dead by daylight getting started

Dead by Daylight Getting Started Guide

Latest posts by Trevor Abbott (see all)

Dead By Daylight is a popular and addicting Asymmetrical Horror game released in 2016. It hasn’t lost any traction, with new players joining all the time. Four players team up and take on the roles of survivors in an ominous realm known as “The Fog.” One player is assigned the role of the killer to stop the others from escaping and prevent the generators from powering the exit gates.

It seems simple enough, but many subtleties make each match unique and memorable. The main draw of Dead By Daylight for players worldwide is its nostalgic and iconic horror characters from popular series such as Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Nancy Buckles, and Detective Tapp, among many others. The game has thrilling chases that await you, and being a beginner is a harrowing experience at first. However, I aim to lessen the burden and give you the concrete details needed to escape as a survivor or sacrifice successfully as a Dead by Daylight killer.

With over five thousand hours of cumulative gameplay on multiple platforms and hundreds of perfect games, I have seen it all for both killers and survivors and will teach you how to thrive when playing either role. Let’s take a trip to the mysterious realm of the Entity and explore what Dead By Daylight has to offer you!

Welcome to a Dead by Daylight Getting Started Guide.

Before you Begin

Dead By Daylight is a thrilling survival horror multiplayer experience where you can kill or survive with friends and progress through a rewarding perk and tier system. A survivor is ideal if you prefer teamwork and the thrill of avoiding capture while playing the objective. If you’re a lone wolf and admire the thrill of the hunt while honing and sharpening your lethal tools and abilities, then the killer is a satiating choice. It would help if you played them both to gather perspective at some point because it makes you better at the opposite role.

Before you start playing, here are some things you need to know. Dead By Daylight isn’t for the faint of heart and exposes you to violent scenarios. It’s an adrenaline-inducing experience that caters to your taste for horror. Expect an ever-changing atmosphere with variables that alter the gameplay with each patch or chapter. Both in concept and visually, it’s a dark game, so you may want to adjust your brightness settings to see things clearer. I have to use the color-blindness setting because I’m on the spectrum.

Customization and variety make DBD shine with a gratifying sense of progression. There are many surprises in the beginning, and they will continue as new content emerges from the Fog! Keep your wits about you, and pay attention to the terror radius heartbeat/music sounds of an approaching killer to hide or run away. On another note, perhaps you should first play Dead By Daylight on an empty stomach and in short sessions because the hooking theme can initially make you queasy.

The First hour/day/week Of Playing DBD

Dead by Daylight

The best thing you can do in your first hour is to check out the tutorial for survivors and killers to get a feel for their roles. From there, you should analyze and personalize your settings to optimize gameplay. This includes video, audio, controller layout, camera sensitivity, cross-play, HUD scaling, and color blind modes. If possible, I advise you to survive with friends in a casual match in your first hour instead of jumping into online play.

The first day is where you start to learn, and you shouldn’t beat yourself up for playing poorly because that’s natural. Focus on getting a feel for the mechanics. I guarantee you’ll be hooked after your first day if you love survival horror. Avoid going into the basement or being too bold in front of the killer. It’s better to follow the lead of experienced survivor friends through party chat.

In your first week, Focus intently on unlocking perk slots and upgrading your perks while pouring hard-earned blood points into the blood web. I suggest you hone your skills with one survivor or killer first because you’ll get better faster. Your first week is where you learn what kind of player you are, but this can evolve as you gain more confidence. Study the perks vigorously in your unlocks and also through the shop! You can also browse characters to see which ones to try out later.

Core Mechanics Guide

Survivor Core Mechanics

There are a few core mechanics you should know as a survivor before starting, and they are straightforward. First, running is essential for getting to the generators quicker and when being chased by the killer. However, this leaves glowing red scratch marks on the ground for the killer to track you. Also, blood pools if you’re injured. They slowly fade after a while, but remember that running is dangerous for this reason.

