Since this month is all about clans, I figured it'd only be appropriate for my editorial about them. As you probably all know, Jagex has been holding events highlighting certain types of clans and encouraging general population interest in clans as a whole. I haven't been to any of these events, so I can't say if they were as smashing of a success as intended, but I do applaud the effort.
Clans are a huge part of any MMORPG, especially one with as large of a player base as Runescape. Events such as the ones held this month, which include skilling workshops and meet and greets to try and find a clan that's for you, are great to have, as picking out the good clans among the masses of failing ones seen on the RSOF can be difficult. Bringing light to the clans that actively wish to grow and stand out, and not sit by and hope for new members, is also excellent. Still better is that Jagex recognizes that clans are a major draw to their game and is at least making an attempt to showcase them.
That said, I feel like there's so much more that could have been done with a month like this. The clan community has been in need of updating for quite a while. They're getting a start with their clan logos and investigation into voice chat, but those are only small parts of the larger picture. Something as simple as an overhaul of the clan chat, adding more space to accommodate members and specific ranking features, along with the option of voice chat, can be a huge boon to a clan. Give clans more opportunities to showcase themselves instead of just the Jagex cup, and provide monthly or even bi-weekly clan competitions, with the winner or top few clans gaining some sort of recognition, perhaps a special mention in the BTS or newsletters. Introduce a better organizational pattern to the forum recruitment threads, such as sorting them by total level requirements, combat requirements, or how long they've been around. It's these sorts of improvements clans want, and the sort of motivation they need to make the old clans demonstrate their dedication and the new clans get stronger to try and challenge the old blood.
Now, I realize Jagex would need to develop and test all of this, and it couldn't all just be done in a month. For this reason, I feel like they should have tossed the “clan celebration” month, and instead built up a pack of updates such as these, and then held something more along the lines of a “clan overhaul” month. They could release one or two updates per week, as well as holding all of the events they organized for this month, and give clans a transfusion of new life. Clans could test out these new features this month, while recruiting fresh players and expanding their versatility.
Of course, something like this would take a huge amount of planning and brainpower. Fortunately for Jagex, they have access to plenty of it. Not a copious their own (as they've demonstrated), but in the form of the masses that call clans their home. That's right, who better to help develop content for clans than clans themselves? Consult with established clans and ask them what their most prevalent concerns are, and then address them. If Jagex does it right, it will result in an expanding clan community, and in many cases, that can mean membership subscriptions, so it's a win-win. Clans get their updates; Jagex gets their money.
Also, if you haven't been in a clan before, I encourage you to put effort into looking. It's not always an easy task, but there are some really great clans out there, and with a little luck you'll find just the one for you, like I did. (Just a little shout out to Surreal, you're awesome!)
This is far form a perfect idea, as we are dealing with Jagex here, but I will say, they at least had enough intelligence to host a month like this. They may not have it perfected yet, but at least they're on the right track.