Video games have been around for decades, and for as long as video games have been around, guides for those video games have existed. World of Warcraft is one game that has an absolutely overwhelming amount of third-party information.With guides, youtube videos, blogs, logs, and more, it can be tough to wade through the sea of advice. When Discord came onto the scene, the WoW community quickly latched onto the easily accessible program and Class Discords soon emerged.
In the early days, the Class Discords were typically groups of friends who played a specific class or spec at a decently high level and came together to theorycraft and bond. As time passed, a more solidified format of Class Discord emerged, the existence of these Discords became widespread knowledge, and members of each class Community joined in droves.
Eventually each Class Discord sought out highly knowledgeable and skilled players and theorycrafters for their class to provide up to date and accurate information and guides. While many guides exist for each class, typically the most up to date discussion and info can be found in respective Class Discords.
However, some players can often find Class Discords confusing or even intimidating. Additionally, there have been some reports of toxic or negative behaviour in a number of the Discords, as well as elitism from the higher echelons. Last year the website AskMrRobot put out a blog post disparaging Class Discords. Personally I disagreed with most of that blog post, but there were some uncomfortable truths in it, specifically in the area of Class Discords not being very welcoming to new players.
There are two sides to this coin. Many new players will come into a Discord and ask a question. Unbeknownst to them, that same question has been asked 28 times in the past hour, and an answer has been given and also made accessible elsewhere. Frustrated with having to answer the same questions over and over, the “regulars” or “staff” respond brusquely, sometimes rudely. These types of interactions can negatively impact someone’s experience of a Class Discord, and prevent them from seeking out information in the future.
The goal of each Class Discord is to provide easily accessible and up to date information on their respective Class and Specs. They are also the place to engage in discussion and theorycrafting. Lastly, they have become vibrant and exciting communities where players of the same Class come to bond and socialize with each other. The communities that have emerged from these Class Discords are really quite remarkable, so it is disheartening to hear some players say they avoid their Class Discord because of negativity, elitism or other bad experiences.
As a moderator of the Hammer of Wrath Paladin Discord, I have seen this occur. My goal as part of the HoW staff is to make our Discord a safe and friendly place, filled with accurate and up to date information on all things Paladin. While none of the Class Discords are organized exactly the same, there are steps everyone can and should take to make the most of their Class Discords.
In order to get the best experience from a Class Discord, try to employ the following advice:
1. Upon Joining, look for a “welcome” or “read-me-first” channel
Each Class Discord has a different setup, but all of them have some kind of welcome channel to give you basic information on the structure of the Discord. Read this section thoroughly, and read it for each Class Discord you join!
2. Read the rules
Some Class Discords have stricter moderation rules than others, so to avoid getting reprimanded, be aware of the rules that each one sets out for its members.
3. Be aware of channel names
In order to properly filter information and discussion, each Class Discord is organized into various channels. Typically these will be separated by spec, sometimes a channel specifically for questions or discussion, and usually a general or off topic channel. Make sure your posts go in the proper channels. Example: you’re not going to get very good responses if you ask if Ret looks good in Shadowlands in the cat channel!
4. Be aware of Roles
Each Discord uses different names, but typically there will be a small group of Moderators, and then at least one more group of specialty roles - these are usually “experts” and are awarded those roles based on their knowledge, skill, and contribution to their specific spec/class. Don’t take everything they say as gospel, but typically speaking someone with one of these roles should be providing accurate and up to date information.
5. Read any FAQ channels
Many of the Class Discords condense their important information into FAQ or Resource channels. If you have a question about something, READ THIS FIRST!! Nothing frustrates regulars and “experts” more than being asked the same question 30 times a day. They make a point of putting these types of questions that consistently come up into their FAQ or Resource sections. If your question is not found, go to the appropriate channel and ask. *if it’s something new like a brand new change or hotfix, scroll up through the channel a bit first, it’s very possible your question was asked and answered just minutes prior*
6. Check the Pins
Some Discords keep their resources in separate channels, but some make use of Pins instead, or at least that is where you can find the newest info before it makes its way into resources. Before you ask a question, check the pins!
7. Give relevant info when you ask a Question
It is important to let people in the Discord know what your experience level is, and what kind of content you are doing in order to give you the best answer. Inform them if you are brand new to the class, or a long time Arms Warrior trying out Protection for the first time. Are you looking for advice for PVE or PvP? What level? Mythic Progression or casual Heroic? 1600 or Gladiator? And if it’s PVE, is it for raiding or Mythic +, as that can definitely make a difference as well. What level of keys?
8. Pinging Etiquette
Mass pings are a pretty big no-no in the Class Discords. I believe all of them have @everyone and @here disabled, but just in case permissions get messed up, it’s best to never even try. Avoid pinging @moderator unless there is egregious behaviour that needs to be dealt with ASAP such as porn/violent/racist/sexist links or discussion. Otherwise, it is best to DM individual moderators if you are having a problem with someone or if you think someone is acting inappropriately.
9. If you have a problem
Moderators are the people in charge of banning/kicking and deleting messages. If you have a problem with another member of the Discord, you should first attempt to deal with them on your own. Be an adult, do not engage in disrespectful behaviour. If you are unsuccessful, DM a Moderator. Be aware of the Moderators that frequent the channel you’re in, in order to know who to message. For example, in the Paladin Discord, our Mods and Templars (experts) are separated by spec, as shown in our names. If you have a problem with someone in the Protection channels, make it known to a Protection Moderator. The Retribution and Holy Moderators can help, but they are likely unfamiliar with the regulars in those channels. Of course if there are no Moderators online that frequent the channel you are in, contact another one right away.
10. Act appropriately
Be mature, be respectful, and do not be an elitist. The Class Discords are for members of each Class, regardless of their experience or skill level. The information and discussion should not be exclusionary. Do not ridicule people for being less progressed or being unaware of certain things - they may simply be new to the game.
In the inverse, do not expect information to be spoon-fed to you. It is expected that you will do your due diligence to read the information and resources provided within the Class Discord before asking questions in the various channels. Remember, the various “staff” of these Discords volunteer their time and expertise, so try to meet them halfway by doing as much research as you can before you request their help.
With a new expansion coming up, the amount of information to sift through is enormous. The Class Discords will be at peak activity, so knowing the best way to navigate through them will give you the best chance at getting to the information you’re looking for. At their core, the Class Discords are about fostering a community within World of Warcraft for players of the same classes. Use them to learn, to improve, but also to get to know others. I hope to see you all in Shadowlands!