Crouching is a strategy that can help you evade the killer’s awareness, and there are plenty of places to hide throughout the maps, including tall grass and buildings. You can also move slowly and creep around while crouching to get out of a dangerous situation with stealth, but it’s much slower. There are also action commands, including pointing to the killer’s location and signaling to “come with me.”

Skill checks will be a constant theme when playing the objective, and they get easier over time. Helping other survivors is also a reality that shouldn’t be avoided for new players. Unhooking and healing your teammates will make all the difference, but it sacrifices time towards the objective. Actions such as healing and repairing are faster when multiple survivors are doing them simultaneously.

Killer Core Mechanics

Killer Core Mechanics

Killers have different abilities, but the primary weapon performs a short or long lunge to hit and injure survivors. Killers are faster than survivors. You will progress through three tiers known as “bloodlust” in the chase. These are time-based, and each level grants you a speed boost to hone in on them quicker so a survivor can’t loop you endlessly. Also, killers can break pallets after they are dropped, rendering them useless for the rest of the match.

You can also vault windows at a slower pace than survivors. Try vaulting a window and then vaulting the opposite way again to mentally disarm them and reduce space. Survivors have a limit to vault before the Entity blocks the window. Each killer has a signature power, so it’s critical to read the description thoroughly before playing.

Continue reading related Dead by Daylight killer guides:

Tips We Wish We Knew

Beginner Survivor Tips

  • Utilize the 360 Degree view while on generators to detect stealthy killers and track them in a chase
  • Rush through windows and over pallets faster by running before the command
  • Experiment with different perk combinations
  • Pay attention to your surroundings and find places to hide when necessary
  • Hiding in Lockers can be a good strategy
  • If injured, find other survivors to heal you
  • Stick together, and there is power in numbers
  • Practice looping and vaulting in a private match with a killer friend

Survivors to consider as a Beginner

  • Meg Thomas
  • Claudette Morel
  • Bill Overbeck
  • Kate Denson
  • Jake Park
  • Feng Ming
  • Jonah Vasquez

Beginner Killer Tips

  • Abandon Chase sometimes for generators in loops
  • Use Bamboozle, Fire up, and Brutal strength to address pesky loops
  • Anticipate a survivor using a 360 rapid turn in a chase by thinking ahead
  • Always kick generators and pallets
  • Use both the lunge and quick strike attacks at the proper times
  • Use perks that alert you regarding generator progression
  • Take note of the pallet hitbox for stun and avoid it in the future
  • Use a killer that’s easy with a standard base speed(Some “hard” labeled Killers are viable)
  • Backtrack and switch directions in loops(Try to predict when they will vault a pallet)

Killers to consider as a beginner

  • The Wraith
  • The Hillbilly
  • The Pig
  • The Cannibal
  • The Trapper 
  • The Nightmare
  • The Shape

Common Survivor Mistakes To Avoid

Survivors

  • Running out in the open
  • Attempting a Generator by yourself isn’t ideal
  • Forgetting to equip an item and offering
  • Not leveling up your character
  • Hiding in Lockers too frequently
  • Not playing the objective
  • Not unhooking or healing teammates when there’s an opportunity
  • Excessive spamming of commands
  • Unhooking a survivor when you hear the killer terror radius

Common Killer Mistakes To Avoid

  • Using only one of the attacks(Lunge or short)
  • Not patrolling generators
  • Not utilizing window vaults
  • Neglecting to break pallets and damage generators
  • Not dropping a survivor when you know you can’t reach a hook
  • Camping the hook(This wastes precious time)
  • Staying in Chase for too long
  • Insidious camping the whole match
  • Seeking to boost instead of playing the game
  • Repeatedly hitting survivors on the hook(A waste of time & Also Toxic)

Long-Term Goals to Consider

Investing In Upgrading Survivor Perks

Survivor Perks

Survivor perks are vital for gaining a competitive edge against the overpowered killer in any match. Trust me; they will help you, so don’t neglect to upgrade. After all, you have to spend your points on something. However, you’ll be limited at first with only one perk slot. Each perk adds a new element to the game and makes your time fun. My favorite aspect of Dead By Daylight is tinkering with different perk combinations and seeing how they improve gameplay.

