If you’ve been following the blog for some time now you may remember a few posts I did discussing the length of games. How long or short a game is can be very important to the overall experience. You can have an amazing game with some great game play but if that game lasts way too long you’re going to get tired of it and eventually just have a sour taste in your mouth from the whole thing. On the flip side, if a game is too short despite how much fun it is you can be left wanting more and feeling extremely unsatisfied. You need to find the length that works best for the kind of game you are making. During these discussions though there was another kind of game length that I didn’t bring up, and that’s the kind of game that isn’t really suppose to end at all! At least not in the traditional sense. Originally I didn’t want to discuss these kinds of games because I didn’t have much experience with them personally. Recently though, I have gotten rather addicted to one of these kinds of games so I’m feeling a bit more qualified to talk about them. So let’s do just that! Let’s discuss what can make these kinds of games fun and how I finally got hooked on one.
Now before you ask, yes, I am talking about live service games. Games that are meant to be more of an investment in both time and money. However, I don’t really want to use this term so much here, mainly because the term is often considered to be a negative thing. Which, admittedly, is very fair! There are far more live service failures than successes. A lot of times when a company announces they are making a live service game it generally means they are going to launch a half baked product that is not worth the price and then expect you to pay more as they add in things that should have been there at launch. Because of this, people understandably have a bad feeling whenever a live service game is brought up. I know I certainly feel that way even now! But live service game doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Sometimes the model just works best for a game. The problem mainly stems from publishers seeing a success in the genre and thinking they can basically get free money by doing the same, not realizing why certain live service games are successful in the first place. Luckily, this has calm down a little in recent years, mostly due to the fact that there have been so many massive failures that it’s scaring off some publishers.
Currently, the genre of live service games is mostly dominated by MMO and Battle Royal style games. And this makes sense! Both are built on foundations that are ripe for more content. In fact, MMOs have been doing this since basically they were created. Introducing expansion after expansion to keep players playing and to bring back anyone that may have dropped the game before. This constant stream of content is what makes it so these kinds of games never truly end.
The other big part about these kind of games is the fact that they all tend to be multiplayer focused. This is how they keep from getting stale. You may always be playing the same game technically, but that human element makes sure that each time has the chance of being different. And this is normally where these kinds of games lose me. While I certainly don’t have a problem with multiplayer games, I do tend to stick to single player games for the most part. Normally this is because multiplayer focused games tend to be more fun when you have people you can easily work with, and jumping into a game with a bunch of random people doesn’t usually lead to the best cooperation… And while I do have friends to play with, getting a big group together can be a struggle. Not only that, the competitive nature of a lot of these multiplayer games isn’t really what I’m interested in, especially when it comes to shooters! I’m not ashamed to admit I have terrible aim in games. I’m always very twitchy and struggle to keep on a target. So, I often end up playing support when it comes to these kinds of games. Which can be fun, but that also means there’s lots of pressure on me as well. And having that pressure on me for so long always lead to me dropping games like these.
All of these things, having to interact with strangers constantly, the pressure of playing support in a competitive game, and not being the best at shooting, led to me never really getting into any game that is never meant to end. That is until I decided to try a game called Dead by Daylight.
Now, if you listened to the first episode of the Games for Thought podcast, which I’d be honored if you checked out, you probably heard that I am absolutely addicted to Dead by Daylight, or DBD for short. I have never in my life been so invested in a game like this before. In just a little under a month I managed to put in over 200 hours into the game. And I am still not bored of it in the slightest! This mainly stems from the fact that the game has so many things that feel tailor made for me to enjoy. It’s a horror multiplayer game that has crossovers with some of my favorite horror series after all! Not only that, it plays very differently from other competitive games I’ve tried.
