Issue Number 14 - Published Spring, 2013
Old School RuneScape's Impact on the Main Game
On February 15th, 2013, Jagex gave the players of RuneScape the chance to re-add some Old School RuneScape servers back to the game. After the poll opened, thousands of players said yes to these servers; within 24 hours, the required 50,000 votes had been acquired. On February 22nd, the gateway to August 10th, 2007 was opened. When the poll closed on March 1st, 449,351 people had voted to bring these servers back and with that amount of votes, the servers also came with a small development team, no additional membership fee (for at least the following 6 months), basic maintenance, an anti-bot upgrade, and polls to determine what content will be added to the Old School servers.
The level of activity on these Old School servers has been extremely high, with billions of experience points gained, tens of thousands of players online at any given time, and many communities springing up throughout the game. This has been amazing for the nostalgic veterans and the curious players who never got to enjoy RuneScape in 2007, but how has this affected the live game? How has this affected the clan community? How has this affected the economy? After exploring these questions, I have found that it has profoundly impacted the main game, both in positive ways and in negative ways.
Interviews with PvM Clan Leaders
I interviewed three PvM clan leaders to start my investigation. The first was 581012893402, an Overseer for Silent Knight, the second was JackDaRippa, Owner of PvE Hit Squad, and the third was PvMe Chuck, Owner of PvM Events.
Impact on Clan Events
The first series of questions I asked was regarding the impact that the release of Old School servers had on their clans' events.
581012893402 told me that his clan had experienced a decrease in events, from events "left and right" to a much smaller number, which is not completely surprising considering about 20% of the members (nearly 100 players) started playing the Old School servers full-time.
PvMe Chuck and JackDa Rippa both told me that they had actually experienced an increase in events. I was somewhat surprised by their answers; considering Silent Knight experienced a decline in events and it seems counterintuitive for members to be going away, but events to increase, so I asked why they thought the events were increasing. JackDa Rippa said that he thought that the number increased from a mix of the Evolution of Combat making bosses easier and because there were less people at these bosses, since many bossers were on the Old School servers. PvMe Chuck said that simply replacing lost members with new and more active members was the cause of the increased events.
I asked about solos. As we all know, the Evolution of Combat has made many bosses, especially the frequently visited God Wars Dungeon bosses, significantly easier to fight and camp. I asked each clan leader if they had experienced an increase in boss solos since the release of the Old School servers. Each clan leader said yes, and 581012893402 told me that four people in his clan had tried to solo Nex that day, because they did not have to worry about getting crashed and because it was harder to find a team within the clan. PvMe Chuck thought that the reason wasn't necessarily related to the Old School servers, but rather to the release of drygore weaponry, combined with the easy bosses.
Impact on RuneScape Economy
Considering that each leader was running a PvM clan, I felt like they would be able to provide an answer to the questions I had about the impact that the release of Old School servers had on the economy.
When 581012893402 told me that he did not notice any economic changes in particular, I got the opinion of PvMe Chuck who told me that he thought the release crashed the economy, while also helping it. Yes... I was kind of lost too! I asked what he meant by that and he told me that a lot of people sold their gear, such as their drygore weapons or their nex sets, so that they would not lose money on them while they were away, but the economy was also helped as many bots shifted over to the Old School servers, causing different types of fish and herbs to begin rising again. JackDa Rippa said that the release of Old School servers was indirectly stabilizing the economy of the live game. He said that because prices are based on supply and demand, and the supply of equipment obtained from various bosses declined, due to the amount of people that went to play on the Old School servers, and the demand for the equipment went down somewhat, it is making the price of the equipment more steady.
Personal Opinions of Old School Server Release
Considering the impacts that Old School has had on the live game, I wanted these three clan leaders to tell me their opinions on these servers.
581012893402 said that although he is happy that they were released, since it made many other people happy, it did hurt clans. PvMe Chuck said that he did not like the addition of these servers since it splits the community. Lastly, JackDa Rippa said that God Wars Dungeon needs to be added and clan chats need to be available in Old School RuneScape.
Interview with Mining Golds's Deputy Owner, ForeverMandy
The last person I interviewed was ForeverMandy, who is the Deputy Owner of Mining Golds, a huge social-skilling clan. I felt that this clan was a good example of a completely different type of clan, and hearing about how they were impacted by the release of Old School servers was very interesting.
