First the simple ways the game motivates players to do anything: you score points. You score points when you manage to find another player, and you score altruism points when you work together, when you heal someone or when you rescue them from a hook. But that is not all.
Staying together ups your chances of survival. When the Killer finds you and you all dash away, he can only catch one of you, the others are off the hook, pun intended. Baiting and trying to confuse the Killer is an effective tactic to give your fellow players more time to get away. Putting yourself in danger for them will not only result in points scored, but will also make them feel morally obliged to come rescue them when you’re in trouble.
This game really plays with your head, the sound effects are designed to make the Survivors freak out, and the visuals are designed to draw your attention to certain parts of the game. When a Survivor is rendered helpless and dying, the game makes sure the other players can see where it is, they can clearly hear the Survivor crying in pain, screaming for help, another way the game motivates players to help each other out. Clear red and yellow lights on your screen make it almost impossible to ignore the fact that another player is in trouble.
I think this is important to note for us larp writers: when a player is in need of help from other players, all you need to do is make the other players aware of it. Make it easy for them to find the victim, draw their attention and make it hard to ignore, and soon someone will mount some kind of rescue, no matter how desperate.
The way the game motivates players to heal each other is also novel, imho. You see, a wounded Survivor whimpers. Constantly. It’s not just an annoying sound, it’s also a sound that will alert the Killer to your location. Wounded Survivors are a liability and healing them as soon as possible is in your own best interest.
And then there’s that other surefire way that other games (like for example Guildwars 2) had already discovered to get players to heal each other: everyone can do it and it only costs time. Give out points for healing others and pretty soon your players will be getting wounded just so that others can heal them and get those points. Why do we in larps often limit the power to heal people to only a few players? What could be the advantages of giving every player the ability to heal, as long as it costs time?
How else does Dead by Daylight motivate players to work together? Almost everything a Survivor can do to get out of the match alive, repair generators, heal and save other Survivors, goes faster when two players do it together, and even faster still when more players help.
Now speed is perhaps not the reward a larp should give its players, but the principle remains: when players do something, cooperation should give them an advantage over doing it alone. It doesn’t even need to be impossible to do alone, as long as the advantage of doing it together is interesting enough. Speed and silence are of the essence in Dead by Daylight, but larps probably need to invent other advantages. Make a spell more powerful when two players cast it together? Make it cost less mana? I’m sure we can think of something.
I’m looking forward to your comments.