Killer Instinct and the struggle to fight negativity (a blog post from King Hippo)

Just came across this blog post by King Hippo on twitter, as it was retweeted by @Delriach and I have to say that I found it pretty interesting.

Personally, I tend to pay more attention to the positive people around here; a place that I find to be a generally solid atmosphere for the most part as it pertains to this game. But I know KI’s FB page has a reputation. Same goes with some negative streamers as well as twitch chats during content reveals.

I know that this issue of toxicity in communities, especially in KI, has been talked about at length on here, but it makes me wonder a few things:

Do you agree that KI’s level of toxicity is the result of communication issues, lower level players’ lack of fighting game experience and pro player burnout, as King Hippo asserts to a certain degree, or do you think there’s more to it than that?

Also, do you guys think that these problems are more or less pronounced in the fighting game scene than in other genres, such as shooters, where competition is also the point of the game? Is this a fighting game issue, a gaming issue, or a cultural issue at large?

Either way, I was just curious what people thought of the blog post, the KI community though the years, as well as other communities mentioned and this overall problem of negativity in gaming.


I’d probably say this, especially the communication aspect. IG’s communication with the community has been awesome, but seems like it was probably a double edged sword. I can think of several instances where I personally feel like things I have expressed helped mold the game (little stuff like the spinning KI symbol added during pre-match loading screens so Windows players didn’t think the game was crashing while waiting for XB1 players games to load), and while I know my presence is noted I feel myself to be a nobody in the grand scheme of things. I can imagine how more pro players with louder voices felt either that the devs were either listening to them or intentionally trying to nerf their character because of another player whispering in their ears.


As far as social media and chat rooms go, it should go without saying that those forums naturally lend themselves to negative and petty behavior. Especially when there’s strong sentiments and personalities to rally around.

I don’t think any of this is really exclusive to KI in the FGC. Most of the retweets I see on Twitter make it seem like tournament organizers and commentators are fighting a constant battle to maintain morale in the FGC and faith in Fighting Games in general. I think the main differences for KI were that the IP was new and unfamiliar to most people, not very accessible due to its X1 exclusivity and unique gameplay, and that its top players (due to several factors) felt less incentive to refrain from lashing out their frustrations on the game.

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I absolutely agree with this sentiment. IG has been great with communicating with the KI playing population and actually implementing some of the ideas and suggestions that they receive. But I can see how some players get upset when their ideas (whether good or bad) get ignored. And I can see this idea being emphasized with the well known players with a decent amount of followers on social media. Some may have a chip on their shoulder and feel like their comments and suggestions carry more clout than others.


In my opinion, I feel like this is true. Communication is a big part of what people choose to play, and what they deem is worth their time. If a friend says, “Hey Ostrich, Play this game. It’s really cool!”, I’d be more inclined to try it. If social media is talking about it and they like it, I will want to try it to see what the commotion is about. However, those people that continue to play the game and talk negative about it are doing more harm than good. I never understood the mentality to play a game that you apparently don’t like, and talk bad about it every chance you get, only to continue playing the game. If it upsets you that much, please play something else that makes you happy, for the sake of everyone involved.

As for lower level’s lack of fighting game experience, I really don’t think that is a major problem. There will always be inexperienced players in all fighting games, or games in general. KI has been really blessed to have a good tutorial to help players know the system well, as well as a combo breaker training mode and a site like to help with learning all the systems and intricacies of the game. Even people that have no experience have come to the forums seeking help, and the community has been really helpful and positive to helping them learn, give them tips, and even ask to play a couple of games to help them further. Even in situations where they might complain about a character being OP, we have always given them tips to combat it and examples to help. We’ve always been a loving community to new players that want to learn.

I believe pro player burnout is a thing in every single fighting game, but can be applied to all games. Has it damaged KI? Possibly. I think it has. There really isn’t a problem with taking a long break from a game to play something else. I just felt like most of the burnout that some players were having, they turned it into negativity about the game. Like, it’s ok to not like certain things in the game. That’s fine. But to attack everything about the game and continuously talk bad about it over social media and even while streaming it, is where it becomes a problem.

