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    PlanetQuake | Features | Articles | To Clan or Not To Clan
   

To Clan or Not to Clan
John Melenson tackles whether or not being in a clan is worth it.
  — by
John "Claw" Melenson

I am willing to bet that a good portion of the people reading this article are either in a clan now, or have been in one at some point. My question is, are clans really all they are cracked up to be? Is the OGL providing a great service to the community by laying down a set of rules and ranking clans, or are they merely taking away the fun of the game by making it a way to see who is better?

Why do people join clans? Is it because they enjoy playing together as a team, or do they enlist because they want to feel part of a group? Maybe they want to feel like they belong somewhere, and flash their bracket-enclosed logo with pride. Some just want a reliable team to play with. Others may join simply for the respect it conveys. It used to be that if you saw someone with a symbol by their name, you instantly knew they were probably elite, and a tough frag. I find now that in any given game of Quake 2 CTF, on any server, there seem to be many more people with badges in front of their names than people without. Maybe this is because all the casual gamers have moved on to the newer games, such as Half-Life, and SiN, and all that remains is the hardcore crowd.

Being in a clan isn't all fun and games though - there's a lot of hard work that goes into making a clan run smoothly.

Setting up clan matches can be a major pain in the ass, as any clan leader knows. People all have their own lives, which can't always be dedicated to playing Quake. Everyone has either a girlfriend, a job, or goes to school, which (for most people) takes precedence over showing up to practices and matches. Because of this, setting up a time when everyone and the other clan is also available can be very time consuming and cause for many headaches.

Another common problem clans experience is finding a good server. Most clans have access to someone else's private server or have their own, so I won't go into that aspect. The main issue is lag. Even though low pingers are becoming more numerous, a good majority of Quakers still use 56k and below connections. Much time can be wasted searching for a server that everyone pings well with and can agree to play on.

In our already busy lives, the last thing we need on our mind is another thing to worry about. Games should be momentary escapes from the stresses of life, not a hair-tearing-out battle until the bitter end.

After reading all this, you may get the impression that I think clans are all bad. While they do have their drawbacks, they most certainly have their advantages as well. Clans can be a great way to get together with a bunch of friends and have a good time, as well as having teammates you can rely on. You get used to working with each other, and know you can count on them to come to your aid. Nothing is more satsifying than beating out a team that may have had greater individual skill but didn't have the teamwork to back it up. It is also nice to have teammates who don't just run around shooting at you as well =)

Being in a clan may be fun, but be prepared to take some flak. It seems that one of many quakers' favorite things to do is to whine about is some clan player tearing up a server. Hated even more so than that is an entire clan dominating a server. If you join a server, and wanna play with some of your clan buddys to get in some practice, be prepared to put up with some crap: unfair team switching and name-calling are just some of the fun ways people try to disrupt what could be a fun, challenging game. Granted, it's not fair to have a whole clan up against a bunch of inexperienced players, so in that case, I think the clan players should try and balance the teams.

In the end, it's just a matter of personal preference. While some are content with being the lone wolf, others enjoy living out the fanstasy of working with an elite force, ala the A-Team. If you do choose to join a clan, remember, its just a game, you're not joining a cult where the only exit is death. If you feel the responsibility is weighing you down, then it's time to leave.

-John "Claw" Melenson

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