In the Long Dark, your job is to survive. It’s a simple enough idea, but the task is complicated by the presence of some of Great Bear’s very hungry local fauna. To that end, here are four quick tips for new (or struggling) survivors dealing with predators in the Long Dark.
The Safest Fight is the One You Don’t Engage In
Unless you’re a glutton for punishment, there is no virtually no good reason to engage in conflict in the Long Dark. Getting attacked by predators might not kill you, but it’ll certainly ruin your day and probably some of your clothes.
Take wide berths around corners. Be careful when cresting hills. Keep your eyes and open for movement ahead and around you.
Your best defense against an attack is to see a predator before they see you, so avoid putting yourself in a position to be blind-sided. You don’t want a wolf or a bear chasing you down in a game where perma-death is modus operandi.
The Thrill of the Chase
Let’s say you skipped the first tip. Or maybe you just got unlucky. You’re being chased by a snarling wolf or blood thirsty bear looking for its next meal.
In this situation, fleeing is usually preferable to self-defense, since the latter requires a combination of luck, skill, and resources that isn’t always feasible in moments of panic. Fortunately, escape is often as simple as breaking your pursuer’s line of sight. Predators in the Long Dark are heavily dependent on path-finding, so running into a building, climbing into a car, or using the geography to disrupt that are essential facets of your self-preservation arsenal.
You also have the option of dropping a decoy, which means quickly dumping something from your inventory in hopes that whatever is chasing you will find it compelling enough to stop and investigate. This comes with its own drawbacks, of course, as you’re probably going to be keen on keeping whatever it is your dropping.
Sprinting is important if fleeing is your plan, so do yourself a favor and keep a bit of that stamina in reserve at all times. You’ll thank me when it comes time to run for your life.
Firing a rifle or flare gun at an approaching wolf will likely scare it away, provided you’re willing to spend the ammo. If you land a clean shot, you may even drop the hound right there.
You can light a flare, throw a torch, or–in extreme circumstances—even throw a stone in hopes of frightening your pursuer. It’s worthwhile to note that none of these approaches (kill shots notwithstanding) are guaranteed to deter an attack, especially if the animal-maddening aurora happens to be lighting up the night sky.
As far as bears are concerned, you’re going to have a difficult time persuading it to leave you alone. They are the boss fights of the Long Dark. A curious bear can be scared away, but a charging one will simply not be discouraged. Unless you can disrupt its path-finding abilities quickly, you’ll just have to accept that you’re about to be a tasty meal.
When Predators Attack
If you’re being attacked by a wolf, know that the manner in which you defend yourself is important. Using a knife or a hatchet will wound the animal but takes longer. The plus side is that if you use a sharp tool to survive a wolf attack, the beast will be wounded and will begin to bleed out. You may net yourself some meat and a pelt if you follow the blood trail after it runs off.
Using a blunt weapon such as a pry bar will get the critter off you faster, but won’t cause any harm beyond a bruise. You’ll find that this is often the preferred method, since maintaining a state of being “not dead” tends to favor minimizing the amount of time you’re being actively chewed on by things with big teeth and bigger appetites.
Keep in mind that if a bear is on top of you, there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it, so just sit back, reflect on how you should have listened to the first tip, and enjoy your own personal Revenant moment. Hopefully your condition meter is high enough to survive, though even if you do, the outcome will be severely unpleasant. Welcome to the Long Dark.