This is in every game that is played competitively, but to me it seems the FGC has more of these problems. I feel like it’s not just our game that suffers from this, but other games as well.

Maybe its because, while they talk a lot about how bad KI is, KI is the game they are best at and don’t want to go to a new fighting game where they would start back from square one? For the Twitch streamers maybe KI is what garners the most viewers for them?

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I find it funny that I happened to see this comment while watching a few episodes of the Angry Video Game Nerd. :rofl::joy:


I certainly wouldn’t argue with anything he is saying in the article, and it’s a decently accurate recollection of the history of the “toxicity” in the community as far as I can recall it. His basic assumption - that it all amounts to communication is almost a given. If people are fighting about something either one of them is just wrong, one of them is just an ■■■■■■■ or there is a breakdown in communication. I tend to think we have some ■■■■■■■■ in the KI community, but it’s generally not productive to base a discussion around that’s. So communication it is.

I don’t think there’s a single “magic bullet” explanation for how the community became “toxic” (or labeled as toxic - I still enjoy tons of positive interactions with the KI community). Lots of major and minor contributions. I think some of what King Hippo points out is spot on and along with a few other things is sifficient to explain what has happened.

  1. People think “we are willing to listen to you” means “we are going to do what you ask us to do.” KI’s unprecedentedly open and transparent development process had the unfortunate side effect of making everyone in the fan base think they had a say in how the game was made. So when they didn’t like a decision they also felt ignored or slighted by the devs. Ironically, the more directly the devs tried to address those issues the worse the problem got. Lesson: there is such a thing as too much transparency.

  2. Being good at a game is different than being good at MAKING a game. A lot of high level KI players, especially from season 1, thought that the developers should be taking more of their input on board. But frankly, most of them didn’t have better ideas than what you see in scrubquotes. Keits let them know why he thought they were wrong about stuff and they didn’t like it. Egos etc. And they couldn’t deal with the fact that they were, in fact, not special in regards to the game’s development just because they won tournaments. Lesson: there may be some value in distancing the fight designers from the games high level player community.

  3. IG, and to a lesser extent the MS team, did not always understand how their communications would be received. The IG streams were filled with a lot of humor about the chat’s reaction and mocking complaints from the community. This was all intended in good fun, but didn’t help calm down people who were upset by stuff. Playful trolling of the community often “triggered” the more triggerable people in the community. Lesson: even when you are trying to be open and transparent make sure the people communicating with the community understand what they are doing and don’t just act like they are talking to friends in their living room.

  4. Social media and modern internet communication make everything worse. It’s an ancient adage in communications that “negative messages predominate.” This means if you read thirty YouTube comments that the game is amazing and one that says it’s garbage people will say “the game gets mixed reviews.” We pay way more attention to the bad news. Coupled with the volume of info in KIs open (ish) development, this just made every problem worse.

  5. That creepy psychotic stalker you ignore in real life has nothing but time to post on the internet. I know this sounds mean spirited, but the ability of random, unqualified, and even slightly deranged people to spread and amplify their messages on the internet is a problem that we, as a society at large), are struggling with. I refuse to believe that the world is actually populated by so many loathsome people. I never meet these people in real life - be they misogynists, racists, delusional thinkers, conspiracy theorists or any other “undesirable.” But they appear on the internet in droves and using the echo chamber effect they appear to be legion. When in fact it’s just a handful of people posting nonsense over and over again. Lesson: don’t ever think that what you read on the internet is an actual representative sample of how people feel.

I don’t know why I’m writing a novel about this. I don’t think the KI community is especially unique. Probably the only truly different aspect is how much the openness of the games developers has not helped improve the community.


Too real. I’ve been on Twitter for years and it still sometimes makes me wonder if misanthropy is the way to go. The kind of vile zealots and derisive hobby-pundits you see on there is something I never truly get comfortable with. Maybe it’s the Catholic in me, but seeing that arrogance and contempt as ordinary, accepted, and even celebrated in people drives me up the wall. I hope you’re right about them.

I don’t know if I read the same blog as you guys. The author blatantly calls out people who brought toxicity to the community without naming names.

