Darkest Dungeon II

From Before I Play
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  • You're going to die so get used to it. You're not going to be able to beat the boss at the end of the run, it's just isn't going to happen, so focus on getting as far as you can with what you have.
  • Your party is generally broken into frontliners and backliners, with each person's preferred location being on their information page. When you look at an ability it'll show what position you need to be in to use it and which positions on the enemy side it can hit. These are critical so many sure you have something that can hit each "slot" on the enemy team or may end up not being able to do anything if an enemy hides in the back or vice versa.
  • The above is also very important because enemies tend to keep high damage dealers or units that can cause direct stress damage in the back rows, and they should generally be targeted first. You can do this by either having ranged attacks or with movement abilities, which cause the unit to get pulled (or pushed) around in the unit order. Pulling the backliners to the front allows you to attack them with your frontline hitters while also messing with what abilities the enemy can use, because remember that position determines avaliable abilities.
  • You heal between encounters by a good amount but stress just builds over time. It's better to mitigate stress than to heal for this reason, and it's almost always better to kill an enemy rather than focusing on healing your way through the damage.
  • The generally one exception is when someone is on Death's Door. This happens when your pawn's health drops to zero, and it means that *any damage* has an X% chance (shown by a red skull in the resistances menu) to kill them with the next hit. Conversely, *any* healing will take them back out of DD. You'll spend a lot of time going in and out of DD so don't be too scared of it.
  • Damage Over Time (DOTs) is a big part of the game, and there are several of them (bleed, poison, fire). The DOTs trigger at the start of an enemy's turn and can trigger a kill if they are on death's door. If an enemy has a lot of health then it can often be better to drop some DOTs on them depending on their resistances, as they are additive and you can end up dealing 10s of damage per turn.
  • Keep your torch lit. Letting it run down doesn't give bonuses in this game, you want to keep it as high as you can to avoid getting buffed enemies.
  • You should use candles to initially unlock a few heroes and upgrade your stagecoach a bit, but don't go deep into a single character. Spread it around, and then put a few into unlocking items.
  • Don't give up. You're leveling up your carriage and team every time you head back with a load of candles, so if someone bites it during a fight just haul their corpse to the next inn and carry on. There's really no reason to quit out of an expedition early, there's always the chance you'll get one more bonus out of one more pathway.
  • There are some characters that benefit way more than others by using the Hero Shrines such as Vestal and Fanatic. You could consider focusing Hero Shrines for the first region and ending the expedition early to quickly unlock the skills you want for a full run.