dev qa reveals how dead by daylights skill based matchmaking works featured image
Game: Dead by Daylight
Content Type: Gaming News
Date: October 8, 2021

Yesterday’s Q&A Livestream with the Dead by Daylight dev team gave us quite a bit of info on upcoming changes to the game, including nerfs to the soon-to-be-released Boon perks and possible modifications to the Prestige system. Additionally, Lead Game Designer Patrick Harris finally explained exactly how the newly implemented Skill Based Matchmaking System tracks player skill. Debates based on anecdotal evidence have been commonplace in online DBD communities since the SBMM was first turned on, so it was nice to get some concrete info — even if that info didn’t exactly make everyone happy.

As it turns out, the SBMM system is fairly simple: As a Survivor, if you escape the Trial, you win. If you are sacrificed, you lose. As Killer, each sacrifice counts as a win, while each escaped Survivor counts as a loss. How much these wins and losses affect your hidden skill rating apparently involves some “fancy math”, especially for Killer. Patrick explained that Survivors that die 2nd-4th have their losses counted not as a full loss, but reduced based on the order in which they died, with the final Survivor’s death counting the least.

Interestingly, escaping through the Hatch does not count as a win. Instead, the SBMM system treats a Hatch escape neutrally — neither a win nor a loss. Patrick said on the livestream that this is because Hatch escapes don’t seem to correlate statistically with skill. It was also revealed that SBMM ratings are not capped, although there is a soft cap in terms of how matchmaking works. Players with outlier MMR will have their skill rating rounded down to prevent them from never being able to get a game.

taking the hatch dbd q and a sbmm
It never did feel like a true victory

When asked about SBMM as a whole, Patrick stated that matches are much fairer with the new system, and also said that the granularity of information that they can now get from matches has improved their ability to balance the game. Assuming his claims about more matches being fair are true, this makes a lot of sense: if you have more balanced trials, you can make much more confident assessments about the performance of Items, Perks, and Killers.

To say the reactions on Reddit to learning how the SBMM system worked were negative would be an understatement. Players are not happy with the fact that someone can hide in a locker all game and get the same MMR increase as someone who did all the gens — or even worse, that a hiding player can earn themselves a win while someone who loops the Killer all game and is then camped to death gets a loss. These are fair concerns, and it certainly is a possibility that players will begin taking advantage of the SBMM system to win without helping their team.

sbmm q and a screen 1
After all I did for them…

However, if the system works as intended, players should find themselves escaping in half their matches, and being sacrificed in the other half. A player who hides all game and then escapes isn’t contributing to their team’s success, and it seems clear that a player who never does gens or never learns to loop will end up with a significantly lower SBMM rating than a player who actually helps their team win. The fact that MMR is hidden also means there isn’t really any motivation for players to intentionally game the system.

Matchmaking, especially in a game that sits awkwardly between casual and competitive, is unquestionably challenging. Only time will tell whether or not the system ends up improving the game, but it’s great to see the DBD devs being more transparent about their systems and their reasoning behind them.

There was a lot more besides SBMM covered in the Q&A, and Reddit user BenMQ created a fantastic summary — if you’re looking for more details on what else we learned from the DBD dev team yesterday, go check it out!

What do you think about the logic behind the Skill Based Matchmaking System? Have your DBD games felt better or worse since the system was implemented? Let us know in the comments!

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11 months ago

A date of publication would be nice.

11 months ago

I am somewhat new to the game, and I am suffering from the “Skill Based” matchmaking that has nothing to do with skill. At some point I sweared to never touch the game again from anger but my friend got me back and I am suffering again. One match as a killer I get people so bad so I get a 4k, the next game I am being tea bagged and trolled as I am helpless against such good and experienced players. As a survivor sometimes I get teammates who literally hide in a bush in the corner of the map because they are injured and haven’t been hooked once, and others who would leave me to reach 2nd phase on the hook when they are just on generators and I am completely safe to unhook or just leave me die from the first hook. Othertimes I get teammates looping till the gates are powered and not even getting hit once. Also I get killers who make me question if it is even worth trying to escape from a chase or even just loop and they make me rage quit fairly often, other times I get killers missing basic attacks at 1 meter range and trying to hit me from across a dropped pallet. I don’t enjoy neither too hard nor too easy matches as well. I try to take the matchmaking problem as an incentive to become the best player I can be but the fraustration and feeling of incapacitation is erasing the point of even playing the game to have a good time.

9 months ago

I am having an issue that still hasn’t been fixed and hoping for a solution. When i am repairing a generator or healing and i correct a skill check it counts as a miss and loses my progress.

7 months ago

The matchmaking is more fair for survivors than it is for killers. I think the biggest reason for this is because on the survivor side you always have help, it is a 4v1 after all. If you’re not good at something, there is a good chance your teammates WILL be good at it. Meanwhile the killer has only themselves, they don’t get help from anything and there is a high probability that you will get placed against at the very least 1 survivor that is FAAAR above your skill level. I personally preferred the previous ranking system at least for killer, because at least with that I knew going in that I was going to face weaker players around my killer level.

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