SOLUTION To The Death-Efficiency Problem: SOLVING The Game's BIGGEST ISSUE
SOLUTION To The Death-Efficiency Problem: SOLVING The Game's BIGGEST ISSUE
Where do we start?
Who knew, that through solving 1 core issue, we would be able to solve the game's biggest sub-issues. The solution that we are about to discuss will give us the remedy to solving some of DBD's most famous problems:
- The "Problem of Tunneling". (The killer playing in their strategic interest is un fun).
- The "Hatch = free escape" problem.
- The "Killers are OP" problem.
- The "Survivors are OP" problem.
If you are unfamiliar with the topic, then you might ask; how can 1 solution solve both the "Survivors are OP" and the "Killers are OP" problem? What does Hatch-escapes have to do with tunneling?
I'll hope that through my explanations it'll all start to make more sense to you.
When you read through this post, you will find that it's non-partisan; neither survivor or killer sided.
Instead we declare war on the extremes in trade of the consistent.
Table of Contents
What exactly is the problem?
-Death-Efficiency Curve (1)
-Different stages (2)
-Things that make it worse (3)
-The initial push (4)
How avoidance of solving 1 problem lead to the creation of many others
-The Dev's aknowledged the Death-efficiency Problem; the Hatch (1)
-Why tunneling is necessary (2)
-Why survivors believe killers are OP and why killers believe survivors are OP and why they're both right (3)
The premise of a solution.
-It's a team-game but it's also not (1)
-Bending the curve (2)
-The concepts that will enable it all (3)
My solution in particular.
-The details (1)
-What does this mean for the game? (2)
Chapter 1: What is the problem exactly?
Section 1: Death-Efficiency Curve
The Death-Efficiency Problem is the problem that makes it so that the death of the 1st survivor disproportionally damages the strength of the entire team, thus making the whole game dependent on getting that crucial first kill.
Y = the amount of % that 3 survivors can be working on gens. (A single survivor working on a Gen would be 33% and everyone working on a Gen would be 133%. We use this 3 survivor scope instead of the 4 survivor scope because we'll assume that 1 survivor will be in a chase making the baseline of survivors working on gens 3 survivors; being 100%.)
X =the amount of survivors who have died.
So, in theory, when a survivor would die, you'd lose 25% of your team's power, right? Well, if it was so, then there wouldn't have been a problem. So what causes this disproportional drop in power within a team? Let's take a look:
Section 2: Different stages
-4 survivors are alive > Nobody has been hooked
-3 survivors doing gens, 100% efficiency
-4 survivors are alive > A survivor is hooked, requiring a rescue.
-2 survivors doing gens, 66% efficiency
-When another survivor has been found > -33%
-When the rescuer is done healing > +66%
-3 survivors are alive > 1 person is being chased.
-2 survivors doing gens, 66% efficiency
-3 survivors are alive > A survivor is hooked, requiring a rescue.
-1 survivors doing gens, 33% efficiency
-When another survivor has been found > -33%
-When the rescuer is done healing > +66%
For every survivor alive, there are 2 stages, making a total of 8. But you can already see that halfway, at Stage 4, we've hit rock bottom. When someone is hooked, 1 is healing and the other one is chased and dies before they are done, they they are no longer able to progress in the game.
They could consider to stop healing to more quickly boost up their generator-efficiency in the hope they complete things fast enough before another opportunity of them being hit, but after stage 4, their options have plumbed.
This is why we see this reaction of impending doom when the 1st survivor has died; Even in tournaments, this death of the first survivor spirals in the death of all:
Section 3: Things that make it worse
So it is clear to us that not only do we lose most of our efficiency after the loss of 1 survivor, we have all other odds stacked against us as well; most mechanics in the game disproportionally punish low survivor count teams!
Well, which ones you ask?
1. Generator Regression
4. Everything that has a consistent progression bar time throughout the game!
Generator is a great mechanic to help killers slow down the game and requiring them to work for it. It's also what you'll need for your Emblem. So how can it be that something like this is worsening our problem? Well, here it is:
Generator Regression in % to Total Survivor Efficiency is generally low. Not only do survivors progress the gens faster than they regress, they are also more likely to be able to stop the regression as they have more free time on their hands.
