Repeatedly Uninspired And Boring Game Design Is Being Ignored
This is a rant because I'm massively disappointed in the developers of this game. I want to play and enjoy this game SO BAD because I used to love it to death when it came out in 2016, but my brain refuses to play it any longer because of how boring it is. While I mainly play killer, I used to play survivor until I started to find that boring as well.
NOTE: The art aspect of this game is fantastic, and is a non-issue. Neither is this a problem of balancing moreso as it is a lack of originality.
So, let me boil down why my brain (and a lot of other veterans) refuse to play this game: it's not enjoyable. Why isn't it enjoyable? The experience has become stale for me. Why has it become stale? Because the game is repetitive. Why is the game repetitive? because it feels like the same chore over and over again. Why is it a repetitive chore? Because the same situations repeat themselves. Why do the situations repeat themselves?... etc, etc.
This is due to a reoccurring design flaw within the game itself: the game is FACTUALLY POORLY DESIGNED. I have no clue why anyone other than a masochist would play this game after a few years. Now, that's a bold claim, sir! That's just an opinion, and you're bad.
Well, actually, no.
For a run-down on Game Design, let's strictly refer to the Heuristics of Playfulness. These are used largely to define what exactly makes ANY game, video game or not, playful and Dead by Daylight somehow disastrously failed to satisfy them which has caused an infinite circulation of player count rather than a clear positive increase:
- Choice: The right number of moves exist.
- Variety: Situations don't repeat.
- Consequence: Moves lead to new situations.
- Predictability: New situations can't be anticipated.
- Uncertainty: New situations aren't predetermined.
- Satisfaction: Desired outcomes are obtainable.
The core mechanics of the game themselves in no way satisfy these Heuristics, so by definition Dead by Daylight is factually a bad game. If I can correctly and factually establish that, then by definition of logic I'm correct. Let's take a closer look:
Poorly designed survivor and killer movement:
The movement of both survivors and killers dissatisfies all but one of the heuristics, being consequence. While this is also due to mechanics touched on later, that doesn't mean it's not to blame for some of them.
Choices players have for movement are extremely simplistic when you don't tie them to other mechanics: Walk in multiple directions, sprint and crouch if you're a survivor, and slash if you're a killer. There's a lack of choice because players are unable to move in ways that are more desirable (which dissatisfies satisfaction) such as laying and taking cover on obstacles for survivors, or even jumping onto the environment for both teams. Imagine if you could jump onto the environment as both killer and survivor as well as have these other things. Wouldn't the infinite possibilities be worth it for just a little extra collision checks?
Movement in this game lacks variety, predictability, and uncertainty because situations always repeat, which stems from the lack of choice, they're always predictable, and predetermined by the environment. If movement was just a little more advanced, this wouldn't be the case: if you could lay or cover against objects instead of crouching and always failing to not be seen (because some body part always sticks out), every choice the player makes when it comes to movement wouldn't be repetitive, could lead to new situations, and wouldn't be predetermined from player models not being able to fit snugly against cover.
Next, let's talk about poorly designed killers. While there are a few fantastic killer designs game-wise, such as Spirit or Nurse, they're always held back by the restrictions of flawed core mechanics (which I will get into later). To be concise, I'll give examples of horrible design.
Poorly designed Killer examples:
- Trickster: Hold w, find a tall loop, run it, put down the loop and run to another. Repeat.
Trickster dissatisfies variety, predictability, and choice because the same situation when it comes to looping is constantly repeated and the resulting situations from survivors can be easily predicted due to the lack of choices survivors have for counter-play (Loop with high walls or risk a window, which one you wanna pick mate?). Even with perks that change how the chase is played, the outcome still usually fails to satisfy predictability.
- Hillbilly: Hold w, find a loop, try your best to loop and outplay, then go and repeat it (if you can get to a loop before they insta-down you).
Reworked Hillbilly dissatisfies variety, choice, and consequence because the same situations repeat and, regardless of moves leading to new situations, Hillbilly will always eventually down the survivor due to their power. They then took it a step further when they added a cooldown because it limited choice for the killer as well as the survivor: It's basically like having a game of chess where the killer is unable to make a move if they move too much but the survivor is still severely limited due to the lack of consequence the killer really has.
