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Clan Community: Decline?

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Paxos
Aug Member 2008

Paxos

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Over the past several years there has been change in the clan community - coming in many different forms. What I would like to do is establish a discussion, purposely on the forums, to allow open discussion and the sharing of thoughts on where people see the community now versus a decade ago.

I have been involved with clans dating back to the tail-end of 2005. I have had the fortune of largely being in the same clan since that year for the entirety of my "career". I have experienced the peak RSB, Unions, warring leagues, the POC community, the theme-based community, and so on. This has afforded me the ability to watch the clan community develop and change over the years. But my question is this - has the changes to the community over the last several years been detrimental, and is the community in a sharp decline?

To help facilitate the conversation I will share my own perspective. I believe the community is in decline, and due to a few different reasons. The death of the RSB and the obsolete nature of the forums I think has fractured the community and left clans organizing in many different offsites such as Discord. This has had a negative impact on clan-on-clan interaction, since in most cases they don't interact at all. I think an important factor to determine a community's health is having clans interacting and involved with each other - whether in a competitive or collaborative capacity.

The lack of interaction has also reduced the diversity of clan genres. I always found that when many different types of clans make up the community it creates a far more colorful fabric. Warring clans, skilling clans, PvM clans, POCs, and theme-based clans (along with others) used to make up that fabric. Most of those genres are now going extinct, leaving the typical clan now a standard community-based clan. This is not to say community clans are bad - but the clan update in 2011 produced a mass amount of them.
Pax
Emperor
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Imperial Family
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22-Jan-2019 04:59:51

Sicariu
Feb Gold Premier Club Member 2011

Sicariu

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Personally, I feel the reason for the decline you've described was the decline of the "vocal" PvP community. Many clans that centered around PvP were much more prominent in the RS community than the average PvM, Community, Skilling, etc. clan in regards to other players knowing who they were.

For example, if I were to ask a random player if they'd ever heard of my clan, No Sigil No Sleep, chances are, they'd answer no. We've been around for nearly 6 years as a PvM clan, but we typically have kept to ourselves over that time (i.e. We don't have livestreamers or video makers, and we don't hold events that are open to the general community.)

On the other hand, if I were to ask a random player if they'd heard of the Wilderness Guardians, there's a better chance someone would recognize that name. They're an older clan that was prominent in PvP through what was arguably the most popular years of RuneScape, their members had videos uploaded to YouTube, and they were part of a highly popular activity in the game.

However, I wouldn't say that the clan community is dying. When PvP clans are warring with each other, it's impossible to not see other clans in the process because there has to be other clans out there to war with/against. Nowadays, it seems a majority of clans, mine included, keep to themselves and have their own communities that no one on the outside really hears about. With that in mind, most players probably wouldn't know the different clans that are out there now because their activities are typically internal.

Overall, I'd argue that the clan community is larger now than it's ever been before, citing statistics from Jagex that more active players belong to clans now than in the past. But, the clan community is noticeably quieter now than it was in the past, so players on the outside don't really know what's going on unless something is shared on YouTube, Twitch, Reddit, etc. since players have migrated away from the RS forums.
~ Sicariu
Leader of
No Sigil No Sleep

"You can't lead if you can't admit you're wrong."

22-Jan-2019 14:32:48

Paxos
Aug Member 2008

Paxos

Posts: 20,820Opal Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
I will agree that clans have taken a more integral role in daily play. But I think the more systemic update in 2011 made that happen, and I don't know that it necessarily reflects overall community health. I think many clans are very large and very healthy - that aspect I don't dispute. But clans becoming more internalized, as you mentioned, is what I think has had the most negative impact on the larger community. At TRE we try to maintain relationships as we have always done and use them to coordinate joint events - if nothing else than to compensate for that lost interaction.

I do think that if warring could re-emerge it would be a major step toward correcting this problem and to reducing the sense of clan isolation.
Pax
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Imperial Family
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22-Jan-2019 18:29:46

Siad the Cat

Siad the Cat

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You’re about… 7 years late. I’ll enlighten this though.

Unions and “Newspapers” completely ran the show pre-clan chat. The forums were the place where players interacted. Even after clan chat was released, the forums were still undoubtedly the place there you went for interaction. I remember the RSB Gazzette, RSB Bulletin, and to some extent the RSB Treehuggers Guild News could fill up a thread of 200 pages in literally 2 days. Ishard ran a fireside that dominated the early clan scene where people would interact for hours on end.

In terms of Unions, I could give a list of a thousand of them, but two of the larger unions, Corruptive Powers and Commonwealth of Clan, could fill up their own thread (as well as countless ‘flame war threads’) in days (or hours for the flame wars, lol). Again, there was no such thing as Ventrillo, Teamspeak, and definitely not discord in the RSB in the early days so all of the activity between clans and individuals were on the forums.

As clans developed, people left the game, and the community got more organized with Ventrillo and Teamspeak, offsites (to some extent) and Clan Chat, the forums started taking less of an active role in where you meet people but rather as sort of a ‘foundation’ where you could formally interact with clans, particularly in the warring scene. In other words, the individual was taken out of the interactions, because there was more efficient ways to interact with your friends. This is where you started to see community clans like Aesop, Nova, among other clans fade into the background.
Mercy Forever
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Mercy Cc

25-Feb-2019 09:57:51

Siad the Cat

Siad the Cat

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“Newspapers” and Unions slowly faded away until the Clan Community was essentially dominated by Battle Ladders, most notably, the RSB Main Ladder and later, the RSB Battle Ladder. Clans could declare war on each other, and have some discussion between clan leaders and RSBans, but the bulk of the inter clan discussion was completely in game. Clans and clan leaders still had interactions with another on the forums, but at this point it was more of a formality rather than actual community building.