As people die, Generator Regression in % to Total Survivor Efficiency increases. One could state: "Generators will regress faster when a player dies.", because that is the effect that generator regression has on low-survivor count teams.
Typically what you see is, at 4 survivors, generators are generally not regressing, unless you manage to hook someone close to a gen. At 3 people, we will see quite some regression and and 2 survivors there will be more regression than progression. All the gens with progression will be nullified.
Was Generator regression supposed to be a mechanic targeted at low survivor count-teams? I doubt it.
Pallets worsen the problem as they are mainly extending the first 2 stages, and predominantly the 1st; the ones where 4 people are alive. It means that if a killer cannot get the first death, than the survivor team will have an insane efficiency throughout the game.
In opposition, if the killer manages to cheese the 1st survivor to death, then the team has to work with stage 3+ efficiency for the rest of the game, which is horrendously lower.
The amount where they'd be able to survivor with the pallets is now nowhere near as impactful as the same chase with +1 survivor could have achieved.
Yes, another anti-low survivor count mechanic. It is safer to say that any mechanic that has a continues progression bar throughout the game is anti-low survivor count, due to how this game functions:
Healing takes you 32 seconds. (or split 16 seconds divided over 2 people)
When you heal, you ask yourself, is it worth healing?
The answer is yes if you believe that you being hit instead of being downed will enable you to extend a chase for 32 seconds divided by the amount of other living survivors.
A heal is worth it if you last x seconds longer because of it.
4 survivors alive: 10.7 seconds
3 survivors alive: 16 seconds
2 survivors alive: 32 seconds
Considering that most of the pallets are gone, your chases will generally last shorter too. This begs the question; do you even have time to heal anymore?
(The answer remains "yes, sometimes", but I'll cover why later. Just keep in mind that healing too punishes low-survivor count teams again.)
Section 4: The initial push
What is the initial push?
Because your win as a team depends so much on maintaining the stages 1 and 2 (4 survivors alive), this is what we call "The initial push". It's the push for making progress during this phase that will enable your team to win. Even if you didn't manage to push all the way to 5 gens, you might still have just enough by pushing all the way to 1 or 1 and a half gens, because a 3 mans team is like a car with low amounts of fuel; it it refuses to heal and runs for the gens, than they might just have enough time to finish the last few.
This is where most 2k's come from.
Chapter 2: How avoidance of solving 1 problem lead to the creation of many others
Section 1: The Dev's acknowledged the Death-efficiency Problem; the Hatch
Yes, the hatch... It's born out of the manifestation of the Death-Efficiency Problem.
Can you just imagine playing this game without the hatch? How reliant would you be on stranger teammates to get your win?
Well, this didn't really solve the issue. Now you're hatch dependant!
The hatch serves to allow a single survivor to escape (ignoring keys) after their team has screwed up terribly. This serves to give you a feeling that it's not over yet.
While it did so (in 3 Gen games), it created many more problems: The Hatch Debate
The hatch debate arose from people disliking the fact that survivors could freely escape their 4k. It was a "free escape" after all. On the one hand you had killers complaining about how easy it was for the last survivor to escape, where-as the survivors were terrified of losing the hatch to a difficult/closing mechanic, as this was their only real option for escape at this point.
Instead of tackling the Death-Efficiency problem, we went with a "quick fix".
The fix stated: Well, we know our low-survivor count games malfunction! Here, have a mini-game; play find the hatch instead!
Although the randomness of the hatch created cool searching scenario's which I personally find tense and exciting parts of the game; it didn't solve the problem that inspired it.
Section 2: Why tunneling is necessary
Tunneling against a highly efficient survivor team is a must. Why? As you saw in the graph in Chapter 1 Section 1, the first death is the biggest stab at the power of a team. Personally I have often tried tunneling the first survivor and only switching in between after the team had been reduced to 3. That is how impactful that first death is.
Tunneling across different games:
To understand what tunneling really is, we must look at it in different games:
League of Legends:
In league of legends you can also tunnel an enemy. This is called "focussing down". Instead of spreading your damage against multiple champions, you aim your damage at 1 champion.