ForeverMandy told me that Old School servers created a divide in the Mining Golds community, since members are not able to enter the clan chat while on the Old School servers. Since many of their members are family, IRL friends, and long-term members, it is especially hard for them. She said that they use a friends chat to communicate with each other, similar to JackDa Rippa of PvE Hit Squad, but juggling multiple conversations can be tricky.
Mining Golds has a requirement that all members must gain at least 1M experience per month to show activity within the clan. ForeverMandy said that they have noticed a decline in the total amount of experience gained in the clan over the past month, which is most likely due to many people not logging in to the EoC worlds any more. I asked if those players were being kicked, and she said that they would not be, because they are active within the friends chat.
ForeverMandy told me that one positive impact was that some players who had quit RuneScape with the release of the Evolution of Combat had come back to play on the Old School servers and that events remained steady. I also talked about bots and it was mentioned that Jagex has been banning many bots lately, so that could be a contributor to the decrease in bots, but that Old School servers probably took some of the bot load off of the live game, especially in areas like the Living Rock Caverns, where there are nearly no bots on the major official worlds.
The release of Old School servers is something that thousands of players have been asking for for a while and Jagex releasing them just shows how much they really do care about their players. However, all major updates come with major impacts. Many of those major impacts can be unpleasant, but as seen by the interviews, there can also be positive impacts. Ideas on how to minimize the downsides and maximize the upsides will circulate and Jagex will likely make these changes, as they did with the Evolution of Combat, to make this dream of many into a dream come true.
So... How about a Chat?
By: Doctor fAIL gRAMMAR
RuneScape. It's a massive game and one that involves a lot of interaction with other people. No matter where you go in Gielinor, you'll find someone somewhere interacting with someone else. There have always been various ways to communicate ingame over the years, starting with the public chat and being able to privately message (PM) people on your friends list. It wasn't until 2007 that a brand new and dynamic way to speak to more than one friend at the same time was introduced in the form of the Friends Chat (called Clan Chat back then). This revolutionary concept brought about the formation of clans able to use a system ingame to communicate with each other instead of having to use offsite systems such as messenger programs (MSN, Yahoo, AIM), Voice Chatting systems such as TeamSpeak and Social Media sites (such as Facebook and MySpace). In 2011, another concept called the Clan Chat was brought forth to replace the Friend Chat with more ranks, permissions, clan capes and other components such as Clan Citadels and more recently, Clan Avatars.
So now that we have had a chance at 'Meeting History', Jagex recently brought back servers based around an update from the 10th of August 2007 dubbed 'Old School Runescape'. A lot of RuneScape players have been playing on them, enjoying what it was like back in 2007, but more importantly from a clan point-of-view, there is one problem; There is no 2011 Clan Chat system in the 2007 Server, which means that those playing on the OSR Server cannot communicate with those playing on the Runescape Servers via the Clan Chat system. So, just how can clans keep in touch with their clanmates? In today's online community, there are lots of ways to keep in touch that were not around 10 years ago. However, the most reliable is still the PM system and the Friend Chats which both have been modified to work in conjunction with whatever type of server you are on. There are other systems that can be used that are quite popular with clans such as:
1) Messenger Programs: Using Messenger programs have always been popular for clans, allowing them to connect to clan-mates from all over the world and good for using to discuss private matters (such as pking or warring instructions/strategies without letting your opponents know! ^_^), but this required having to switch between the Messenger program and Runescape constantly which could be problematic mid-battle. There was also the security risk of having to give someone your email address so they could add you as a friend so you could join a conversation, in addition to a lot of typing involved in being able to communicate.
2) Voice Chat Programs: Voice Chat programs such as TeamSpeak remove the element of having to switch between Runescape and a program to talk to and let the player concentrate on playing the game. However there are some downsides to TeamSpeak such as having to press a button to be able to chat, as well as it showing the IP address when connected, posing a risk to people's security. Skype is also a popular voicecalling program that doubles as as video conference, file share and as text messaging and is a bit more secure than using TeamSpeak, due to it not showing IP addresses. One is also able to run it in the background without having to press a buttom to speak.
