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DBD used to be fun but everyone plays it too seriously now

For months, Dead by Daylight hasn't been fun to play, and the latest Twisted Masquerade event is only making the horror game more miserable.

I love Dead by Daylight, I really do. As someone who generally loathes multiplayer games, and considers gaming a solitary pastime, you can imagine my continued surprise at just how enjoyable DBD has been for all these years. I expect my love affair with DBD will keep going, but lately my heart has been battered, bruised, and gradually hardened into a calcified lump. In recent months Dead by Daylight seems to have lost the fun and I’m not sure how – or if – it can be brought back.

These aren’t the mad ramblings of a rogue, especially bitter DBD anti-fan – a casual glance at any platform where Dead by Daylight players congregate will present similar criticisms. Yes, the DBD community has a track record of complaining loudly about the asymmetrical multiplayer game. But just like the game itself, the complaints have recently taken a different tone.

It all centers around fun. At its core, Dead by Daylight is incredibly fun. Yes it’s a competitive game where four players attempt to outrun a serial killer and escape from a nightmarish map inspired by humanity’s darkest and innermost fears, but it’s also full of little moments of joy and laughter. The killers do odd, unexpected things. They host impromptu first aid spray parties. They bust out a moonwalk. They deploy butt slaps, nodders, and more. For a game where the systems seemingly allow for very little human expression, it’s wonderfully easy in DBD to make other players smile and laugh. In my time playing I’ve encountered tons of kind killers or funny survivors.

Bill from Left 4 Dead stands in full Twisted Masquerade regalia.

But that mostly seems to have gone. The bad vibes started around the introduction of Chucky, the diminutive killer from the Child’s Play series. I can’t tell you exactly why – maybe it’s the insults that he utters every time he picks you up, which are less funny and more jarring – but the tone of the game began to sour then and it has yet to recover. It’s not been a smooth slalom to the bottom – events like Chaos Shuffle managed to rally the community for a little bit – but every passing month seems to make the game a little rougher to play.

All of this has culminated in the current event. The Twisted Masquerade occurs each year and it’s normally a riotous affair. This is a brilliant way to earn bloodpoints, with specific offerings that stack if everyone in a match brings them together to boost earnings.

In previous years it always felt like the event was a chance for the community to let its hair down. We would earn points, farm stuff, and most of us would pitch in just to enjoy the party. It’s a lighter time for the game, a contrasting period that makes the darker, more horror-filled months stand out with greater starkness.

The Twisted Masquerade lobby in Dead by Daylight 2024.

This year, however, it’s all gone awry. Survivors are trying their hardest to bully killers while killers try their hardest to take down survivors. Part of this comes down to the anniversary event itself. Killers who pick up a party invitation in a match can send a survivor to a hook without having to carry them there.

This reduces the chances for survivors to rally around their doomed friend. Flashlight saves are almost impossible to execute and you can’t sabotage hooks to any meaningful effect. In practice, it’s simpler now to just down survivors and hook them, incentivizing killers to, well, kill, and thus turning what’s previously been a fun, light event into something far more intense. There’s a party going on but nobody’s invited.

At a time when many players just want to relax, earn some points, and level up characters they don’t normally play, it feels like every match is a true competitive battle. The kind of wacky hijinks seen in previous Twisted Masquerades have almost disappeared, as any survivor or killer not acting optimally is swiftly punished.

As it is, Dead by Daylight risks becoming something very different from what previously made it great. There have always been sweaty squads of survivors and killers who slay with an almost rude efficiency, but these kinds of matches were punctuated with joy, levity, and even kindness. Now it feels like there’s little room for anything else other than trying your hardest at all times. Frankly, it’s not fun any more.

It’s a shame because Dead by Daylight has often managed to straddle the line between horror, competitiveness, and comedy. It’s a tricky balancing act to pull off but the game has done it – and done it for years. Can Dead by Daylight reclaim its soul again? I’m certain it’s possible, but a course correction is definitely needed before the game’s tone is irrevocably harmed and players looking for a lighter time are permanently driven off.

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Dead by Daylight’s Twisted Masquerade event runs until Thursday, July 4 and you can get the full details here.

If you want to get a leg-up on your adventures in the fog, why not check out all the current DBD codes for a little extra for free, or take a look at our DBD killer tier list to learn who to play as – or avoid.

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