If you’re unfamiliar with the game, I’ll explain a little about it! Dead by Daylight is an asymmetrical multiplayer game. Meaning that the teams aren’t equal in terms of the number of players on each. How it works is that there are four survivors trying to repair generators around a map and escape while one killer chases after them trying to put them on hooks to sacrifice them. Playing as the killer is completely different from playing as a survivor and vise versa. While a lot of people pick to only play as one or the other, I personally like to play as both! Given the fact that both offer a completely different experience makes the game that much more unique and keeps things from getting boring. Originally though, I mainly stuck to playing survivor.
As I was saying before, I tend to gravitate towards support roles in other competitive games, and that is exactly what playing survivor is all about! It is extremely difficult to survive on your own so working as a team is a must for survivors. Making sure to heal each other, getting people off hooks, and trying to outwit the killer together while also working on generators requires cooperation between the survivors, but luckily not enough that you need to actually talk with them. There is no in game chat in DBD, so if you’re not on a Discord call with your team you’re not going to be able to talk. Because of this, survivors have to figure out how to communicate and work together without saying a word, something that works surprisingly well. By limiting communication options, it forces people to work together. That and it really is basically impossible to survive on your own. Having the game work like this meant that I was always able to jump into a game without having to worry too much about my teammates like I do in other games. And since I felt so comfortable playing on my own, I was always ready for another match!
This mentality of being able to jump right into another game obviously applies to playing as the killer as well. However, unlike with playing survivor, I feel like there is much more variety when it comes to playing killer! While each of the survivors have their own unique perks, you can still share each of them between each survivor which does limit how different playing another survivor feels. Killers on the other hand all have their own unique powers, completely changing how you play them. The plan of chasing survivors and putting them on hooks is always the same between each killer but how you go about it is different. So while I feel everyone has their own favorite killer to play as, it’s always nice to change things up and try a new one from time to time. I tend to bounce between three different killers myself! Sadako, The Spirit, and Pyramid Head. While I’d say Pyramid Head is probably my favorite, it’s always nice to play some as Sadako or the Spirit to spice things up every couple of matches.
It’s this mix of asymmetrical game play combined with how different it feels to play survivor compared to killer that really got me into Dead by Daylight and always coming back for more. And the developers, Behavior Interactive, do a great job of keeping players coming back! They mainly do this by adding new killers and survivors to the mix every few months. Right now, in fact, they are getting ready to release the new killer the Knight. Who is shaping up to be a very different kind of killer! Really looking forward to that.
Taking a step back, I’m still amazed that I’m so invested in this kind of game. Multiplayer focused games like this normally aren’t what I’m into unless I’m playing with friends, but Dead by Daylight managed to suck me in and keep me hooked! It helped me realize why people love these kinds of never ending games so much. DBD has almost become a kind of comfort food for me, it’s something I know I can always come back to and play and have a good time! Even if it’s only for a couple of matches. Originally I thought that these kinds of games just weren’t for me, but that wasn’t true at all. In the end I just needed to find the right one. I’ve tried plenty of never ending games in the past. Games like Final Fantasy XIV, Destiny, and Overwatch but I just couldn’t get into any of them like this. I assumed it was just the multiplayer focus that wasn’t for me but now I can see just how wrong I was! I also couldn’t understand how people didn’t get tired of playing these kinds of games over and over again. I didn’t realize how much of a factor the multiplayer element contributed to it. That and having a developer that is very committed to improving and changing the game as things go on. From what I’ve seen, a lot has changed from the early days of Dead by Daylight. It’s still very much the same core game, but more has certainly been added on top of all that!
So to end things off, I’d just like to say that if you’re like me and feel like these kinds of games that have no end aren’t for you, never give up trying them despite how you feel! Luckily, a lot of games like this are either free to play, have a trial period, or do free weekends so if you don’t feel like committing to buying one just to try it, make sure to keep an eye out and you’ll find a chance to play one you’re interested in eventually! You never know what might happen, you may find a new addiction and get completely hooked like me.
But those are just my thoughts! What are some of yours? Is there a never ending game you enjoy? Are you thinking about giving one a try after this? I’d love to hear your thoughts so don’t be shy!
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