Masakari and I got in touch with Discord quite early on, but as an extension of our gaming toolset, we only really got into it in-depth in 2017.
With the release of PUBG and the buildup of a small Esports team, we needed direct contact with the competitive gaming community, which had entirely moved to Discord by then. At the latest, when we had multiple teams at Wagazzi Esports and were over 50 gamers, Discord was also an asynchronous information repository for the organization.
In this article, we’ll give you an unfiltered look at a gaming tool that is now deeply rooted in gaming culture. Although the answer to the question of whether Discord is the best voice chat tool for gaming has many facets, we’ll give you a brief statement at the beginning:
In general, Discord is an excellent free voice chat tool for casual gamer, but it doesn’t come close to the voice quality of other tools, such as TeamSpeak. More ambitious gamers use Discord for all other synchronous and asynchronous forms of communication, such as media exchange and chat and meeting places for their community.
Let’s start with a brief introduction to Discord, where it came from, and how it has evolved to this day. After that, we’ll dive deeper into the pros and cons for gaming.
Note: This article was written in English. Translations into other languages may not provide the same linguistic quality. We apologize for grammatical and semantic errors.
Short Introduction Discord From 2005 Until Today
Discord saw the first light of day in May 2005. Its creators, Jason Citron and Stanislav Vishnevsky did not specifically market Discord as a tool for gamers, but ultimately it was gaming communities that first switched from IRC to Discord. Thus, an unprecedented development took its course, in which Discord grew up and was enriched with more and more features until 2018.
With venture capital to the tune of $150 million, which included Tencent as one of the largest game publishers, Discord also exploded in user numbers. Cooperation and interfaces, for example, with Microsoft Xbox, also helped.
In the meantime, Discord also became increasingly well-known among non-gamers, so that the company Discord Inc. adapted more and more to the broad society with its advertising slogans.
According to Discord, more than 250 million registered users worldwide will be using this tool in 2021.
Relatively new investor Sony Entertainment is likely to provide further user growth simply by integrating it with Playstation.
This all sounds like a lot of light, but Discord also has shadows, especially from a gamer’s perspective. Below, we’ll take a look at each of Discord’s top 3 pros and cons.
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Top 3 Discord Advantages
Free of charge is completely sufficient
For free always works.
Trying it out costs nothing, and there is no visible reason for a gamer to pay coins for extra features. However, as the server operator, for example, for a gaming community or an Esports organization, it makes more sense to look at the paid features.
Of course, the built-in function with that community members can donate to the community to unlock special features is very nice. Thus, not everything is financially dependent on the server owner, but everyone can participate.
If you have the necessary cash, you can get more emojis, the option to upload larger files, or a higher screen resolution when streaming content.
Supports Many Media, Webhooks, and Bots
As soon as you join a Discord server, you’re greeted by a mishmash of content types. Images, links, embedded videos, audio files and thumbnails, emojis, GIFs, and more – there’s hardly a medium that Discord doesn’t know.
In addition, of course, there is a corresponding drag-and-drop function to transport this content to Discord conveniently.
Discord is absolutely flexible regarding webhooks and bots.
There are a massive number of free bots that can be connected to your Discord server. But, of course, most bots are limited in their functions in one way or another, and additional features can be unlocked for money.
Webhooks also make it very easy to connect cloud services or applets with automatic workflows to Discord.
Want to automatically post a message to a specific Discord channel when you post on Twitter or Instagram?
A hot address for this is IFTTT, for example.
With these countless very simple extension options alone, Discord is far ahead of all its competitors.
For gamers, Discord is thus a perfect media repository for media such as logos, screenshots, etc., as well as for game analysis and tactics discussions. Discord is also perfect as a meeting place for finding fellow players or simply as a hub for clans, organizations, and gamer communities.
Intuitive Handling Without Long Training Period
For Discord, the regular user – whether via PC, console, or smartphone – does not need any instructions. Discord’s interfaces are so intuitively designed and self-explanatory that you feel very comfortable within a few minutes.
From sharing an invitation link to using special commands to trigger functions, to simply setting the microphone for voice chat, Discord is a modern piece of software for users.
For gamers, there are still a lot of nerdy gimmicks because the basic DNA of Discord is not easily cut out. In perspective, this piece of DNA will probably disappear to make Discord compatible to even more users, but one thing will certainly always remain: the spicy humor.
