Dead by Daylight Guide: Tips and Thoughts

I didn’t expect myself to like Dead by Daylight as much as I did. I have spent over 100 hours playing it because I was drawn to how competitive it can get. My Dead by Daylight guide includes tips for the rank system, survivor/killer gameplay, perks, and my thoughts on the game. (I play on Xbox One).

Dead by Daylight consists of four survivors working together against a single killer. The objective of the survivors is to repair five generators spread out throughout the map. Once the generators are powered on they must find an exit gate to power on and finally escape. The objective of the killer is to hunt down each survivor and put them on one of many hooks throughout the map. This is known as the “Sacrifice Process”. 

Customization & DLC

Most characters are locked from the start, requiring Dead by Daylight’s in-game currencies “iridescent shards” and “auric cells” to buy them. Iridescent shards can be earned by progressing your general rank through the game. The only good way to earn them is by trading your time playing. Not to mention, it’s massively time consuming to buy a single locked character (9,000 shards) or a premium skin (up to 21,000 shards). 

Auric Cells, on the other hand, are the way to go if you have money to spend and assuming you don’t have an issue with microtransactions. Auric cells can only be bought with real money (e.g., 2250 auric cells for $19.99 on Microsoft’s store). 

I’m usually against microtransactions but it is somewhat justified because of the licensed characters Dead by Daylight offers from popular movies and shows such as Stranger Things, Halloween, Texas Chainsaw Massacre etc.

Most of the skins are really cool, but be prepared to spend $20 for a few premium ones.

Changing Factors

Having a set plan in Dead by Daylight is proven to be difficult because of how much changes from each match. When starting out, the game makes you feel uneasy and confused to replicate a sense of terror and suspense while being hunted. As a killer you’re challenged to use mind games and tracking abilities to put constant pressure on desperate survivors. A variety of factors keep you on your toes such as:

  • 14 different realms to play in
  • Different variations of most realms (change in map layouts)
  • Changing structures, hatch, and generator locations
  • 21 survivors
  • 14 killers
  • 146 survivor perks
  • 66 killer perks
  • Many items, add-ons, and offerings for use

An unlimited combination of these factors provides you with a new experience that changes with each match. Most factors being unknown to you until the game begins such as the map and the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent, will surely throw a wrench in any plan you had waiting for a game.

Ranking System

Dead by Daylight surprisingly does a great job of keeping the game fresh with no story mode and one multiplayer matchmaking mode. It has multiple ranking systems that make it worth countless hours of grinding. 

Specific Character Level

Rank up specific characters by playing ranked games and taking advantage of daily challenges and trackable challenges that you can choose to gain “Bloodpoints”. Bloodpoints are used to level up whichever characters you use for both survivors and killers. Each level is equipped with a bundle of item add-ons, offerings, and most importantly perks. Once you level up that specific character to level 35, 40, and 45, their specific perks become teachable. Teachable perks can be equipped by other characters for unique perk combinations.

bloodweb buying perks, items, add-ons, offerings
Spending Bloodpoints in Feng Min’s Bloodweb

Survivor/Killer Rank

Dead by Daylight also includes a skill based ranking system that starts at level 20 (for both survivor and killer rank). The highest level you can achieve here for a season is level 1 and colored in red. Rank is determined by how many “pips” you get in each game.

Points are rewarded at the end of the game for these four categories based on your performance as a survivor:

  • Lightbringer (Objective): Cleansing totems, opening exit gates, generator repairs, and being chased while others repair generators
  • Unbroken (Survival): Escaping the trial without being downed
  • Benevolent (Altruism): Remaining unhooked, safely unhooking other survivors, healing teammates, taking a hit while a teammate is being carried, and helping a teammate wiggle free while being carried by a killer
  • Evader (Boldness): Remaining undetected while the killer is in close proximity, escaping a chase, and dropping a pallet to stun the killer

You also have these four categories based on your performance as a killer:

  • Gatekeeper (Deviousness): Points are given for time that generators are incomplete
  • Devout (Sacrifice): Eliminating Survivors
  • Malicious (Brutality): Hurting, interrupting, downing, and hooking survivors
  • Chaser (Hunting): Chasing survivors and winning that chase with a hit

You will be given an emblem for each category including none (the worst), bronze, silver, gold, or red (the best). 

Survivor Post Game Performance

General Player Level

A general level strictly for time played and experience points. This level ties survivor and killer experience together and gives players a level from 1 to 100 (I know… complicated at first). Iridescent shards are awarded each time players level up.

