I always wanted to be in a clan. Not some battle-axe wielding, kilt wearing, blue faced hijinks mind you. I always wanted to be in a gaming clan.
The thought of going into console warfare as part of a well-oiled killing machine with slicker moves than the 70’s Brazilian football team was appealing. It sounded dramatic and exciting, a band of brothers fighting side by side until the bitter end.
The reality however, was a little different.
There was drama, but it was more soap opera than theatre of war, and we were indeed a band of brothers fighting side by side, until one of the band disconnected mid clan war to go and fix his shed, like I say, the reality was a little different.
Here’s my story of life in a clan, and the ups and downs that accompany it.
Within only a month or so of breaking from the single player cocoon and fluttering off into a new world of online play, I had applied to become part of a clan. By applied I don’t mean I sent off my CV of notable game related accomplishments to the clan leaders, held out for a 0-0 draw on FIFA and such like, no, my application was more akin to an introduction on the clan forums. The clan were known as the Army of Orion, whether this was in reference to the stars or the shitty old car from the 80’s I never found out, but I tentatively posted the intro;
“Hi folks, erm, Baseallstar here, Xbox 360 gamer, Call of Duty 3 especially, erm, good sense of humour, enjoy long moonlit walks along the beach, erm, can I join?”
That was a rough estimate of the words in that first introduction and application. As I remember both myself and my wife were trying to join the good old Army of Orion. Weirdly they replied stating that someone from the clan would join us in a random online game and, for want of better words, weigh us up.
And so it was. General Beaker entered the game, stayed for a few minutes, didn’t say much, left, and we were in! Easiest job interview I ever had.
The brief time spent with Army of Orion was a laugh, I enjoyed how playing online with part of a unified group elevated the experience in comparison to setting out alone. But, it also offered the first hints of the soap opera of relationships that live within these groups. More battles were fought in the forums than on the console games we came to play, and it soon became time to move on, or rather to build something of our own.
My main purpose for getting involved in a clan was to embark on a journey that involved lots of CoD3 matches against rival clans. Almost immediately it was clear CoD was playing permanent second fiddle to Gears of War and fresh plans were necessary if my CoD fix was to be fed.
Warhounds were born. My own little clan were we could welcome members and enjoy hours of sweet CoD3 action. The members did come, we soon had a healthy clan of twenty something members, all of whom it seemed wanted to play Gears of War. And so it was, Gears was a permanent fixture with the occasional CoD scrap thrown into the mix from time to time, but I was happy. The site looked decent, if a tad basic, we had a good reputation as a friendly and fair bunch and our membership was growing rapidly. Then it all started to go pear shaped. The ugly face of the soap opera beast reared its head once again.
It’s strange how quickly silly little irritants escalate and threaten to bring the walls crashing in, but it happened. Bickering began, little feuds between members whose personalities could do little but clash, strange atmosphere’s in the online air as members ignored each other, or occasionally broke out into all out verbal warfare, the member who left mid clan match to fix his shed and then left the clan altogether a couple of days later, perhaps more sheds needed his assistance, we never found out.
Before long the nights of laughter, free flowing alcohol and good times had evaporated and in came arguments and bad feeling. The strong bonds that had been formed, the great memories of matches and the free flowing conversation in the forums was sinking away. Members began to drift, and we too jumped ship, leaving the clan in the hands of those left behind. One year had passed by.
The end of Warhounds signalled the end of my interest in the whole clan thing. I joined a community, Project Echelon, and had a pleasant time meeting good people again, but the matches were no more, the band of brothers now back as an army of one.
Clans can be wonderful things. Full of memorable moments and unforgettable characters, great places to build a friends list that is second to none for good gaming and big laughs. But, when it goes wrong it can crumble fast. I always look back on my clan days with fondness but I was never into soap operas, and that has yet to change.