As a namesake feature to Dying Light, Night is a time period ingame which naturally sees Harran become very dark, very quiet (regarding ambient noise, not including noises made by the infected) and given the night-only infected that come out in the open, makes all outside areas of the city (except safe zones) far more dangerous than the daytime. Night starts at 21:00 (the warning/sound effect for it starts at 20:57) and night ends at 06:00. On Normal mode, daytime lasts 3840 seconds and night lasts 420 seconds. Hard and Nightmare have modified timescales, with Nightmare's night having exactly twice the duration of Normal's, and the day lasting 89% as long (numbers are precise because they were taken from game scripts).
At 20:57 the initial scream will sound alerting the player to coming change to night, along with a corresponding set of screams/howls (from the night infected). Crane will raise his watch and observe it for a few seconds until the onscreen message "Night is Coming" announces the official changeover. On various nights, the sound effect of the Night Hunter's howl might also occur whilst on other nights the Night Hunter won't howl at all during the "Night is Coming" phase. You earn survivor points based on how long you remain outside of safe zones during night-time. Staying outside of them all night can award you up to and around 10000 survivor points, if you stay out all night and survive until dawn. After night ends, you will be awarded the "Unnoticed" or "Explorer" rank based on whether or not you were seen and pursued during the night (Unseen and seen respectively), or "Runner" if one spent most of the night being pursued. Being in an indoor area (such as a Quarantine Zone) does not actively count as night-time in most circumstances (even if not in a safe zone), and so you will typically be greeted with day-time infected instead, including virals instead of volatiles. Time will also tick by at daytime speed while indoors.
At night the biters and infected in general become more aggressive than during the day. At night, different enemies also appear such as:
- Volatiles - A type of infected with extreme speed, strength, high amounts of health and aggression; These are far more lethal and deadly than other types of infected, including Demolishers and Goons. Any attack on a Volatile immediately results in a Pursuit (calling more and more of them to come investigate/attack). On Nightmare difficulty, a good swat from a Volatile can do roughly 120 damage, and they have the equivalent of thousands of health, meaning inexperienced or low-level players should avoid them at all costs.
- Night Walkers - Initially similar to the Biters in appearance and function, the Night Walkers are effectively Biters until they change into Night Walkers with a rather violent and noisy transformation (during which they must be immediately killed to avoid a Pursuit). Passing by Biters in a Pursuit increases the chances of a transformation, and transformed Night Walkers can start a Pursuit (calling in Volatiles and more Night Walkers). They have the same cone of vision as Volatiles do, but are only roughly as dangerous as Virals by themselves... though their speed and agility roughly matches that of the player, and are much harder to outrun than their Viral counterparts.
- Bolters - Bolters are the only targetable enemy type in game that have no hostile actions or aggression towards the player. As the name implies, they bolt/run away from the player upon seeing them. They come out at night mainly to feed on corpses (marked as Bolter Feeding Grounds on the map) and remain stationary and unaware for the duration of the night. They have the same cone of sight as most enemies, and are best carefully approached from behind and killed in one hit to avoid the fleeing altogether. Hunting them down and scavenging their tissue can be very profitable when sold to traders... though their feeding grounds are guarded and patrolled by the Volatiles and alerting a Bolter will automatically engage a pursuit from the nearby Volatiles.
- Night Hunter - As a player-controlled infected encountered as part of Be The Zombie (when playing as the Night Hunter) as well as during game invasions (when playing as humans), this is almost an entirely different entity altogether. This has speed, lethality and somewhat comparable (albeit enhanced) characteristics to the Volatiles, but has various abilities and skills available for the player-controlled infected to use in their goal to eliminate all humans/drain the humans' lives before all the Volatile nests are destroyed. This can technically appear during various parts of the day - Depending on what settings that human players have in their games' settings providing that Hunter invasions are enabled, Hunters can invade the game during the daytime (albeit Night will come very fast/the clock and sun's time to set will progress extremely fast from whatever time of day it is to nightfall) or only when players are approaching/at the time of sunset in their games. It is also worth noting that as long as the invasion session is active/is not finished, the game will be stuck at night time and will only progress to daytime once the invasion ends.
