Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Clan (computer gaming)
In computer and video gaming, a clan is a group of players who regularly play together in a particular multiplayer game, generally as a team. Clans also act as social groups, with players often meeting up both on and offline. Numerous clans exist for nearly every online game available today, notably in first-person shooters (especially tactical shooter-style games), massively multiplayer games, role-playing games, and strategy games.
Player organizations probably emerged in the earliest networked multiplayer computer games that brought together disparate groups of players, such as players in a MUD from two rival universities. The first clans as we recognize today were probably set up to play early first-person shooters such as Quake. Although these games initially only offered "deathmatch" play, where everyone is playing against everyone else, the desire to form social groups led to the design of team-based modes such as capture the flag.
Many competitive clans have their own private servers to play their game of choice on. These are most handy for holding practice matches against other clans and other forms of practice. Private servers are also convenient since they do not have problems that plague public servers, such as team killers.
Clans in other genres
Clans also exist in other genres, where they often go by a different name and serve a purpose more suited to the game. Many online computer role-playing games call them 'guilds'. Star Wars Galaxies calls them 'player associations'. , a web browser-based game, formerly called them 'alliances', but switched to 'clans' as the word increased in popularity.
There are few guild versus guild tournaments in online RPGs, so guilds usually are more of a social group in these games. Sometimes in MMORPGs, guilds take on the role of vigilante groups or the mafia, protecting its members from other players and guilds. These guilds form in the most literal sense in games that feature player vs. player combat. EverQuest infamously spawned uberguilds: Extremely influential guilds formed by the best players on the server for the purpose of securing for its members all the newest and most powerful abilities and loot.
Clans form membership hierarchies as they grow. They usually begin with a leader, responsible for the entirety of organizing the clan, with a number of basic members. If the clan expands, experienced members are promoted and become responsible for various tasks such as recruiting, disciplining rule-breakers, member training, webpage maintenance, and others.
In most games, players show the clan they are in by using a special clan tag in their name. The most common form of clan tag is an abbreviation of the clan's name placed inside square brackets preceding the player's name. For example, in a name like "[EW]Bob", "[EW]" is the clan tag and "Bob" is the player's name. In MMORPGs, the game often features a separate mechanism used to identify the clan a player belongs to. For example in Dark Age of Camelot, the player's guild appears in full below the player's name. In games that allow players to customize their appearance (usually by picking the color of their attire), clan members might all share a similar look, or bear their clan's logo on their character's outfit.
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