Gamer Psychology – Killers: I Must Cause Change
“The world is made up of two classes – the hunters and the huntees.”
― Richard Connell, The Most Dangerous Game
Predators seek out prey, looking for the places where they can either strike in the most damaging location to a strategy, or disrupt things beyond recognition so all plans go out the window. To a Killer, the rest of the playerbase is naught but a herd, where the weak can be culled, and pulled away from the safety of others to be exploited, dominated, and defeated. A Killer is truly, without question, an agent of chaos.
Thriving on fear, cunning, control, and manipulation, the Killer is a fascinating individual who actually tends to enjoy being studied, if only to counter your preconceptions and “analysis” and cause you even more trouble. They are smart, looking for weaknesses, and have no qualms with attacking and devaluing a foe who is disproportionately less-skilled than they. The Killer is not looking for a “challenge,” but instead is looking for “prey,” which is a key difference.
Now, that’s not to say that everything about a Killer’s personality is expressly dedicated to hurting others. Though the personality may seem that simple, there is actually more to their motivations. Instead, a Killer looks for opportunities to affect other people. They search for ways to have their will be inflicted upon others, both for bad or, if given opportunities, for good. A Killer is just as likely to hurt a stranger as they are to help a friend, but it is the ability to act upon another which attracts them. A Killer can stalk his chosen prey, seeking to cause anger, frustration, and disrupt a “plan.” Just as well, a Killer can leap into the fray against another Killer, acting as a savior to another in an attempt to block the other Killer’s actions. Both are valid “Killer” motivations.
Unlike Achievers, Killers are keen to act, but not for the sake of accomplishment. In fact, a Killer is completely satisfied in not being recognized for their efforts – They are very aware of their own personal accomplishments and capabilities. To them, the challenge and “battle” itself is what is important, not necessarily showing off their accomplishments to others. That is, unless the act of showing off creates envy in the eyes of another, at which point they will happily parade their superiority before the masses. Every opportunity to act upon and gain reaction from another person is a pleasant experience to a Killer.
This can quite easily be seen in the game of football, as offensive players are usually a group of “Achiever” personalities, looking to work together for a common goal, whereas the defense’s primary goal is disruption, causing the planned strategy to break down. While a receiver or running back is extremely excited by achieving a touchdown, a tackle is just as excited by sacking the quarterback for a significant loss, killing the play, despite not receiving the same adulation of the crowd.
This Achiever/Killer comparison is also continued throughout sports culture in general, as high-scoring players in any competition overshadow those players that stop achievers from reaching their goals. Still, though, the Killer is usually not bothered by this – the personal causation of change to another is much more important than the accolades of “fans.”
Killers are usually lone wolves, acting on their own, but will sometimes roam in packs with like-minded individuals. These “Killer Packs” are often short-lived, though, because Killers will tend to “troll” even one another, devolving into dueling matches and inter-pack competition if there is no steady resource of other individuals to prey upon.
Mischief is the Killer’s trade, even among his/her friends. The Killer will joke, poke, prod and jab their teammates, and are almost always pranksters and jokesters. Killers are prone to be comedic, and will even often view their failures through laughter and lack of seriousness. Killer humor, though, is typically off-color, and can quickly become macabre. They live to offend, even just a little, and so break preconceptions in everything, even in their sense of humor.
Killers are quite often viewed as just bullies, but generally do what they do, not for the sake of being mean, but for the sake of causing an effect. They look for a response, and as such, are completely shut down by a lack of response to their actions. Killers are bored easily, and can find themselves restless, anxious, or fidgety when forced to endure an event where patience does not provide a clear path to a return.
As such, they may seek out the advice of Explorers, who are masters of their domain. Killers use this information, however, not to simply gain knowledge, but to improve their own efficiency in perfecting their own craft. They look for loopholes, for tips, tricks, and creative combinations to make themselves even more able to create chaos for their prey. A Killer is the own determiner of his/her own challenges, and unlike the Achiever, is not beholden to the standards of another.
Socializers… Socializers are the Killer’s ideal prey, especially if the Socializer is particularly bothered by the Killer’s actions. This is where the “bullying” image comes from. What’s most interesting here is that the Killer can be just as satisfied in his/her search for challenge by improving that same Socializer, instead of demeaning them. But the default is always to “kill first,” which can be difficult to overcome.
Killers, just like the other playertypes, can be found throughout any environment, but should be kept a watchful eye for. Solitary by nature, Killers have a tendency to stay inside their own heads, and if left to their own devices can truly start to distort their view of the world around them. They can start to see others as only prey, which is unhealthy.
To provide meaningful experiences for the Killer, give them tools to affect change. Whether destruction or creation, the Killer is empowered by the ability to change. They are just as capable at building, often, as they are at destroying, but they simply find destruction much more fun and immediate.
As dour as they might seem to be around, Killers are actually rather fun personalities in a group, if a little rambunctious and prone to chaos. On a team, these are your shakers, your shifters, the individuals who will create new perspectives for you. Be good to them, and show that you are better off for their efforts, and they’ll be ready to do more for you than you’d expect. But just be careful not to turn them into an enemy, because just as they can be staunchly loyal, they can just as easily be obsessively focused on methodic deconstruction.
Overall, Killers benefit most from being given a direction and being told to accomplish something in their own way. Just make sure that that accomplishment is to your benefit, and you’ll (probably) be pleased with the results.