While Discord has become the dominant voice and text chat platform for gaming communities, there is another option that is worth exploring called Guilded. In this post, I'll provide an overview of what Guilded is, how it compares to Discord, and why you may want to consider it as an alternative.
Guilded was created with the goal of providing many of the same features as Discord in a more full-featured and usable interface. At its core, Guilded offers servers with text and voice channels that function very similarly to Discord. You can create text channels for general chat, voice channels for talking, and use @mentions and threading like you would on Discord.
One of the big differences between Guilded and Discord right off the bat is that many features that require a subscription to Discord are included for free on Guilded. This includes animated emotes, higher-quality voice chat, and the ability to use features across multiple servers without any limits. On Discord, getting access to features like this requires a $10/month subscription.
In addition to the basic chat and voice options, Guilded offers some additional built-in features that you don't get out of the box on Discord. For example, Guilded has a calendar feature where you can schedule and manage events. On Discord, you'd need to use a third-party bot to get a calendar integrated. Guilded also has document-sharing channels where you can store and access files.
The channel categories on Guilded provide additional organization compared to Discord as well. Channels can be grouped into customizable categories, allowing you to better organize different topics, games, or activities. For example, you may have categories for a specific game like World of Warcraft that contains text, voice, and calendar channels just for that game.
Community management features on Guilded also help give server owners more control and tools. You can set up custom roles and permissions that dictate what channels users have access to. This allows for better segmentation of content so certain groups only see relevant information. Announcement channels on Guilded also function almost like a built-in blog, where updates can be posted and shared externally.
That said, Guilded has been growing steadily since its launch in 2019. It currently has over 10 million users across its servers. Growth will likely continue as more communities become aware of its features and pricing model compared to Discord. For new communities starting from scratch, Guilded can be an excellent option without any need to pay for upgrades later on.
So let's dive into some of Guilded's key features and how they compare to what Discord offers:
Channels and Organization
Like Discord, Guilded provides basic text and voice channels that function very similarly. You can have multiple simultaneous text conversations, use @mentions to tag others and carry on voice calls.
A big differentiator in Guilded is its use of channel categories. This allows you to group related channels together in a clean, collapsible interface. For example, you may have a "Gaming" category containing individual channels for different games.
This provides a level of organization that Discord currently lacks. On Discord, all channels of a server are listed in one long vertical list that can become cumbersome to navigate with many channels. Guilded's categories solve this issue very well.
Guilded also offers additional channel types beyond the basics. This includes media sharing, calendar/scheduling, announcements, and document libraries. All are built directly into Guilded rather than requiring third-party bots.
Customization and Control
Server and role management on Guilded allows for deeper customization compared to Discord. You have full control over setting permissions for who can access different channels and sections.
This includes the ability to create child roles with limited access. For example, you could have a "World of Warcraft" role that only permits access to WoW-related categories and channels. Users can self-apply roles for a more tailored experience.
Getting new users involved and keeping existing members engaged over the long run is crucial for any community platform. Here are some ways Guilded looks to help:
- Announcements Channel: This acts almost like an internal blog where news, updates, and content can be posted to catch the attention of users when they log on.
- Server Overview: See an aggregated list of all recent activities, announcements, and events across the entire server to stay on top of discussions.
- Profile Customization: Members have more robust options to customize their profiles with backgrounds, statuses, and system usage stats.
- Notifications: Guilded supports desktop, mobile, and email notifications to make sure you don't miss important updates.
All of these tools help drive ongoing participation and reduce the risk of communities feeling stale or inactive over time. They give extra methods to highlight crucial updates outside of only passive channel browsing.
Pricing and Costs
A core difference between the two platforms remains their revenue models. Discord monetizes through optional monthly subscriptions that unlock additional features and server perks.
Guilded, on the other hand, provides the full feature set to all users and server owners completely free of charge. There are no restrictions or paywalls involved.
As a result, budget-conscious communities may prefer founding their operations on Guilded from the start without concern that subscription costs could get in the way later on. This lowers the barrier to onboarding new users as well.
Of course, going without a paid tier originally meant Guilded relied solely on venture capital funding for its operations. However, in October 2021 Guilded was acquired by Roblox Corporation in an effort to further connect gaming communities. As stated on Roblox's investor website, "Guilded will continue to operate independently while leveraging Roblox's expertise and scale to grow."
This acquisition provides Guilded with additional support and resources from one of the largest gaming platforms. At the same time, Roblox recognizes the importance of community platforms like Guilded and aims to help foster connected experiences both on and off its platform. As a result of the acquisition, Guilded is no longer reliant solely on venture capital and can continue focusing on product development and serving communities. The acquisition also means Guilded will maintain its model of providing features to all users and servers free of charge, maximizing flexibility without locking things behind monthly paywalls.
In summary, Guilded provides a compelling alternative to Discord that deserves consideration from both new and established communities. While Discord still leads in overall userbase size, Guilded has been growing rapidly since its launch with a well-rounded feature set.
Some key advantages Guilded offers are improved channel organization, deeper customization, free access to features, and a monetization model that doesn't rely on subscriptions. Performance and stability are also on par with Discord based on testing.
Rather than thinking of it as solely a "Discord competitor," Guilded can effectively be used alongside Discord to handle certain aspects like scheduling, announcements, or file sharing in a clean interface. Or it provides an excellent migration path for communities wanting to avoid subscription costs long term.
At a minimum, servers should evaluate Guilded and see if its additional affordances make sense for their particular needs before dismissing it outright. The platform continues to iterate and engage its growing user base, so it will be exciting to see where it goes in the years to come.