How NOT to Play Dead By Daylight
Dead By Daylight is one of the most unique video games available today. It is somehow both addictively fun and immensely frustrating, an impossible marriage of heaven and hell that you are likely to uninstall and reinstall several times. Dead By Daylight, more so than any other game I've played, is quite intimidating to new players, and many of its mechanics and secrets are not explained to new players through tutorials and so must be learned by playing the game. However, even though you may learn quite quickly what TO do, there are many things you as a player should learn NOT to do. I'll break these lessons down into three categories: "Survivor", "Killer", and "General". Keep in mind that all of these lessons are based on my own experience and may not necessarily be shared amongst all players.
How NOT to Play Dead By Daylight: Words to Live (or Kill) by
HOW NOT TO PLAY SURVIVOR:
Do NOT play selfishly.
The survivor role is built around teamwork and cooperating with other survivors. Playing the game in a way that puts yourself above others or just focusing on how YOU will survive and not the other survivors is most likely to result in a failure for the entire group, yourself included. It is significantly easier for the killer to eliminate four individuals than one team. It's ok to take a hit so another survivor doesn't get hit. It's ok to give another player an item. It's ok to hold the killer's attention so the other survivors can accomplish a goal. And it's also ok to die so that others might live. Think about your actions and the potential consequences, but be quick about it. This game demands quick thinking and quicker action.
Do NOT go for bad unhooks.
One of the most common mistakes that players make is attempting to unhook a survivor that does not have a chance to escape after being unhooked. Many killers in DBD rely on being able to stay near hooked survivors without being detected and then attacking the survivors after the unhooking action. Look around. Pay attention. If a killer is still uncomfortably close to a hooked survivor, wait a few seconds to see if they leave or plan on "camping" the survivor as a trap. You can always use the time a survivor is hooked and being camped to complete objectives. You will not be able to save every survivor every time. It is better that three survivors escape than none.
Do NOT panic.
One of the most common mistakes I see others make is running away when a killer is near. Sometimes it is better to attempt to hide rather than run. Remember that a killer's vision is far more limited than a survivor's, and that the scratch marks left when you run are far more visible than you crouching behind a rock would be. Focus on the intensity of the Terror Radius and the killer's movement to determine when it is time to run or time to relax. A killer looking at and moving straight towards you is typically a good indicator to start running. But a killer who is walking in circles and looking in different places might just walk right past you.
Do NOT fixate on a single objective.
Imagine you only need one more generator repaired to power the exit gates and you are working on a generator that is 80% complete. You know you could repair it if you just had a few more seconds, but the killer has seen the generator as well and chases you off of it. You escape the killer, and obviously you should run straight back to the generator to repair it, right? WRONG. A good killer will wait for survivors to return to the generator and attack them as they attempt to fix it. A bad killer will wait by the generator until it has regressed significantly. Use the Terror Radius to determine if a killer is camping the generator. If the killer won't leave, find another generator and start on that. Remember that the killer can see all generators at all times and may patrol between them to check for survivors. Pay attention to how the killer moves and what route it takes to each generator. You can work on one, then sneak away to another when the killer is close and work on another, or wait for the killer to leave and continue to work on the same one. Fixating on a single objective makes you predictable, and predictability makes dying an inevitability.
Do NOT ignore totems.
Many killers use a perk called "No One Escapes Death", which can only activate if there is a dull totem (just a pile of bones with no fire) remaining on the map once the exit gates are powered. Cleansing every dull totem you find can prevent this perk from activating. However, you need to be smart about it. Killers can hear you cleansing and may be able to punish you for an unsafe cleanse. Additionally, not every lit totem (indicated by visible fire inside the totem, to let you know it is associated with a Hex perk) needs to be cleansed. A perk called "Haunted Grounds" places two false totems on the map. If the killer is not using a Hex totem that is giving you a negative effect, remember where you saw the totems, but ignore them. If you discover that a Hex is active later in the trial, you can return to those totems and cleanse them if needed.
HOW NOT TO PLAY KILLER:
Do NOT chase a survivor that you can't catch.
This is without a doubt the most difficult lesson to learn as a killer. Determining when a survivor can and can't be caught is up to each individual killer to decide, as it is based primarily on the killer's own skill. A good survivor can distract killers long enough for the others to repair multiple generators before being caught. If you feel a chase is taking too long, break the chase. Injuring a survivor without chasing them after can work in some situations. The most important thing to learn is ignoring survivors that WANT to be chased. They will click their flashlight at you, crouch repeatedly, gesture, purposely make multiple loud noise notifications, and generally act in a way that is designed to draw your attention. Typically this is to distract you from the other three survivors who are not as skilled at evading as the attention seeker is. Focusing on the other three and preventing them from completing tasks is going to eventually lead to the attention seeker being the only survivor left, and then you can give them all the attention that they so desperately need.
Do NOT become fixated on a single objective.
Same as survivor, but in reverse. Protecting only certain generators leaves the others open. Protecting a totem gives away its location to observant survivors. Hooking a survivor and camping them leaves three other survivors to do whatever they please. Chasing a single survivor too long allows others to run free.
Do NOT let the survivors control the match.