3) Social Media/Forums: Social Media (Facebook & Twitter) has become one of the most popular websites to visit, as well as being able to be used on multiple platforms such as computers, phones and tablets making it quite versatile in being able to communicate for clans. However, Facebook contains a lot of personal information and Twitter is really for microblogging and not really useful for communicating. Forums, however, whether offsite (much like Rune Tips' very own!) or the official forums from Runescape can be used to provide a place to view a lot of information as well as have discussions that involve everyone in the clan. Some downsides to using forums are that advertising offsite forums *are* not allowed ingame (although you can do so by PM in some cases), and that offsite forums are susceptible to security risks (as the admins can view IP's and email addresses), as well as the time taken to set up offsite forums.
There are a lot of options for being able to communicate with your clan-mates that play on the 2007 server ranging from the ingame system and messenger programs to voice chat and forums. It all comes down to how you run your clan in being able to have all of your clan-mates communicating with one another and what would ultimately work for your clan.
Interview With Louise
You probably know that there are many different clans in RuneScape with many different focuses. Have you ever wondered about a clan based on playing a minigame might operate? Do they do other things as well? We interviewed Louise, a leader of a non-combat Stealing Created based clan, 1elitesc, to find out. Enjoy!
Arceus: First of all, could you tell us a little about how 1elitesc was started, and why?
Louise: 1EliteSc was founded in 2009 by a group with lots of experience in Non-Combat Stealing Creation. We wanted to be completely different to previous clans we had been members of, and we wanted to allow all of our members to have an input in ranking and rule changing decisions. More importantly though, we also wanted to offer games to the Runescape community in a fun, friendly and welcoming environment. Three years on, I think we've accomplished all that we set out to do!
Arceus: To help other people picture what a clan oriented toward one minigame is like, what would you say is the biggest difference between your clan and a general community/social clan?
Louise: We are oriented towards providing Non-Combat Stealing Creation games to the community, so we expect all ranked members to help out at our games at least once a week. This is probably the biggest difference between ourselves and any other clan. However, many community clans also have an activity requirement, be it through events or other means.. so really, we're not too different! Of course, we also exist as a social clan and have our own clan chat, Tier 7 Citadel, events and a really lovely, social community. :)
Arceus: Is everyone in your clan playing Stealing Creation nearly all the time, or do they do other things as well?
Louise: Oh no, of course not, we need to hold on to some of our sanity! Clan members can play Stealing Creation as little or as much as they like, but like I said, they are asked to play at least once a week. Some members can't get enough of it and play as much as possible, and others play it at their leisure. If members aren't at SC they're usually hanging out in our clan chat, skilling or bossing together. We all love sacred clay, but we also love playing Runescape normally!
Arceus: What is your favorite thing about Stealing Creation? Least favorite?
Louise: My favourite thing about Stealing Creation has to be the rewards! I don't think enough people realise just how useful they are. The tools and armour offer double experience in many skills, so they're a great way to cut time and save money. The majority of our members have enough points to last a lifetime which is an obvious perk to the job. My least favourite aspect is probably running around in huge maps. I prefer smaller games where you don't need to scour the globe to find the class 5 clay spot.
Arceus: Do you require people to play a certain amount of games or be playing to be in your chat, or is that more an issue for ranks?
Louise: No and no. Players aren't required to play a certain amount of games, they can come and go as they please, and it's not mandatory to be in the Friends Chat, although it's to their benefit if they are because communication really speeds up the running of our games.
Arceus: Would you say your ranks are driven by the gameplay/rewards of Stealing Creation or the feel for being in the clan?
Louise: I'm quite certain that our ranks initially come for the perks of being in a Stealing Creation clan (i.e the points!) and stay for the great community we have built. We have members that have been around since the birth of the clan, and new members who express their delight when they learn that we're so much more than a simple minigame clan.
Arceus: What kinds of responsibilities are engaged as you become higher ranked?
Louise: Higher ranks are expected to vote on important issues such as rule changes and rank-ups. They are often involved in a clan department (such as the Rank Training Dept., Recruitment Team, Events, Citadel) and they're expected to lead by example. They have a lot of input in the general running of the clan.
Arceus: Do you use an offsite program to assist with keeping track of ranks?
Louise: We have a great offsite forum where we keep more lists than Santa Claus could shake a stick at. We have rank lists, rule breaker lists, lists containing dates when members joined or ranked up, lists of rank activity, etc. We're lucky we have so many members who are willing to help with the upkeep of these lists and things run very smoothly because of this.