Quick Survival Tips

  • Sprinting leaves temporary scratch marks that killers will track you with
  • “Terror Radius” is your heartbeat that gets louder/faster when the killer is close by
  • Hide in lockers for a quick hiding spot typically near generators
  • Holding down the sprint button while entering lockers, vaulting windows/pallets will give the killer a visual cue of your location
  • Skill checks will pop up randomly when repairing/healing and if failed will alert the killer
  • Skill checks look like a needle moving clockwise in a dial – stop the needle in the highlighted area 
  • If you die during the trial, you will lose any equipped items
  • Use a well timed pallet drop to stun in the killer in a chase
  • Cleansing totems can weaken a killer depending on their loadout
  • Plan ahead and space out completed generator locations 

Survivor Overview

As you queue up in matchmaking as a survivor a haunting acoustic guitar riff plays in the waiting lobby giving me a sense of hopelessness before I fight for my survival. 

Evasive Perks

I started with survivor Nea Karlson because of her evasive maneuvers. Specific perks for Nea include Balanced Landing and Urban Evasion. Balanced Landing gives you the ability to drop from a fall and get a three second sprint burst cooling down after one minute. Urban Evasion offers a faster moving crouch speed. You can quickly wrap around trees and boulders using the turbo crouch and preventing yourself from a chase.

When creating space from a killer in a chase, Dance With Me comes in handy, which disables scratch marks for a few seconds after vaulting an object. If I’m out of sight, it forces the killer to guess which way I went rather than using visual tracks. Stealth and evasion will always be my favorite playing style because of my love for the Metal Gear Solid franchise and it’s sneaky mechanics. 

Tracking/Support Perks

I consider Spine Chill essential and still haven’t taken it off since I discovered it. This perk will alert me when the killer is walking in my direction and in most cases before my terror radius is going off.

If I’m working on a generator, this buys me a few extra seconds to crouch into a hiding spot, thinking about my next move while killers inspect the generator. Some other notable tracking perks can be used including Dark Sense, which highlights the killer for a few seconds after a generator is completed, and Kindred that reveals everybody in the game for a short period of time when a survivor is hooked.

Altruistic Perks

If you would like to go with a more altruistic build, try equipping a med-kit for faster healing and using some of my favorite perks like Borrowed Time or We’ll Make It. Borrowed Time is a Bill Overbeck perk used by daring players who have no problem putting others before themselves. When unhooking a survivor within the killer’s terror radius, the Borrowed Time effect applies to the rescued person allowing them to absorb an extra hit that would normally put them down again for 20 seconds (Tier 3 version of the perk). 

Some killers may hook a survivor and camp there waiting for teammates to come in for the rescue. This spoils most of the game and makes it anti-climatic. There’s no chase if you’re repairing generators and nobody wants to sit on a hook with no hope of surviving. This is where Borrowed Time can come in handy for a thrilling save.

We’ll Make It will reward a player for unhooking a survivor. After unhooking a teammate, healing speed is much faster for up to 90 seconds, letting you rack up Benevolent points quickly as you chase that red emblem. 

Objective Perks

I do my best to waste absolutely no time in a match, so I wanted to use an objective based perk to boost my efficiency. Look for Dwight Fairfield, who I leveled up just to make Prove Thyself teachable to all my characters that boosts generator repair speed up to 15% when working cooperatively. Equip a toolbox for your item slot to boost repair speed temporarily.

If you would like to relentlessly work on generators, you will occasionally have to do so when injured. Look for perks like Iron Will, Resilience, and Dead Hard that activate when hurt so you can remain efficient while you work.

Bold Perks

Some days when I play, I just want to be bold and look for trouble early in matches. If you live for the thrill of being chased and being a distraction, consider some of these bold perks to use.

Sprint Burst gives you 150% running speed for 3 seconds (Tier 3 is a 40 second exhausted cooldown) that comes in handy when the killer is closing distance on you. Decisive Strike gives you the ability to stab the killer thus freeing yourself from the killer’s grasp after being unhooked. Take a flashlight with you to blind the killer and force them to drop a carried teammate on their shoulder. It’s a pretty difficult tactic, but plenty of boldness points will be awarded.

Killer Tips

  • Keep an eye out for bothered crows that give away survivor locations
  • Keep an eye out for an escape hatch on the floor that you can close later in the trial
  • Listen for generators that get noisier when repair progression is made
  • Listen for nearby injured survivors that cry in pain and look for blood trails
  • If you use hex perks, protect your hex totems
  • Prioritize your middle generators to make your patrol easier 
  • If you’re using too much time looping one survivor move on
  • When carrying a survivor, pay attention to others with a toolbox that may sabotage the hook near you
  • If you hook somebody, move on, you will lose time and points for camping

Killer Overview

Queuing up as a killer immediately turns the tides from survivor to killer as a badass metal riff plays fueling your motivation to hunt down others. Killers feel true power with the ability to dictate the pace of the game. Every killer is vastly unique from each other that includes different base moving speeds, weapons, aggression, and abilities.

It’s difficult to stick to one killer when Dead by Daylight offers popular, yet infamous characters like Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Scream, and several others. Even original game characters like Hillbilly, Nurse, and The Hag are well crafted with sweet abilities and horrific design. 

