Finally, we revisit what you and I are most passionate about: geeky video game talk!
In the usual Y3B style, this will be an in-depth look at all things video game geek as they relate to gaming clans. I feel this topic ties into pretty much everything we’ve tackled on Y3B. There is a great need and urgency in stabilizing and supporting video game clans and social groups because, quite frankly, they are keeping things going during dire times in the video game industry.
Fun fact: Y3B currently ranks #1 out of virtually billions of competing sites on Google for keywords “gaming clan leadership” and related search terms. This inspires me because, if there is anything I am passionate about, it’s the video game industry, from a gamer and developer perspective! I love hearing of little gaming clans that attain BIG success. The Internet makes it all possible if you know how to play the game. It’s also pretty neat that Google considers this site an authority on gaming clans (though The Guild has us beat on popularity hands-down). w00t!
The Culture And Lifestyle Of Video Game Clans
Gaming clans typically fall into two categories:
- Competitive Gaming Team – I consider these types of clans to be more team or squad-oriented. Their main and often only goal is to win in their games of choice. By extension, fame and fortune is what drives them. Some of these clans are tightly-knit but most fall apart or rebuild constantly when individual members get inflated egos or losses start to become frequent.
- Social Gaming Clan – Gamers that don’t care for the work involved in becoming highly-competitive find themselves here. Casual gamers, to me, are more about having fun with games first. What most casual or social gaming clans do not realize is that you can be competitive and still have fun.
I believe the best clans employ principle-driven leadership and are driven by their core values and the overall vision and goals that bind them. I find greater satisfaction in networking with people and making friends wherever I go. This is what has made NoF successful. Of course, how success is defined by a clan or squad as a whole is what defines it.
It’s great that professional gaming has bolstered the video game industry but, on the other hand, it has corrupted the spirit of gaming. People have forgotten to have fun. Large pro gaming clans tend to have high-turnover because non-starters get antsy or feel unfulfilled. There needs to be total engagement for all members to be involved. A truly successful gaming clan pursues a greater purpose beyond just winning. After all, video games will come and go so you can’t stake your existence on a single undertaking if you want sustainable longevity.
While being in a gaming clan can and should be a lifestyle on it’s own, smart clans realize that people have other life priorities and habits. The successful gaming clan model embraces diversity and accounts for differences in schedules, priorities, and the like. It’s important to weave individuality and personal stories into the fabric of your clan, especially in it’s infancy.
How Gaming Clans Enhance The Social Experience: The Benefits, Support System, And Values
We saw how diversity becomes part of the collective story of a clan. In a similar manner, gaming clans become part of the lore and value of the video games we play and support. Video games these days lack good stories and longevity for the most part. As a result, the community drives activity, builds stories, and builds new content even when first-party efforts lack.
Being in a gaming clan should be about enhancing the online gaming experience. By extension, social gaming clans enrich online experiences and sometimes even our lifestyles as a whole. One way gaming clans do this is by establishing a support system that may otherwise lack in online games and communities of choice. As a clan member at any level, rank, or tenure, you get access to tools, perks, and peers with their own respective resources and inherent value.
Communication, participation, and interaction are all things gaming clans bolster. It’s not just what happens in-game or even in waiting/prep lobbies but, rather, the activity gaming clans drive from event to event. Remarkable gaming clans keep members in total engagement and facilitate things that would otherwise be troublesome or simply overlooked.
The best of the best gaming clans establish clear core values and principles, as set forth by accessible and visible guidelines, policies, goals, agendas, and the like. As with any worthwhile organization, a social gaming clan sets a deliberate direction rather than just coasting along playing video games. New skills, bond, and experiences are forged as clan members collaborate and contribute more to make the vision of their clan a reality. It’s an ongoing work, a masterpiece refined gradually and naturally, at least ideally.
Getting clan members to invest back into their clan is tough. The bonds built and the wisdom made wide-spread should be reward enough but savvy clans add other perks and incentives alongside the more subtle benefits of gaming clan membership. The more practical of these clans raise money to maintain web sites and software. They also outfit their members with gaming gear (hardware and accessories). Some go as far as to implement business models whereas members buy into premium services and benefits, including retail discount programs, flexible spending accounts, health care coverage, and more. While these items are rare, through collective economics and an increased urgency that gets all members to really pitch in, it’s possible for a social gaming clan to have real long-term growth and “upgrade options”, so to speak.
In NoF, we’ve often raised money for care packages, computer repairs, web site launches, car maintenance, and, in the most dire of situation, bill payments. In this manner, social gaming clans bring the focus to people, not games. Fun and fellowship come before competition and mere personal gain/self-gratification.
Leadership And Participation: Is It My Job Or Your Job?
By now you may think the concept of a gaming clan evolving into a social group and special interests group seems a bit idealistic and unrealistic, right? Well, that’s where leadership and active participation come into play. To have these things, there must be clear-set rules and goals in place. Systems should ease the mundane so “busy work” is minimal. Most importantly, you have to have compelling stories and reasons to drive not just activity but the right kinds of activity – productivity is the keyword!
