Start Out Slow
The Long Dark is by no means a simple game and easily one of the best ways to understand its complexities is to lower the game’s stakes. The Long Dark sports three different levels of difficulty: the easy exploration mode, Pilgrim, the medium balanced mode, Voyager, and the painfully serious hardcore mode, Stalker. If you choose to jump right into Stalker, chances are you aren’t going to last very long at all due to the scarce resources and ferocious wildlife.
Because of how much there is to learn in the game, from item usage to crafting to mapping environments, the best way to become familiar with it all is to start the game on a lower difficulty setting. Starting out on Pilgrim mode will allow you to become comfortable with the various items and materials in the game as well as the complicated menus where they are used. Enduring The Long Dark is very much a battle of attrition and learning everything you can before engaging with higher difficulties will significantly increase your chances survival.