The strategies are endless, but it all starts with a simple question, what kind of player are you? Do you enjoy hiding in the shadows and never getting caught? Or is an aggressive, bold approach to distracting the killer your preference? Either way, you’ll be rewarded with the different categories, and exploring other possibilities for a well-rounded experience is ideal. Each survivor has unique perks, which you can eventually unlock in the blood web. Here are some notable beginner perks that you should keep in mind before playing:

  • Kindred
  • Dejavu
  • Spine Chill
  • Self-Care
  • Sprint-Burst
  • Empathy
  • Adrenaline
  • Dark Sense
  • Alert

Working & Communicating With Your Team

When playing survivor, you must work as a team to get out alive. This is why playing with friends is ideal because randoms are sometimes unreliable. One person neglecting the objective and not playing right can significantly stagnate generator progress. It’s okay, though, if you’re a beginner because the game is reasonably frightening initially if you’re not a seasoned horror game enthusiast. Once you earn your stripes and have a few games under your belt, it’s time to bite the bullet and put your neck out for the team more often.

This means thinking of others before yourself, saving them from the hooks, and prioritizing their needs. Certain perks give you notable advantages that can be used to aid the team as well. For example, spine chill lets you know when the killer is near faster than others who aren’t using it. You can use the “let’s go” command and get out of there before they arrive. Working as a team also entails advanced strategies like taking a hit, so an injured teammate doesn’t go down.

Altruism is the key for skilled veteran survivors, and sharing the wounds is a wise strategy to keep the killer from downing others too frequently. You can also drop and gift items to others. For instance, if you pick up a flashlight and aren’t good with it, drop it for someone else to use. Maybe they’ll prevent you from getting hooked later.

Killer Long-Term Goals

The main objective of the killer is to slay survivors in one of two ways. The primary favorable method is to sacrifice them to the Entity, which occurs after they are hooked the third time. The second way to kill is through a command known as a “mori.” This form is where you physically brutalize them with a mori unique to your killer. For example, Freddy will stab a survivor through the chest with his iconic bladed glove like in the movies.

As a killer, you’re responsible for patrolling the generators because that’s where survivors will inevitably be most times. You can kick the generators to regress them, which can be enhanced through various perks like Overcharge. You must make the right decisions that save time to ensure they aren’t completed.

Dead By Daylight is a game of time, and it’s a race against the clock to eradicate them all before all five generators power the exit gates. Even then, you have a chance to get a sacrifice before they open them, and some perks block the exit gates for a time even after being opened. As a killer, you will hunt, chase, injure, down, and hook survivors until they become sacrificed to the Entity.

Investing In Killer Perks & Upgrading

Killer Perks

As with survivors, killers have perks that can be upgraded and used to enhance your gameplay for better results. Killer perks are imperative because it’s four against one. My favorite strategy in the current meta is to focus on slowing generator progress and regression. However, you can take many more approaches, like implementing Hex perks that can be incredibly overpowered if not addressed early in the match.

You will get gen-rushed even as a seasoned veteran against persistent survivors. Remember, even though sacrificing is the primary killer goal, you can still play well and have a good match by giving them hell with brutal perks. Gauge your killer performance on the end-screen results rather than whether or not you killed them all. Here are some notable killer perks for beginners that you should consider using to make things easier:

  • BBQ & Chili
  • Thanatophobia
  • Hex: Ruin
  • Hex: No one Escapes Death
  • Corrupt Intervention
  • Pop Goes the Weasel
  • Tinkerer
  • Monitor & Abuse
  • Discordance
  • Whispers

Investing In Bloodweb & Earning Bloodpoints

The Bloodweb is the place for unlocking various items, perks, add-ons, and offerings. This is achieved through playing and earning blood points to spend. Perks are upgraded here with three tiers. Each match will yield a certain amount, depending on how well you performed. You can visit the blood web and progress through the levels between games or save them up and spend them all at once.

