Why I don’t want to hop into your Discord guild chat

Is it just me, or does every single MMO guild out there have a Discord and put that right out to its members as the first thing they see when they join? I’m not saying that as some old fuddy-duddy who is astounded at technology — I know Discord’s been around for years now and I’ve used it on several occasions — I’m just observing that it seems like this is the de facto standard for guilds these days. You have a guild, you must have a Discord.

Which is fine, but here’s the thing: I don’t usually want to join your Discord channel, and I always feel like there’s some (positive) peer pressure that’s always pushing me in this direction.

So why haven’t I embraced Discord with all the man hugs that I am able to bring to bear? For starters, I intentionally keep my social media interactions to a small, reasonable amount. I do Twitter, I do Facebook, and that’s about all I want or need in my hobbies or jobs. It’s adequate for the task, and anything above that will end up sucking away time that I would rather spend doing something productive.

Because staying on top of social media can be exhausting if you let it take over. It can be a part-time job. And when I have dipped into Discord on varying occasions, I see how quickly all the channels fill up with chatter. I know it would require me to regularly rotate through them to see whatever everyone’s talking about. It’s not usually information that I need, so I don’t pursue it.

Another reason is that as a game-hopper and a member of several guilds, that ends up being a lot of Discord channels. It’s useful for the guilds in many respects, but not useful for me. If I want to talk with people in that guild, I’ll do so while I’m in the game world itself. That’s kind of why I joined that guild in the first place.

My final reason is that I always feel that the pressure to head over to Discord — usually “suggested” to me by officers in the game chat — is to engage in voice chat. I’m…. no. That’s just not something I want to do. Unless I’m in a dedicated gaming group or running something fiendishly complex with a party, there’s no need to be piping in other voices into my ear. Some people talk too much, some people are too annoying, and all of them take away from me listening to music or TV or a podcast, which is what I usually do during gaming.

Again, I don’t hate Discord. It has its purpose and it’s really well-designed for that. But for me as a gaming individual, I very rarely engage with it or feel any sort of pressing need to do so.

8 thoughts on “Why I don’t want to hop into your Discord guild chat

  1. Laurelinarien September 25, 2020 / 9:32 am

    Couldn’t agree more. I only go into voice channels if we’re raiding or having some event like once a year.

  2. Winged Nazgul September 25, 2020 / 10:12 am

    Discord just isn’t a voice app. It also features text channels which replaces forums for many people. I have a joined a multitude of Discord servers and very rarely, if ever, join a voice channel.

  3. Rick Mills September 25, 2020 / 10:23 am

    /agree

    Chat is wonderful – lets leave it at that.

  4. Sylow September 25, 2020 / 10:51 am

    I very much agree on this for a number of reasons. Most strikingly, our guild in ESO even got rid of Discord again.

    We actually had it for a while. But our guild offers trainig for everybody interested, we provide guidance, help in dungeons and teach trials. Which means that we have many people new to the game and quite a lot of casual players.

    When we also had Discord, we learned that the guild suffered for it. A number of our veterans spent a lot of time there. They planed their evening activities already over the day, pledge runs were agreed hours in advance, etc. In contrast, they obviously spent less attention to the in.game chat. The beginners on the other hand did not sign up for Discord or, even if they did, were not active there all day long and often also did not start it when playing.

    This means that they were loosing out, not only did they not get into dynamically formed groups as frequently any more, they also did not get as much attention any more as in former times. To fix this issue, our guild left Discord again.

    We had a wild few months after that, of course. A part of our guild split off to form their own decicated trial guild, etcl. But the rest of the guild arranged, activity on the in-game chat quickly rose to old levels and above and the guild became so much better because of this.

    The atmosphere in our guild improved a lot and retention rate got much better after the change, which tells me that we made the right call.

    Minor sidenotes:
    – We do use TS3 during trials. But only there. In such an environment voice communication is extremely valuable, it prevents the leader from dying by standing in fire while typing instructions. But only the leader is required to talk, many other people during our trials never switch on their microphone.
    – I indeed once a while, when recruiting, get strange and sometimes insulting tells about not using Discord and sometimes people refuse to join when they learn that we do not use it. I know they will find a guild with Discord easily enough and an convinced that our guild is better off by them not joining us.
    – I play casually in other games and it seems like it’s actually quite hard to find guild there which do not use Discord. Which I as casual player really don’t want to use. (Which closes the circle: just like we learned that our casuals didn’t like to use Discord, i find that i don’t like to use it in another game where i play casually. )
    – I’d actually in some of the games would appreciate if the guild finder would have a “uses discord” flag, where i could specifically search for guilds which do not use it.

    So indeed, Discord is a great tool for the right kind of players in the right environment. It has good use. But i also think that it currently is too dominant. While it’s very useful for dedicated players, the pressure to use Discord is rather high and actually adds another (very unnecessary) barrier of entry for inexperienced or casual players.

  5. Scott M. September 25, 2020 / 11:34 am

    How I use Discord:

    (All discord servers I belong to have their notifications surpressed, except for my RL friends, so I only see that notification icon or get alerts if it’s from folks I really know.)

    1. For my small knit group of RL friends with whom I game one night a week; no noise, all signal in the text chat. And we use it for voice when playing

    2. For following official game discords; definitely the best way to get news and tech support (either official or from the community). This is probably my primary use.

    3. For streamers – actually just one at the moment, but I can see how it makes it easy for streamers to connect with their community

    4. For game guilds — at the moment it’s also just one. I don’t feel any pressure to do anything but lurk, but my guess is that it’s the casual nature of the guild. When Syp says “it would require me to regularly rotate through them to see whatever everyone’s talking about” I could see how there could be pressure to be “in the know” with regards to some discussions (which for the most part replaced the old bulletin boards).

    Discord is just a tool though, so my guess is the issue isn’t the tool itself, but the way it’s being used (and abused) by guilds. Definitely the saddest part is seeing Discord replace in-game chat, especially if there’s chat happening in both. As Sylow mentioned less emphasis on in-game chat and dynamically formed in-game grouping.

    I wonder if there are any guilds out there who have specific rules/standards around communications in general? i.e. what is appropriate for Discord and what should stay in-game. Might be an interesting MOP question for the community.

  6. Sylow September 28, 2020 / 12:23 pm

    @SCOTT M.

    “I wonder if there are any guilds out there who have specific rules/standards around communications in general? i.e. what is appropriate for Discord and what should stay in-game. Might be an interesting MOP question for the community.”

    That actually was pondered in our guild before getting rid of Discord. I mean, we all knew that it was a drastic step, that there would be some shaking and that we would loose some members. It was not a decission done lightly and before we went that step, we asked the veteran players if they could keep things more in the in-game chat and be more inclusive to the new players. They of course promised to do so. It lasted for a few hours, then they went back to old habbits. So what to do? Change it from “could you please” to “here are the new rules”? Rules by themselves are mere words, unless they are enforced. But how to do that? Have some officers monitor and guard the Discord channel, tell people to talk in-game instead, ect. ?

    Not only does that burden a lot of work on the officers, it also will go sour in no time. It’s guaranteed to blow up in your face. Completely disposing of Discord was not an easy decission, but unfortunately the only one we found to actually work.

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