King of Toxicity: Dead by Daylight

It’s becoming some kind of running joke that the gaming community is a cesspool of toxicity. Society’s ugliest faces comes out to play when hidden behind a computer or T.V. screen, and it seems to be getting worse. While everyone has their personal choices for which games are the most toxic, Dead by Daylight (DbD) is arguably the worst of the worst. Even one of the kings of toxicity, League of Legends (LoL), doesn’t hold a candle but for different reasons than you’d think. So, what makes a game toxic?

DbD and LoL are perfect case studies of toxicity in online communities. LoL is one of the oldest online communities (2009) despite it’s issues, somehow outliving it’s own community attacking each other over the years. While DbD hasn’t been out as long (2016), it’s somehow garnered as much resentment amongst it’s own community as LoL in less than half the time. Both of these self-proclaimed toxic communities are full of trash talking, rage-quitting, and hating on the game’s current state. Even now I’m sure someone from each community is preparing to comment something like “cry about it” on this very post. The toxicity of both games is born of a lack of empathy for the other players and a disregard for the game, but somehow each have their special brand of toxicity.

The interesting thing about LoL is that its toxicity is rarely a detriment to the game. Yes, there are still the racists, sexists, homophobes, and all around trash people that will say things that cross the line. The general population isn’t really like that though. While a majority can still be considered toxic, all of the pinging, “flaming”, trash talking, and overall troll behavior can be attributed to wanting to win the game. There is a natural competitive behavior in the toxicity that is to be expected, so despite the community not being kind to one another, it’s an allowable toxicity due to the desire to play better than the opposing team. For the most part, it’s two sides with a range of characters that are relatively evenly matched, and the only issues that arise within the game are the teams’ abilities to play well. (Yes, I just said that people are toxic because they are insecure in their abilities.)

DbD on the other hand is unfortunately built in a way that will make it collapse in on itself. Every other game, whether a MOBA, MMORPG, or really any form of game, is decently balanced in that each player is given a similar set of tools to play. While innovative, DbD’s game mechanics effectively shoot themselves in the foot. A majority of the game’s toxicity comes from the survivors attacking the killers or vice versa because they feel the game is unfair. Despite having barely any ability to communicate in game, the community still manages to rage at each other because even a game that goes well can be awful to play in.

The thing about DbD is that, it’s impossible to balance. Nothing about the game’s teams are comparable. There are four survivors versus one killer, both sides having entirely different objectives, ways of scoring points, tactics, abilities, and desires. It’s almost impossible to find balance when both sides of the scale are entirely different.

While everyone typically says the game is unfair, people have been arguing about whether the game is balanced in favor of survivors or killers. I’m here to say once and for all that (currently) the game is in fact killer sided. This is an indisputable fact because, while almost nothing is comparable between the two sides, the one thing that is comparable is the game mechanics that affect a person’s gameplay. I’m talking specifically about if there are game mechanics put into play that force you to adjust your game play.

To put it more simply, there are mechanics in the game that hinder the ways a survivor can play, toxic or not, while there aren’t any against the killer. Survivors have windows blocked off for them if they jump through one too many times. Meanwhile, the killers are not only told their toxic behaviors are “strategies”, but they are actually rewarded for playing in a manner that isn’t beneficial. When they chase down a single survivor for a long time without landing a hit, they get a speed boost, effectively rewarding tunneling. Perks like ‘Insidious’ help them camp and even reward points for “deviousness”. Regardless of whether these were good ideas on the developers part, the black and white, logical conclusion to this is that killers are not hindered in their game play even if it is exploitive or toxic while survivors are, thus making the game killer sided.

So unfortunately DbD is just fundamentally built to be the king of toxicity. Logically, the killer has to be four times as strong as a survivor due to numbers, but there are so many variables to account for that the game just can never be fair. This is made worse by the fact that the developers blindly support all the ways a killer can play regardless of how it affects the survivors. They disregard the fact that, while camping is “a strategy”, that it’s a strategy that entirely takes a single person out of the game. It’d be as if in League the one team entirely spent their time making sure one player didn’t leave base. Would they lose? Most likely, but at that point the winning team wouldn’t care because their teammate’s experience was not only ruined but completely taken away. The LoL developers most likely wouldn’t say “this is a strategy”, even if it did end up making a team forget the objectives, because this is a clearly toxic behavior that is unacceptable.

Anyway I doubt much will change. Regardless of the game and it’s level of toxicity, there can still be enjoyment to be found. And, if a game runs itself into the ground, there will always be other games to play. So really, toxicity only hurts the game itself, and it’s the developers who will be suffering the consequences. And to the DbD developers, you should really reconsider your stance on “effective gameplay”. Just about anything is a “strategy” and a “way to play”, but if we were playing tag and I pulled out a chainsaw to chop your legs off, there would be a clear line crossed. Strategies that take a player out of the game permanently, or ignore the other players, do more than change the game. They ruin it.

Published by Johvan Calvo

I am a nerdy gay Mexican with a passion for story telling. Trying to find my way in this world but I don't think there's such a thing as a "perfect fit".

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