Why? Because this is how you disable their teams power: A champion's abilities are only undone when they are at 0 HP. Generally there is little difference between them being on 1hp or full hp.
You want to take down a damage post? The only way to do it is to bring it down to 0.
Age of Empires:
In age of empires, your ability to put out units is decided by the amount of military buildings you possess. It is then naturally so, that professional players always advice new players to send all their Seige Units to bring down the same building, because again: There is no difference in strength between a 1% Hp building or a 100% HP building.
Don't entertain yourself with flaming buildings; get joy from the ash, as this is the only thing that has impact.
See what tunneling is? It's your target prioritisation and aim to bring down power-enabling units one by 1.
There is no difference between a 1 hooked survivor and a 2 hooked survivor when it comes to their efficiency. The killer should only aim at disabling power-units one by one.
Here is the "problem": The killer playing in their strategic interest is un fun.
Why must the killer make things un fun? Again; Death-Efficiency. The killer is incentivised to secure that first kill.
Section 3: Why survivors believe killers are OP and why killers believe survivors are OP and why they're both right
Survivors believe killers are OP. From time to time they see their team failing and do everything they can, but it just wasn't enough.
At best they jump through another hatch, or if they couldn't they will feel helpless.
They post on the forums and try to make others see the problem, but more often than not, their comments are ridiculed; The experts (correctly) point out that a well organised team of survivors have the ability to dominate the killer, and that their loss was their fault.
Could they not see that the survivor was helpless? That they were not in an organised team? That they no longer had the tools to defend themselves? While the last 2 survivors were waiting it out ready for the other to die, did the forums not hear their prayer?
On the other side we have Killers who note that Survivors are OP. With so many tools to defend themselves, the killer shakes their head and says: "I only win if the survivors screw up". They walk to Mr. Cote and tell them that survivors are OP, but are quickly referred to the 40% survive rate of survivors. The killers ask themselves: How can the Devs not see...?
Both parties are right...
or at least, they communicate something detrimentally wrong with the game.
The problem here isn't whether the game is Killer-Sided or Survivor-Sided. It's the war versus The Extremes and The Consistent.
The initial push, as explained in Chapter 1 Section 4, is what causes this all. If your initial push lasts long enough, then the survivors get the better end of the Death-Efficiency Problem. If the initial push ends quickly (even be it a disconnect) then the killers experience the better end of the Death-Efficiency Problem.
Either the killers are victimised and bullied, or the survivor's first death spirals into the death of all.
Every time we experience 1 side of the extreme.
But is is better to feel horrendous when loosing and triumphant when winning, or should you experience an in between?
Psychologically, you remember bad experiences significantly better than your better ones, and thus psychology has it: The answer is the in between.
For the killer it is very stressful, when during the early game, they miss that 1 possible hit. Maybe they got to the pallet just it time, and now you lost the game. If this happened later during the game then it wouldn't have been that much of a problem.
But as the Problem of Death-Efficiency proposes: Screwing up 1 time in the early game is 5 times worse then screwing up 5 times in the late game.
What is more stressful than that? Shouldn't your actions be valuable throughout the game? We'll come to that.
Chapter 3: The premise of a solution
In order to solve the Death-Efficiency Problem and thus solving the issues of half the game, there are a few key premises that need to be taken into consideration;
Section 1: It's a team-game but it's also not.
When we ridicule the comments of survivors about how killers are too strong, we keep pointing at how they should've worked as a team. We suggest that because they failed at working as a team, they deserve to be spiralled into a 4k.
The survivor on the other hand silently argues that they had wanted more tools to make it on their own.
So it DBD really a teamgame? Well...
If it is, then that means that the faults of the team should also result into a loss for you, or to get a better measure; when the team screws up, you should no longer feel hope, and there's the idea of conceding.
In all team games where the team element is really key we see the return of the conceding mechanic. It makes a lot of sense to us that in League Of Legends, at some given time, your team would be so far behind that conceding is the only sane option left; The game after all was designed to make it nearly impossible for 1 person to bring their team to victory at a similar rank.
But is this true for Dead By Daylight? Let's imagine the hatch is no longer there. Would all the games where there was an early death and plenty of gens expected to be surrendered? This would be how the game was played?;
Either the killer fails the get the early kill and the survivors win or the killer gets that first kill and the survivors vote surrender.