As a general pointer, it's best to avoid any infected at night (even regular Biters, as they can change suddenly into Night Walkers and start a Pursuit). Try to use your flashlight rationally during night-time, but don't leave yourself blind out of fear that something will see your light. It can make you visible from slightly further away than usual, encouraging volatiles to investigate, but the effect is very slight, and the main methods of detection for all zombies remains cone of sight/player movement. Taken from the scripting, the only things that can even sense a flashlight or react to it is Volatiles, and experience (from always having a light on, even during the day) says it doesn't really matter. It's entirely possible to sneak up on volatiles with a flashlight on and get into melee range before they notice... so they will generally only detect the player's flashlight if they would have seen the player anyway (though possibly from a few meters further away). It only matters if you absolutely must remain undetected, and even then being nearly blind yourself may be more likely to get you detected, so mileage may vary. The best applicable use of it is when you're uncertain of what's ahead of you or while performing parkour and looking to see what objects you can climb on or over. If you need to track volatiles, use Survivor Sense instead of your flashlight. This will mark even further away ones temporarily, so you can use it to keep an eye on volatiles you can't see directly, if necessary (even through walls, Sense also marks Night Walkers and Virals).
At night killing any infected does earn players double points for the combat skill tree, whilst running/doing parkour at night earns double points for the agility skill tree. The overall risks of dying and sustaining damage are increased given the dangerous nature of night-time, but players will not lose double points/overall points gained during the night outside of safe zones if they die/are killed at night-time (on normal difficulty). If one is in an area where many corners can be turned and objects quickly leapt over, intentionally causing Pursuits and outrunning Volatiles can give thousands of extra agility experience per Pursuit (depends on the duration and "level of Pursuit"/number of nasties chasing you). This is on top of the doubled experience from the parkour itself.
At night, the nature of gameplay changes mainly from the fact that the feature of Pursuits are in effect as Pursuits can only happen at night.
As mentioned above, infected such as Volatiles and Night Walkers have a cone of vision (similar to how enemies' cone of vision works in the Metal Gear Solid series) of which players must avoid - On Nightmare difficulty the cones will be invisible to see and thus players will not know whenever they are at risk/close to being spotted by the night infected. Goons and toads still appear during the night, and they will have a much larger cone of vision (As well as any Virals that were active before night time initiated) than volatiles and night walkers, but the cone will be invisible. Being seen by them will also not initiate a pursuit, nor will they alert volatiles or night walkers to your position. However they will still attack you if given the chance. Be careful if you choose to fight them, as any nearby volatiles or night walkers may be drawn to the fight, possibly resulting in additional headaches showing up after intending to only eliminate a single threat. As a result, it's usually best to avoid or ignore them, unless you're ready for a fight, or they are alone.
Pursuits by definition are where players are chased/pursued by the night infected (Volatiles and Night Walkers). Pursuits can be triggered by one of several ways - One is being spotted for long enough/for the alert meter that Volatiles and Night Walkers have to be full and start chasing after the player(s). The other is to attack a Volatile/Night Walker or kill a Bolter (killing a Bolter will always initiate pursuits regardless of the method used or whatever skills the players involved may have). If attempting to kill a bolter, try to do it from a distance (Such as a rooftop) with a ranged weapon, so volatiles have to move further to reach you, giving you more of a chance to escape them.
Pursuits can also be evaded by one of two ways. The most common means of players to evade the pursuit is to get into a safe zone such as The Tower as the safe zones will have UV light systems on their entrances/around the perimeter which prevents the Volatiles and Night Walkers from getting in/pursuing the player(s) any further. The other method is to break line of sight with the pursuing infected for a long enough period of time of which they eventually give up the pursuit - This is slightly more difficult as the higher the levels of pursuits are, the infected will be far more persistent and unrelenting in their chase after you. After breaking line of sight for long enough, volatiles and night walkers will continue to search the immediate area. Their cones of vision will reappear on the map (Outside of Nightmare difficulty), but will have slightly extended range. Upon successfully evading a pursuit, the cones of vision will return to normal size, and you will be awarded agility points based on how long the pursuit was maintained.
