D0721 T1230 Y2006Readers Poll: Clans. Are They Good or Evil?

This Readers Poll was inspired by Xbox.com. Prepare to sharpen your vocabulary and pick a side.

Sooner or later, every blogger commits the journalistic sin of recycling someone else’s news. The essence of the blogosphere is a community of intellectual incest, where ideas get linked, repackaged, and passed along like conversational hot potatoes by a network of rogue pundits. The usual agenda at ‘Tied the Leader’ is to manufacture original features ripped from the experiences of random battles had through online multiplayer gaming. There is a feature at Xbox.com, however, that hits close enough to home to be re-contemplated on this open forum.

This week, Gamerspeak provides a glimpse into the Xbox.com forums at a discussion about the merits [or lack thereof] of Online Gaming Clans. For the uninformed, the notion of “Clans” describes the thousands of gamer splinter cells that cluster together into special teams, oftentimes united through homespun websites sporting interactive forums where strategies are hatched and conspiracies are born. The question posed is: “Are clans good or bad for the gaming community?” The front-paged comment excerpts spotlight a number of fascinating perspectives. Several of them caught this Clan Overlord quite off-guard.

Have a quick read on this. Be sure to circle back here to lend your voice to our discussion on the matter. The more vocal readership at ‘Tied the Leader’ has always been very Clan-Centric. This is your chance to speak for your team, put a desirable face on your organization, or answer your would-be critics among our community of gamers.

Go on. We’ll be right here, waiting patiently…

[taps foot – whistles Halo theme to self]

Welcome back!
Did you read it? Okay. Good.

To pose the question again…
Online Clans: Good or Evil?

Do they promote elitism and sectism?
Or do they defend the honorable traditions of teamwork?

Do they elevate the game with healthy competition?
Or do they cheapen it with bitter rivalries?

Do they wall-off an otherwise healthy fanbase into impenetrable cliques?
Or do they enhance the flavor of community interactions?

Should clans be beholden only to themselves?
Or do they have a responsibility to include the general gaming population?

Constant Readers of this column are likely to guess the TTL position before it can be given. Of all the commentary featured at Gamerspeak, one idea rang true to this gamer above all others: “Like any other group, Clans are what their members make them.” That is damn right! The Overlord High Council of our ‘TTL Gunslingers’ Clan is held responsible for the quality of experience for our membership as well as our opponents. While other clans may find that a foolish burden, it has kept us busy warring against a lineup of worthy rivals – even after the demise of ranked Clanmatches.

Reading the commentary at Gamerspeak, I did find myself feeling bad for the little guy – the independent gamer. There was even a rebuke about how clans create an unfair advantage for themselves, camping out a server to entrap hapless noobs. That very practice is blatantly bragged about in the article immediately following this one. Whoops. Sorry about that. I would hate to think of the ‘TTL Gunslingers’ earning a reputation similar to that of some marauding Fraternity of Bullies on a college campus. While we might overprepare for a round of BTB Slayer, we don’t run the bookbags of unaffiliated Chemistry Majors up the flagpoll.

Clans create unfair advantages for themselves. Guilty as charged. But so do Super-Bouncing Snipers, and Modders, and Bridgers, and Rocket-Hoarding Ghost Pilots [I’m guilty of that one too, by the way], and Junior High School students on summer break with nothing to do but hone their skills through endless hours of uninterrupted Halo2 gameplay. I speak for the aging Corporate Monkeys and Working Persons and College Denizens. We need to stick together if we are to have any hope of eking out a lead – or even a tie, as it were. The entire purpose of assembling a good team is to improve one’s game. I thought that would be obvious, and not the sort of thing that people resent.

