In an open-world experience like The Long Dark, the player needs a place of safety they can return to rest and recover from the hazards faced during exploration, make choices around gear customization, repairing and improving gear, crafting, planning longer excursions to distant locales, etc., as well as interact with key story NPCs.
The safe house provides significant gameplay value to the player and sometimes acts as a "gate" for content progress — in other words, events that advance the story or change the world state may only occur when the player returns to the safe house.
As such, there will be a constant pull on the player to return to the safe house, and the tension between wanting to remain in the relative safety of the safe house vs. needing to head out into the world to find supplies and complete objectives will drive a lot of self-directed sandbox gameplay.
The safe house will also be a location that can act as a gateway for narrative progression through the game story. This means, occasionally important events will be triggered by returning to or leaving the safe house.
Long-distance travel between locations might require the establishment of more than one safe house. You will also be able to set up temporary camps, which can serve as places to take shelter and rest along travel routes or as caches from which you can restock on needed supplies (e.g., previously stored food, water, first aid, spare clothing, etc).
- Shelter from the elements
Safe houses offer protection from weather and cold, and fireboxes can be used to provide heat, cook food, etc.
- Gear and supply storage
This includes excess gear, such as clothing, tools, repair components, weapons and other items;food and water; fuel; first aid equipment; etc. You can also store miscellaneous items that you find in the world that you think might be useful but don’t necessarily want to carry around with you wherever you go. Stored items may also serve as caches from which a player can resupply on food, water, ammunition, etc.
A good place to do some crafting or item repair beyond simple maintenance.
You’ll get very tired exploring the world and will sometimes need to rest. “Using” the bed will bring up an analog watch interface you can set to advance time. Resting will reduce your Fatigue and will advance certain health-related conditions (i.e., healing or the progressing of illness) and is also a useful way to advance time.
You might find some useful books in the world on topics you would like to learn more about (e.g., mending clothes or hunting). Find them and dedicate time to reading them and you can increase your knowledge of these valuable survival skills.
Suggested locations Edit
There are several locations on each map that offer good amenities to help in your attempts for survival. Here are some good ones, for Survival mode.
Mystery lake Edit
Big and centrally located, it offers lots of storage space, two fireplaces, multiple beds, and a work bench, as well as back and front doors for easy escape from wolves. Its central location.makes it a great hub for exploration and hunting expeditions. However, wolves frequently patrol the immediate area, especially in more difficult modes, requiring the player to out-run or dodge them and wait them out or leave using the opposite door.
Cosy and remote with storage space, a bed, fireplace, workbench, and even a handy safe. The remote location means fewer wolves. However, as there is only one door, any predators stalking the player on entry may be waiting outside for some time.
It offers lots of storage space, a fire barrel, a workbench and a floor to place a bed roll on. A portable building outside the upper entrance contains bunk beds and storage.
Coastal Highway Edit
It has two workbenches, a bed, and a fire barrel, as well as a central location and lots of storage. The primary reason one wouldn’t want to live here is due to the many wolves and occasional bear that patrol the area. For a well-supplied and well-armed survivor, however, these drawbacks could serve as a solid supply of meat, gut, and hides.
Although it lacks both a workbench and a fireplace, it has a bed and possibly some of the best rabbit hunting opportunities in the game. It also has a porch to store meat on, as well as a good amount of storage inside the house itself. A fishing hut is also located just outside your front door, as are beachcombing areas. On top of all that, wolves rarely come up onto the island.
It has a workbench, some good storage, and some beds. It’s not the most homey place, given how small the cabins are, but it’s functional, offeing a steady food supply with nearby fishing huts and lots of pallets to break down for wood.
Pleasant Valley Edit
Central location, storage, workbench, fireplace AND stove, nearby rabbits and fishing, good hunting, enclosed porch, substantial supply of cloth and other useful materials, and overall appeal--all of these qualities make the farmstead a great location to call home. Potential drawbacks include fairly common patrols by wolves and an occasional bear and that Pleasant Valley has frequent blizzards and bad weather, so a player could be forced to stay inside for several days at a time. Other than those concerns, the farmhouse serves as a great location to live for extended periods.
Desolation Point Edit
This place has a lot, but not everything. It has some good storage, as well as a bed and a stove. It also offers one of the best views in the game, and the top of the lighthouse makes a good spot to fight cabin fever. So what could be wrong with it? For one, there’s no workbench. The closest one is as far away as Hibernia, and even that can be a dangerous journey. There is also usually one or two wolves that patrol around it, making it potentially dangerous. However, this remains as a good base.
This place has, again, a lot. All the storage you could ever want combined with the triple threat: a bed, a workbench, and a fire barrel, making this a strong base location. Sure, there are wolves and sometimes a bear around, but as long as you stick to the side closest to the ice, you most likely won’t run into them. And with proper planning and good weather, the gatehouse off the entrance from the road can serve as a safe location from which to hunt the bear that often wanders past the processing plant.
This is one of the more popular bases in the game, and for good reason. Both the forge and the furnace make this place a place you’ll likely be familiar with by late game, and a bed on the second floor, a somewhat remote location away from predators, and protected outdoor space on the top deck contribute additional value. Little Island is also close by for hunting. Overall, this is a good spot to live in.