Should you use: Leveling systems?

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Welcome to the Should you use …? series. In this type of article, we’ll go over different strategies and features and discuss whether you should be employing them in your Discord. We’re going to make a start with leveling systems. Let’s jump right in!

What are leveling systems?

Discord leveling systems are implemented into a server using bots. These bots keep track of a users activity in chat (sometimes voice-channels, too) and reward the user with experience points. Once a user has reached a certain XP threshold, they are rewarded with a new level. Levels are often connected to new roles the user receives. These roles can unlock a different color, new channels or permissions.

If you want to know which bots are the best bots for leveling systems, check out our article here: The best Discord Level Bots 2019

Why and when you should be using levels

Let’s start this off with a list of points that speak for level systems:

  • Gives users something to look forward to
  • Encourages chat activity
  • Rewards loyalty
  • Positive psychological effects of making people with a high level act as mentors and guides
  • Some people really enjoy watching their rank go up
  • Allows the Server owner to lock access to channels or content behind a certain activity requirement

These are the main points which came to mind. As you can see, there are lots of different factors speaking for a level system, most of them aimed at activity and rewarding your users.

Leveling systems work great on general chill or hangout servers, as well as servers around a video game or communities. Something you’ll need to play around with is the parameters of the system. Balance it to fit your needs and make sure your community is actually enjoying it.

Why and when you shouldn’t be using levels

Now to the things speaking against leveling systems:

  • Chat just for the sake of gaining XP – drowns real conversations
  • Can encourage spam
  • Systems often relatively easy to abuse
  • Levels provide no real value
  • Rewards quantity over quality

As you can see the points speaking against a leveling system are mainly centered around the quality of chat.

If your server is centered around quality discussions, real content and a professional environment then you shouldn’t be using a level system. It usually isn’t worth the reduction in chat quality and people are going to care more about serious conversations than a fancy color.

Our stance

Now that we’ve shown the pros and cons of levels, let’s talk about how we use leveling systems in our servers. Our general Discord philosophy is the following quote:

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

-Antione de Saint-Exupery

This means that we have a certain base of things we put in all of our servers. These features are mostly based around logging, moderation, and security. When we have established that base we ask ourselves: “Does this feature really improve the quality and user experience of the Discord?” and only if both we and our community answer it with yes we can fully implement a feature.

A leveling system is no exception to that rule. That’s why we do not use it on our “professional” servers, but lots of our game servers feature one. It really depends on the circumstances and the community you have in your Discord.

Keep in mind that you can always test something like this and if it doesn’t work ou throw it out again after a week. To involve your community in such decisions is very important, but you also have to control it. Your community might like it, but if you notice that a feature makes your community go into a direction you don’t want it to go then don’t use the feature.

An example of this might that your servers becomes off-topic and casual over time because you give in too often and implement too many features. Many servers actually have this problem and you can watch them transform from a server focused on a single topic to a general hangout server over the course of weeks.

That’s it!

We hope you could learn something about leveling systems and gained the knowledge needed to make a decision for your server. If you still have questions, would like to further discuss or simply chat with our community please join our server down below. Have a good day 😀

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Comments (2)

I don’t know the popular bots out there, never used a bot from someone other.
But when I create Bots for my Server, I usually implement a Levelsystem that:

a) Looks at the Length of Messages, not just the amount. (Messages under 20 Chars don’t count at all. 20 chars give 0.5 points, 30 0.6 etc up to 70 chars where you get 1 full XP)
b) Only the first 5 messages in a 2 Minute Interval are counted and
c) Only the first 30 Messages in a 60 minute Period are counted aaaaaand
d) Only the first 100 Messages in a 24h Period are counted.

So per Day you can earn a maximum of 200XP, and that only if you do it over a 3 hour and 4 minute period. That really limits post hunting, also the Users don’t even know the exact system so they can’t really abuse it.
It rewards the ones that are active over longer periods of time, and not ones that just write much.

Those sound like great rules, public bots sadly tend to not offer that level of customizability. Level systems should incentivize long term activity and it looks like they would with your set of rules, good job!

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