A Dark Area or Dark Areas are locations around Harran that are namesakingly always in a state of darkness, with very little to no natural sunlight shining into these areas.
A Dark Area as aforementioned is a part of Harran that never has any natural or daily occurences of sunlight/UV light being shone onto/into it. Commonplace examples of a dark area include tunnels with roads in them, or even some of the quarantine zones e.g. Bright Mountain Tunnel can technically be considered as Dark Areas.
Whereas with the rest of Harran entering nightime/darkness and becoming more dangerous at night (between 21:00 and 05:59 ingame) and with Volatiles leaving their nests due to being night-time as well as to feed/hunt, Dark Areas are different in that Volatiles can almost always be found in these type of areas, with Volatiles naturally having a heavier presence within dark areas during the daytime (due to the fact that if they try to leave the area, they will get harmed by sunlight). Therefore in a way, Dark Areas for Volatiles are similar to Safe Zones for survivors given that Volatiles only leave their areas at night, and likewise survivors/runners are out in the city during daytime.
There are several dark areas located around the Slums of Harran, mostly in the forms of tunnels with abandoned vehicles and debris strewn throughout them whilst there is only one major dark area/tunnel in Old Town towards the eastern area of the map. Other dark areas in the Slums include a cave in the southernmost part of the map (this is where Crane must obtain mushrooms for Dahlia during the side-quest "Witch Queen").
Various other quests involve entering dark areas such as Tunnel Vision and The Big Bang Thesis. It is also worth noting that Volatile Nests/Hives (apart from those present in "Be The Zombie" mode) are also classified as dark areas.
Entering a Dark Area
Dark Areas are marked on the map with a light grey and transparent map-shading on their general area i.e. road tunnels will have this covering them to show on the map where the dark area(s) is. Whenever entering or drawing close to the entrance/opening of a dark area, a message will show onscreen; "Entering Dark Area" in a similar way how the "Entering Safe Zone" message is whenever the player(s) enter a Safe Zone.
It is important to remember that with these being a natural shelter for Volatiles, entering these areas should always be taken with caution. Whilst Volatiles aren't the only infected/enemy type that can be encountered in a dark area, there is still the issue of being cut-off/trapped in the area if Volatiles are approaching from behind and infront of you. This is made even worse if there is only one point of entry/exit out of the area just like the cave during the quest "Witch Queen".
In the case of quests (or just the concept of exploring/entering a dark area), going into a dark area is heavily inadvisable during the day as it will be infested with Volatiles. Much to the dismay of some players, the best chance of getting whatever is needed from within a dark area is to wait until nightfall when near the highlighted dark area and get in as soon as possible to loot/scavenge items inside the area.
Night in-game only lasts for a few minutes (about 7-8 minutes), so you need to be quick and efficient in acquiring items before sunrise. At dawn (06:00), Volatiles will start running back to these dark areas due to daylight, which means any survivors (including you) will most likely get spotted and attacked by them until you make your way back out of the dark area.
In the quest "The Big Bang Thesis", there are two objectives where you must navigate your way through the whole length of a tunnel/dark area: The first involves planting Kurt's battery-bomb at the very far end of the tunnel (at the blocked up part of the tunnel) whereas the second involves going back into the same tunnel to correct the bomb and make sure it goes off. Both sections will result in being instantly attacked by Volatiles upon completion regardless of the time of day/night it may be in-game.
However, if just exploring a dark area not for the sake of quests/quest objectives, the safest (or least-riskiest) way to do this is at night when the Volatiles are outside.
Tips for Dark Areas
- If planning to enter a dark area, make sure to have the following items to ensure some credible means of defence/fending off the Volatiles:
- UV Flashlight
- UV Flares
- Zaid's Flares
- Dahlia's Shroom Potion (Will NOT work if Evolved Volatiles are in the dark area)
- Powerful weaponry i.e. a modified Premium Khopesh to quickly cause heavy damage and make fighting off Volatiles easier).
- Molotov/Molotovs - Quieter alternative to DIY grenades, bombs and most other explosives. Not as effective for killing/damaging Volatiles but will still get the job done and saves attracting the attention of more Volatiles/any nearby Virals.
- If playing Co-Op, take advantage of numbers and make use of UV-based equipment. More flares, more UV flashlights and more people with more powerful weapons equals less hassle in regards of getting back out of the dark area.
- If playing Solo or entering a dark area by oneself, go at night and make full use of UV flares as temporary safe zones. They won't last forever but they will last long enough for you to throw another one down and allow you to resume scavenging within the dark area.
- Whilst not necessary, players can make use of the Grappling Hook to quickly grapple and navigate back towards the exits of dark areas just like the tunnels around the Slums.
- Try to avoid lingering in a Dark Area - Night-time is not that long compared to daytime in-game.
- You can quietly/quickly dispatch of biters that are within or near the entrances of dark areas and use them for camoflauge to avoid being seen by Volatiles, but this is only temporary and the camoflauge will be rendered useless if Evolved Volatiles spot you.
- Whilst this would likely attract Virals and isn't fully recommended, you could potentially clear out a dark area of Volatiles during the day by shooting them from the opening of the dark area. Beware though as leaving the immediate location and returning back to the dark area will cause Volatiles to respawn there - Even if the whole area is cleared, Volatiles will still spawn due to being a dark area.