The Long Dark Survival Skills Guide

The Long Dark Survival Skills Guide will help you understand the skill system in the game as well as provide tips to improve your skills.

Like all the other survival games, The Long Dark also has a Skill system that allows players to perform better in the harsh wilderness. This system augments players’ abilities and provides bonus stats. However, unlike other games, there are no points that you can invest to upgrade your survival skills in The Long Dark.

Instead, you will gain XP performing certain tasks, automatically improving your skills. An icon for the relevant skill appears on the HUD, indicating that you have gained XP. Once you cross a threshold, you will level up that skill.

The survival skills that are leveled up by repeating tasks include Fire-Starting, Cooking, Carcass Harvesting, Ice Fishing, Firearms Proficiency, Archery, and Mending. Below are more details of each skill and how to improve it.

Fire Starting

As the name suggests, this survival skill in The Long Dark is improved by successfully starting a fire in one of the possible ways. Players can start fires at campfires, inside fire barrels, or at fireplaces inside some houses.

  • Level 1: 40% chance to start a fire
  • Level 2: 55% chance to start a fire, fire lasts 10% longer
  • Level 3: 65% chance to start a fire, fire can be started without tinder and lasts 10% longer
  • Level 4: 75% chance to start a fire, can start without tinder and lasts 25% longer
  • Level 5: 90% chance to start a fire at 50% increased speed, can start without tinder and lasts 50% longer

Cooking

This is increased by cooking food or preparing any drinks, however, warming up already cooked food or melting/boiling water does not improve this skill.

  • Level 2: Extra 10% calories from cooked food
  • Level 3: 15% calories from food, no calorie loss when smashing open food cans, cooking time reduced by 10%
  • Level 4: 20% calories from cooked food, no calorie loss when smashing open cans and cooking time is reduced by 20%
  • Level 5: 25% improved calories, no calorie loss from smashing open cans, cooking time is reduced by 30%, and there is no chance of parasites or food poisoning from cooked food

Carcass Harvesting

You can increase these survival skills by harvesting meat, guts, and hides from the carcass of dead animals in The Long Dark.

  • Level 2: reduced meat harvesting time
  • Level 3: 25% reduced meat harvesting time, harvest 50% frozen carcasses by hand, 10% time reduction in gut and hide harvesting
  • Level 4: 30% reduced meat harvesting time, can harvest 75% frozen carcasses by hand, 20% time reduction in gut and hide harvesting
  • Level 5: 50% reduced meat harvesting time, can harvest 100% frozen carcasses by hand, 30% time reduction in gut and hide harvesting

Ice Fishing

Increased by catching fish from fishing holes in the ice. Repeating this task levels it up, improves fish quality, and reduces the chance of failure.

  • Level 2: 8% chance of line break when catching a fish
  • Level 3: fishing time reduced by 10%, 5% chance of breaking line when catching a fish
  • Level 4: 10% increased fish weight, fishing time reduced by 20%, and line break reduced to 3%
  • Level 5: 25% increased fish weight, 30% reduced fishing time, and line break reduced to 1%

Rifle Proficiency

This skill determines the player’s performance with all sorts of firearms and is increased by landing successful hits on animals.

  • Level 2: critical hit chance increased by 10%, repairing weapon improves condition by 2
  • Level 3: accuracy range increased by 20%, critical hit chance by 15%, and repair condition by 3
  • Level 4: damage increased by 10%, accuracy range increased by 30%, critical hit chance by 20% and repair condition by 5
  • Level 5: damage increased by 20%, accuracy range increased by 40%, critical hit chance by 30% and repair condition by 5 and weapon degradation reduced by 50%

Archery

This is increased by landing hits on animals or simply crafting arrows using wood.

  • Level 2: bow sway reduced by 25%, arrow damage increased by 10%
  • Level 3: bow sway reduced by 50%, arrow damage increased by 10%, critical hit chance increased by 15%
  • Level 4: bow sway reduced by 75%, arrow damage increased by 10%, critical hit chance increased by 25%, bleed out time reduced by 25% and per-use condition loss reduced by 50%
  • Level 5: bow sway reduced by 75%, arrow damage increased by 25%, critical hit chance increased by 50%, bleed out time reduced by 50% and per-use condition loss reduced by 50%. Also allows players to fire Survival Bow when crouched

Mending

Successfully repairing clothes using sewing kits and other patches increases this Skill.

  • Level 1: 50% chance of successful repair
  • Level 2: 65% chance of successful repair, repair time reduced by 10%
  • Level 3: 75% chance of successful repair, repair time reduced by 15%, improves item condition by 10%
  • Level 4: 85% chance of successful repair, repair time reduced by 25%, improves item condition by 15% and reduces Sewing Kit quality reduction by 25%
  • Level 5: 100% chance of successful repair, repair time reduced by 40%, improves item condition by 25% and reduces Sewing Kit quality reduction by 35%

Rifle Firearm

A firearm’s ability to attack from a distance means that a player can attack animals from positions of relative safety.

  • Level 1: Basic Rifle skills
  • Level 2: Critical hit chance increased by 10% , 2 additional percent of condition per repair action
  • Level 3: Accuracy range increased by 20% , Critical Hit chance increased by 15% , 3 additional percent of condition per repair action
  • Level 4: Damage increased by 10%, Accuracy range increased by 30%, Critical Hit chance increased by 20%, 5 additional percent of condition per repair action
  • Level 5: Damage increased by 20%, Accuracy range increased by 40%, Critical hit chance increased by 30%, 5 additional percent of condition per repair action, Per-use condition degradation reduced by 50%

Gun Smithing

It is the ability that allows player to craft more ammunition for their revolver and rifle.

  • Level 1: Crafted ammunition condition is 20%, 50% chance of ammunition component harvesting
  • Level 2: Crafted ammunition condition is 40%, 60% chance of ammunition component harvesting
  • Level 3: Crafted ammunition condition is 60%, 70% chance of ammunition component harvesting
  • Level 4: Crafted ammunition condition is 80%, 80% chance of ammunition component harvesting
  • Level 5: Crafted ammunition condition is 100%, 100% chance of ammunition component harvesting

Secondary Skills

Players also have access to three secondary survival skills, which are not tracked by the journal in The Long Dark. The skill status can only be viewed while attempting to perform an action related to that skill within the game menu.

  • Cleaning: Cleaning is used to repair hunting rifles and revolvers. Keeping a rifle in optimal condition reduces the likelihood of it jamming.
  • Repair: Repair is used to repair various metal tools, such as hacksaws and heavy hammers.
  • Sharpening: it is used to repair bladed tools. Higher levels in the sharpening skill reduce the amount of time required to sharpen and additionally increase the amount of condition restored to a tool by sharpening
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Namra is a gaming enthusiast and guides writer, always looking to play AAA titles on day one, while her favorites being Last of Us, Uncharted series, Spiderman, Final Fantasy, and Alan Wake.