The Case for Clans
Come for the game, stay for the players.
With massive online communities, that is what keeps them chugging. I know with games like World of Warcraft the only reason I stayed around for so long is because I had joined a guild with about 10 core players and we enjoyed each others company. Once we had to move on to another game or for personal reasons, I just stopped playing WoW because I didn’t have the personal aspect to keep coming back to. I think console games can learn a lot from the guild and clan model. With massive support for clans on website like GameBattles there is an obvious desire to play with like minded people.
I remember when I first played in a clan. The game was Halo 2 and I had just arrived on the online multiplayer scene. At the time I didnt know any friends from school that played so I just hopped into matchmaker, played a couple games and signed out for the night. Then it happened. A friendly play invited me to their clan, and I was hooked on the online multiplayer. Rather than watch television with my free time I was playing with a new group of friends in this online world. Now why did I end up joining a clan in this way? Because it was easy. Bungie had built a clan system into the game that was very simple, yet powerful! Up to 100 members could be in the clan and there were four ranks. Peon, Member, Staff and Overlord. While the ranks were mostly just to structure clan leaders and to put people on probation, the real gem in this system was clan matches. Rather than just joining a Team Slayer match with a couple of friends, if enough clan members were on then they could queue up into the clan match playlist. This was used to play other clans in a more competitive way. The odd thing is, after Halo 2 bungie never implemented this system. Other games that I can think of that had a clan system built into the game include Battlefield 2 and Chromehounds. But just like Halo, there are no more clans in Battlefield 3.
My question is why? Why did game studios stop building in clan systems, and clan match systems? Now if you want a competitive game experience, you need to go to a game ladder site such as GameBattles to set up matches. While this works okay, it is a lot of work for people who just want quick matches. All of the members have to sign up on the website and both teams need to report the results. Lots of times this results in disputes because some people are to immature to just accept a loss and move on. This would all be avoided if the game developers built in their own system, and results were in the system as soon as the match is over. It would also encourage people who are just becoming interested in competitive game play to step into the ring without all the red tape and outside sites to join.
If that isn’t enough for a game developer to build in the system, they just need to think about all the possibilities attached with it. More and more companies are trying to get involved with their community. So why wouldn’t they want to give them everything they need in their product? Keeping them from other websites and sources will most likely mean more time spent playing their game. They need to stop adding a clan tag feature and calling it a day. Another advantage is hosting community tournaments with a prize to the top team. Something simple such as the next map pack for free, or some Microsoft/PlayStation Network points would encourage me to get some of my friends to get together and compete. And this will stick with gamers. The next time they have to choose between the two hot shooters, the one with the community and clan support will win.
Even if the player isn’t competitive, thinking of building a clan with your friends can be enjoyable. If you look at the new World of Warcraft structure of leveling the guild by playing, that could translate to almost any other game. By encouraging players to play together for greater benefits, the developers would be creating a new level of bonds within the game that keeps the player coming back for more. It is a win-win situation.
Those are just my two cents on why clan support should become common in all future games that will be developed. I would love to know what you think, so feel free to comment below!