Occasionally you’d have some thought provoking threads like betting on clan fights, RSBan profile threads, and Rebelrbl’s “Calling All RSB clans” threads, but for the most part, the forums started to slip away with activity and by the time summer 2012 was over, the clan community forums was just a shell of what it used to be.


And then came EOC. This essentially wiped out any RSB Clan Leaders, RSBans, or any form of activity on the forums. Forever. The fact of the matter is the forums became obsolete and people now play the game for different reasons.

Every clan pretty much has discord, and this is where *all* formal interactions and updates for the clan get discussed. Streaming and youtube have both allowed content to get shared much more readily. Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms are just easier to use and more accessible. Clans don’t war like they used to in the “Middle Ages” of the RSB (despite some feeble attempts every couple years to create more Ladders) and Clan Leaders and RSBans don’t care to interact with one another like they used to, at least not on the forums.
Mercy Forever
| QFC: 320-321-582-66057331 |
AoA Leader 2010
|
TLW Warlord 2010-2011
|
Fusion Member 2011-2012

Discord:
Milwaukee#0461
Mercy Cc

25-Feb-2019 09:58:05 - Last edited on 25-Feb-2019 10:10:22 by Siad the Cat

Siad the Cat

Siad the Cat

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In essence, this thread is … well it’s very late, lol. The RSB forums you are talking about have been dead since at least 2012, but in my opinion it was probably dead before that too. The clan community, though, in terms of the individual clan, are stronger than they’ve ever been. Community clans like you saw in the early days of the RSB are thriving. The clan I’m in almost always has at least 30 or more people in the clan chat, and I don’t even think we’re one of the bigger community clans.

Clan warring on the RSB is dead. Period. It will never return, at least, not in the same way that you and I think of, and it’s not for the lack of activity but people simply don’t play the game for that reason anymore. While PvP is still an active part of the game, it’s not organized in a manner of “Rankings”, and that’s okay. I will occasionally see someone try to make a thread akin to those of the RSB Main and RSBL, but it’s like using 1960 strategies in 2019, it’s just not feasible.

Things are different, they’ve moved on. The only thing that’s left of the Clan Community Forums is the occasional old timer like you or me who pops in to say hello.


-Njpebbles48



EDIT: As a side note, it should also be noted that most of the RSBans and RSB Clan Leaders eventually grew up, and most of them I can almost assure you don't play this game anymore. I was one of the younger players to par-take in the community from the era you're describing and I turn 25 next week. Fact of the matter is the RSB Clan Forums are but a monument for those passing by to remember what once was.
Mercy Forever
| QFC: 320-321-582-66057331 |
AoA Leader 2010
|
TLW Warlord 2010-2011
|
Fusion Member 2011-2012

Discord:
Milwaukee#0461
Mercy Cc

25-Feb-2019 09:58:14 - Last edited on 25-Feb-2019 10:04:24 by Siad the Cat

Paxos
Aug Member 2008

Paxos

Posts: 20,820Opal Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
It's not so much me being late as it is me wanting to see if the forums are capable of generating any lively discussion in 2019. And if this thread has been any indication it certainly isn't. I too was around in those days and I've noted the most marked changes since 2011. Selfishly I kept TRE away from things like TS and Ventrillo because for whatever reason I wanted to cling to the old ways of doing things. But at that point you're simply passing on practicality in favor of nostalgia. We finally broke down and shifted all of our operations to Discord a few years ago, though we still maintain our forum presence just to keep the footprint there.

I remember having my run-ins with CP around a decade ago and it was truly a nightmare to overcome, since we were not union affiliated. But, as you say, threads would spit out a couple hundred pages both because of flame and drama as well as them being a primary means of communicating.

I'm getting older myself, the same age as you actually, and I play the game less than in the past and delegate most day-to-day clan activities to other leaders. I do wish thecommunity had that same flare it once did but I don't ever see that happening without the people that created said flare.`

All in all it just isn't as colorful now - and when I say now I should specify that it hasn't been for many years. I consider everything after EOC and the clan update to be pretty much the "now".

It's good to get your input, Nj. You're a name I remember.
Pax
Emperor
The Roman Empire
Imperial Family
Thirteen Year Member

Venit Enim Potest

26-Feb-2019 00:20:18 - Last edited on 26-Feb-2019 00:38:05 by Paxos

Sicariu
Feb Gold Premier Club Member 2011

Sicariu

Posts: 9,027Rune Posts by user Forum Profile RuneMetrics Profile
One thing to keep in mind about this thread not gaining much attention from other players is that the Clan Central forum has essentially become a help/advice section for clans. Topics of threads that pop up here are most often seeking help or advice in regards to clans, and there are very few players who frequently visit this forum section.

Clan discussion in general, as mentioned above, has greatly declined as players seem to have lost interest in clans. However, there is a very active community of clan leaders within the Clan Leader Forums, along with a dedicated Clan Leader Discord Server (which is very active as well).
~ Sicariu
Leader of
No Sigil No Sleep

"You can't lead if you can't admit you're wrong."

26-Feb-2019 04:03:01

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