Gaming Clans are certainly nothing new. Teams of gamers have held down territory on the Internet for a decade before Microsoft made “TeamSlayer” a household name. Now that the plug-and-play simplicity of Xbox Live [not to mention the universal appeal of its Killer App in Halo2] has herded millions of new members to the online gaming community, special teams and communities are more needed than ever. Within a community as large as the Xbox Live subscriber base, it is inevitable that like-minded gamers will seek each other out amidst a sea of strangers and enlist into little platoons.

If this gamerblogger thought that the quality of our experiences as gamers would be the same if we trusted random matchmaking to choose our allies and opponents for us, I would gladly apologize for running a clan. I would not disband it, but I would apologize. We all know that this is not the case, however. Don’t we, now?

To all of you Clan Members [be you Overlord or Peon]: SOUND OFF! Tell the gaming community about your team. Do you fight for the forces of good? Or EVIL?

To all of you Independent Gamers: I am sorry to have to repeat the obvious truth, but there is safety in numbers. Clans aren’t going anywhere. You are welcome to try and beat us, or you are welcome to try and join us.

Posted by XerxdeeJ

Clans 16

  1. #LINK D0721 T1332
    Rock wrote...

    Very good points Xerx, as always, you shoot straight, and as usual, I agree with your opinions. Clans are definately a positive thing. With the conduct that is allowed on XBox LIVE these days, like minded gamers need to congregate into groups and communities. It’s a safe haven from the idiots and 12 year old kids that want to talk about my mom, or drop the “F” word or “N” bomb in the pregame/postgame lobby, I’m a 40 yr. old gamer, I don’t need that BS. It also gives you people to run with who you can count on sticking it out during matchmade games, and not team killing (well, not intentionally), cheating, bridging host, etc… Thank God for clans and online communities for like minded gamers.

    And thanks to TTL for the great matches last week. You guys are a class act.

    GT: Capt Rock
    Wheezin Geezers

  2. #LINK D0721 T1427
    Grim Reaper BTB wrote...

    If I had not joined the Old Man Mafia on 2old2play.com I would be long done with gaming. This community is the only thing that keeps me as a 35 year old even interested. Don’t Forget about all of the money and time I spend. Clans are my life line to gaming. As for individual gamers, as long as you are over 25, come join us at www.2old2play.com and you won’t have to be by yourself anymore.

  3. #LINK D0721 T1516
    Stuicide wrote...

    I do feel bad for the independent gamer, I used to be him. It’s not fun being the lone wolf against a team of well coordinated pack hunters. However, clans are neither good or evil, they are just an extension of the gamer. Clans just magnify the gamers within their clan. Elitism? Sure I’ve booted people out of the party once in a while because of clan activities, but I don’t think that qualifies as Elitism since it was only after we spent lots of time planning a night on LIVE.

    TTL Stuicide
    TTL Gunslingers
    Clan Overlord

  4. #LINK D0721 T1609
    Redpsycho wrote...

    Elitism, sure i have and have seen people who randomly join a game get booted. But just because the party(door) is open doesn’t mean you don’t send a message(knock) before joining(walking in). Before signing up with TTL i got to a 27 in big team going solo and the large clans had an advantage sure but most were full of to many super egos to be a big threat. My Question to everyone who says clans are bad is: How is a clan different from a friends list? Other than there better.

    TTL Gunslingers
    Clan Peon

  5. #LINK D0721 T1726
    Mudshovel413 wrote...

    This clan has been the biggest thing to happen to me in a long time. Not only are you influenced by them, but the influence can be good or bad depending on the nature of the clan. TTL Gunslingers have taught me more than just “good game” but what those words mean. I have gotten “raped”, by a “1337” player and have been told about it, but my best foot forward makes me a better person, win or lose. Clans in general are good, building teamwork and relationships to be better gamers and better people. I like ‘em, I want Team Clanmatch back.

    Thank Ya.

  6. #LINK D0721 T2013
    El Burritoh wrote...

    Like many, had I not joined a clan (in this case TTLGS) I would not be enjoying H2 very much.