- The Artist (PTB): Try to loop before she uses her power. If not, hold w until you find a loop/window while trying to dodge the crows. Repeat.
The Artist dissatisfies consequence, predictability, and variety because her power doesn't lead to a new situation as much as it does an instant mini-game (chase) winner regardless of how long it takes the killer, the situations made from her power are always going to be the same (survivor runs to another loop until they get hit), and the situation of looping, running to another loop, and looping again is predictable and constantly repeated.
What about the well-designed killers that change the experience and keep things fresh? Well, they would if the entire game's now-flawed design didn't hold them back. Let's also touch on that:
Disastrous Core Mechanics
- Generators: A flawed, worthless core mechanic that doesn't satisfy any outcome and keeps unique design from ever flourishing in the game.
The choice a survivor has when interacting with them is HOLD M1, which was only temporarily patched with 'skill checks', and Killers have no choices when interacting other than to regress them and keep the survivors from interacting with a core mechanic of the survivor's game. Huh, I wonder why Killers view Survivors as toxic and Survivors view Killers as such...
Generators have no variety because the same situation of holding M1 and regressing repeats regardless of the predetermined spawn locations rolled, which also causes a lack of uncertainty and predictability due to outcomes of generator layouts almost always guaranteeing a win for one side.
They would have consequence for survivors working on them, being the main reason they exist, if the predetermined layouts were playful: There is no new situation caused by a survivor working on generators that the Killer cannot go to without massively hindering themselves. This also correlates to a lack of variety because the same layouts will always have the same flaws regardless of the killer in the game.
Generators are the single biggest flaw in the game to hold it back from success, hands down. This is because of the developers using them as a crutch of a mechanic to build others on top of: building mechanics on top of a completely flawed mechanic does not work. I get that creating a game is hard, but it isn't very hard to know that whoever the team is in charge of game design needs to be fired. This obviously makes it incapable of satisfaction because the desired outcome of having unique and fun killers that shake up the game is impossible while you build them on top of a flawed mechanic.
Imagine if every killer had a different objective to do instead of all of them being built on top of generators. This game would be thriving and bursting with creativity if they did. Maybe it worked for the first 3 killers, but it doesn't work for the rest.
- Pallets: A mechanic and excuse for counter-play that is so undeniably stupid that it's plagued the game since launch. It fails to satisfy any playfulness heuristic except choice and uncertainty, and even then you could argue that it doesn't satisfy choice because there's only a handful of choices to make.
A pallet always means the EXACT same situation regardless of where it is: a survivor will either loop it or throw it down depending on map design and killer distance, killing any variety/predictability/consequence.
Pallets create the only fun aspect of the game, looping, and even then the entire mechanic of looping is a product of a core mechanic so bad that it hinders any killers and survivors from having interesting abilities. The lack of the 3/4 heuristics mentioned above is enough but pallets and, inherently, looping actively destroys any sense of satisfaction that could be created from a killer with an ability that actually shakes up the game's routine as well as any literal satisfaction for the killer: You can't have a killer like Nurse or a creative creation like old Freddy without everyone complaining or having an under powered mess because No other choice of counter-play is given, and without pallets the flawed nature of generators makes the game completely boring and useless.
Imagine if each killer had a different counter instead of pallets that a survivor can use to their advantage and if each killer had a unique way of countering that. What if we also had that on top of a differing objective? Wouldn't it be nice to have such variety in the game? Again, Pallets worked for the first 3 killers but due to a refusal to create different situations they've made the game stale for all the other ones.
Overall, the success of this game isn't baffling: it's all the art team and the original designers of Dead by Daylight. BHVR is not what it used to be, and is now a sickening bi-product of the good company it once was. The only joy in this game comes from the parts that still remain inside of Dead by Daylight that have been covered and crushed by the tampering, meddling, and bloating of everything built off of them.
Objectively, Dead by Daylight is a bad game.
Thanks, I just wanted to get this off my chest. Cya later.