By Gamer H

Yes, I know what you think, "The Herald? Is it not dead yet?" Do not worry, the Herald is not dead. I have not been able to write articles for a couple of weeks, I was busy with school and other real life things. It is also hard to write an article if you do not know what to write it about.

Now, this article is about a very old phenomenon in RuneScape and other online games: clans. You find these groups of players in all online games. They are usually called clans, and sometimes guilds. The first clans were formed in 1996 in games like Quake. But what exactly is a clan, and why do people join them? And what do clans add to games? I will try to find an answer to these questions in this article.

The first question is: what is a clan? Now most people will say: "A clan is just a clan, ask your stupid questions to someone else!" I think the shortest way to explain what a clan is, is like one of my friends explained it in the time I was a noob who did not know anything about RuneScape and other online games: "A clan is a group of players who play the game together." And that is just the short explanation. Because not all these groups of players are clans, and not all these groups see themselves as clans.

In this article, I will stick to clans in RuneScape, it is too much to write about all different kinds of clans in all games. You have just been able to read the short explanation of what a clan is, so here is the long one, this covers all big and organized clans: "A clan is a group of people playing the same game. They come together in the game on a regular basis to play together. Clans have some kind of structure and organisation: there is a leader and eventually a staff to run the clan. Clans also have some system to inform their members about announcement of the leader. At last, clans recognize itself as a clan and are focused on having fun together and to last for a longer time."

I would say this is a pretty accurate definition of what a clan is. But why do people join such an organisation? There are various reasons for that. The first and most obvious one is also old: together you are stronger. Games can be hard sometimes, especially when fighting other players, so a lot of people decide to form a group so they can stand the many dangers in the game (and become a danger to others as well).

Another reason why we all join clans, is because humans are social animals. We all like to be part of some group. And then what is better than joining a loyal familly of other gamers? A third reason is also obvious: together you have access to new parts of the game, like killing very strong monsters. And you have access to unofficial clan based content in the game, like clan wars and events organized by clans.

What do clans add to games? That depends on the games, more specifically, it depends on how the developers intended the game: to play on your own, to form a group instandly and work together, or to form big, long lasting clans? When having a look at RuneScape, I would say it is intended to play on your own, and to form small groups from time to time. As RuneScape was not really designed for clans, it would be obvious to say clans do not really add anything.

And that is true, clans do not add anything to the game as it is intended by Jagex. You can play RuneScape on your own, and there just two quests (Shield of Arrav and Heroes' Quest) you need a partner for. For all other content, you will sometimes need to bring some friends, but you do not really need structure to kill the King Black Dragon or the Kalphite Queen. Some agreements on who does what would be enough.

However, clans add a lot to the game which was not intended. Like Clan Wars, all kinds of parties, and a "shadow government", the United Nations of clans, who decide who is allowed to recruit at RuneScape Community, and which clans are recognized and which not.

Overall, you can say clans really add something to the game, not many different things, but they do it large. So far this weeks' Herald, I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to comment this article or post any thoughts or ideas you might have in this topic!

Last update: 04-Feb-2007
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