    If clans didn’t exist, something would need to be in place to help gamers organize themselves. Whatever the structure, I don’t think a web presence would be entirely sufficient. 2o2p is massive, but they do have game-specific groups/clans. If there weren’t any such tools within the game or gaming system, gamers would have a much harder time finding people they like to play with. I don’t care if they call it “clan” or whatever, but give me something more than a friends list, or else increase the FL limit dramatically.

    The only downside I see to clans is that it might be a bit socially limiting. But there are some great people out there who are part of other clans that we never meet. Playing in a clan keeps us playing, by and large, with the same good people, even though there are other good people out there. So in this respect, for the sake of the community, like-minded groups/clans should hook up every now and then (much like we do now as a matter of fact…).

  7. #LINK D0721 T2148
    A Large Bear wrote...

    I have a confession: I hate clans. I always hated clans. I’m the guy who went around challenging ‘clan people’ and beating them for the sheer bloody mindedness of it. I hate them. I always have. Until now.

    The Gunslingers changed that for me. I have only been in two clans that I felt were a positive experience, the first was an old Jedi Knight Two clan called Shadow Runners. SR WoLf. I remember. Always, first sgt of the no force sabers brigade. I remember. It was a positive community in a pit of hate, but it disbanded when one leader died in a car crash and the other joined the military. Or at least those two things happened to someone when the clan fell apart.

    Clans promote elitism, clans promote jerk-ass gamers. Or that’s how I’ve always seen it, but I’ve been shown the difference now. In this clan you don’t exclude non clan members, you simply have somewhere to go. Every once in a while the human instinct for elitism rears it’s head, but only in one or two people at any given time, so it’s kept nicely submerged. Clans as a whole may not be a good thing, but I no longer believe that all clans are for hte worse.

    I’ve changed. I’ll still challenge a clan, but now as a part of my own. If all clans were good (and I know the Gunslingers aren’t the only good one, it’s just my own personal example) like ours, like you who read this blog, perhaps the bitterness I felt wouldn’t ever have arisen.

    I hated Clans. I don’t anymore.


  8. #LINK D0722 T1509
    DEEP NNN wrote...

    Clans for me have been a social affair with an emphasis on gaming. I belong to the Halo 2 2old2pwn Clan and I am over 50 years old. We banded together specifically to give low and medium skilled players a chance to enjoy the game of Halo 2. It has without a doubt succeeded. We have tried competing outside our Clan and quite frankly we stunk. That is a good kind of stink for us because it is proving playing for fun is more important to us than just owning everyone on the planet. So we mostly play amongst ourselves.

    Our Clan has minimal Clan activity requirements, once a week on avg, and that has facilitated there are always enough Clan members to play with. So many are available that we rarely need anyone else to play with. Some outsiders have expressed that as a negative attribute of our Clan but I can only agree on a few minor grounds that aren’t worth mentioning. If your Clan buddies are always there and they are always happy to see you then who you gonna call? We maintain the togetherness by having a specific Clan only night. We also have internal Clan competitons to satisfy the more competitive members and to keep the activity up. A few of our Clan members play outside the Clan regularly and enter teams in ladders and that is great too.

    The younger the Halo 2 crowd, the less they seem to understand our special brand of togetherness. Many of our Clan have constrained schedules and family responsibilities at home and just don’t have the time to prepare and train to be competetive button pushers. We play Halo 2 to get away from the stresses of day to day life.

    I simply don’t have time for kids squealing in my ear, playing rap crap through the mic, team killing and spawn killing me so bad I don’t have time to get a shot off. It is a fact for me that if not for my adults only Clan I would not be on XBox Live spending points. Thanks Bungie!

  9. #LINK D0722 T1951
    XerxdeeJ wrote...

    God Bless You. I will be a gamer when I am 50.

    Shit, I will be a gamer in “the home”. I will be pulling geezers off the shuffleboard and showing them whatever passes for Slayer then.

