As you probably know, videogame raids are devilishly hard, harrowingly long adventures that require a large party (e.g. six players in Destiny, classic raids in WoW asked for 40!) and players that are skilled, know how to work together, and are on comms, which are needed to coordinate certain systems.
These raids tend to be the crown jewels of a given expansion, the keys to resolving big storylines, resulting in cherished memories for committed players. But how do you connect with other those other committed players who can share their knowledge and help you successfully complete a raid and therefore the whole game?
For a lot of us going into these games…that kind of content is just not available. Like, okay, yes, I can go onto the Destiny app on my phone and post on a message board but I don’t know what I am doing and I certainly don’t want to be berated by some “try-hard” who is looking to “run Zydron, 1075+ kwtd and mods” — what does that even mean? (1075 is power level, I got that but the other stuff?)
Making things more interesting for me as a Destiny player is that a lot of content is going away (into a “vault” to be released piecemeal at a late date) so Bungie can focus on new game experiences. That means lot of play areas are going away, along with missions, nightfalls and, yes, raids. I found out about this on one of the many video game podcasts I listen to, and I realized…I want to play that stuff before it’s gone.
But how? How do I find people that aren’t going to bemoan having a “potato” slowing them down, some “n00b” wiping the fireteam on the first big encounter? The simple (but complicated) answer: Discord. Or, specific to my Destiny challenge—The Daito Cult (TTS) Discord server.
I found the Daito Cult using the Destiny app. Instructions were simple—upvote the moderator’s posting so the Clan invite would appear near the top of the list, join their Discord—and I would be in!
Now, I have had some experience with Discord — some of my favorite podcasts have their own Discord servers, where fellow listeners can talk about that week’s episode, talk about comics and movies, and even post their art. But a gaming Discord…this was serious—I even had to watch a welcome video to make sure I understood which channels were relevant to me, and how best to use the tool to meet fellow players that I could play with.
Now, Discord, at the end of the day, isn’t all that hard…it’s just a really noisy Slack. (I have 978 notifications since Tuesday.) That said, participating is a fair amount of work, ie, reading and typing. Some people have questions about gear and levels, sure, but much of the conversation is scheduling Raids (I was going to try to join a team that was “running Leviathan” but then they told me it takes about 2-4 hours depending on how many new people are joining in. I told the group that I didn’t have the time that night (not admitting I might never have that much contiguous time) but said I would research the Raid mechanics so I would be more helpful.
Right away, one of my fellow Clan…mates? said, “you do you, but I would recommend not reading anything, you want to have a the best experience, right?” I have to admit, I was touched that this person even cared whether or not this stranger was going to have fun while doing all this. Over and over again, fun was the primary requirement, not your gear set or your whatever score. Even when asked how we would handle comms (in-game or Discord app), the quick answer was “Discord, always Discord”—but it didn’t feel that there was (that much) eye-rolling.
This all brings me back to 7th grade hanging out at my friend’s house, using his AppleCat modem to go on BBS’s, hunting for warez. Yes, the internet is awful, it just sucks, but there are definitely little spaces that get carved out that make me remember those days of forums and meetups where the only requirement was a shared love of all things computer-y, where we could just be dumb dorks and figure out localtalk networks and play Mazewars together.
Discord is trying to pivot away from its gamer roots now, eagerly letting you know that their community tool can be used for businesses and other organizations, not just podcast communities and Alliance Guilds. That’s fine, but it will be the gamers that really push this tool’s limits.
Already this is like the most comprehensive bulletin board experience I have ever seen, from media posts to pan- application chat, and they make it so anyone can just spin a Discord server up. It’s kind of a mess and a challenge to figure it out…but that’s always what being a gamer, from D&D to EVE Online to, well, Burning Man has been about. You gotta invest a bit to find the value. Once you figure it out, you’re “in”—and welcome. I love that.
Am I super active? Not yet. I’ve spent time learning the ropes but then dropped off when I went on vacation last week — and yes, I did post on the “vacation” channel to let people know I wouldn’t be around!—so now I have to go back in and see what I missed…and then, someday, do that Leviathan Raid. We’ll see how it goes. Oh, and if you are interested in the Daito Cult—let me know and I will snag you an invite!