This is definitely not how I would see the game. To me, DBD is a horror game and not a team-game like others. To me, teammates make your life easier. But teammates do not equal your life.
In the movie it wouldn't have made sense that after the Death of Laurie Strode's friends, Laurie Strode would press the concede button, as now her team has failed and low-survivor count game-mechanics are disproportionally screwing her over.
Tyde Tyme (youtuber)
This youtuber goes by the opinion that Killers are the power-role and survivors should be dominated individually. This is of course in his views the tool for balance.
It wouldn't be healthy to have the killer being able to dominate individual survivors, or else they should be able to concede (or having quick fixes like the hatch).
For people who go by the same opinion of Tyde, let me offer you an alternative... One that will target the doubts you'll have on premise 1:
Premise 1: To solve the Death-Efficiency Problem, survivors in any amount of living numbers should be able to beat the killer from top to finish. The number of survivors alive should only increase the chance of your survival, by having you spend less time under deadly conditions, and should not cripple you, preventing you from progressing at a minimally slower rate.
Section 2: Bending the curve.
In order to solve the Death-Efficiency Problem, we need to bend the curve:
Black is the normal line shown in Chapter 1 Section 1 and Red represents the new line.
By bending the curve, we make the game less reliant on the initial push, and devalue the first kill and even challange the concept of tunneling itself.
As you can see in the graph, the Red line goes straight. But it can be bent even further. If it were the case that the points at 1, 2 and 3 kills would exceed the point at 0 kills, then we'd see the opposite happening of tunneling: Spreading the hooks becomes the superior killer strategy.
In order for something like that to happen, the total efficiency of the surviving teammates should Increase upon the death of a survivor.
Whether we keep the line straight as shown in red, or we reverse bend it to where tunneling becomes in the strategic disinterest of the killer doesn't really matter all too much.
What does matter is that the curve must be bent like this:
Y = amount of seconds that it takes to complete 5 generators. *Not taking into consideration diminishing returns for ease's sakes.
X = the amount of survivors alive.
As shown in the graph, Black is what we currently have and Red is where we'd want to go to. You see that it takes a 4 man team less time to complete all gens where as it takes low survivor count teams more time to complete all gens in Gen time alone, in comparison with where we want to go to (the red line). These seconds also do not take into consideration more complex dynamics that result in a change in efficiency as shown in the Death-Efficiency graph.
But all and all, take this away from it:
Premise 2: The amount it takes for a 4 man team to escape should be NERFED and the amount of time it takes for a low-man team should be BUFFED. This is the essential of bending the curve.
Section 3: The concepts that will enable it all
In order to solve the Death-Efficiency Problem, we need to make sure we have conceptually sound mechanics that will accompany the solutions that we propose.
The concepts that must be created can be sure to set up the structure for:
- A buff to survivors that increases in power per death survivor.
- A (temporary) Debuff that is given to survivors based on their hooking stage.
- A better way for killers to protect Generators. (The power of this will decrease as a result of point 1)
1: The memoir:
A memoirs is a necklace every survivor has (not visually present but as HUD). It conceptually has 3 slots. 1 with a slot for a photo of every other survivor. Once a survivor dies, that slot in the necklace can be filled, up to 3.
Based on how many memoirs are in the necklace, your strength as a survivor increases. The 3 different stages that the necklace offers allows you to create balance changes to solve the Death-Efficiency Problem.
Not only can you change what a survivor should receive as a buff in the different stages; you can also create a second requirement for gaining the memoirs. For example; after a survivor dies, you don't directly get +1 memoir, but you should receive it from their dead body first, and only then does everyone receive the +1 memoir.
A memoir is displayed as HUD:
Pierced is a status effect, like exposed or mangled, that is gained as you are hooked and which remains for x amounts of seconds after being unhooked.
This is an effect that makes it less attractive to tunnel survivors, as the Pierce effect doesn't stack. It also makes it more valuable to hook someone else who doesn't have the effect on them yet.
Generally, the pierced status effect is an effect that lowers player efficiency for a given time, but your ideas can differ!
