Tips for a Successful Clan

by Lyseri on October 22, 2011

in Instructional

Clans are an important part of organized group RP in the game. Over the years, clans have succeeded and faltered for various reasons ranging from bad IC decisions to questionable OOC actions. From our collective experience and observations, this is a guide to making, maintaining, and improving a successful clan.

What is a successful clan?
While many successful clans share similar characteristics, a successful clan must be fun.  Its members should want to log on to participate in clan activities while nonmembers should want to create a character to join the clan.   Players join a clan for group play in strengthening a character and adding substance to RP, and when they have a choice, they will log on the characters they have more fun playing.   If they’re not having fun, they won’t log on that character and they won’t contribute to the clan.  If a clan is fun, it is better able to build up a strong member base and the other results of success should come naturally.

How do you make a clan fun and therefore successful?
Have a clear purpose, actively recruit members who want to work toward this purpose, hold activities together, and include every member of the clan that you can.  A clan is more fun with people who can bring varied RP opportunities to the table. Work together to accomplish what you care about; a clan is better able to effectively hunt big mobs, gain and hold power, and throw group events with more people working toward one goal.   Include everyone in your clan RP; no one wants to join a clan and be left out, ignored, or told to “go train” every time they see another clan member.   Show low-level members that they are wanted and they can also be contributing members to a clan’s RP.

How can clan leaders/officers make clans fun?

  • Clan leader and officers’ main responsibility is to provide RP opportunities for the people in their clan.  Make people feel involved even after they’ve been recruited and inducted; this isn’t Pokemon where you catch all the players and then store them in your box, never to be called into battle again. This means clan officers and leaders will need to give up some of their personal RP time in favor of clan RP time.  Leaders/officers should be spending an equal or greater amount of time RPing with all their clan members than with one person in one room, particularly if that person is not part of their clan.
  • If clan leaders/officers don’t log on or are constantly on an alt, they can’t be around to promote RP.   The immortal staff keeps a close eye on clan leaders to be sure they are around enough to run their clan.  In turn, clan leaders have the responsibility to demote absentee officers in favor of someone else who is around to contribute to the clan.  Please note that clan members are welcome to replace a leader for any reason.  The method for doing so as well as the requirements for being a clan leader are outlined in HELP CLAN LEADERSHIP.   If an officer or leader needs to take a leave of absence, they should notify staff and their clan of the dates of the absence so they are not considered delinquent in their responsibilities.
  • Clan leaders/officers should recruit members who share the same goals as the clan.  Ideally, these goals are something more substantial, sustainable, and interesting than “join this clan, we’ll help you get equipment.”  It’s important to always be on the lookout for suitable characters who might be interested in your clan to replace those characters that become inactive.  A clan that wants to survive must always be recruiting.

The Pitfalls of “Training”
An extremely common practice among higher-ranked members of a clan is dismissing potential recruits and lower-ranking members with the order to “go train.”  Many people join a clan expecting a multitude of RP opportunities, so it’s frustrating to be sent away so thoughtlessly at every attempt to RP.  Every member of the current staff has had the experience of making a character, joining a clan before or when reaching level 50, and ceasing to play that character because the majority of clan interactions were “go train.”  Include everyone in clan RP and they’ll be more likely to return the favor by being available when you need them.

It is never a good idea to give someone a promotion that has not been ICly earned.  Use promotions to give your clan members something for which to work toward.  Reward them for their hard work to show that you recognize their contribution; this provides a sense of achievement that encourages people to work harder for their clan.   Receivers of undeserved promotions often end up getting bored quickly as they have nothing else to work towards and little loyalty to the clan.   This leads to officers who don’t log on and then sit as dead weight in a high rank without contributing to the clan.

Unearned promotions also weaken a clan by propagating bad feelings if loyal members are passed over for a promotion based on OOC considerations such as friendship or a character’s mechanics-based strength.  Feelings of discontent arise easily when a character that has been around longer and contributed more to the clan is suddenly being ordered around by someone else who has not worked for their position.  This can discourage loyal members from further participation in your clan.