I don’t think communication from IG is a problem. It was just the immaturity from some of the popular players that normalized the trolling we used to hear about the game.

“Where is the neutral?”

“This game has no fundamentals”

“Jago/TJ is brain dead”

"Kim Wu looks ugly "



“This crap is random”

"Why play this when SFV is coming out? "(that blew up in everybody’s face lol)

If we had more top players acting like @STORM179 it would cultivate a culture of studying the game and respecting low level players trying to learn the game. But what we got was people begging for bigger prize pots, nerfing chars they don’t bother to learn, and wishing the game to be something it never was. And that created a culture of Street Fighter trolls talking trash, people complaining about stuff that doesn’t matter at all, and bitterness towards players who were doing well.


Why reading all this just breaks and keeps on breaking my heart? It just…Hurts


First of all, thank you for reading the article! I just wanted to clarify what I was talking about in the article a little bit.

I didn’t necessarily mean that low level players have this problem; in fact, more than most, I believe the resources the KI community has put together to learn the game are more impressive than almost any other game I can think of other than maybe the SRK ST wiki and some others. What I was getting at was sometimes, even when you’re a very high level player in a game, your relative inexperience to the genre can be damning to your overall makeup as a player because you may overreact to things that a veteran player may not.

I remember this a lot when Cinder was first released. Cinder was a strong character no doubt, but I remember seeing many people act as if his mobility was something that the game just shouldn’t have and that it broke “the rules” of the game. I think if you’ve never dealt with the typical high mobility and screen filling aspects of Cinder that are most likely influenced from older fighting games, it can seem extremely overwhelming to the point that you will mentally decide it’s busted and not really actively look for counters to that strong movement. I’ve been in the NRS community since near the beginning and this is a recurring problem.

I don’t think the good eggs of the community are doing anything wrong, particularly on this forum. But I also believe that inexperience can lead to levels of frustration that experience often teaches us is a little overblown. Again, thanks for reading!


Like I said, there’s no “one reason” and I don’t think I you are wrong in what you are saying. But I also don’t think it’s likely that KI’s top players are especially immature, scrubby and demanding in the context of the FGC. I see these same things in SF streams, Injustice streams and MvC streams and I see similar whining about all those games too. So the discussion is more focused on why is the KI scene recognized as being more toxic (or perceived as being more toxic) than these other scenes.

For the record, I think the devs of KI have been amazing. From MS and DH before the game even released to IG and MS at present. But most of the other variables are impossible to control, so any “lessons learned” for the future are going to have to be directed to the devs. And I don’t think the handling of the game, information about the game and it’s community have been handled flawlessly.


It breaks my heart as well, @MaruMDQ. KI is a game with so much potential, and people just keep hating this game, yes. But MS/IG has fault in this negativity as well. These days I was speaking with another guys of my country who play KI too. And I said that besides us (members of the social media group), little knew that we had a “new” KI. Saying for myself, I just knew KI because a famous brazillian youtuber/gamer made a video telling about the history of KI. SFV for example, to know this game I would just need to enter in any gaming site and I would see posts about this game before he was released and even after the release. Until now SFV has many hype.

The point where I’m trying to reach is: maybe KI is struggling to fight negativity, but I’m not seeing MS, IG or whatever do anything. It’s not just fault of some community members. Ok, I think it’s fair Keits get pissed and quit Twitter/whatever if some very good players said BS, but… that’s all? Where’s the marketing team inside IG/MS? Why so few people know KI? Why we don’t have a bigger community? Why we don’t have new players? Also looks like KI was dropped from IG/MS since the Steam release. I didn’t see any news about new content. Not even a “hey we’ll make stages for characters who doesn’t have yet, ultimates for everyone and we are done with KI!” at least we would know that they finished KI 2013, and not just drop the game and let the players speculate if the game is abandoned by IG/MS.

Take DBFZ for example, maybe this game just sucks (I didn’t play the game), but is doesn’t matter! The game is making so much hype that they are solding their game and a excited new community is borning from that! That’s what KI needs, and not just some jerks out there saying BS like KI sucks, KI is dead.


This. So much this. Literally this. Your entire comment really. But especially this.


This. This. So much this.