3: The Terror Bar
The terror bar is a bar that refills slowly. Upon performing a "Terror Action" the bar depleted x amount based on what is defined by that action.
The terror bar's strength is regulated through the Memoir mechanic.
Generally, kicking a generator is considered a "Terror Action", but your ideas may differ here too!
So we have the memoir to boost the power of low-survivor count teams...
And we have 2 mechanics that boost the killer's power in the base state. 1 that the killer has from the start (3) and 1 that creates a differenced between a recently hooked and not hooked survivor (2).
We are now here:
A harder early game but an easier late game for survivors.
New hatch mechanic:
The hatch no longer serves as this hopeless survivor helper tool. The conditions that allow it to spawn and open can be changed and can be stricter. In order to avoid unnecessary changes in achievements, preferably there would be a structure that allows the hatch to spawn when everybody is alive, whatever the conditions may be.
Chapter 4: My solution in particular.
Section 1: The details
For all the readers that are fanatics like me, I'm glad that we arrived at this part.
In this chapter I'll cover my specifics of the:
- Memoir mechanic
- Pierce Status Effect
- The Terror Bar
I will keep 1 thing special in mind while I'm at it, because there has been a half-related issue that we've never mentioned:
The noobie issue:
This is the issue where learning the survivor is significantly harder than learning the killer, but mastering the killer is significantly harder than mastering the survivor, or else put;
Killing at low ranks is easier whereas survivor at high ranks is easier.
This is because learning the base strength of the survivors is significantly harder than learning the base strength of the killers, as illustrated by this (official) graph from Behaviour:
The skill-gap graph:
Through the 3 mechanics just mentioned, I will ensure that we give killers tools to slow the base-game down before deaths, but will do so through skilful mechanics; ones that aren't handed to you without proactive utilisation, where as for survivors we will hand them to them. On the higher skill-end, this will not cause any problems as everyone will be utilising their strength anyways, but this is an ode to the bad players at lower ranks; we are also closing the gap between low rank surivivor-killer differences and high rank surivivor-killer differences!
Now let's get into it:
My specifics for The Terror Bar:
The Terror Bar takes 40 seconds to completely refill. You can perform "Terror Actions" to utilise this bar.
Terror Action 1: Kicking a generator depletes 50% of the generators progression instantly at a 100% filled Terror Bar.
Formula: (Current seconds in the Terror Bar)/(Total seconds it takes to refill the Terror Bar/100)*(Max amount of % progression you can instantly regress a generator) = % amount of instant regression a generator suffers from your kick.
So at 40 seconds (being the max Terror Bar) you regress 50% instantly. At 20 seconds you regress 25% instantly, etc.
Kicking a generator always completely depletes the Terror Bar.
Terror Action 2: Hooking a survivor always applies the "Pierce" status effect.
Upon hooking a survivor, completely reset your Terror Bar.
Terror Action 3: After a Generator has been kicked, it will slowly regress overtime: 100 % over a duration of 320 seconds. 0.25 charges per second (as normal).
Terror Action 4: Breaking a pallet is a Terror Action and will deplete The Terror Bar.
The speed at which you break a pallet is increased up to 40% (using the same structure of linear formula as Terror Action 1).
The base speed at which you break pallets in the game is reduced by 10% from what we currently have!
To clear a misunderstanding here:
This 40% max increase, would be similar to a 25% increase if we take the current 100% as base, which would be similar to a 15% increase if we started with 90% and increased based on a 100% increase.
(The numbers of Brutal Strength would also need to be adjusted accordingly with taking only a 90% of the current breaking timer.
My specifics for the Pierce
After being hooked, your skill-checks regress 5% of your total progress and your great skill-checks grant 0 bonus.
The Pierce status effect disappears after 60 seconds.
Pierce also makes it more beneficial being healed by others, as their skill-checks do not negatively effect your healing.
My specifics for the Memoir:
Memoir is directly gained after the death of a survivor.