    That’s all I will need in my golden years. A tenth generation Xbox, an internet connection, and someone to drop off apple sauce twice a day.

    Bring that on!

    Do you think, by then, it will just go into my brain? I hope so, because my hands will hurt.

  10. #LINK D0723 T0948
    TTL Saej wrote...

    “Like any other group, Clans are what their members make them.” That is it. You could ask, ““Are gamers good or bad for the gaming community?” Well, it depends on them! The individual! Now that Bungie has done away with Clan match (Thank God, that was a guarenteed cheat zone), I see clans as a community, or an extended friends list. They are a group of like-minded people who enjoy to play together. We go as a team into BTB Slayer. So? Big TEAM Battle, duh! We win alot because we use TEAMwork in a TEAM-based game. Am I the only one that is missing this?

    I think alot of those gamers in that article are missing out. They have tried their hand at the 99% of clans that scream obscenities and try to ‘pwn’ everyone. Why are 99% of the clans like that? Because the gamers are like that.

    In closing, clans are not bad for the gaming community; the people in the clans are.

    TTL Saej
    TTL Gunslingers
    Clan Member

  11. #LINK D0724 T0726
    Cleanbeats wrote...

    If it wasn’t for the Clan feature I probably would have lost interest in Halo 2 long ago. Team based MatchMaking can suck really bad when going in solo. Entering MatchMaking alone can be like rolling dice and your lucky number is 4 billion : Damn, 7, not even close.

    A Clan can promote elitism and all that if that is the aim of it’s members. A Clan can also promote sportsmanship and a positive gaming experience if that’s what the members want. I definitly agree that Clans are what the members make them.

  12. #LINK D0724 T0928
    JamieWho wrote...

    I am sort of a dual personality. I am a staff member in the Big Red Ones. We try to promote honor in our playing, and a ‘good game’ at the end. However, I also play as a lone gamer many times, since my play times are usually very early (before work), and no clan members are online at that time.

    I find that I don’t play ranked games at all when I am by myself. Mainly because I never know when I will find myself paired with cheaters, jerks, quitters, or just three really bad teammates. So I usually play some team SWAT or Actionsack and pick up a few good teammates as I go.

    Of course, when I play with clan members, we’re usually playing some BTB skirmish or team slayer/snipers/skirmish. It is honestly more fun when you have 3 team mates you can rely on to not quit or betray you when you have the sniper.

    As far as elitism goes, if a non-clan member in the group upholds our standards (basically not being a jerk) then they can stay. Otherwise, a clan member must vouch for them or they are booted from the party. This is only to ensure the we actually have a good session with those in our party. It is not being an elitist and demeaning those who are not clan members.

    I love my clan, and I think clans can (and should) be a great online community. We still have a few slots available if anyone wants to join (see link). Maybe one day the BRO’s can even challenge the TTL Gunslingers and share a “good game” afterwards.

  13. #LINK D0724 T1257
    action wrote...

    good post. like the new digs. compliments to mr. guthrie.

    probably not going to say something that hasn’t already been said, but clans are simply a construct with no alignment in either direction. it’s all about the people you’re with.

    i’m in a fun softball league. softball is a great game. there you have xbox live and halo2, respectively – a great game via a great facilitator. my team is very much like the gunslingers. we have our guys that can really play, we have our ‘okay’ members and we have those types that rarely – if ever – show up (hate those kinds, btw – just taking up space on my roster).

    on balance, the teams we play against are on par with our skill level, but my team plays with the right attitude. and there IS a RIGHT attitude. and it’s the same attitude we’ve always had (even when we were losing EVERY game). i have never been able to understand those people whose m.o. is to trash talk and be hatin’ all up in me. i just don’t understand the personality type.

    i guess what i’m saying is, i gravitate towards people that share that view. so too, of course, do the jerks that form the “evil” clans. they all like just sittin’ around being evil. thinking of fun, evil, counter-productive things to do when it’s dark and scary outside.

