Clan (computer gaming)

From Academic Kids

In computer and video gaming, a clan is a group of players who regularly play together in a particular multiplayer game, generally as a team. Clans also act as social groups, with players often meeting up both on and offline. Numerous clans exist for nearly every online game available today, notably in first-person shooters (especially tactical shooter-style games), massively multiplayer games, role-playing games, and strategy games.

Player organizations probably emerged in the earliest networked multiplayer computer games that brought together disparate groups of players, such as players in a MUD from two rival universities. The first clans as we recognize today were probably set up to play early first-person shooters such as Quake. Although these games initially only offered "deathmatch" play, where everyone is playing against everyone else, the desire to form social groups led to the design of team-based modes such as capture the flag.

Many competitive clans have their own private servers to play their game of choice on. These are most handy for holding practice matches against other clans and other forms of practice. Private servers are also convenient since they do not have problems that plague public servers, such as team killers.


Clans in other genres

Clans also exist in other genres, where they often go by a different name and serve a purpose more suited to the game. Many online computer role-playing games call them 'guilds'. Star Wars Galaxies calls them 'player associations'. Earth: 2025, a web browser-based game, formerly called them 'alliances', but switched to 'clans' as the word increased in popularity.

There are few guild versus guild tournaments in online RPGs, so guilds usually are more of a social group in these games. Sometimes in MMORPGs, guilds take on the role of vigilante groups or the mafia, protecting its members from other players and guilds. These guilds form in the most literal sense in games that feature player vs. player combat. EverQuest infamously spawned uberguilds: Extremely influential guilds formed by the best players on the server for the purpose of securing for its members all the newest and most powerful abilities and loot.


Clans form membership hierarchies as they grow. They usually begin with a leader, responsible for the entirety of organizing the clan, with a number of basic members. If the clan expands, experienced members are promoted and become responsible for various tasks such as recruiting, disciplining rule-breakers, member training, webpage maintenance, and others.

In most games, players show the clan they are in by using a special clan tag in their name. The most common form of clan tag is an abbreviation of the clan's name placed inside square brackets preceding the player's name. For example, in a name like "[EW]Bob", "[EW]" is the clan tag and "Bob" is the player's name. In MMORPGs, the game often features a separate mechanism used to identify the clan a player belongs to. For example in Dark Age of Camelot, the player's guild appears in full below the player's name. In games that allow players to customize their appearance (usually by picking the color of their attire), clan members might all share a similar look, or bear their clan's logo on their character's outfit.

Guild Types and Phases

Every guild, much like a government, goes through phases from the beginning to the middle and to the end of its life. Equally, strong structured gaming guilds will choose a type of government which is usually a model of real-life government structures.

Clans or guilds often organize around one or more common goals. For example, social guilds may be geared toward building or maintaining friendships or a feeling of "family." Raiding guilds may focus on organized assaults against high-challenge game content. There may be guilds structured around a certain type of role-playing style (A thieves Guild, for example, might be made up primarily of rogue character types). The type of guild is generally limited only by the choices made by its members.

Phase 1: The Beginning

Gaming guilds can start off in many different ways. Some may start from break offs from other gaming guilds or clans. Some may start fresh with one or two founding members who will then promote and recruit. Some may almost form on a fluke within the game itself or a common party or group that decides to combine efforts.

Phase 1 is generally not the hardest of phases to age through. When starting a gaming clan or guild up it is important to write a guild charter. Within this charter written rules, guidelines, expectations, goals and even ranks/positions should be listed. This document is usually written by the guild leader or guild founders. Also needed for success is a guild website where the charter, roster, discussion forum and a news page can be displayed outside of the game. Most guilds or clans never write a charter and rarely progress past Phase 2 due to small size, poor organization or lack of dedication.