I prefer the latter because it can get monotonous if you’ve played a lot. Each character has their blood web that you will progress through with fifty total levels. The web gradually expands as you increase in level, so it costs more the higher you are. There are special DBD events where new items are revealed in the blood web that give you more points and have unique festive qualities.  

Buying/Using Items, Add-ons, & Offerings 

The items found in the blood web will vary in rarity and have different functions. Each one will help you by equipping them before starting a match. Add-ons are the components that enhance each item and make them more effective, such as extending the life of a toolbox or flashlight. Additionally, you can put up an offering before the match that can change the game or give you a blood point bonus.

Offerings can also be a hindrance against either killer or survivor by hurting their game. For instance, the “putrid oak” offering considerably decreases the distance between sacrificial hooks, making the sacrificial process more fluid for killers. Items are only found for survivors, but killers can add two additional enhancing add-ons to their primary weapon. 

Earning Iridescent Shards & Buying Auric Cells

Iridescent Shards

In addition to blood points, Iridescent shards are utilized to unlock cosmetics in the store and can even get you a free character if they aren’t licensed. These can be collected by completing the rift and leveling up naturally with any survivor or killer. Your capacity for earning more Iridescent shards will increase as you progress in your overall player level across all characters.

Auric Cells are a completely different story. You can’t earn these; they must be purchased in the store to get unique cosmetics and characters that aren’t attainable through shards. Purchasing the rift pass is another way to earn a lot of auric cells; completing it means it pays for itself. The rift is a good deal for devoted players.

Frequently Visiting The Shrine Of Secrets

Iridescent shards can also be used in the Shrine of Secrets, where random perks from other characters are available for purchase. These will vary in price, and some can reach up to four thousand shards to unlock. After you buy the perk, it will be available to you in all blood webs, be it a survivor or killer perk. This decision is a profitable trade because it allows you to get them quicker without leveling up the character. If you see self-care in the Shrine of Secrets, go ahead and fork over the shards because it’s worth it.

Learning About The Entity & Dead By Daylight Lore

The Entity is the mysterious cosmic force of evil expounded on in the Dead By Daylight lore. The sacrificial spider legs on the last hook phase are that of the Entity, and the whole game is based on its sadistic plans to place survivors in the horrifying scenario of the Fog. It is the game’s main antagonist woven into each map’s fabric. It aids the killer in hunting survivors by blocking windows, generators, and exit gates.

The lore is specific in that the Entity feeds off the emotional energy of each survivor for eternity. The explicit goal of the Entity is to encourage and aid the killer in completing a sacrifice so it can feed and sustain itself. It feeds off negative, nervous energy and the optimistic yet dwindling hope of escape in the hearts of survivors.

In addition to the Entity, each character has unique backstories and they evolve as new Rifts are opened to earn audio entries. I find the Doctor’s lore particularly interesting. Keeping up with them enriches your DBD knowledge and gives you respite from the matches.

Buying Cosmetics & Characters In The Shop

The shop contains many characters that can be unlocked through auric cells or Iridescent shards. Each survivor or killer has an extraordinary contribution to DBD, and you can read their descriptions and perks before purchasing. There are also a lot of cosmetics to express your individuality. Dead By Daylight is known for appealing to those with a heightened fashion sense with different innovative costumes that fit all personalities. Outfits are also unlocked through the accessible version of the rift if you play through it, but there are additional ones if you purchase the rift pass.

Working Hard Towards Character Prestige & Ranking Up

Recently, the developers have updated the prestige system so you can prestige more and gain new rewards. The ranking system is also in place to ensure a fairer experience for newer players. Be advised that this doesn’t always mean you’ll play against an unskilled killer at a low rank. At level fifty, you have the option to prestige any survivor or killer for 20,000 blood points. You should take the chance to prestige if you’re committed to playing Dead By Daylight for the long term.