Arceus: Was there an issue you wish you had handled better or different since you've been a member/leader of 1elitesc? What about an experience that you were particularly proud of?
Louise: We learn by trial and error, and with any kind of leadership, there's bound to be mistakes and a wish that we could go back in time to change things. But we don't believe in sitting on our hands and wishing for things to be different. We make them different. Almost all of our major departments and teams have undergone make-overs over the years, because we realised that things could be handled better and more efficiently, and then set out to make that happen. So, I'm happy to say that although there have been many areas in need of improvement, there's also been some real triumphs in those areas. We recently had our 3rd birthday, and our ranks and leaders had a series of celebrations, including a very long train of ranks wearing wacky SC-related outfits. It was a lot of fun and a very proud day for us all.
Arceus: Would you like to see Stealing Creation introduced into Old School servers? If a vote was held and Jagex decided to implement it, what would you do?
Louise: In one sense, it would be great for the Old School community to avail of SC and everything it offers, however I don't think that 1EliteSc would branch out into the Old School servers as it might split our community. Otherwise, I don't think it would have a profound effect on our clan as a whole.
Arceus: Are you satisfied with Jagex's support of clans? Could any plausible updates on Jagex's end benefit your clan?
Louise: Jagex have always been helpful when we've had queries or concerns regarding SC or our clan in general. However, there was one little jibe from a J-Mod toward Non-Combat SC clans recently which is quite interesting. His own personal opinion was that what we do 'goes against the game' in a sense, and he even admitted to purposely rulebreaking within a Non-Combat clan! This was a one-time comment and a personal opinion, but seems to be a common sentiment toward clans like 1EliteSc. Our message to the nay-sayers is that we operate within the existing game mechanics of Stealing Creation which were put in place by Jagex, we have built a huge community, offer a (wanted) service to players, and are helping to keep SC alive along with our fellow SC clans. We're not the devil and we don't eat kittens!
Arceus: It seems that whenever you have a large congregation of people engaged in an activity, others ("trolls") attempt to disrupt it. Do people attempt to crash or skew your games, and if so, how are they dealt with? Are you allied with any clans against such efforts?
Louise: Unfortunately this is a major problem for a clan like us. For whatever reason, certain individuals like to attach themselves to our clan in a tapeworm-like fashion and decide that they want to make things as difficult as possible for us. We get numerous people who disrupt the running of our games daily, and we also have long-term trolls who make multiple accounts to troll, spam and sabotage our games, chats, forum thread, etc. It really is awful that these people get away with such actions, but we deal with them in the best way we possibly can. Repeat offenders are recorded and banned from our games and chats. If someone decided they want to crash our games, the joke will be on them when they're excluded from the following game. Bwahaha!
Arceus: Some people criticize clans or groups of players that make a collaborative effort to play the game in such a way as to speed up or make getting rewards easier as breaking the game. How would you respond to that?
Louise: I would argue that Non-Combat grew naturally out of regular combat-oriented SC. Most of our players and ranks started off playing Stealing Creation in combat worlds before they found out about us, and for low level players and people who prefer to skill, the combat version of the mini-game has never been fun. They are forced to stay in their bases by prowling high levels, usually within the first five minutes at the start of game, and remain there for the rest of the 15 minutes with little to no clay collected or processed. Due to the unhappy experience, many quit and never played the mini-game again. What we do expands the player-base of the mini-game to those people who would otherwise be excluded from the benefits of SC. It helps to keep the mini-game from going down the dark road that other mini-games have gone down to become dead content because we retain a player-base that would otherwise be lost - low-levels and people who hate combat. Plus, we've found that many players play combat and Non-Combat SC interchangeably. It makes the game less repetitive and they enjoy both aspects of the game, and appreciate having options.
Arceus: In general, some chats focused on a minigame or an activity in a specific area have gained notoriety for flooding the area with spam advertisers. What are your views on such activity?
Louise: We don't condone or allow the use of autotypers or spam advertising. It's against our rank rules and Jagex rules to do this, so we advertise carefully in the Stealing Creation lobby (where we're allowed to advertise) and make sure to space out and vary our advertisements so they don't become too obnoxious.
Arceus: And finally..which do you (personally) prefer: red or blue team?
