One of the most iconic forms of gamer community, arguably even more so than the E-Sports team
. At its most basic the gaming clan is simply a bunch of gamers who regularly play one or more games together under some form of group identity.
As with teams in other sports, they vary widely in their style, level of formality, membership requirements etc. For example, many First-Person Shooter
clans use military styles and even award "medals" while those in MMORPGs
may have a multi-layered bureaucracy as if they are player-run nations. Some may require members to be extremely participatory while others simply need assurance that a player isn't going to jump to another game in the near future.
A common feature of all of these is the "clan tag", which players will display when they are playing in a match or on a general server. It's basically a uniform. If a clan was called Sabre Knights From Miami, their tag might be SKFM. Newer games tend to at least have integrated clan tag functionality while many have adopted services such as clan-exclusive chat channels and administrative powers for clan leaders that used to be handled externally on each clan's own website(s).
The term "Clan" for gaming teams likely came from Battletech
, which featured ritualistic warring factions known as clans. With the release of multiplayer functionality with Mechwarrior 2
, amongst the first Deathmatch
styled PC games, players formed groups based on them as a way to act out fantasy battles. Completely original clans popped up soon after. Nowadays, lack of official clan infrastructure is seen as a serious flaw in new multiplayer-centric games and many successful clans have extensive out of game activities including websites, merchandising, product endorsement and offline public relations events.
- Marigold of Questionable Content is a member of a World of Warcraft gaming clan. Dale, a minor character who was introduced recently, turns out to be part of a rival clan.
- The Guild is a sitcom about a gaming clan on an expy of World of Warcraft.
- Alex from Runaways honed his leadership skills commanding a gaming clan on a MMORPG.
- Noob depicts four of them. The titular Noob guild, just big enough to form a single Player Party, that has been shown playing other games in a bonus Runes Of Magic themed episode of the webseries and an audio episode. Relic Tracker's guild is in a similar situation. The Roxxor and Justice guild are much bigger and structured clans whose top Player Party is the only one ever seen. Justice's includes the person taking care of their admissions and she's seen rejecting any candidates that have a job and/or a significant other in real life because of the availability requirements.
- World of Warcraft-based machinima tend to feature them:
- The guild <Pals For Life> infamously had the poor judgment to admit a Mr. Leeroy Jenkins into their ranks.
- The Illegal Danish series centers around members of the eponymous guild, named for an incident in which King Llane of Stormwind blamed the failed defense of his city on the danish he had for breakfast, subsequently banning such dishes. But one illegal danish survived this pastry purge, an ancient sugary sweet said to have various mystical powers.
- The Grind concerns a guild's attempts to figure out why they're wiping on Onyxia. They do so just in time to learn that the Burning Crusade expansion has made everything about the raid boss obsolete.
- The Napoleonic Wars DLC for Mount and Blade: Warband has the players organised in regiments with a strict hierarchy and chain of command. True to the spirit of the game and period, infantry regiments usually form line and fire at each other. There are many "linebattles" on YouTube.