So the key message is that Discord is incredibly easy to use and learn, which is a clear added value in today’s world, ahead of the best audio quality for many users.
Of course, a server operator has the task of dealing with permissions and various other settings, but even here, Discord is very straightforward.
For example, there is a feature that allows you to view your server with a particular permission. So with one click, it is possible to take the perspective as a “guest” to ensure that more critical channels are not visible.
Top 3 Discord Disadvantages
Eats up Performance During Gaming
Where there is a lot of light, there should naturally also be shadow, and unfortunately, it is no different with Discord.
General media compatibility, limited features that offer more bandwidth or better voice quality for a fee, and an open framework for bots inevitably increase resource consumption on the user’s system.
If you browse the Internet with Discord open, you won’t notice any of this, of course. But if you play a graphics-intensive first-person shooter and have to deal with micro-stutters, FPS drops, or generally a few frames per second, you won’t want to run Discord in parallel.
Discord would have to release a kind of stripped-down version for gamers that use as few resources as, for example, TeamSpeak. Until then, the gaming rule is to close Discord temporarily.
Becomes a Big Time Waster Over Time
You can get lost in Discord at some point, just like on any other interaction platform. That was the case with IRC and ICQ back then. It’s the same today with Facebook & Co.
Discord is no exception.
The number of servers a user can join is limited to 100 but can be increased to 200 for a fee. The fact that this is possible shows that there are users who have this need.
Almost every Youtuber or Twitch streamer now has their own Discord server. In addition, Esports organizations, game and hardware manufacturers, and other influencers like to invite people to their server for closer communication.
At some point, not only does the server count become confusing, and the number of unread messages multiplies, but the time it takes for a user to catch up grows and grows and grows.
For people who are not good at disciplining themselves in communication, Discord eventually becomes a real time-eater.
No Data Privacy
Discord is colorful, and Discord can store a lot, especially files, conversation histories, private messages, video and audio calls, bot messages, and much more associated with a user.
Discord states explicitly in its Terms of Service that all of this data can flow as a copy to the US. In addition, user data may also be used for advertising purposes.
Discord Inc. can use everything you do with Discord for anything. As always with this topic, most people say to themselves, “so what? I have nothing to hide.”
Leaving aside the fact that things done, said, or posted today could have some negative impact in the future that you can’t foresee today, you are then a perfect target for advertising efforts.
The more data measurement points an advertiser has about you, the more persuasive the ad will be to you.
A fictional example: You chat in Discord and tell your friends that you are not satisfied with your mouse sensitivity. Somehow you don’t hit the opponents so well anymore.
This could be due to many different reasons. Maybe a few more hours of sleep will solve the problem? Or the mouse pad needs to be cleaned again?
Instead, you open your browser and search for mouse sensitivity problems. What happens? Discord has already passed your info on to advertising partners or built it into a cookie.
So you get an ad that says: Mouse sensitivity problems? Here comes our new gaming mouse with which your problem will be history!
Understandably, at this moment, your willingness to buy must be relatively high.
We Europeans are always a bit oversensitive about this topic, especially we Germans. However, we know what happens when private information becomes public by denouncing minorities during the Nazi regime and afterward in the German Democratic Republic, which was only democratic on paper.
Let’s narrow the topic back to Discord. This is about the possible influence on your mind based on data you can’t control. This can be done by Discord itself or by other companies with whom Discord does business.
Other tools protect your data. We just want you to be aware of that.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if you want to be exposed to this potential bias.
Final Thoughts on Discord
If you like to play together with others or even get active in the competitive scene of your favorite game, you can’t avoid Discord.
And why should you?
The tool has many brilliant features, and every Discord server is different and interesting because of various bots.
Where friendships used to be formed in IRC, ICQ, or Teamspeak, Discord is now the hub of the global gaming community.
Discord is in use every day for us, too.
But is it active all the time? No.
Before we start a game, Discord is turned off. This is because we want to use every bit of performance for the game and not run the risk of an FPS drop ruining the chance of victory in the most crucial fight of a match.
Over the years, all the gamers we’ve met and played with have been fundamentally active and engaged in Discord. But before the game starts, everyone switches to TeamSpeak.
We did a direct comparison of Discord and TeamSpeak in this post.
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GL & HF! Flashback out.