Observe how they play. Observe where they go. Observe what generators they are trying to repair, who wants to be chased, who is bad at chases, who has what items, who is healing others the most, who hides in lockers, and what perks you can determine they have. Every survivor will have a strategy, figuring out what it is early on can force them to come up with a new one. You'd be surprised how many of them can't. One of the best strategies is to protect three generators that are close together (I call them The Cluster) and let the survivors repair the others. It is a risky strategy called 3-Genning, but it can be effective, as it is easier to patrol three close generators than ones that are split far apart.
You do NOT have to get four kills every game.
And, realistically, you probably won't. But that's ok. Sometimes it's ok to show mercy. Was there one survivor on the team who had skill, while the others were clearly lacking? Let that one get the hatch. Three survivors dead, hatch closed, but you see the last survivor opening the gate? Let them do it. If you want to, that is. You are a killer after all.
You do NOT have to play by their rules.
Survivors will tell you that there are unwritten rules that a killer must follow, such as no camping hooked survivors, no "tunneling" a survivor that has just been unhooked, and no using the perk No One Escapes Death. These are all made up and should not be considered official in any capacity. Survivors have many advantages over killers in this game, and you need to play in the way that is most suited for you. That being said, there is a fine line between "strategy" and being a jerk. You are likely to learn the distinction between the two very quickly.
HOW NOT TO PLAY DEAD BY DAYLIGHT IN GENERAL:
Do NOT skip the tutorials.
They can be found in the help menu and give you the basic rundown of the game. While they do not cover everything, they cover enough to get you started.
It does NOT cost you anything to pay attention, but it WILL cost you if you don't.
Observe the killer as you play. Does it give up on chases easy? Then just keep running. Does it always seem to know where you are when you are healing? It probably has A Nurse's Calling. Is it patrolling an area where there is not a generator? Most likely guarding a totem in that area. Where is the first place the killer went to at match start? Ruin probably spawned there.
Observe the survivors as well. Is one of them trying to lure the killer into a chase? Do objectives while they play tag. Did a recently unhooked survivor just activate Borrowed Time? Let the savior do the unhooking from now on. Is no one going to save the person on the hook? Maybe you should do it... or maybe they're avoiding for a reason. Survivor clicking a flashlight at you? They need something, try to figure out what it is.
Do NOT let them get to you.
DBD has what I would consider to be the most toxic community of players that has ever been my displeasure to observe. They will t-bag. They will face camp. They will sandbag, purposely lead the killer to you, hit you while you are on the hook, and insult you constantly. People on the forums will be intentionally contrarian and vile. But you absolutely cannot let these things effect you. Be the type of player that you want to play with. Take hits. Sacrifice yourself. Let survivors go if you think they earned it. But most of all, be respectful.
Do NOT be afraid to fail.
It will happen. Believe me, it WILL happen. But every failure is an opportunity to learn and improve.
Do NOT forget to have fun.
It's a game. Enjoy it.
Do NOT be afraid to break the META.
The Most Effective Tactic Available is commonly used in DBD to refer to several perks, characters, or items that are most commonly used throughout the community. You should be aware that you DON'T have to use them. What works best for the majority may not work for you. Try new perks. Try new killers. Use the misused and I guarantee eventually you'll find a combo that you would have never thought would work, but that you will want to use as much as possible.
Do NOT be ashamed to seek help.
Visit the forums. See what others are saying. Ask questions and form your own opinions. Watching YouTubers or streamers play the game has greatly improved my skills and they may improve yours as well. Watch footage of killers or perks before buying. Seek information and you will find it.
Do NOT expect a perfect game.
Seriously. This game has more bugs in it than the Everglades, and more get added with every patch. You'll start to think that the developers just have first-year community college interns doing all of the coding. But things do get fixed over time, and sometimes lead to new features we didn't even know we wanted or needed.
And finally, we come to the most important lesson that I could ever impart to you:
Do NOT give up. EVER.
So you got found and hooked by the killer first. You're dangling on that hook with your cursor hovering over that sweet, succulent Leave Match button. But you won't click it. You won't because you know that leaving now would make escape impossible for the other survivors. And then it happens. One gen lights up and you see the killer move towards it. Then the second one lights up. And the third. Someone unhooks you and you know without a doubt that you will survive this trial. It's moments like this that are so rare but so overwhelmingly uplifting that makes you feel foolish for even considering giving up. The same goes for killers as well. Sometimes survivors will fly through gens so fast that it seems as though there are eight of them instead of four. But you never know what mistakes they'll make that will land you that 4k. If you focus up and play it right, you can turn the game around with just a few smart plays. Sometimes this game is so frustrating that an uninstall seems like the best option. But don't give up. Like I said earlier, DBD is a truly unique experience that you will love to hate. If you can commit to this game, it can be one of the most fun and addictive games in your collection.
There are so many more aspects of this game that I haven't covered here that you will encounter during your time in the fog, but you'll just have to discover them for yourself. Believe me, some of the most fun you can have in this game are the "WHAT IN THE HELL WAS THAT?!" moments that you are sure to encounter, and I'm certainly not going to ruin those for you here.
Good luck out there. You're going to need it.