Life in an FPS Clan, part 1
by Wayne Cole
There are some common misconceptions about first person shooters that exist among MMORPG and role playing circles. They are seen as “twitch” games where the only thing that matters is how quickly you can physically move and click. Players are seen as egotistical and people envision them locked away in their parent’s basements rambling on about “pwning noobs” to no one in particular because they don’t have any real human interaction. Generally speaking they are thought to be less sociable than RPG players.
For this series of articles I’m going to show you that these stereotypes couldn’t be further from the truth. Ok, well the rambling on about “pwning noobs” is actually pretty dead on, but the rest could use some clearing up. Since I was a member of a clan that spent some time at number one on the TWL ladders I think I would be the perfect person to clear some of that up. Ok, so maybe the ego and bragging could be based in truth too.
I would argue that First Person Shooter clans are just as sociable as RPG groups. They may not meet each other in person (though some certainly do), but they talk just as much, if not more. Don’t think that clan members can’t get drunk with each other just because they are in different cities. Every clan has voice communication; most have forums, and some use messengers. In our case we also had each other’s cell phone numbers. After an initial period of getting used to, the group members would build a strong trust of their fellow clan mates. No topic is off limits for conversation. Over time you build friendships and rivalries both within your clan and without. They could be friendly rivalries or they could get as bitter as two rival high school football teams.
A clan is like a family. They stick together for the good times and the bad. For example one member of our Clan went through a divorce. We were there to support him emotionally, but we also took up a collection to help pay for his lawyer. Later we built him a computer so he could rejoin us online. Why would we do this for someone we had never met? It’s simple because he was one of us. To a clan that means he is family. I wouldn’t try to say that everyone always gets along. You don’t get along with anyone all the time so you couldn’t expect a clan to be different. Occasionally people leave because of fights, or the group’s very survival is threatened by strong emotions and words that can’t be unsaid.
So while FPS gamers are thought of as less sociable than RPG players it is actually the social aspect that keeps a clan together. It is the closeness and the camaraderie that keeps the group together sometimes long after the game itself has faded. My clan has not competed in at least two years, but we are still together. Some of them have moved on to WOW and some like me just stick around to talk. We have played other FPS games, MMORPGs, and even racing games together since our game of choice gradually died out.
Come back for part two of my series where I will discuss how a FPS clan prepares for a big match.