You see, leading a clan is not just the job of the founder or main leader/chief. It’s not just up to officers and those with “power” to keep things moving along. Everyone needs to buy into the dream, the vision, the driving force of the gaming clan. That’s what maintains the core and spirit of a great clan, a gaming clan of legend!
I feel that, the bigger a gaming clan gets, the more the main leaders and founders have to focus on oversight and delegation. You don’t want to spread yourselves thin and burn out; after all, you want things to remain fun, even if structure and work are necessary “evils”. Setting a clear chain of command, appointing key roles, and spreading tasks and projects with some degree of redundancy ensures there is no single point of failure. Do not make the mistake of making it all about you. One-man shows do not last long because the story will lack dynamics and compelling reasons for all to get involved.
In a few words, leaders are not those with titles or power. Leaders do not merely manage, either. Leaders believe in something passionately and try to instill that passion in others, empowering all those around them. Check the elitism, power tripping, and drama at the door, please.. Or find a pro/gosu gaming clan instead. Hey, it’s different strokes for different folks so no worries!
Mutual Growth: Evolving As Individuals And Groups
In order to sustain your clan’s core and maximize loyalty-building opportunities, you need to unite with like-minded geeks and gamers. You don’t have to agree on everything but you do have to believe in your clan: the leadership, the vision, the goals, and the collective dream. Like I said before, everyone has to believe in what you’re about as an individual and as a clan.
Managing expectations is everyone’s job in a gaming clan or any organization, really. That means everyone has the responsibility to learn about their clan and share the ongoing story driving it all. You can’t wait for your clan leaders and officers to hold hands and spoon-feed information, folks.
Only once everyone develops a real appreciation for their clan and what it means to them can mutual growth happen. You have to care about others in your clan and your collective success and accomplishments. It’s a process and it takes time.
Sharing of your experiences is one great way to grow together. It’s one thing to be active, contribute, and participate but you add real value to your clan by sharing those actions and stories. This is especially important when a clan booms and reaches larger numbers. In an ideal world, all clannies, not just core members, will be tightly-knit in their specific groups and across the entire social gaming clan but that is a bit unrealistic. Still, everyone should at least be aware of what goes on in their clan beyond their specific gaming fronts and projects.
Going Offline: Taking Social Gaming Clan Skill Sets And Relationships Beyond Video Games
Once you build and uphold a solid foundation for your clan, you’ll find that the online gaming community doesn’t have to be a faceless world or a virtual collection of avatars and monikers. Once you make warm connections with your peers, your interest and enjoyment of the social gaming clan experience increases tenfold.
Consider the video game geek comedy web series, The Guild: as off-the-wall as some of the antics on The Guild are, there is quite a bit of truth in it all (it turns out the cast of this show truly come from humble beginnings like their characters and they all play or at least dabble in video games). When the Knights of Good finally met offline, new challenges arose. It’s hard enough to build chemistry in a game but, when we bring our personal lives into the fray, there are new rules to consider. The characters on The Guild learned this the hard way.
One thing I particularly love about The Guild web series is how it removes the stigma about video games being for fat nerds and losers. Sure, the members of the Knights of Good have their quirks and issues but they are real people with everyday lives. While we can’t expect our clannies to be so committed and geeky, the Kings of Good show us that embracing diversity and going beyond online spaces (or cyberspace, if you prefer) is important for building strong ties that will out-live any video game. This is important because no video game lasts forever, not even WoW (World of Warcraft). On that note, it turns out that Rift may very well be the next WoW but we shall see (personally, City of Heroes and Anarchy Online were my faves when I still messed with MMORPGs heavily).
Gamers and geeks come in different shapes and sizes. Respect people and love them FOR their differences, not in spite of. Chemistry takes time to build and, until then, you’re bound to encounter clannies that rub you the wrong way. While NoF has maintained a core with members with us over 5 or even 10 years, we know not everyone will become a hardcore clan member and that’s all right. I say to this: some clannies join for a reason and others join for a season (at times this is quite literal).
Another neat thing is how gaming clan involvement can build “real-life skills” and actually make you more marketable for certain jobs. There have been some articles appearing on the web pointing to this so it is encouraging to those of us that spend all too much time on video games. Regardless, there is much knowledge, wisdom, and experience to gain as an active gaming clan member. Above all else, it’s about having fun and meeting cool people – so get out there!
With all this in mind, I hope everyone reading this sees the value in gaming clan membership and the urgency in supporting social gaming clans.
Now I ask you: what do you enjoy most about being in a gaming clan? What are your personal goals? What are your gaming clan’s goals? Have you ever joined a gaming clan? How did you contribute and change the video game industry?
Please discuss. This is, by far, one of our favorite topics here on Y3B so don’t hold back: we want all the loot, err, goods!