A side note is that clan leaders are often promoted based on the OOC consideration of whether they can be around for the clan.  If you rapidly ascended to the rank of clan leader, it’s possible that you haven’t gained the unwavering loyalty of all your clan members, so if you start off by ordering people around, you may find that being coded as rank 20 isn’t enough to enforce your authority.  As stated before, clans are always welcome to replace a leader.  Work to ICly show your clan members that you are worthy of their respect and loyalty, and the IC reputation will come naturally.

What can you do to make a clan successful if you’re not an officer?
Be involved. Don’t depend only on leaders/officers to make RP or lead hunts. Every clan member has the mail command, and every clan member can contact another one who is online to meet up. If someone doesn’t know how to play the game well, don’t ignore them; teach them so they’ll be more useful to the clan and they won’t feel unwanted. A clan that wants to survive will constantly recruit to keep its active member base high. Non-officers can talk about their clan and interest unclanned characters in joining, then take them to meet someone who can induct. Have an open mind about who you interact with. Varied clan members means varied interests and a wider range of things to have fun doing.

Communication Between Clan Members and Clans
Mudmail is a very useful tool since you can use it to send messages to characters who aren’t currently online.  Use it  to organize events and keep clan members informed of what is going on with quest lines and clan RP.  Even if someone is not online during an event, you can keep them up to date or move RP along by sending a mudmail since they will receive it the next time they log on.   If you need to discuss something important but can’t catch a character online, use mudmail either to plan a time to log on together or to send the message; the main point is to use it to coordinate and communicate instead of making excuses about being unable to contact someone.

However, mudmail is no replacement for actual in-game interaction. If a message is too long, most people will skim over it rather than take in any details. Interacting with characters ICly face to face will always garner more interest than sending out a mail.  Mudmail is a means to facilitate RP, not something to replace it.

Clan Good Ideas, Bad Ideas
A few actual examples of good and bad things past clan leaders have done for their clans.

Good Idea: A clan leader makes time to personally meet and greet every potential and new recruit, sets them up with an active mentor, and regularly stops by to RP with all clan members about things other than training.

Bad Idea: A clan leader lets an OOC friend join a clan, promotes the friend to an officer position within a week, and then watches as the friend doesn’t log on again and other clan members get angry about the OOC and unearned promotion.

Good Idea: A clan leader has only 10 hours available each week to play CoM (the minimum required number of hours to be a clan leader) and devotes every moment of time on the game to clan RP rather than personal RP to ensure the success and improvement of the clan. The leader also recognizes the help members of the clan give in keeping it running when he is unavailable and is rewarded when the appreciation makes the other members willing to take up some of his responsibilities to revive the clan from near-inactive status.

Bad Idea: A clan leader takes 60k gold from the clan account to buy a personal set of equipment and a bathtub for personal RP in his private room, leaving the clan without enough money to pay its members’ wages. (We only wish we could say this didn’t happen.)

To Sum Up
Ultimately, clan leaders and officers should be thinking not “how does this clan make my character more awesome” but “how can my character make this clan more awesome.”  If they help their clan become fun not just for themselves but for everyone who joins, recognition and IC power follows naturally.  Non-officer members should also be inclusive and help their leaders generate RP; a clan is only as enjoyable as its members make it.

The most successful clans of the past have had characters whose RP was more than “a member of x clan.” Interesting characters make for interesting clan members and interesting clan RP.  If a character is nothing more than “Member in Clan” it will be very difficult to generate RP that isn’t boring and flat.  After all, there’s only so many times characters can talk about patrolling or the dreaded training.   Think about what aspects of a character exist outside of the clan.  What does this character like to do?   What does this character feel about this?  What could this character say about something that happened?  The character doesn’t have to fit in the mold the clan makes; be creative!  Multidimensional characters lead to more interesting clan RP and more interesting RP for the game in general.

In the end, a powerful clan is successful and a successful clan is fun.  Be interesting, make your clan interesting, and make your clan fun.

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