Last week I spoke with Broken Tynado, server owner of the Killer Instinct Discord. Today we have a collection of survey responses from various users of the Discord, showing the various feelings about the game now that dev support has ended. There are lots of interesting dichotomies in regards to the offline tournament scene.
1.) How did you get into Killer Instinct?
“I got into it after the PC release, but I followed it casually since launch.”
“The time season 1 was free on XBL Gold. I really dug the characters and decided to buy S2 for 20$ and Killer Instinct: Definitive Edition when it dropped.”
“From the E3 announcement. I was watching it live and immediately fell in love with the game.”
“Was hoping the local arcade would get Bloodstorm, they got Killer Instinct instead.”
“Saw it at EVO in 2014; The character designs in it are really cool & the gameplay was faster than Street Fighter 4 without being anime (Guilty Gear, Blaz Blue) level fast.”
2.) What made you decide to take the game seriously?
“So, I was losing a lot in ranked and I decided to search online for ways to level up. The 2 main things that leveled me up were Infilament’s KI Guide, his streams, and the r/ki discord.”
“I started just playing and trying to improve, but I had reached a point in which improvement would mean to start competing. So I started playing in tournaments.”
“I had recently learned about real tournaments via trying to learn Smash Bros. Once I got Killer Instinct and started playing I knew I wanted to be one of those guys that played for real.”
“I continued to play throughout 2014. I almost never play a game being a few months. I think I just hit a point where I figured I’ve gone this far, I may see how much further I can go.”
“I never had a local scene to play with during season 1 and 2. During season 3 when it came to PC I decided to build a computer and met the community through that.”
3.) What was your favorite season? Why?
“I think season 1 had the best characters. Season 2 had the buzz and community. Season 3 had refined mechanics and a great feel to the game, but I liked the season 3 characters the least. I would say the very beginning of season 3 was my favorite, had the tuned mechanics but without some of the cheap characters that followed.”
“I never had a favorite season. I look at the overall game on how it is now. The past is the past. Move towards the future & keep KI alive.”
Every other answer to the survey stated Season 3 as their favorite, with a majority of users citing the PC Windows 10 release being the reason they started playing the game.
4.) Do you go to offline tournaments? If so, how often?
“A couple times a year, but for KI my first time was this month.”
“Yes, albeit rarely. I went to Defend the North in 2017 and I’m going to the 2nd Killer Classic today.”
“Being in the UK, offline Killer Instinct tournaments are rare so I have only had the opportunity to go once.”
“I’ve only been to two, but I plan on going to a lot in the future!”
“Yes; there’s no local scene for me, and I probably hit 4 majors a year.”
5.) Do you think online tournaments are better or worse than offline events?
“Online tournaments are in a better shape than offlines. Right now offlines are kind of in a slump and online are ‘adequate’ but I believe that could change.”
“For KI they are better. Considering this game’s netcode quality in combination with its smaller community. Online is a way better environment for growing the game as all its community stops being divided by countries or regions. It is the only way someone from Brazil, for example, can actually compete and improve against global high level players.”
“I feel like they are about the same. Online adds ease of accessibility so you get more varied people. Offline you get to really interact and learn from other players.”
“Worse, even though I own PCK (Pharroh’s Combo Killers) & run a lot of my stuff online it only goes so far to help others in the community or to keep the community going. It comes nowhere near offlines for multiple reasons. Playing face to face is way different then online, the crowd behind you going off, being on stream offline for thousands to see. Meeting people you would never meet unless you came out to some of the events. It’s truly a great experience to go to offlines.”
“Online events are only a good thing if the offline scene is just as active. I see online tournaments as a “last resort” type of situation.”
6.) For modern fighting games it seems that once dev support ends, support from investment companies, tournament organizers, and even the players can come to a halt. How do you like to continue to support Killer Instinct? What do you think is something that others aren’t doing that would help?
“Since it’s a game with good online play, having online tournaments and events is definitely the best way to keep the support going. Other than that, people need to show up for offline events more often. Even if they go for other games, just sign up for KI and have some fun with it.”
“The community needs to be unified, ignorant commentary and memes aren’t helpful either.”
“I continually play it. But I feel I don’t do enough for me to be considered sustaining it. A thing that kinda sucks is that KI’s most popular streamers vocally dislike the game and that doesn’t help it right now.”
“Make YouTube content, play the game, help newcomers, find out new tech. Stop complaining about the game.”
“The Killer Instinct community drives each other away way too much. People who should be community leaders have made some real damage with how they talk about the game and its players. See Bass’ stream as an example; he complains a ton about minor things such as the active time of shadow counters or how counter breakers don’t work (although they do) and in general bashing season 3, its players and its playstyles. The community is full of people who do this because influential streamers and competitors act like such. To have this game grow, we need to change this aspect of the community.”
“Organizing events if and when possible. The only way to truly show support for a game is to get entrants and new blood playing constantly regardless of dev/tournament organizer support. The main thing others aren’t doing is supporting local and offline events. It’s why the game seems to be as dead as it is despite having a very active online user base.”
7.) Do you like where the game has ended balance wise?