Pursuits at night have various levels, from level 1 to level 4 - Indicated by the amount of vertical red pulsing markers on the left hand side of the minimap, as a visual indicator of how severe the level of infected are in their aggression and persistence in chasing their target(s). Some of these are fixed at points of quests i.e. in Extraction, the pursuit in the tunnel of Volatiles will instantly go to level 4, your first introduction to night-time mechanics starts you off at a level 2 pursuit, etc.
If being pursued by the night infected, shine your UV light at them or use UV flares - They only come out/come into effect at night for a reason. Night infected will also be easy to kill if led toward traps (bar Bolters as they will avoid traps as a whole). Technically, pursuits can also be evaded upon the ingame clock reaching 06:00, as all night infected will immediately stop chasing the player and either cower from the sunlight (Night Walkers) or will become terrified and run towards the nearest Dark Area (Volatiles).
Pointers for Surviving The Night
- Safe Zones often have a resting place/sleeping bag as an option to skip through the night and go to daytime instead (often just after 07:00 instead of just at sunrise which would be at 06:00).
- If at any time at night you are caught/pursued by the biters, volatiles, night hunters, use these tips: Shine your UV light and throw flares down to use as portable safe zones - Do be quick in getting to a safe zone/evading the infected as the UV light and flares will not be a permanent solution to the scenario, and sometimes volatiles may still be tempted to pounce on you, even while you're in the UV light.
- Having the Vault skill can improve your odds during a pursuit, as occasionally your way forward may be blocked off by something even as minor as a biter, that can allow your pursuers to catch up with you. Being able to jump off of that biter can allow you to maintain your flow unhindered. You can also vault off of volatiles and night walkers, if necessary. However, this is obviously more riskier, and volatiles are most likely to attempt to jump if you attempt this on them, unless you blind them with the UV flashlight first.
- Firecrackers, while dubious, could divert your pursuers if used at the right moment, such as being thrown down one path of a junction while taking another, provided you have broken line of sight with them when doing so. This could effectively throw them off your trail and give you a chance to escape, provided you are not seen again.
- Make use of traps as these can be very useful especially if making use of traps unlocked at higher levels. Traps can in a pinch mean the difference between being caught and killed by the infected and evading (as well as possibly getting some easy kills via the traps).
- A well-timed block with an elemental shield can immobilize an attacking volatile, giving you a chance to either punish with heavy attacks or escape.
- Pay attention to the mini map; the mini map it will display where the volatiles and Night Walkers are, also showing their cone of vision unless playing on Nightmare difficulty. If they haven't spotted you/started seeing you, this does allow for sneaking/stealthily going past them instead of engaging in combat and most likely resulting in death - Unless using really powerful weapons, volatiles will not go down easily, and even combating just one can prove extremely difficult for a full team of 4 players, if they are woefully under-equipped.
- The weather in Harran tends to get very stormy during the night. As a result, it's a good idea to have some electrically-charged weapons prepared in advance for the night, as they have significantly more efficiency when used in the rain, allowing you to whittle away hordes of biters, the occasional night walker, or even a volatile with a strong enough weapon.
- If your character's combat level is higher/is far more able in combatting Volatiles, then it's recommended to take advantage and engage in combat with them - Try to be careful as being too reckless could result in you being overwhelmed.
- Going out at night for newer players can be a very daunting experience - Wait until you're levelled up and are more confident in terms of agility (for evasive purposes) as well as combat (for dealing serious damage to Volatiles and quickly dispatching of Night Walkers).
- Although the tutorial warning that making noise attracts virals can trigger at night, no virals will show up if you make noise. However, you can still attract the attention of volatiles from making loud noises.