Monday, August 8, 2011

On Leaving My Clan

When I joined my clan six months ago I was pretty excited- well as excited as I can get about socializing with people (this makes sense if you know me and my grouchy ways). It was the first time I joined a multi-gaming community and I was hopeful that it would be a long-term home for my social-gaming. I bought into the vision of the leader: War-games come and go, but the community remains.

There was a lot of upheaval in the clan when Clan Wars (beta) launched. I've discussed my feelings about the mechanics of this 'end-game' elsewhere so I won't repeat myself. There was a lot of drama, and a lot of change. The clan was growing fast and the leadership and structure simply wasn't in place to deal with it. Coupled with a game-mechanic that isn't player friendly, it was a recipe for disaster.

Because of the size of the clan (300+) and the 100-player limitation imposed by WoT the clan fragmented into three divisions and a fourth for recruits. Clan wars participation means you have to have the clans 'tag' to participate so although we were one clan (in theory) there were four sub-divisions within it and it meant we couldn't play clan wars together. But that shouldn't have been a problem because we are all free to platoon up or participate in Company Battles with anyone. With up to 100 people on teamspeak each night finding people to group up with shouldn't be a problem, should it?

No, it shouldn't.

The segregation within our clan, initially imposed on us by WoT, became ingrained and, dare I say it, institutionalized. The "looking for platoon" channel became a barren wasteland as everyone hid away in their own divisional channels (initially created for clan-wars communication) which became virtual club-houses that imposed an intimidating barrier to socializing. 

In the beginning the entire clan would platoon up, run company battles, and do count-downs which saw up to a dozen of us fighting in the same battle- often on opposing sides. It was a lot of fun and a practice which died out (for the most part) some time ago.

Clan wars killed that. The leaders we had in place burned out and move on, quit, or were removed, and as the ranks depleted, new members were recruited to take their place. I sat in on almost every Saturday meeting and listed to the leadership tell us that it was the community that mattered, and that when WoT was dead an gone we would all be a happy family deploying to a new game. A better game. A game where we could group up and kick some butt together!

And yet the members continue to leave. Most of the founding members have stopped playing WoT and have withdrawn from the daily (social) activity of the clan. They are rarely seen, or heard, in the general channels, and it's a shame. It was their vision, their leadership, their humor, and the enjoyment of their company that made the clan what it was.Their push to make the clan something bigger than a group of WoT players is being undone by the fact that everyone they promote into leadership positions is involved in, and focused on clan wars.

I'm not going to hide the fact that I am slightly bitter that guys who roll in with top-tiered tanks and a focus on clan-wars get made officers (our clan adopted a military hierarchy) while those of us who have been around longer, with a focus on other aspects of WoT (and other games in general) get ignored. Where is the community I was promised, that would extend beyond WoT, and specifically, beyond clan wars?

Ahh well, there's no use crying- no one likes a whiner.

So what is it I want? A clan in WoT that doesn't do clan wars? Maybe. What I want is the same thing I've always wanted: to have fun playing games. To chat, to use tactics, to train, and yes, to win. I want to log in, group up, and hit the battlefield! Lately I was logging in playing alone which I am more than capable of doing without a clan. My frustration was growing and when I looked at the roster and saw that everyone I had played with in the early days had either gone, or quit WoT I decided it was time to move on. I was listed as the 9th person to have joined so I guess I was a bit of an old timer.

The sad part (and you can get out the tiny violins here) is that I doubt anyone will notice, or care. Well, okay, that's not entirely true as I'll be posting a 'good-bye' piece on the forum so someone will notice. A single person (or in this case, several persons) leaving doesn't affect the whole all that much- we aren't the Borg Collective here- but it would have been nice to know that I was leaving behind some guys who would think:

"Hey, where's Gank tonight...haven't seen him in a while."

After six months with any group, it's the least you could hope for, isn't it? Maybe I've been spoiled by great guilds from the past- all from Guild Wars incidentally- where people had fun and when they left they were missed- genuinely missed (No Goats No Glory (GOAT) where are you now?). In any case, the pity party is over. My clan and me were not well suited and so I have moved on. I will fly solo for awhile, nurse my (virtual) social wounds, and then find a new group. The gaming will, nay, must go on!

6 comments:

  1. S! I understand your sentiment and fully agree, hope you find the fun in gaming you seek!
    /Steiner

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  2. Cheers mate!

    One of the other great failings of WoT is the server split which seperated me from all the cool European players! It would have been nice to have a true international flavor to the game and a 24-7 environment to play in. Having spent 6 years in Europe I miss they way Europeans interact socially, and I always enjoyed hearing different points of view on a wide variety of topics.

    Take care!

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  3. Yes Gank, you will be missed, and I think by a good deal of us. I know because there have been a few of us who have already been verbalizing the thought "Hey, where's Gank tonight...haven't seen him in a while."

    First off, I will absolutely agree with you that WoT CW hurt us as a social community. But it didn't leave us for dead!

    I must admit that I think you're leaving for the wrong reasons. A lot of those other guys that have been leaving lately were with us pretty much ONLY for WoT CW, and when it bombed (for me at least) they were left disappointed. But you play LOTS of other games, or so I have the impression. Many of those founding members who quit playing WoT are now playing other games that interest them, along with fellow Clan members. As just a single example, LotRO has become quite popular with a number of our core founding members, and they regularly have a dozen or so peeps in-game with them. Might not seem like a huge amount, but WoT CW was actually only 15 players at a time, for perspective.

    Also, it is summertime for the US side of WoT CW. I imagine most people are outside, doing things with their kids (who they have told to 'get off the computer and go outside', lol). College peeps are getting ready to go back to school. Vacation times. Etc, etc. My point being that, yes, while it may seem pretty sparsely populated now, I have no doubts that activity will pick up again come the colder season.

    If I may suggest: before actually joining another Clan, come back to us say in October or so, and see if anything has changed. At the very least, come by for a visit and see which of us is more surprised. ;)

    I won't "unfriend" you, and I certainly won't quit reading yer Blog here (great stuff!), but regardless, Good luck wherever life takes you.

    S!
    JoE

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  4. Thanks for stopping by Death! I hear what you're saying. I did spend some time with the 'old' guys in the LOTRO channel chatting and it was a lot of fun.......that, unfortunately didn't help me when I wanted to platoon with mates, though having a Burgular in my platoon to scout for artillery would have been nice!

    The few guys I managed to find after 'the great migration' that I liked platooning with all went into their seperate Divisional channels for clan wars and tended to stay there 90% of the time. It wasn't the numbers that I felt were lacking but their distribution and perhaps their focus. Maybe I couldn't fit in, or (quite possibly) didn't try hard enough. Looking back (all of 2 days ago) perhaps I should have just transfered to WIND, or 116R to help the new guys find their place in the clan.

    For now I'm going to take a break from WoT and then just do some random battles. I think Red Orchestra II may be my 'next big thing' so until then I'll keep a low profile.....hmmmm that might not be possible with a blog though..... ahh well!

    Take care, and happy hunting

    S!

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  5. Gank
    Well said... I do think CW ruined a lot for me personally. I joined 116th about 5 months ago and many of the guys who I originally tanked with are gone; and the new guys we are getting just don't seem to have the same spirit that the clan had in the past. Still many great guys in 116th; and I still plan to play IL-2 and RO2 with them.

    See you on the RO2 battlefield

    Mort

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  6. /agreed

    I'll see you in RO2 though I plan on playing the Russians so we may be on opposite sides :)

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