Louise: Oh that's a hard one! I'm not sure where my allegiance lies, but we put it to a poll and the clan consensus seems to be blue. :)
Clans and Devastating Conflict
It's quite often that a major cause of clan disbandment is due to conflict, whether it is within the leadership area or there's an even split between opinions, on a subject that could change the clan, perhaps.
Conflicts can occur quite easily. As I've stated above, a clan conflict can generated very quickly just by two differing view-points, and involving other members of the clan. They're not nice, clan conflicts, as they can easily destroy a clan within an hour if not controlled.
Over the time of being a mediator for a clan I've noticed that it's quite vital to have a set of solid rules. Without them you're more likely to end up with conflict, but that doesn't mean without rules you will fall into conflict. Most clans based around the community aspect can get along quite well, but even somebody wanting a change in the rules could cause mishap if more people begin to agree.
I'd like to provide an insight on how to avoid various conflicts if possible:
A quick tip is to try and keep the chat channel clean of any mention of the conflict. The last thing that other clan members want is to be listening to others on a subject where words may be said that aren't meant. After all, not everybody is likely to join in with the argument, so try and focus on keeping those members of the clan as well. It doesn't mean to take discussion away but to take it elsewhere.
I wouldn't worry too much in the event of a clan conflict unless it's the leadership team that are unable to decide. One example of a potential leadership disagreement is introduction of a new guideline.
Discussion is vital if you wish to move toward finding a solution; otherwise you can wave "Allons-y".
What Makes a Fair Ranking System
I'd first like to introduce myself as the newest member of the Clan Chronicle team. A little about myself: I'm 19, Australian, a university student doing a finance/management triple major but mostly enjoy just sitting back with friends having a good time, whether that be in real life or on RuneScape. I've had plenty of experience in various types of clans over the last 5-6 years, including running my own PvM/Social clan which I continue to do.
In this issue I'd like to discuss various ranking systems, as well as how they are used and the effectiveness of them in a clan. I hope this will enlighten and expand your view on how a ranking system should operate, and perhaps suggest some improvements in your own clan's system.
I'm going to set this out with the systems I believe are most common and lay out a few of the pros and cons of each.
Ranking by favouritism:
This, by far, is the most common and misguided approach to use when promoting your members. Ranking by favoritism involves a single leader or a relatively small group of staff who promote the people they see active in the clan and/or take a liking to. While this may prove effective for small, tight-knit clans, this method is inappropriate for clans of a larger scale due to the lack of organization and communication between staff and members. In trying to maintain a fair and accurate distribution of ranks, one simply cannot have a precise measurement of every member's personality and traits without introducing bias and sheer favouritism. Thus, a more organized, systematic approach is required.
Ranking by duration:
As the name suggests, some clans choose to promote people on the basis of their duration in the clan. This is intertwined with Citadel involvement (second week in clan having capped once = Corporal, third week capping twice = Sergeant, etc.) and while this can benefit the Citadel, it does not paint an accurate picture of the person's contribution to the clan at all. Whether members have been in your clan for a year or a week, their input to the clan may not differ much at all, and thus inaccuracies form in your hierarchy and create problems of inactivity and conflict between both under and overstated members having unfitting ranks. To help combat this, inactivity sweeps of your memberlist can improve the output of your members both longstanding and new, and paints a more accurate picture of your clan. This system, however, lacks any real judgement of what a member is actually worth to the clan, where duration is only a minor factor.
Ranking by stats:
Similar to above, some (usually specialist PvP/PvM clans) clans may promote on the basis of a player's stats. This may not necessarily be the only factor they promote on, but may be an important factor when deciding what rank they're most deserving of. Similarly to the aforementioned, although they may have surpassed stat requirements, this does not actually represent their contribution or involvement in the clan, and thus should not be taken as the only or main influencing factor of a clan's ranking system.
Ranking by equality:
Ranking by equality is when clans give every member the same rank - with the exception of a few higher ranked staff. This is most popular in community clans of large sizes where once you're off probation, your rank is bumped to General alongside your fellow clanmates. This of course creates a lack of hierarchy, and has members feeling under and overstated for the effort they put in. There is no distinguishing between a member who's been in the clan for 3 months who's relatively active and a member who's been in the clan a week but logged in only once. All other factors are mostly excluded and everyone is on the same level, and so while this can be effective in clans with low maintenance, it is not an effective way of establishing a systematic hierarchy in your clan and may lead to a large influx of rank chasing members who desire more power.