Nurse Loadout Screen

Trap Killers

I kicked off my journey as a predator playing as a trap character; The Hag uses set traps on the ground that activate a clone to pop up and jump scare the survivors who step on them. If Hag is in close enough distance she can teleport to the triggered trap location and quickly close in for a strike. Alternatively you can use The Trapper, who sets bear traps to primarily take down victims.

Both characters could use traps to cut off loops while creating pressure around hooks and generators. Trap killers require patience and clever trap placements to dominate. I like using Ruin for trappers, which accelerates generator repair regression when they aren’t being worked on.

Sneaky Killers

If you prefer to take a sneaky approach to hunting, check out The Shape (Michael Myers), The Pig, The Ghostface (Scream), and The Wraith to stalk and jump-scare survivors. Scream and Myers build up power by stalking survivors and gain one shot down capabilities. You can take stalking one step further with both Scream and Pig by crouching to remain undetected. The Wraith has his own unique cloaking ability which is most useful to sneak up and interrupt survivors working on generators or healing teammates.

Take a look at perks like Discordance that highlights generators when two or more survivors are repairing, or Nurse’s Calling that highlights survivors who are healing each other to cause disruption with stealth.

Ranged Killers

Having trouble closing out a chase while other pesky survivors have you in a loop? A ranged killer could be perfect for your playstyle. The Deathslinger carries a speargun that could shoot up to distances of 18 meters. He reels victims impaled with a chain and goes in for the melee applying a Deep Wound effect (gives survivors a bleed out timer until mended). 

The Huntress prefers throwing hatchets for her weapon of choice. She starts the trial with 5 hatchets and can refill them at lockers. 

The Plague doesn’t use weapons, but attacks survivors with Vile Purge; a vomit with range up to 13 meters that infects them. Vile Purge can be upgraded to Corrupt Purge, which will injure them when hit.

 I suggest perks like Monitor & Abuse that reduces killer terror radius before a chase, as well as increasing first person field of view. Corrupt Intervention will block the three generators furthest from you at the start of the trial for up to 120 seconds. Cutting down the size of the map will force survivors to play into your range making it difficult to dodge your distant attacks. 

Rush-down Killers

If you’re anything like myself as a gamer, you love speed and mobility. Rush-down characters like The Nurse, The Oni, and Hillbilly can patrol distant generators, close out chases, and can apply tremendous pressure quickly in trials if used correctly.

Nurse is a challenging character to use on console compared to PC, but can “blink” (teleport) through obstacles and surprise attack survivors. To offset Nurse’s strong teleportation ability, she has a slow base movement speed and gets fatigued after using blink. Mastering blink is key, and without proper skill, fatigue will allow survivors to slip out of your view. 

The Oni feeds his true power off injured survivors. Oni has both an intimidating and large appearance, using a long blade for weapon. Blood obs are absorbed to activate the Blood Fury ability, enhancing movement speed to nearly 200%. Blood Fury increases Oni’s lunge attack range, and could even down those who cross his path in a single blow.

Hillbilly uses a chainsaw that charges up after a few seconds with unlimited use. The chainsaw ability gives him a staggering 230% movement speed as he dashes across the map in linear fashion. Similar to Oni, his chainsaw downs opponents in one shot. Mastering the chainsaw also takes practice, because bumping into objects will take Hillbilly a few seconds to recover. Alternatively, he uses a hammer for a basic attack to chase survivors around tight corners. 

Rush-down characters could use a variety of perks, but a popular choice is BBQ & Chilli that highlights all distant opponents for 4 seconds after hooking a survivor. Make Your Choice makes a survivor vulnerable to a one shot down, when they rescue a teammate from a hook far from you.


Like most games with a tight-knit community, Dead by Daylight gets a fair share of complaints about flaws. Passionate people complain about imbalance, meta load-outs, and exploits caused by opponent behavior.

Personally, I’d choose to improve gameplay mechanics (on console at least). In a game where precision is essential, I would love to see small tweaks that make movement, striking, and rushed actions run smoother. An inconsistent hit-box may cause killers to strike a surface when a survivor is hugging close to the environment. On the flip side, survivors may get struck after clearing a window vault in a close chase. Although incorporating first person and third person camera views works, they do conflict and cause striking uncertainties occasionally.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I could easily get by any flaw Dead by Daylight has. The tension on both sides while playing followed by immediate relief, seemingly never gets old. Getting a full experience requires the player to try out new characters and explore their unique perks and abilities. I appreciate Behaviour Interactive’s effort to keep Dead by Daylight alive and well after almost four years later. New content and chapters continue to expand the already fantastic customization.

I left out plenty of survivors, killers, perks etc., to leave it up to your own discovery. Even with around 100 hours played in the Dead by Daylight, I have yet to use a majority of in game content. It’s the main reason I continue to replay the game.

Only experience helps you learn about your opponent and how to make educated guesses on how to counter them. Putting in hours will reflect your skill and make you stand out as a seasoned veteran. You can give Dead by Daylight a shot on PC, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Mobile. See for yourself how you like it.

I hope you liked my Dead by Daylight guide and embrace the terror,


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