Last week, Failbetter's marketing expert Haley Uyrus filled us in on setting up a Discord community for your game. In part two of her deep dive on the newest tool in the games marketing kit, we're delving into some of the best ways to keep your community growing and active.
Now that we’ve covered the Discord basics in part one of this series, let’s dig deeper into different ways you can grow your community space and keep it active.
Information is your most valuable currency
Much like a Kickstarter or crowdfunding audience, your Discord community will thrive if it receives some special treatment and attention. But what does this mean?
Give them exclusives: When you have announcements, make sure you share the information with them first. It’s more exciting if they hear it from you in Discord than when it hits the headlines.
This can also work if there are any smaller pieces of game development news that aren’t big enough for a press round too. Your community will love hearing about progress, new features, funny bugs and mechanical breakthroughs.
Make it interactive: One thing your community will always have is questions. Especially if you’re releasing new content into the game, it’s great to spend some time in Discord to have a chat with your community and answer any questions they have on new features or mechanics. Invite people in different relevant roles from your team to hop on and do some casual Q&As.
If you’re worried this will take too much time away from development, you can always have a schedule for these intervals - that way they know when to expect you and you don’t have to fear the need to be there 24/7.
Don’t forget visuals: Screenshots and videos of upcoming content is something easy for you to upload but will be tremendously exciting for your players.
Feedback and testing: Some of your most knowledgeable players will also be part of your Discord community, so if you’re ever looking for feedback on smaller chunks of your game, don’t count them out.
For example, if you had a few different versions of your store page promo image you are deciding between, why not poll your community? Or, if you’ve just added a new feature in, why not host a feedback session at a designated time with core members?
Being able to add input to the game is incredibly valuable to your players.
Shape your Discord around your game
The way you use channels within your Discord isn’t just good for information flow. It can also be used to give your Discord a unique touch and sense of your game’s world or mechanics.
This can be as simple as creating channel names from locations in your game, to creating game-specific emojis for them to use throughout your Discord. Chances are it’ll also affect the naming structure used for the hierarchy of users too.
For example, in the Failbetter Discord, many names come from our game Fallen London. So the ‘random’ channel for casual chats is called ‘Veilgarden’ after the bohemian district in Fallen London, and our moderators are named after the Masters from our game, while most other members remain in the Delicious Friends category.
One of the greatest benefits to players being part of your Discord is feeling like they’re part of something special. Anything you can add to that feeling will strengthen your community.
The extra mile
There are also plenty of ways you can go above and beyond the basics within Discord by use of bots and crafting access levels for certain channels. In fact, some developers have even used these to create games within their Discords.
For Descenders, Mike Rose created a meta-game that allowed new players to pledge loyalty to one of three teams when they first joined.
These teams would then go on to compete against each other in regular competitions. Discord members were also given Steam beta keys for a weekend, which is a great way to offer a really attractive exclusive that will get players to join the community.
Pocketwatch Games also has a great piece on all the different Discord stops they pulled out for their game Tooth and Nail.
One of the bot features they found particularly helpful was to set up commands that created a matchmaking system for players looking to start up a game. Early on, they also used the role feature within Discord to reward players for their contribution and efforts within the community.
Later on, these two community mechanics forged into a game for their community called The Crown. The Crown game involves the role command to give one player the Crown, and a bot that notifies the Crown wearer when a challenge is issued.
Anyone can try their chance at fighting for the Crown and it’s won (or kept) by winning a match within the game - which is set using the matchmaking system.
There are so many ways to invigorate your community on Discord, from small touches that make it feel like a community people want to be a part of, to bigger, exciting meta-games for your community right before launch.