Tier 1: Remaining survivors realise the magnitude of the situation and handle generators more carefully:
1. Generators touched by a survivor will reduce damage done by hard hits from Terror Action 1 by 90%.
2. Slow generator regression is reduced by 50% to 0.125 charges per second.
3. Generator repair speed when working on a generator together is increased by 20% and + 5% when working alone.
4. The effect of Pierce lasts 20 seconds shorter. (a total of 40)
Tier 2: The survivors have gotten used to suffering:
1. Generators touched by a survivor will nullify the damage done by hard hits from Terror Action 1.
2. Slow generator regression is reduced to 10% of the base regression to 0.025 charges per second.
3. Generator repair speed when working on a generator together is increased by 40% and + 20% when working alone.
4. The effect of Pierce lasts 20 seconds shorter. (a total of 20)
1. Generators touched by a survivor will nullify the damage done by hard hits from Terror Action 1.
2. Slow generator regression is reduced to 1% of the base regression to 0.0025 charges per second. (near 0)
3. Generator repair speed when working alone is increased by a 100%.
4. The effect of Pierce lasts 5 seconds.
5. Generators repaired beyond 90% keep progressing even after they are abandoned. (This is not to give away your exact location. The progression bar turns into a distinct colour to show it's progressing independently. Kicking a generator will cancel this automatic progress and require you to work on it for a brief moment again.)
At 0 memoirs: After both exit gates have been opened.
At 1 memoir: After all generators have finished
At 2 memoirs: After 4 generators have finished
At 3 memoirs: After 3 generators have been finished.
At 4 memoirs: Everyone is dead at this point.
Section 2: What does this mean for the game?
It may take a moment for players to understand how the dynamics have shifted:
- The killer no longer has the only option of chasing a survivor and hoping they die as soon as possible, or attempts to switch target and have them continue the loop, but the killer actively chases in the hope to stumble open a Generator that is being worked on. He can cancel the chase, kick the Generator and deal tremendous damage and can continue the chase with the person working on it.
This creates the scenario where the killer has a decent chance at defending himself against a 4 man survivor team, where-as normally generator regression wasn't even an option, as survivors would just touch the generator, undoing any regression that would have followed.
Now, the killer has the ability to seriously defend generators, even in the early game. He can start causing havoc across the board, without losing too much with it, and the best thing is; it's something proactive... something that the killer has to manually do.
Allowing a killer to slow the game down through something that requires THEM to do something is infinitely better than balance proposals that come in the form of: "Killers are too weak, increase the generator time!".
Survivors who make it into the late-game understand that this is where things get slightly more stealthy. Because generator regression becomes less significant, they have more time to strategically plan out how they want to progress. They will need some time to learn that getting caught during the late-game is more of an issue and they learn how to adapt appropriately. The dynamics of the match change as more players die.
To tunnel or not to tunnel? That is the question.
Because you lose things on 2 different fronts: Regressing generators and Hook damage, you feel less incentivised to chase the same person. After all, they are suffering from a decreased efficiency, where as if you tunnel them, their efficient teammate will just jump on a generator and finish the job.
Because the base-game is harder for survivors, where as the late-game gives them increasingly more benefits, the killer has more reasons to play into, what survivors consider, the "fun" killer play-style. The one where they are offered multiple chances.
Testing and PTB
If these changes were to be implemented with exactly the version I apply to the premises, then these would be the most important variables the Dev's would have to do their testing with:
- The amount of regression that occurs instantly. (Should it be buffed or nerfed)
- The strength of the Pierce Status Effect.
- Are the Memoirs buffs enough for the survivors to make things fair? Or are they too strong as it turns out our instant regression mechanic did not hold the same power as we thought it would?
With the amount of new variables and mechanics we introduced, we have all tools to endlessly tackle the problem we're dealing with.
The structure and concepts provided in Chapter 3 hold everything that this game would need in order to be fixable, whether you disagree with my Chapter 4 proposals or not, always feel free to design your own versions with the Premises in Chapter 3 in mind. Your creativity can surprise me!
With these changes in mind, we open up a tremendous amount of new opportunities for new Ideas that build on top of them, new mechanics that revolve around them and ultimately help keep this game fresh, hopefully for the duration of another 5 years.
With the slightly labour intensive suggestions I propose, we would solve something that has been haunting this game for the longest time. An issue with the game that gave air to many more issues.
Mother of all problems in DBD; the Death-Efficiency Problem
Thank you for reading!