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Why the Strong Preference for Discord in Remote Games?

pogre

Legend
Greetings,

I was viewing some calls for players and DMs for remote games and I noticed there is a very strong preference for Discord over something like Zoom. I was wondering if anyone had any insight as to why that is? I even see folks with posts advertising a Zoom game having potential players asking if they would be willing to use Discord instead.
 

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SirMoogle

Explorer
I find Discord to be less of a hassle than Zoom. I always have it open, and depending on the group, a campaign can take up one whole server, which means multiple text channels for IC and OOC, and voice channels to speak in. The server is technically always active, whereas Zoom meetings have to be created by the owner. I don't use Zoom too much, but can anyone confirm whether or not Zoom meetings can save chat messages from previous meetings? Discord's able to keep a log without any interruptions.

Discord also has bot functionality. There are bots that can play background music, and if it's D&D 5e, the Avrae bot is able to connect character sheets from D&D Beyond and even roll dice.

I'm not aware of anything that Zoom can do better than Discord.
 

G

Guest 6948803

Guest
Isn't Zoom superior in actual visual connection? I always use Zoom for my games, but looking at each other is my group no1 concern (also, screen sharing and whiteboard come handy, as we don't use any kind of vtt). My kids, play with friends through Discord, but they play voice only. So, is Discord any good for visual?
 

darjr

I crit!
Momentum and the companies attitude. Also they are game focused already and support many power users with api's and tools. Avrae being a huge draw for me.
 

I run a game using Roll20 and Zoom, and play in a game using Foundry and Discord.

Honestly, I think it's best to use what you are most familiar with. I teach over Zoom all day so I am familiar with it.

For the Roll20/Zoom game, we use Zoom for seeing each other, and the chat feature in Roll20 for extra chat (between character chatter, funny quips, interruptions, etc.)

For the Foundry/Discord game, Foundry is only used for running the game, both main discussion and side chat happens over Discord.
 

My group was already using Discord for playing videogames, so it made sense to keep using it for D&D. Also, roll20's audio is an unreliable mess.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Roll20 and Zoom for us. Roll20 has all the game-specific features and character sheets and buttons to press, while Zoom is the go-to video meeting tool. I didn't know Discord could even do video?
 

Retreater

Legend
Zoom at least was a paid, premium service. (Is it temporarily free?) My experience has been that it also requires a host to get on to start the video, whereas my group can get together on Discord if I'm running late. Plus it can handle chat on the same service.
I have a group on Zoom but most of my groups use Discord. Neither is a deal breaker for me though.
 

SirMoogle

Explorer
Roll20 and Zoom for us. Roll20 has all the game-specific features and character sheets and buttons to press, while Zoom is the go-to video meeting tool. I didn't know Discord could even do video?
Discord's been able to do video for a long time now; just click on the "Video" button in the lower-left corner of the interface while connected to a voice channel.

In terms of video quality, I haven't really noticed any significant differences between the two.
 

billd91

Hobbit on Quest
In my experience, Zoom is more stable with connections once dealing with audio/video. So is google meet. But it's nice to be able to set up a Discord server that persists and anyone can jump on at any time for text communications between sessions.
 

Narq

Villager
Primarily Discord was the recommended service to use instead of Roll20's video and voice as it has the reputation for being unreliable especially for large group. I use discord because it cost effective for both myself and players where as to really get the best use of things in zoom one has to purchase. I do not think that makes discord better nor zoom, skype or any other voice/video meeting software. It all comes down to preference and what works for your group.
 

SirMoogle

Explorer
Checking on Zoom's pricing plans I can see another reason why gamers are more likely to use Discord: if you're only using the Free plan in Zoom, group meetings are limited to 40 minutes, which means that you'd have to restart meetings multiple times if you're doing a 3-5 hour session, and the next plan is $200USD a year for the ability to host 30-hour meetings and stream social media, which Discord can already do without the need to pay.
 


I think Zoom is likely better video quality, but Discord has all the other functionality that really is geared toward gaming. Drag and drop file sharing and multiple text channels and bots for dice rolling and other applications. All that stuff really supports play. And Discord does have video capability....my group uses it sometimes, and it seems to work fine.
 

pogre

Legend
Really helpful replies. As a teacher, I can run Zoom sessions as long as I want for free. I certainly understand why others might gravitate to a less costly program. I also appreciate the persistent nature of Discord - that makes sense.

I am not here to tout Zoom or anything, I was genuinely curious. I had not realized a lot of the features of Discord - so again, thanks to those who replied.
 

Bilharzia

Fish Priest
It has as much to do with the huge Discord RPG communities than any technical advantage. Discord servers are used as a kind of chat-forum as much as they are a live messaging system, this cultivates more of a presence than something like Zoom. Discord servers can be run or moderated by rpg companies with thousands of members, or be a small server with single figure members which exists just for a campaign. I don't see them as comparable technologies.
 

John Dallman

Explorer
Discord handles several people trying to talk at once quite well. Its persistent chat and pinned documents also make carrying information between RPG sessions easy. I play in an AD&D1e campaign that uses it, plus Roll20 for maps and dice-rolling. We don't use video at all for that game, and I don't miss it at all.
 

turnip_farmer

Adventurer
Others have already mentioned the various reasons both practical and cultural, but for me personally there's another, emotional reason. I spend half my working day sat on Zoom. I associate Zoom with sales calls, performance reviews, office training etc. This does not put me on the right frame of mind for pretending to be hobbits.
 

Sir Brennen

Adventurer
A lot of people mentioning Discord for persistent chat channels, but our group uses Slack for that. Granted, it doesn't have voice, but then there usually aren't any voice discussions happening outside of the game. I have notifications on my phone so I can see and respond to anything posted in Slack pretty quickly if needed. We can also post docs/images for reference (though most images are funny memes someone came across).

Slack also allows for multiple channels, essentially forums, so we have one going for each game, plus a General channel to discuss whatever. It also integrates with Google Calendar, which we use to schedule games.

For actually playing, we use roll20 for map and text chat, and Google Meet for audio. We tried roll20's video/audio, and also Discord's, but neither worked very consistently for all of our players.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
A lot of people mentioning Discord for persistent chat channels, but our group uses Slack for that. Granted, it doesn't have voice, but then there usually aren't any voice discussions happening outside of the game. I have notifications on my phone so I can see and respond to anything posted in Slack pretty quickly if needed. We can also post docs/images for reference (though most images are funny memes someone came across).

Yeah, Slack isn't a bad alternative. You don't get free group voice or video on Slack, but otherwise the channel structure, file use, notifications and such are similar.
 

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