The goals of Dead by Daylight appear simple at first glance: stay alive and escape as a survivor; hunt and hook as a killer. Victory in Evolve involves chess-like anticipation of an unexpected and adaptive human-controlled foe, while victory in Evolve demands chess-like anticipation of an unpredictable and adaptable human-controlled adversary.
For the unblooded beginner, dealing with the near-defenceless survivors or trying to corner squirrely victims as the more imposing killer can be quite scary. Use these pointers to familiarise yourself with effective fear flights or slasher film hunts.
You can play as a defensive survivor character in a squad of four in Dead by Daylight, or you can go solo and play as one of the game’s 27 murderers. If you’re a killer, your purpose is to maim survivors and sacrifice them to your cosmic master, “Entity,” a nasty spider-legged evil.
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If you’re planning ahead, know that initial perks are available to all characters after reaching a specific level, or by purchasing them in the rotating Shrine of Secrets marketplace with another in-game currency, Iridescent Shards.
Unlike survivor characters, who can unlock new things during battles, but a killer’s “power” item does not change. This is important to know when looking for a killer to play, especially as the types and extent of a killer’s abilities differ.
Playing as a survivor
The odds are stacked against the squishy survivors: stay away from the immortal murderer while mending five generators placed over a horror-movie arena before fleeing through the obligatory slow-activated exit door. Keep swivelling the camera to avoid being blindsided as you crawl along, as the third-person view allows a wide angle to notice oncoming danger.
Jake is a good first-time survivor—his ability to ruin hooks and disable traps without the need of a toolbox is a quick way to enhance your ultimate score. Claudette’s healing ability without the medkit makes her a good choice for a more defensive playstyle. Regardless of how many excruciating shrieks you hear, focus your attention on mending generators and opening the exit door as quickly and discreetly as possible.
Staying selfish is the only way to stay alive—the thrill of swooping in to save someone doesn’t nearly match the high risk of losing your life in exchange for drawing the killer’s notice. If you’re confused about what to do next, leave your friends and go to the nearest generator.
Be fully aware of your killer
You can figure out which slavering creature you’re up against within the first few minutes of a round if you use your senses appropriately. Listen for telltale auditory cues, such as the Trapper cranking a spring mechanism to place one of his bear traps somewhere. A chainsaw engine’s roaring buzz pits you against a charging Hillbilly.
A faraway bell tolls, signalling the presence of a cloaked Wraith nearby. The appearance of the hooks dispersed across the area will vary based on the chosen killer—the Wraiths, for example, have a rather visible white bandage wrap—so a quick eyeball of one on the approach to a generator is a nice bit of intel.
Track down the hunter
Quick-time events of timed key pushes are frequently triggered by actions such as messing with a generator or administering medical help. To temporarily speed up your progress bar, you’ll want to nail these as often as possible.
You’ll make a loud, killer-attracting noise if you fail a QTE—a sharp bang from a generator or a patient’s shriek of pain. Failures can generate thrilling deer-in-headlights fright, but they can also be used to deceive. Head to a generator, purposefully fail a skill check, then move (remain hunched) to another generator while the killer falls for your bluff.
Always plan for your safe exit
Keep track of the round’s progress and prepare two steps ahead. During a chase, don’t run straight away from the killer. To break line of sight and return to safety, juke behind structures and foliage. Both survivors and murderers can gain performance-enhancing bonuses in their never-ending cat-and-mouse games.
Pallets are great for stopping the killer in his tracks, but with a little more care and time, you can take one down just as the killer crashes into it for a second-long stun animation. It’s fine to ignore a progress metre if it means avoiding detection or death, because you’ll be able to pick up where you left off when you return.