Darkest Dungeon: The Color of Madness

Release date: June 19, 2018
Platforms: Mac, Microsoft Windows, PS Vita, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, iPad

Darkest Dungeon: The Color of Madness Starting Guide

What’s new in the second Darkest Dungeon expansion and how did it change the balance

The Color of Madness is the second expansion for Darkest Dungeon, released after The Crimson Court. It brings new region, quests, enemy faction, bosses, trinkets, quirks and many changes in game balance. In the following guide we’ll tell you more about The Color of Madness, give a few useful tips and fill you in on the most important changes, which went live with the DLC.

What has changed in Darkest Dungeon

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Community’s reaction to any balance changes in the game

The first time you launch Darkest Dungeon, you may find yourself among some unfamiliar elements — even in the base game. Developers revised all of the abilities, introduces new mechanics and updated old ones, nerfed certain monsters and so on.

Key changes:

  • The most drastic changes have been made to abilities — don’t be surprised that Man-at-Arms’ Bolster is active for the whole fight (instead of just two rounds) and usable only once in a battle. Another example: Jester’s “Finale” is now possible to activate from the first two ranks and hit all four enemy positions, while Flagellant’s “Punish” can only reach the two closest enemy rows (instead of third);
  • Abomination can now party with religious characters — Vestal, Crusader, Leper;
  • Critical chances have been increased for many heroes (and some opponents);
  • After scoring a critical hit or heal, characters (including foes) can now receive a unique self-buff based on its class. Vestal will have her heals buffed, while Plague Doctor will do more damage with blight;
  • Virtues can now be lost — if a hero that passed Resolve Check reaches 200 stress, he will lose his virtue and reset to 0 stress;
  • It is now harder to stun enemies repeatedly, because of increased to 50% (instead of 30%) stun resistance;
  • It is harder to stall battles. The game now starts counting before reinforcements when there are at least two opponents left, and some monsters (Pelagic Shamans, for instance) will only speed this up. Moreover, certain abilities, such as healing or marking are now considered to be stalling;
  • Developers lowered the chance of successful scouting or disarming;
  • Monsters in Champion Dungeons received a small health nerf, and Veteran monsters’ dodge stat has been decreased as well, they do a bit more damage and have increased critical chances though.
  • Collector’s heads are now tied to him, so if you kill the mini-boss, his minions will vanish as well.
  • Positive quirks can now be removed in the Sanitarium.

The full 30-page changelog is available here.

What’s new in The Color of Madness…

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The main new feature of the DLC is a new region — Farmstead. A comet crashed upon the nearby Miller’s farm. The Farmstead and its surrounding lands have been transformed by some alien corruption ever since.

The same corruption altered time and space themselves, so death in the endless mode is only temporary. If a character dies, they will eventually reappear in a week or two.

This affliction is called Refracted and is functionally identical to the way adventurers can go missing after Stress Relief. Upon their return, they can still participate in dungeons and will still carry the affliction, being able to hit any stealth target without using a stealth breaking move.

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No need to rush completing your quests — unlike the Crimson Court, there is no time constraints

The first two quests — ‘’A Light in the Sky’’ (defeat 20 enemies) and ‘’Take Back the Farmstead’’ (kill 1 Miller) — are a form of a tutorial, after which you unlock the main attraction — Endless Harvest mode. While the training missions required first and third character levels respectfully, you should only send the highest, sixth, level heroes to the Harvest.

In this mode you’ll fight endless waves of various enemies, ranging from simple farmers corrupted by the comet to familiar monsters from other locations. It’s worth noting that you can meet foes from every region (including Darkest Dungeon itself) apart from The Crimson Courts’ Courtyard.

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Defeat a pack of enemies and gain access to a safe room, where it’s possible to find a useful item, which restores health or relieves stress, and even a Miller’s Hearth — local alternative to Firewood. No more long corridors and interactive objects (at least those that require disarming) in the new location — only short breaks between battles.

The objective in Endless Harvest is pretty straightforward — to stay alive as long as possible and to beat as many opponents as you can. Unlike other dungeons, there is no punishment for fleeing the Farmstead. On the contrary, the game advises you to suppress your greed and run away while you still can.

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But of course, the game motivates you not to do so. The farther you wander into the woods, the higher your reward gets (along with danger). Similar to other dungeons, in order to actually get something out the Farmstead, you must escape it with at least one character — or there will be no one to bring your loot back home.

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Rewards come in a form of money and other valuables, as well as comet shards — a new currency, whose amount directly corresponds to the number of defeated enemies. Those can be used to buy new buildings and trinkets. The latter is found in the Nomad Wagon, which became home to the Jeweler NPC.

… and how to live with that

As mentioned earlier, your characters don’t exactly disappear after dying in Endless Harvest, but if you don’t want to risk them, it is now possible to hire mercenaries. They await in the Stagecoach and are ready to fight along with you, while not taking another hero’s slot.

Each one of them takes 10% cut from collected shards. Like standard characters, mercenaries can be healed from stress and afflictions, and you can deal modify their quirks as you please. However, there is not much sense in doing so, as next week there will be the next batch of cannon fodder for you.

Participating in Endless Harvest does not advance in-game time. It means that characters, which are being treated, will still have the same status when you return from the Harvest, so you need to rotate the new mode with standard quests. If you have already beaten Darkest Dungeon and The Crimson Court, choose shorter objectives in order to get back into the fight as fast as possible.

As to the endless mode itself, it’s pretty clear that it is not a speed challenge, but an endurance one. It means that to become successful in the Farmstead, you must have the firepower along with support — enemies in The Color of Madness are capable of doing colossal party-wide damage sometimes. Don’t go in there without a reliable healer. We’ll tell you more about suitable party compositions in a separate guide.

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Should be enough

Because the Farmstead is basically a set of battlefields interconnected through safe rooms, there is no need in shovels or keys, but a great need in almost everything else: food, bandages, antidotes, medicinal herbs, holy water and laudanum.

Torches are absent in the above list because The Color of Madness creates its own atmosphere — from one arena to another the lighting can change, bringing different effects. For example, a bonus damage dealt to marked targets and speed or protection buff for the enemies at the same time.

Enemy corpses, if ignored, become large crystal formations called crystalline corpses. If these are left alive, they explode for notable health and stress damage or worse — heal a nearby enemy. Killing them will, in turn, heal your party.

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Along with regular Farmstead enemies, The Color of Madness brings a new mini-boss — Thing from the Stars. Like The Collector or The Fanatic, Thing lurks in corridors between rooms, waiting for you to stumble upon it. It is possible to learn where it is located by looking at the corresponding sign above region’s name.

Thing from the Stars is a tough foe. On top of multitude of stress-inducing abilities, this guy can stun, weaken and poison his opponents. If you manage to bring him to 40% of HP, he will substantially raise his stats: speed, protection (up to 80%), damage and critical hit chance. We’ll tell you how to defeat it in a separate article.

Killing Thing from the Stars in rare cases awards you with memories (it is a guaranteed drop from the second boss in Endless Harvest though) — a special currency, which can be used to produce the Mill (one of the new buildings). With its help, your heroes won’t starve all of a sudden while exploring the dungeons.

John Davis