“Yeah, I think it’s a game where any character is viable in both competitive and casual play, some are obviously better than others, and there are a few things I’d tweak, but I think it’s in a good spot.”
“Despite a couple of changes I don’t agree with (Jago Windkick nerfs) the game is as evenly balanced as it has truly ever been. This is one of the only games I know that can have such a crazy amount of characters for top 32/16/8.”
Other answers were a simple “Yes.”
8.) For a lot of people KI is their first fighting game, or at least the first one they take seriously. Coming from that community, how do you view the overall Fighting Game Community? If it’s not your first exposure to the FGC, how do you view KI in relation to the rest of the FGC?
“I love the FGC but hate the direction E sports is taking it, it’s slowly becoming more about the money, fame and production rather than the sheer love of the games and the community. I’ve always seen KI as like a mini Marvel Community. We have a similar vibe where it’s like 90% blow ups and trash talk.”
“Underdog/black sheep. KI has an unfair rep because it’s Western/not anime.”
“I feel KI is very disconnected from the FGC. Besides Sajam and Circa|Nicky, to a lesser extent, there is no one in KI that is a force elsewhere. Combine that with the stigma of being an Xbox One title, KI has become a game people see and say “that’s neat” but struggles to get in people’s hands.”
“I think the FGC is great. Like any community it has good and bad people, but generally FGC people are helpful and chill.”
“The dedication of KI’s player base is second to none.”
“I view the FGC as a work in progress. There are a lot of games that don’t get enough respect in some people’s eyes and there’s some games that people think the game doesn’t belong in the FGC.”
“I hate 90% of fighting games, I find stuff like SFV, MK, Injustice etc. boring. KI was my first FG back on SNES. Ever since then I’ve held other fighting games to KI standards. So its weird for me at some of the events, but it doesn’t stop me from having friends in different games. I just can’t play those games. But the communities have been cool. It doesn’t matter what you play, y’all all family once you been to a few big events.”
“Killer Instinct isn’t my first exposure to the FGC coming from a Street Fighter and NetherRealm Studios background. The view of KI in relationship to others fighting games is an extremely bittersweet one. On one hand, I see people from other scenes praising KI all the time for so many aspects, while on the other hand, its own community leaders seem to not give a single care about it with all the constant whining about this or that without realizing that because of their attitudes that the game is as dead as it is.”
“I think the KI community has a lot to work on compared to the rest of the FGC. I’ve been involved in Smash, Street Fighter, Guilty Gear, and Blaz Blue scenes[,] and the KI community by far puts in the least work for their game.”
9.) What do you want to see happen more: people continue to support Killer Instinct, a newly developed sequel, or support for both?
“I’d like Microsoft to actually put some money into events, sponsor it even slightly to give people a reason to come out to events again. And obviously a new sequel would be amazing to breathe new life into the community.”
“Continued support. It is a shame Killer Instinct is not bigger and getting a 2nd game teaches no lessons. I’m not a “(Insert top player) killed KI“-er but the negativity circulated about really knee capped the game’s ability to grow.”
“I would like the fore-mentioned change to the community regarding this game first then a sequel to be released afterwards. That way we can have a new game that can truly grow without the issues that were in this community. And for my own sake I would very much like a new, fresh game with KI‘s mechanics to sink my teeth into.”
“I would like both. I honestly think if they just announce they are making a new one (even without showing gameplay) it would bring more people into the current one.”
“Continued support the existing game. Why fracture the player base with a new installment?”
“Support the current game. There’s no incentive to make a new one if no one is willing to support the current product.”
10.) What would you say to a new player to make them want to play Killer Instinct?
“There’s honestly too much to list for that as I feel this game does everything that a fighting game should perfectly. I’d say if you’re honestly looking for a completely unique experience that you won’t find in any other fighter than give this game a shot.”
“Tell them what makes Killer Instinct unique. Give them examples on how Killer Instinct beats other games. The announcer alone makes Killer Instinct great. Every move has a unique audio que so even BLIND players can play, and we have them. The Combo system is so good with resets, breaks, counter breaks etc. You just break it down to them.”
“The cast and character design is amazing – you can play a fire breathing dinosaur, a space alien cowboy, a werewolf, a battle toad, the terminator, a demon lord, and everything in between.”
“The game has more interesting design than any other modern fighting game, and the combo system makes it easier for a newbie to pick up without worrying about needing tight execution at low-level play.”
“It’s a great introductory fighting game, the combos are easy to do, the characters and cool, it’s got an amazing tutorial and it’s free to play there’s no reason to not give it a shot.”
“I never play a game beyond a few months. I’ve been playing [Killer Instinct] for 4 years. It’s that good.”
Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey; I truly value these opinions and am pleased to be able to share them! Once again, if you want to get into Killer Instinct, visit the Discord here. And to the entire Killer Instinct community: FIGHT ON!
Author: Gunnar Burden
Gunnar Burden is a self made writer, drummer, martial artist, and fighting game competitor. Founding his own chapter of the Fighting Game Community in Southeast New Mexico, he has been a world warrior since 2014. In between bouts in Street Fighter, he enjoys JRPGs and action games.