know and love from the first game. When you enter a creature den, you must face two waves of beasts with no opportunity for rest in between.
As a result, these combats are rather difficult and should not be approached unless your party is equipped for the confrontation. However, should you succeed in slaying the monsters, you will receive special animal part loot items that can be turned in at an inn in exchange for great hero benefits.
3 Oasis Mineral-Infused Spring Water
The oasis is yet another location recently added to the game that provides a large amount of stress relief for a single hero. Even better than this, though is the opportunity to sometimes loot mineral-infused spring water from the location.
This combat item not only reduces stress but restores hit points as well! Be sure to check for the spring water every time you visit an oasis, as it isn't always an available option!
2 Inns Heal Stress Automatically
Another small change you may have failed to notice is that when your party arrives at an inn, each hero automatically heals one stress point. Being armed with this knowledge allows you to use inns more strategically for reducing overall party stress.
Of course, as is the case with all things in Darkest Dungeon 2, arriving at inns also comes at the cost of increasing your loathing. You can always reduce loathing by defeating enemies at locations.
1 The General's Dream Trophy
Trophies were added in an early patch as rewards for defeating boss monsters in their lairs. Furthermore, you must have a trophy mounted on your stagecoach in order to enter the mountain. If you do not, your run will automatically end at the last inn before the mountain. While each trophy provides different benefits, it's been established that the best trophy for the mountain is likely the Librarian's Complete Catalogue due to its increase to your party's combat damage.
Even so, don't sleep on the General's Dream trophy. Its ability to lock in hero position placement not only wards against enemy effects that would sow discord among your ranks but allows you to use skills like the highwayman's powerful point blank shot repeatedly. With the right party composition, the General's Dream trophy may just prove to be the best trophy yet.
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