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]
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.