Prestiging can earn you some bloody skin rewards displayed in a match and garner respect from other players while giving you a feeling of accomplishment. Ranking up gives a similar feel, and it’s not that hard to attain if you’re consistently playing with a good team. Getting to rank one as a killer is also incredibly rewarding. Bear in mind that ranks reset at the end of each season.

Wearing Headphones For The Long Haul

Wearing Headphones For The Long Haul

New players often overlook the neglect to wear headphones when playing Dead By Daylight. It’s not entirely necessary, but it helps increase situational awareness. With headphones, you’ll be able to hear the terror radius of the killer a bit sooner and get out of there before things get dangerous. Wearing headphones is especially crucial for killers of all skill levels because the sound design of DBD is intricate and can aid you if directly in the ear.

For example, the killer can hear hints of subtle breathing if a survivor is hiding in a bush and detect if a generator is being repaired from a greater distance. You can also notice which direction the survivor is running after the initial hit easier and pursue them instead of losing the trail. Injured or running survivors are much easier to locate and follow.

Survivors also benefit from hearing the skill checks more clearly and increasing reaction time with less chance of explosion on the generators. Simply put, wear headphones. I guarantee it will improve your overall experience with Dead By Daylight.

Adapting To “Behavioural” Changes Of Dead By Daylight

If you’re committing to Dead By Daylight, it’s wise not to get too comfortable with a particular character or perk because things are constantly shifting like the elusive Fog. The developers at Behaviour tweak things to balance the game, and you can discover specifics by paying attention to patch notes. The maps also change according to different events with opportunities that only last for a set time. Developers are generous in compensating you for inconveniences, such as temporarily disabled characters or maps with shards or blood points.

Halloween is one of the best times to jump into Dead By Daylight as a beginner because you’ll earn many blood points and get daily bonuses for a sprint burst ahead of the competition. Some changes might be disheartening. For example, the recent patch removed the hard-earned Leatherface survivor masks. Still, the developers have the player’s best interests at heart by making the game fair and appealing for all newcomers and veterans of the community. This means consistent change frequently happens with bug fixes and necessary alterations, so now you won’t be surprised.

Dead by Daylight Getting Started: FAQs

Question: Should I play survivor or killer?

Answer: Try out whichever feels more appealing initially, but I recommend trying them both at some point to gain perspective. My personal preference is killer because, in my opinion, you have to work harder, and it’s more rewarding. Even so, I’ve had some intense survivor matches that draw me back for more.

Question: Is Dead By Daylight a challenging game?

Answer: It is undoubtedly challenging sometimes, but some matches will be easier than others, depending on who you’re playing and your team dynamics. Learning the ropes of both killer and survivor roles takes time, and you can improve your skills by watching skilled players on YouTube videos. 

Question: Is there a “best” survivor or killer?

Answer: Like most games, there is an endless argument about who is the best survivor or killer, but I think it can’t be answered. All of them are good in the right hands, and each person develops their own opinions. Stick to what feels right to you, and that’s the best approach. 

Question: Does Dead By Daylight have cross-play?

Answer: Indeed, Dead By Daylight has cross-play compatibility, and you can toggle it on or off in the settings screen. I want to mention that, like in all games, cheating can be an issue and is more prominent among PC gamers. So I like to keep cross-play off when possible. But if you want to match quicker, keep it on indefinitely. 

Now You’re Ready To Traverse The Fog!

Now you are well-equipped with the knowledge to confidently enter the Fog where the Entity lurks. Both survivor and killer are exciting to play, but they might not both be for you. I encourage you to apply what you’ve learned and don’t neglect to level up because that’s a staple of the game. The more points you spend, the better your chances of survival. Or, if you’re a killer, I hope this beginner guide has encouraged you to push forward and conquer the current challenging meta.

If you displease the Entity or get sacrificed, chin up because you never lose when learning. Each match has a valuable lesson to teach you. Because of the different perks, combinations, and randomized maps, DBD has an element of luck. Remember, it’s only a game. That’s not Michael Myers chasing you, I promise. What I can’t promise is that Freddy won’t invade your dreams after playing Dead By Daylight!

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