am sorry for the lack of articles in the Herald lately. I've been quite busy and it is sometimes hard to find subjects for articles. This weeks' article is about something many of us dream about: clan support in RuneScape. It is something many people would be very happy about, but which we do not really have. So, let us have a look at the reasons Jagex could have for such a policy about clans, and what could be done to support clans.
Now, the first question is of course: do we really need clan support? At the 24th of July 2006, Jagex hosted a poll about the way members play RuneScape. Only 7% stated that they played RuneScape with "a large group/clan of people". So, when you have a first look at the poll results, you could say: "With clan support you benefit only 7% of RuneScape players." But that would not be the right conclusion. 43% of the people who voted, stated that they play RuneScape in all forms, alone, with friends, and with a clan. So we could say about 50% of the members would be benefited by official clan support. But of course, not all members have voted in this poll, and free players have not voted in it at all. So it is probably best to concentrate on clan benefits for members.
Another question is: how could Jagex ever create some kind of clan support which benefits the players who want it, and does not disturb the people who prefer to play in other ways? A good idea would be to look at the popular MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) World of Warcraft (WoW). In WoW clans are called guilds. In RuneScape you need to create your own forum and find your own staff and such to create a clan, in WoW, it's totally different. In WoW, you need to talk to a guild master to create your own guild, you can design a unique uniform for your guild. You can recruit in game, have seperate ranks for leaders and officers in the game itself. And for each player, it is displayed which guild they are a member of.
Now before you think WoW is a great game if you like to play with large groups of people, it is totally different. You really need your guild to play, as there are a lot of quests and other things you just can not do alone. And you are assigned to one realm. WoW realms are just like RuneScape worlds, except that there are different types, and you can not leave the realm you have chosen, if you want to, you will need to create a new character.
The WoW type of MMORPG is ideal for clans/guilds, but it would certainly be a disatvantage to other players if RuneScape would be changed into such a kind of game. Also, RuneScape could never support clans perfectly. In WoW, people have to stay at one server, which makes it a lot easier to support special clan functions like uniforms, ranks, and private dungeons. In RuneScape people are constantly switching worlds to trade and, in the wilderness, for tactical reasons. It is impossible to support clans then, especially if they all want a unique uniform and seperate ranks. Of course, there are always alternative ways to support clans.
Maybe that would be special clan capes, designed by the clan itself, and only members of the clan can wear it. Now for some people this might sound like a simple and small addition to RuneScape, but it is not that easy. At first you would need to make a program to design such capes, you will need as well to filter offensive designs out. And to make sure only members of the owning clan can wear it, you will need a system in which new clans can be registered, and the leaders of those clans can keep track of all their members. Such a system would need to communicate between the servers, and of course not cause lag. I am not a programmer, but it would probably cost the entire Jagex team weeks to create it and get it running the right way. While it would not benefit the members much. If the result of the earlier mentioned poll is correct, this update, which consumes a lot of time, would benefit no more than 50% of the members. For short: this is impossible.
Something which might be easier and work out better, is if we could sort our friends. In categories like clan, friends, business relations, members of allied clans, and maybe some more categories. This should not cause too much problems for Jagex to program it. And it would not be much less effective than clan capes.
Overall, you could say there are plenty of options for Jagex to create some clan support. The amount of money and time Jagex can spend on supporting clans is of course limited, there are many players who have nothing to do with clans at all. But it seems Jagex is working on it. Recently, rules 7 and 9 were changed. When the change was announced, a notice was made as well: Jagex is working on a group chat system for clans and such. I have no clue how they will perform this, but it would be a great addition to RuneScape. Also, when I was browsing the long list of things not to suggest, there was also "clan related suggestions", which was marked with an asterisk. That means Jagex has already taken note we players want it, and they are thinking about adding it to the game.