    4 hours sleep out of 80 isn’t quite enough.

    in any case, i feel like jerks need clans more than good gamers do. because the pack mentality is stronger than if you were just building a network on your friends list. plus, since they all seem to hate black people so much, they dig the word ‘clan’

    gunslinger . . .

  14. #LINK D0724 T1600
    Purple Switch wrote...

    Have to agree with what seems to be the emerging view; clans are a tool. People will, as always, use them for good and bad ends. It’s a shame they are misused quite as often as they are, but the quality that can be seen when people take them seriously more than makes up for this, in my opinion.

    This can be a bit of an issue for a casual gamer like myself. I have had periods when I was very good indeed at Halo 2; certainly not playing at a pro level, but able to walk into a game of slayer with highly competent opposition and not look out of place. And there are times when I haven’t picked up a controller for weeks (or months!) and find it hard to bring a decent game in team training.

    I don’t feel that I can really join a clan without misrepresenting myself; I’m not going to maintain a standard of play or be on with specific regularity. I have a job and other hobbies; sometimes things other than H2 have to take the front seat.

    I think that, to an extent, the advantage of going in with a team does maladjust games in matchmaking. As I don’t have a clan this is where i do most of my playing; and as I don’t necessarially maintain my online presence over a given period, and am VERY picky about the standards of conduct I expect from my teammates, I don’t have a comprehensive friends list. To be honest, I wouldn’t want to be ‘friends’ or in a clan with someone I didn’t know and trust, in game or out.

    I think it’s folks like me, who take their game seriously enough to want to compete, but for various reasons don’t join a clan, who feel the raw end. We get paired up with suicidal kids and teamkillers against a well-oiled four-man one-mind machine. But I honestly can’t say it bothers me.

    So long as I get a good game then I’ll relish the chance to apply a full-force takedown, especially when the odds are stacked against me. The only time I get hacked off is when a team talks me down or overly aggressively congratulates themselves after a game that they won because of my teammates. The I just go work off some anger in Rumble Training.

  15. #LINK D0725 T1218
    Mintz wrote...

    What about those of us who have clans just to have more friends on our list(s)?

  16. #LINK D0731 T1032
    Locke wrote...

    Halo 2 wouldn’t be what it is now if clans did not exist. Clans exist for many reasons, some of them for matchmaking, others not at all. I was previously in a super-jumping clan, and we simply made videos and had fun exploring maps. Some clans take everything way too seriously, and they end up ruining gameplay for the solo gamer. Of course Im talking about bridging, modding, super jumping, etc. during games because they feel they HAVE to win. However I feel that many clans were formed not to create an unfair advantage over other players, rather they were created to ensure the quality of game play for those individuals. I agree with the aforementioned statement, clans are not that much different than a good friends list: A group of players who you know and trust. Clans are also a HUGE part of the ever expanding Halo community, and without their support, Halo would not be near as fun and exciting. Think about all that has been discovered through clans, whether it was to learn new Slayer strategies, or get to the top of a level, or how to quickly control both snipers (hehe). There are both pros and cons that can be argued, but the same arguments can be applied towards solo gamers as well. In fact one can even argue solo gamers are more of a risk because they are not trying to uphold an entire clan’s reputation. Therefore allowing them more flexibility with cheating, poor sportsmanship, etc. It all goes right back to the players themselves. Bad players may be great at matchmaking, but have terrible attitudes and no ethics. Bad players make bad clans, period. Anyone who dislikes clans most likely has run into a few of the bad ones, and should consider focusing on positives rather than negatives.

    On the subject of clans booting solo players, I think that is unaccpetable without good cause. Let the game be the test of their skill, and be a fair judge of their actions, not their stauts. All clans began with solo players, and if anyone feels they are superior, then they have forgotten the face of their fathers.

    “A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” -William James

commenting closed for this article

New Guilty Pleasure: BTB SlayerAthena Twin