Once the above is completed the guild will begin to progress. One of the many downfalls at this point that plagues some start ups is the ambition. Forming a guild from scratch brings new faces together and creates the way for positive ambitions. Forming a guild from members of an ex-guild or ex-gaming clan tends to fall apart due to revenge-like ambitions against the prior guild. Revenge-like ambitions may fuel the 'fire' of the guild start up, but will eventually burn out and the guild has a large possibility to fall apart and digress back to the previous guild.

Phase 2: Finding the Identity

Now that the gaming guild or clan has recruited a number of members, founded a charter, developed a website and a discussion forum, the guild can now develop further. During this phase the gaming guild or clan will figure out other procedures and define specific goals. Usually the first number of members are recruited without a recruitment process. This is the perfect time to learn what type of people belong in the gaming guild or clan. If this is an MMORPG guild, a raiding procedure and event schedule should be formed to start working in-game as a group, even if the game isn't released yet. It is perfectly fine if most of these parts were designed in Phase 1. In Phase 2, however, they will be put to the the test for possible change.

The longer the guild progresses in this stage the harder it becomes to form a concise and unified structure. The most important thing to do in this phase is define the identity of the guild itself.

Phase 3: The Gauntlet

So we had the beginning, then the definition of our guild. In this next phase we then begin to officially operate as a well organized gaming guild or clan. With a structured website, roster, recruitment process, perfected charter, discussion forum, events schedule, goals defined, and a handful of dedicated members forged through the previous phases. The leader(s) by this time will have noticed those members who have stuck out and could be possible candidates for guild leadership and responsibility assignments.

This is the part of the life cycle the guild leader(s) will need to be wary. This is sometimes thought of as the win or lose phase of guild life. Around this time members begin to be appointed by the leader(s) as assistant leaders or they will naturally rise above the other members as a leader figure all in their own right. It is the choice of the guild leader to publicly identify and respect these figures or allow them to rise on their own through popularity. Either way, they will become a facet of the guild structure.

This is a highly sensitive period because of the above. Members who rise to a popularity status or noticed and promoted can carry with them the spawning pool for a following or clique. At any moment, one of these anointed members can decide to do things 'their way' and either revolt against the structure, system, or founding leaders or leave with their following with them.

If this occurs it can be devastating to any gaming guild or clan. The way to respond to this is quickly and responsively. The leader(s) should immediately call out the individuals who are revolting and either remove them or ask them to leave. Taking control of the situation is the best response. Be sure to denounce any accusations with solid proof, but never denounce without any. Ignoring accusations will look better then defending yourself with no solid ground.

If the guild survives through this phase then it will grow even further into a tighter knit of gamers.

Phase 4: The Golden Age

From Phase 3, all the bad apples should be gone now. What is left is a golden period of friendship, progressiveness, positive ness and rewarding accomplishments.

The momentum of this phase can last the longest. Any direct change may digress to the previous phase. This can include; leadership change, major structure change, major goal change, or leadership abandonment.

As the gaming guild or clan progresses through age, it may change small features to adapt to new situations. It is important the leadership embraces these changes head on and entices interests by creating new events and mini-goals.

Phase 5: Death or Rebirth

This last phase is the turning point for any guild. When a devastating change occurs, mass exodus of members, leadership loss or change, and any other deterrent occurs the guild will have a large choice to make.

The guild can proceed onward. New leader(s) elected, re-founding of identity and so on. Basically the life cycle would begin again.

The guild can disband. All members decide the time has come to call it quits and go their separate ways. Some members may decide to group up and form a smaller guild, but it will be something from scratch and starting at Phase 1.

The guild can switch games. Often times switching a game can renew interests and immediately continue the guild with Phase 4 attributes. This is rare but is possible.

The guild can support other games. Once a gaming guild supports multiple games a new 'beast' is created. This super guild or multi-gaming clan will support multiple leaderships, goals, and procedures. These are the most difficult to maintain, but done right can be rewarding for all members. See Online Gaming Organizations for more information on these types of (E-Sport) fr:Clan (jeu vidéo)


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