Why the MMR Update is Huge for DBD
Dead by Daylight’s recent update on the way players are matched up with each other is the biggest in the game’s history. Players of old might hold the opinion that the pallet vacuums and spawns are a bigger deal, or that the Decisive Strike nerf alone held more weight than an MMR addition to the game. But I’m here to convince you otherwise, and argue for the MMR change as something that’s going to become more and more important as time goes on.
For starters, we need to acknowledge something important for this conversation: DBD isn’t a well balanced game. In fact, it's a rather poorly balanced game who’s developers have such a hard time coming up with mechanics to even the playing field between killers and survivors that the community, in a somewhat naively acquired habit, tend to declare that the game is ‘impossible to balance’ in nature and not because of the inept jobs the developers have thus far taken part in. Basically, the game is incredibly imbalanced, and a large part of the community thinks this is an inherent part of a 1v4 game, which isn’t a very well thought out position to hold, but is what they believe all the same. So why does this matter? Well, this matters because the only way the developers can accurately assess what is considered balanced or not is by determining what is being used in winning games more often than not. This can be easily visualized by thinking of the most efficient theoretical professional DBD teams and what tools they would use. Nurses and Spirits would run rampant, Mori’s and keys would be must-haves, and perks like DS and unbreakable would never disappear from sight.
Knowing this, it isn’t hard to see why the developers have been up a creek without a paddle during DBD’s lifespan. The only method of determining what’s truly strong they had access to is by seeing what the pip-rates were of players using certain items, perks, or killers. Given the fact that pipping (and therefore rank) means nothing of value when it comes to how skilled a player is, it becomes evident that these tools didn’t allow for accurate buffs and nerfs to the respective parts of the game that needed them.
Enter MMR. A system that can check for a player’s skill and accurately place him or her into a match with players of a similar skill level, at least in theory. Now, it's been pretty obvious to me that the MMR system isn’t working effectively at all. Either it's taking its sweet time to calibrate players into their proper skill bracket or it's just plain bad. But this is besides the point. The fact that BHVR has a system that can calculate the skill level of its players is the first step into making the game a properly balanced one. Even if that system is bad. Why? Because changes can be made to its algorithms (whether that’s making it simpler or more complicated) to improve upon its accuracy, which means the efficacy of balancing the game’s also improves. I go into detail about this specific philosophy in game design in an article I wrote some months ago, I’ll link to that right here if you care about why having these systems in place matter:
but to summarize; The developers need all the help they can get, and a system that can check for a player’s skill that doesn’t revolve around ‘gaming’ the system is absolutely a tool they need in their corner. BHVR is unimpressive when it comes to understanding high MMR (and low MMR, to be honest) game design, so anything that aids in their balancing is a plus. If the system itself is poor, it can always be improved upon, so any groundwork is good groundwork at this point. And, with time, the benefits reaped by the players for this kind of investment over the long term will compile into a greater game than DBD ever could have hoped to be previously, making the MMR system, even in its current state, the most important update to ever be implemented in its life. GLHF, -E