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  • Discord As A Tool For Community Led Design

    [04.11.19]
    - Becky Matthew
  • With the growing trend of gaming communities becoming increasingly involved in the development process, it is important for teams to evaluate the best tools for reaching out and communicating with their audience. Personally, I like using Discord.

    For those out of the loop, Discord is a multi platform free voice and chat app which has become increasingly popular over the recent years, bragging a highly impressive user base of 130 million registered users with 19 million of those being DAU (daily active users) (May 2018). Communicating using a free, user friendly and highly interactive live platform such as Discord makes it much easier for developers to engage, support and become apart of their games community in an approachable and humanising manner.

    Within this post I will discuss what I've found to be the best way we can use Discord to gather community feedback before translating that feedback into workable game designs, in addition to the positives and negatives of doing so. Of course, player feedback isn't the be all and end all of a community led development and each idea should be analysed and assessed before invested in as although intentions may be good, sometimes ideas do not work for the betterment of your game.

    So why should we, as developers, listen to the community? Isn't a development team's vision of a game enough? Well, pull up your chair, get comfy and grab a cup of tea, let's have a chat about how using social game design can have a great impact on your game!


    Encouraging Feedback

    At my current studio, Gumbug, competition and community are two of the core design pillars at the forefront of our development process; we consider the two with every design decision we make. It is important for me as the lead social designer and the communities POC (point of contact) with the development team, to encourage our community to feel comfortable socialising, strategizing and sharing with one another.

    There are three core principles which I believe to be the most effective when encouraging the community to express themselves on Discord:

    • Be receptive and acknowledge all feedback regardless of whether you agree with it or not.
    • Be kind, be approachable and most importantly, be present.
    • Create a space solely for feedback to create a habit for both new and existing users.

    There are several other methods to efficiently promote community encouragement including the introduction of an emoji voting system which encourages community members to add emoji reactions on ideas they'd like to be added to boost its visibility (which is great for less vocal members!), though I found the former three principles to be the most effective.

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