Guilded App - Keeping Group Comms Open in a Single Handy App
Guilded is a software that brings a host of different communications apps together into one hand, multi-functional application. It adds features that keep groups together and much, much more. We chatted with the Guilded team. It's an informative look at an innovative product. Check it out!
MMORPG: What was the impetus behind Guilded? What was missing in your opinion from current gen comms with guild members?
Eli: Years ago, me and my friends set up a little website for our Rift guild. It had some information about our team, a BBS for discussion, and a little form you could fill out if you wanted to join. We had to buy a domain, pay for hosting, and paste phpbb code into random places until the site didn't break and a forum appeared. At the time, I didn't understand what the "php" in "phpbb" meant. It sucked.
Since then, I've been thinking a lot about gaming collaboration tools. I thought it was strange that there are a handful of awesome services for real-time chat for gamers, but few-to-none for other forms of communication. Real-time chat is an important form of communication, but aren't there other important forms, too? Real-time chat isn't the best form of communication for scheduling, calendars are. Real-time chat isn't the best form of communication for long-form content, documents are. Real-time chat isn't the best way to save memories, media albums are. The list goes on. If those are useful tools for organizing every other aspect of our life, what makes gaming different?
On the other end of the spectrum, there are bulky "website builders" for gaming teams - but I don't want to build a website to use a calendar for my guild any more than I want to build a website to use Google Calendar. I also felt like this was the wrong focus: a website is a medium, not a solution. These tools had poor mobile experiences, expensive monthly subscription rates, and dated UX, in part due to this focus.
I began envisioning a product that would connect guilds with rich forms of communication. It would be free, fully-featured on all platforms, and lightweight enough that you can create a team in seconds. It would also work seamlessly alongside (or even integrate with) your favorite voice comms product. I built that, and named it "Guilded" - a play on "Guild" (obviously) and "Gilded", which means "to coat with gold". We just launched a couple weeks ago.
MMORPG: What are the most innovative features in Guilded?
Eli: Our Discord bot is really unique, and people have given really positive feedback about it so far. Once you create a team, you can add GuildedBot to your team and tell it what updates you want it to share to which channels. Then (for example) once you create an event, GuildedBot will automatically share a link to your Discord channel to sign up for the event, and will pop back in to remind teammates about the event before it starts. For teams that use Discord, this is a seamless way to utilize Guilded's collaboration tools without forcing members to constantly check another website for updates.
A lot of players consider their Twitch, YouTube, Twitter, Steam, etc. profiles to be an important part of their persona that they want to share with their teammates (and potential teams). Because of this, we've put a lot of care into allowing players to present that aspect as part of their profile in a few innovative ways. For example, if you link your Twitch account, we'll integrate your Twitch info into your profile, import your past broadcasts into your personal media album, and make your stream link easily accessible. Soon, it'll notify teammates when you go live, and you'll be able to see all of your teammates' streams on one page.
MMORPG: What makes Guilded different from hosts of other apps such as Discord, Skype or other applications groups use for communication?
Eli: I love Discord, and I think Guilded and Discord work best together to solve different problems. Discord is an awesome tool for real-time chat, but real-time chat is only one form of communication. Teams benefit from others, too. Teams also want tools to organize events, develop strategies, recruit new members, and showcase their achievements and memories. I'm aiming to bring all of these things, which were previously fragmented by community/product/platform, together in one free and easy-to-use service.
Fundamentally, our vision is different. We're focused on empowering teams to use rich forms of communication and exploring innovative ways to connect players and teams.
MMORPG: How do you answer people who say that this type of app isn't necessary given the already-established means of communication most guilds use?
Eli: I don't think Guilded is necessary for all players or guilds. But in a world where over 700 million people play online games, it will be invaluable for a lot of them. There are a lot of teams that want tools to schedule events, a lot of teams that want recruiting tools that help them find the right addition to their roster, and a lot of teams that want to catalog their team's achievements and memories. A lot of those teams are using Guilded already - many alongside an already-established means of communication - and they're really enjoying it. There's room for many forms of communication in such a large and rapidly-advancing industry.
I think it's also important to keep in mind that not all games have the same communication tools. Many games have a variety of in-game and first or third-party tools to support the community (for example, WoW has an in-game events calendar), but many don't. With the rise of indie developers and small studios producing smash hits, I hope that we're able to provide tools to help support gaming communities and developers that may not have the resources to build them themselves.
MMORPG: What features do you plan to add in the future?
Eli: Right now, we're really good at connecting members of existing teams. The next step of the vision is to connect teams: by (a) connecting teams to other teams, and (b) synthesizing teams.
For (a) we're working on I call "intent-making". This is similar to matchmaking, but where intents can be scrims, progression co-op, practices, etc. This will make it easier for teams to test their skills against organized competitors, open up new possibilities for team collaboration, and will offer a way for teams that play games without matchmaking to connect. I think our current features can be deeply integrated into this experience to give us the opportunity to do this better than other tools have done in the past, so I'm pretty excited about this.
(b) is a bit more exploratory, but I think there are some really cool unexplored opportunities here. If you're looking for a guild, why should you have to manually look through a bunch of guild postings, evaluate all of them, and ask people if you can join? If you're looking for new recruits, why should you have to look through player profiles or post recruiting ads?
We can be smarter about this. What if, instead, we took what we know about your team and players that are LFG and notified you when we think there's a great fit for your team? Or, if there's a group of compatible players looking for a team - let's say you're all on the same server, are all raid-focused, are all around the same level/ilvl/MMR, and have a diverse set of classes - why don't we automatically figure that out for you, connect you all, and allow you to set up a team and a Discord server in one click? I think that'd be really cool.
MMORPG: How goes the marketing campaign? Is the app population growing? What is your estimate of the average daily users?
Eli: It's going well! We've been focusing first on reaching out to MMO communities because MMO players are usually highly-engaged, good at giving constructive feedback, and have the most experience with organizational and communication tools. We were featured on ProductHunt last week, got a really warm reception from a couple MMO subreddits that we announced the launch in (thanks /r/ffxiv and /r/wow), and made a lot of improvements to make it better for those communities. We monitor growth via # of active teams and weekly active users, and in our first week, we had over a thousand teams and over two thousand users sign up, and we're continuing to grow. We're pretty excited about these numbers given our limited launch strategy and the opportunities still available. We're going to continue to focus on improving the product based on feedback from MMO communities before growing in other communities.
MMORPG: Please add any other information you wish our readers to know.
Eli: We're still new, and your feedback is especially valuable while we're rapidly iterating on feedback from our early adopters. I'd love for you all to try it out and send me your feedback at email@example.com or @teamguilded on Twitter. I read it all personally, and most of our recent features came from direct feedback from the community. Thanks!