Points ranking system:
Saving the best 'til last, we have a points ranking system, where members are awarded "points" which are then recorded and tracked using programs such as Google Docs, mIRC, etc. What these points are awarded for will vary with the function of the clan, but the large advantage it has over the other methods is that it is much more flexible than the previously mentioned methods, and can include various other factors relevant to the clan type. Instead of just promoting on the basis of one factor or another, a points system allows the option to add in additional factors (such as Xp gained in clan, usage of programs such as TeamSpeak, etc) which all add up to decide the rank they're deserving of. Of course, this does require more involvement by staff in recording each member's points (which may be deemed unnecessary by smaller clans), but the final result is an accurate picture of a member's involvement in the clan, and means rank distinguishes between members who are heavily involved in the clan, and those who take it lightly.
Ultimately, there is no "perfect" way in which a clan's ranking system should be defined. The basis of promotion depends upon the function of your clan, the size, the levels, and so forth. In my experience, although a points system rank is more effort to implement, and requires additional effort from your staff, it is a much more accurate and fair approach to your members than just promoting them how you see fit. For some clans, such a complex system may not be needed, but for clans who seek a prosperous future and growth, then a flexible and accurate system is definitely needing implementation.
If anyone has questions regarding how to implement such a system or use programs to track and record member's progress (especially mIRC), feel free to send me a PM either on here or in RuneScape (username: Vein) and I'll assist you where possible.
Tiers Before Bedtime
Clan citadels were much hyped on release as a way to bring clans together; from my experience, however, they have done much more to divide people. I’d like to challenge the idea that citadels are worth fussing over, and encourage clans to think carefully about how they should use their citadel.
If you go to the clan recruitment forums you’ll find an awful lot of mentions of citadels. Many clans require members to cap or gather a certain number of resources every week, with the threat of demotion if they fail to cooperate. Why is this? Well it’s to improve the citadel of course! But is it worth it?
What do you use your clan citadel for apart from for gathering resources? The occasional clan meeting or party, perhaps, and what tier do you need for that exactly? My clan’s parties tend to happen at POHs—they’re easier to get to and have a greater variety of fun activities. Do you really need a citadel at all? There wasn’t any great need or demand for such a thing before their release; they’re by no means essential. Most clans try to have an avatar out on their home world with the skilling bonus, and some have great fun with the battlefield. These are two unique attractions of the citadel, but both of them are available at tier 1—so why do clans bother to level them up?
When citadels were first released, some clans decided to race to tier 7 in the hopes of being one of the first to get it. I was in one such clan, and capping at the citadel was made compulsory. The citadel was a recurrent topic in the clan chat and dominated all other conversation. The clan was split into two factions: those who hated the citadel and resented being made to do it, and those who wanted to get tier 7 and resented those unwilling to help. It wasn’t a great experience, and I’m sure this has coloured my view of citadels.
It’s quite a while since they’ve been released - the race element is no longer there - so why do clans still bother to go for tier 7? Before, high tiered clans had a certain prestige (and perhaps vainglory), but as more and more clans have reached the upper tiers, it is more that clans which haven’t worked on their citadel look a bit rubbish—somehow they are perceived as lazy or less serious. Personally I think that a clan should be judged on its community and events, and not on the citadel tier, but the tier of the citadel is such a convenient criterion for comparison.
Maybe you see your citadel as a sign that your clan has managed to work together to build something they can be proud of. I think this can be a noble goal if your clanmates are up for it, but leaders should be honest about why they want it, and why they think they have the right to determine how clanmates spend their time in game.
In my clan, capping at the citadel is not required, people are free to use the skill plots for their own selfish purposes (generally crafting xp), and this works really well. There’s no tension in the clan chat about whether people have capped (or whether they should), and any upgrades the citadel undergoes are an added bonus. We’re currently at tier 6 and couldn’t be happier; the citadel seems to be working for us rather than the other way around.
I don’t think anyone joined my clan solely because of the lack of citadel work required; but it’s certainly improved the atmosphere and has allowed clanmates to focus on the other delights the game has to offer. If you lead a clan I would encourage you to think carefully about what the benefits of having a high tiered citadel are, and whether they merit coercing your clanmates into grinding out the resources required.
