Monday, September 14, 2020

FOMO -- Discord Style

Discord has been a godsend to the MMO community, and the gaming community in general. It's far more than the old Ventrilo system, or even a Skype or Teams system, as it also replaces many of the functions that guild websites would have been utilized: keeping track of sign-ups, forum discussions, and managing various in-guild activities by the guild leadership.* Add-ons such as Rythm ensure that guildies can be their own DJ, and there are all sorts of other add-ons that come in handy.

So I wanted to listen to ELO. Don't judge me.

To be fair, I don't consider Discord "user friendly" as some people do. I consider it closer to UNIX in that it is extremely powerful, but you can accidentally cause problems without intending to because you're not always sure how to do things without going back to the online manual. Which can suck if you're on the tablet or phone app.** And, given how space works in something such as Google, you're never quite sure --as an end user-- just how much space you're allowed when you're looking at a video you took and whether you should upload it to your guild's Discord server to share with your friends. 

Do you know how long it took me to find
the Disconnect button? Usually I'm in a
hurry to get to wherever I need to go for the raid,
so taking the time to look at the "fine print"
of Discord is just not there.

But another thing that I've had to get used to is that when you pug, you join another guild's Discord server in order to join the audio connection. Yes, it's very simple to do that, but if you leave the server after that event you joined for --a raid or grouping or just to be social-- you have to get an invite to get back in. That can be annoying if you pug a lot, and the sign-ups for those pugs are on the same Discord server you just left. My first forays into raiding were like that, and after the first time you realized you should have hung onto that server you learn to never get rid of them. Just in case.

Oh, and if your MMO's Discord server is anything like WoW Classic's Myzrael-US server, the "Guild Recruitment" page entries all seem to end with an invitation to check out the guild's Discord server.

So, if you're like me, you collect what feels like a ton of these Discord server connections. 

Again, just in case.


As those connections have piled up, I've found that I've had to be more aggressive in muting alerts from these servers. I don't want to be a snoop, yet at the same time I seem to regularly get alerts when someone posts in a Discord server to "@everyone". 

And then there's the constant stream of people in raid chats that --despite my best efforts-- make me wonder what I'm missing out on.

I hate that FOMO feeling. Not because I really think I'm missing out on everything --to be fair, you're always gonna miss out on something if you're in an MMO, because you can't be on all the raids/instances/whatever for every guild-- but because that feeling is usually associated with being in the in-crowd.

That's the crux of the problem: you physically can't be doing all the things all the time. My regular raid schedule went from one night a week, to two nights a week, and now four nights a week across two toons. Trying to do more than that on a regular basis isn't sustainable, even with two kids in college and not at home. Spur of the moment raids such as Onyxia, Z'G, or AQ20 are doable, but even then I have to think hard on what I might be giving up both in-game and out-of-game. 

Just like last night.

I could have signed up for an AQ20 run, but decided it wasn't necessary so I was fine with working on some other things in-game for a while. In the end, a friend whispered me for an assist with her guild group, as one of her guildies was working on farming for a wand in Stratholme and needed a fifth. Because I was free, I got to help out and catch up with my friend on how she's been doing. Or, like on Saturday, I got to spend about an hour or more chatting with a friend on cooking, family, jobs, and all sorts of topics while I farmed herbs. There was no pressure to do anything else, despite all of the requests in the LFG channel, and it was a relaxing afternoon.


FOMO is always going to be there, no matter what you do, and apps like Discord can exacerbate that feeling. But the trick is to understand that it is an internal pressure, something you place on yourself, and you have to learn to manage it. And if you have issues, talk to people about it. No sense in burning yourself out on a game you love because you feel that you have to be doing all the things all the time.

*One thing I'm eternally grateful is that some people are called to step into guild leadership positions. When I get done with work I want to take off my "team lead" or "[whatever] lead" or "manager" or whatever hat and just relax, but some people have that urge to go out and be the organizer. Occasionally I get the urge to do something like that, but then I remember that I herd cats all day, so why do it at night?

**Don't ask why, just trust me on this one. I'd rather save the embarrassment.


  1. I still struggle to find that bloody disconnect button sometimes, lol... maybe it's just bad UI design if it's not just me!

    The Discord servers can certainly pile up quickly, and yeah, you learn to just mute a majority of them or else you'll go mad. I do sometimes miss the more organised forum format compared to the unending stream of consciousness in Discord and how quickly conversations move from one subject to another. It's fine for casual chats but I do find it to be a bit of a pain for anything that's meant to be a bit more thoughtful and long-lived.

    1. There was actually some server controversy about Discord a few months ago, as one or two guilds accused a third guild of using these Discord invitations to spy on them. I found that accusation kind of silly, given that --for the most part-- the Discord server settings are controlled by the server owner, and if you want sensitive subject matter discussed, take it behind the security wall.

      But hey, just another day in the Myzrael-US Discord.