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 be useful places to take shelter, rest, and resupply along travel routes, as well as supply caches which are essentially points of resupply where you can top up on food, water, first aid consumables, etc.
- Shelter from the elements
Safe houses offer protection from weather and cold, and wood stoves can be used to provide heat, cook food, etc.
- Gear and supply storage
This includes excess gear (clothing, tools, repair components, weapons, etc.), food and water, fuel, first aid equipment, etc. Store “stuff” 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, and 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 (healing, or the progress of illness), and is also a useful way to advance time.
You might find some useful books in the world on topics you’d like to learn more about. Find them and dedicate time to reading them, and you can increase your Knowledge about certain things in the world.
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, centrally located. It offers lots of storage space, 2 fire places, beds and a work bench and back and front doors for easy escape from wolves. Its in a central location, making it a great hub for exploration and hunting expeditions. The main problem is that wolves patrol the area almost all the time. You just have to outrun them, and be sure to either wait them out, or leave using the opposite door.
Cosy and remote. Storage space, bed, fire place and work bench, and even a handy safe. The remote location lends to there being less wolf activity. Only problem; it only has one door, so be sure to lose any wolves stalking you before you enter.
It offers lots of storage space, a fire barrel, and a floor to place a bed roll on.
Tactics: If you find yourself spawned outside of this location, and its near dark and you have no choice, go in the front door, and try to keep quiet, lay out your bedroll close to the door. Whatever you do, don't root around the other rooms. Just sleep till morning and move on.
Coastal Highway Edit
It has two workbenches, a bed, and a fire barrel, as well as a good location and lots of storage. The downside and really the only reason you wouldn’t always want to live here is due to the constant wolves that patrol the area.
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 well as beachcombing. 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 got a workbench, fishing, 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, overall appeal. All of these are qualities that the Farmhouse possesses, making it a great location to call home. The problem with it is that Pleasant Valley has frequent blizzards and bad weather, so you could be forced to stay inside for several days at a time. Other than that, the Farmhouse serves as a great location to live at.
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; makes 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.
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, as well as a bed on the second deck. Little Island is also close by for hunting. Overall, this is a good spot to live in.