It's Lonely at the Bottom
At the very heart of essentially any clan is, and probably will always be, a power structure. Someone needs to be on top to make and enforce the final decisions on important issues. They are likely to be assisted by a circle of people (large or small) due to the fact that one person cannot be on constantly and for a large group of people, it can be a lot to monitor. But my point here will be to talk about the opposite, in a sense. Barring the person who obtains a charter and starts the clan, everyone enters as a recruit. If the owner is the "top," then surely recruit, the other end of the spectrum, is the bottom.
Of course, even though everyone starts as a recruit, it would be foolish to think anyone stays there forever. As people play more, gain experience, become familiar with the community, contribute to come to clan events, etc., rank will increase, and usually fairly quickly. Even if they don't become a leader or attain an administrator rank, they will be recognized as a regular in the chat-someone who contributes regularly and has been around a while. Some will become leaders, and might even take over if the leader is incapacitated or chooses not to play any longer. Many will quit at some point, and exit, either through lowering rank and kicking, or by manually clicking the leave button.
Nominally, this is a system operating like a small-scale society. Think of new clan members as births, albeit children that grow up very quickly, or maybe more generally, immigrants. They need to be trained and taught, but eventually they grow up and (hopefully) become functional members in society. Most will not be a representative for the people, but still will be respected and acknowledged. Conversely, clanmates that leave are deaths or emigrants. Even though their sudden departure can hang over people, a heavy weight on people's shoulders...society does move on. Even though no one can replace John, Tim will do the job and it will be good enough.
Everything looks fine and dandy with this model at first, but there is one critical problem that must be avoided. It's not, at least directly, internal conflict or attacks from other sources.
Imagine if the society I've asked you to consider suddenly takes on some different characteristics. Births decline sharply and immigration dwindles. The few new members of society lounge around, and although they are there, they barely contribute anything. There's no influx of youthful energy, no drive to make things better. Of course, the members of our society are not immortal, so there are still deaths and emigrations. For a while things look just fine, but gradually people exit and there are no replacements. I'm sure you can figure out where this is headed. Population dwindles, and ultimately the population becomes extinct.
Extinction is not usually viewed as a favorable outcome, and I won't be making any break with tradition here. What does this scenario translate into in terms of clans? Quite simply, it is analogous to an established clan that suddenly stops recruiting. Clan members leave, inexperienced people are charged with duties of leading it, and eventually the whole thing disintegrates into a mess and the clan closes. Many clans have folded before and I'm not going to study one or provide examples, but the is many cases the mechanic is the same.
The key to preventing such as a disaster is, well, recruiting. New people must enter the clan with some energy, with the drive to make things work and become valuable contributors. Rank may help motivate that behavior but just wanting a symbol next to the name itself is not really enough.
So the question is...where did those people go? There might be several reasons:
1. Lack of patience. The mantra these days seems almost to be "I have two arms, two legs, and two 99's-now give me a high rank/I'll make my own clan!"
2. No multiclanning/easy switching. Formerly, with friends chats one could have a rank in as many chats as owners were willing to grant you ranks in. You could also visit and change friends chats freely. So you could invite a few friends to your channel and have fun for a bit, but go back to that other chat, maybe without people even noticing where you went. Now, you have clan (aside from guesting) and it's very easy to check whether you're in it or not. Other things like probation also show up if you attempt to leave and re-join.
3. Generally easier organization. Every clan, once five people go on and create it, automatically has a forum on the official RuneScape site and a channel which its members automatically join. Even if members become relatively inactive it still stays. Several years ago, asking people to join the chat every time and no (completely legal) method of having a proper private forum made things much more difficult, and concentrated people in smaller, more hardcore clans.
4. Ease to join a clan. This overlaps somewhat with other points, but it is so much easier to join a clan. All I have to do is invite you, and you click one line of text and you join forever-or at least, until you take the action of leaving. This is a far cry from having to explain to someone how to join a friends chat and expecting them to remember it and join every time they log in!
These aren't necessarily bad things, but the reluctant conclusion one draws is that it's just not so easy to find enthusiastic and able-bodied people to help, even though they are a vital life force to a clan that wants to be successful. So I'll repeat myself: It's lonely at the bottom.
Arceus - Author and Editor
Doctor fAIL gRAMMAR - Author
feathery_one - Author and Editor
IceyNut - Author
Kaida23 - Editor
Stop - Author
xGRIN - Author
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