No more! Enter Discord.
To quote their website, Discord is an "All-in-one voice and text chat for gamers that’s free, secure, and works on both your desktop and phone." I would call it similar to Skype, but less resource intensive and much more simplistic and easy to use (and no annoying advertisements everywhere).
So, what does Discord have going for it that other programs (such as AIM) do not? Why will Discord succeed where other alternatives in the past have fallen flat?
- Discord is easy-to-access. You can fire it up in your web browser, you can download the program to your desktop, and there are also mobile apps available for your phone. Pretty much any way you prefer to communicate is available to you.
- Discord has easy-to-manage group chat features. In the past, group chats were an AIM clusterf**k where you hoped that you happened to get everyone in your league into the group chat, and maybe you forgot a person here or there or people that were no longer in the league ended up in the chat. Finding TPC games is an art long past, and while the TPC site has the game-finder chat hidden away in the site, it's not often used. So far, I've created a general chat and a TPC chat, and I've also created private chats for a few of the leagues on TecmoBowl.org and can very easily create more. Having a centralized place where everyone can communicate will, in my opinion, be very beneficial.
- Discord has optional voice chat. If you ever wanted to jaw with your opponent while playing, it's as simple as joining a voice channel with one click.
- Discord is easy-to-use. Chatting is just a matter of clicking on the chat you want to talk in and typing. Sending private messages is easy too. I personally feel like Discord is very fine-tuned in that regard.
I've set up a Discord server which you can access via the web version here. Just click the link and you'll be connected. I'm hoping that with this, we can move to program that's not from the 90s and get some online love flowing again. If you're skeptical, just give it a shot. If you don't like it, tell me why. What's most important about an attempted transition like this is to get as many people as possible involved, so I'm very interested in hearing what everyone has to say.