How to Calculate the K/D Ratio

by Seth Amery ; Updated September 22, 2017

In many action games, you can turn to a certain number to gauge how well you've been playing: the kill/death ratio. This ratio tells you how many enemies you defeated for every time someone defeated you over your gameplay history; higher ratios suggest better gameplay while lower ones suggest a need for more practice.

Games That Use Kill/Death Ratios

Most commonly, you'll find first-person action shooters tallying the kills you've made and the number of times you've died in multiplayer games. For example, "Call of Duty" veterans will often tout a kill/death ratio as a measure for how well they've performed against other players online. Other series in which you'll find this number include the "Battlefield," "Medal of Honor" and "Halo" games.

Calculating a Kill/Death Ratio

Depending on the game you're playing, you might see one of two ratio formats: x.y or x:y. Both formats tell you how many kills you've made for each death you've incurred; if your kill/death ratio is 1.5, you have defeated 50 percent more people than the number of times your character has died. If it's written as 5:1, you've defeated five people for every death you've incurred. If the game doesn't do the math for you, check your kill and death counters; divide the deaths by the kills. As in the previous example, dividing a single death by five kills leaves you with a good ratio of 5.0.

Improving Your Kill/Death Ratio

As a general rule of thumb, getting at least one kill per death keeps your head above water at an even ratio of 1.0, but higher means you're dying less and defeating more people. Stick to cover when you're not actively shooting someone or sprinting to another cover area; leaving yourself exposed in open air, especially during the vulnerable stage of reloading, is a quick way to get shot and lose your streak. Be sure to reload as often as you can as well; while a real life gun would waste bullets doing this, you just need to worry about having a full magazine to unload on a heavily armored enemy.

About the Author

Seth Amery is a long-time writer whose specialties extend to all areas of video games, having written thousands of tutorials, fully-featured strategy guides and reviews across all platforms. His experience also includes one-on-one relationships with major gaming publishers to write previews on upcoming games, establish interviews with game designers and hold early game giveaways.