How does the Dark and Darker XP system work?

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A cropped piece of promotional Dark and Darker art showing a party up against the wall.

How does the Dark and Darker XP system work, you ask? Being a hardcore RPG, the Dark and Darker XP system is relatively simple when compared to the tough games of the 90s it emulates. What that means, however, is that it’s a little hard to understand for those who haven’t had to endure the old-school system in the past.

To help your struggle make just a little bit more sense, we’ll explain the basics of the Dark and Darker XP system below, going over how much you’ll gain for common tasks, why you might not be getting any XP whatsoever, and why you’ll want to consider pulling your punches if you’re in a team.

How does the Dark and Darker XP system work?

The groundwork of the Dark and Darker XP system was set when the demo releases on Steam in late 2022. Since then, the reason for seeking out XP has been expanded, but the core mechanic remains the same.

Interestingly, you gain XP in Dark and Darker through more than just killing enemies. Interacting with objects awards small amounts, portals earn more, and braving bosses nets the most.

Here’s how to get XP in Dark and Darker:

  • Kill monsters
  • Open chests or corpses
  • Kill bosses (like the Cave Troll) and mini bosses
  • Open portals
  • Use bookshelves

You’ll only gain XP for being the one to complete any of the above actions. Parties don’t share XP.

For example, the player who opens a chest or interacts with a bookcase gets XP. Nobody else. Likewise, with kills, only the player who delivers the killing blow gets XP. That means you’ll want to let whoever needs XP the most land the finishing blow to efficiently level your squad.

What does leveling up do in Dark and Darker?

Gaining XP in Dark and Darker levels up your chosen character class.

At levels 5, 10, and 15, you unlock a new skill slot, expanding your potential in the fights ahead, and generally increasing your odds of getting out of a dungeon successfully with as much loot as possible.

Once implemented, skill trees will become another reason to level up in Dark and Darker.

Do you lose XP when you die in Dark and Darker?


Yes and no. Because of its roguelike setup, dying in Dark and Darker doesn’t mean you lose absolutely everything from your run.

You’ll still make it out with a portion of the XP you earned along the way, making you slightly stronger in subsequent runs. Completing or escaping from a run will award the full amount of XP, but dying will still earn some.

For more hep with the brutally difficult multiplayer title, check out the Dark and Darker tier list to work out the next class you want to level up. And if it’s a magic-based Warlock, our Dark and Darker Warlock build might be able to help.

For more articles like this, take a look at our Guides and Dark and Darker page.