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A Look at Leadership
Written by VelvetLies

Taking a look at leadership and clan life from a few different angles.

     My original inspiration for this article was based on changes in leadership, primarily of closed clans, as they have occurred in the past six months. Yes, someone is actually paying attention to this kind of data. I won't be publishing the details of every leader change, but suffice it to say, a few clans have seen some pretty drastic overhauls, whereas others haven't seen a single change in their panel of leaders. As a former leader, I have no shortage of opinions on what effective leadership entails, but it is based on my experiences of clan administration, and the observations of both great and terrible examples of leadership from a wide range of individuals across the global clan map. In the interest of getting a more balanced tone for this article, I solicited the gclan channel for leaders willing to engage in interview sessions. The response was less than overwhelming. I did, however, pin down Mirrim for a brief Q&A, which was an insightful and thought provoking experience.

     One of the first questions that comes to my mind when I look at the leadership and administration of any clan, is how leadership comes to be. In the case of Daoine, Mirrim tells me, leaders are elected from a pool of voluntary candidates that opt to run for an open slot when a leader steps down. I believe this method is favored by a number of clans, with varying success. While I have had my own doubts as to the reliability of effectiveness with this method, in the end, it's up to each clan to decide how it is run, and led. The hazard, as I see it, is that it appears very easy for certain leaders to be content and lazy in a leader slot as nothing more than a place holder, while the bulk of leadership duties are performed by the more dedicated of the panel. I don't mean to offer up Daoine as an example; in fact, Daoine has seen very healthy growth and revitalization in this first half of 2007. Whatever system a clan uses for their administration, if it isn't broken, it probably doesn't need to be fixed.

    A recent query that has been occupying a few of my brain cells is the accountability of leaders. Should leaders be accountable for their members adherence to rules and game policies? If a leader is knowingly allowing botting, spam killing, or something similarly known to be violating game rules, should they be responsible for not stopping it? I'd be the first to acknowledge that in most cases it would be nearly impossible to prove prior knowledge, but say a scenario occurs where it is evident? Is it reasonable to believe leaders could be the first line of defense against certain types of problematic players? Granted, Daoine isn't one of the clans that normally gets accused of being a clan full of bots and cheaters, but when I raised the question in the q&a session with Mirrim, I found her response to be eloquent:

 13 Jun 03:08 - You tell A FOOMING Mirrim 'do you think that clan leaders should hold any accountability or responsibility for their members' behavior? Forget policing channels and personal dramas in this equation, but in terms of basic rule/policy adherence?'

  13 Jun 03:13 - A FOOMING Mirrim tells you 'To an extent.  There's appearances to keep up and whatnot, and being able to ask nicely for people to not be dicks is useful.  Messing with people and pranking by toeing the line is neat, but overt cheating is not something you'd want representing your guild as a whole, and it's always the bad eggs that stand out.  If you can talk to people on the same level and not be 'above them' somehow, it's pretty easy to get them to knock off bull.'

    Maintaining a sense of reasonable humanity comes up again a bit later in our conversation -

 13 Jun 03:25 - A FOOMING Mirrim tells you 'I think it's a lot easier to 'run' a clan if you don't start thinkin' you're actually more important than anyone.  You're really not.  It's like any administrative/organisational work with cheerleading thrown in. We're not necessarily the strongest characters in the clan, or the oldest players.  We're just the ones stupid enough to do paperwork.  Either that or charismatic enough to fool people into thinking we're l33t.'

  I agree with this sentiment entirely. Leadership can easily be as time consuming and complex as any 'real life' profession. It's unrealistic to expect that all of the 'best' people for the job are able to devote the focus. I also strongly believe that strength of character or length of time/gameplay are not valid qualifications of leadership. Certainly, there is a need of understanding of the workings of the game, and the experience can be beneficial, but it really is a balance of availability, competence, and aptitude that makes up a quality leader. It's also entirely possible for individuals to reach levels of character grandeur while still remaining incredibly ignorant about the finer parts of the game dynamic.

     Another point touched upon in our interview is the aspect of size and power a clan can potentially possess. Smaller clans are readily ridiculed for their size, and the most powerful clans are just as readily attacked for hitting the other end of the spectrum. I asked Mirrim if she could see any reason to require minimums or maximums of membership numbers.

  13 Jun 03:05 - A FOOMING Mirrim tells you 'Yes.  I honestly think that there IS such a thing as too overpowering and that a balance in all things should be struck.  Though whether my views are clouded by being a mid-sized clan rather than large and powerful remains to be seen.'
13 Jun 03:07 - A FOOMING Mirrim tells you 'Making people stay away from a good match for their personality might also be bad, on the flipside.  Also, we don't outcast idle members.  Shala and Fluffhead just came back after a few year hiatus and we're thrilled to have them return.  They're part of somethin' that's bigger than an ingame thing.'

    Each clan has the choice to decide if they find it worthwhile to cap a member count (though particularly in raiding clans, bigger is often perceived as better), or to employ housekeeping practices by outcasting non-logging, inactive members. The 'clist' command allows you to view some basic statistics of size and activity. The current output at the time of this article shows this information:

Clan name                                 Short    Members  Active Level Nopk
-------------------------------------- ----------- -------  ------ ----- ----
The Wolf Administration                wolf             15      14   200    N
The Lone Adventurers                   loner            56      32     0    N
The Outcast Clan of Shame              outcast         321      77     0    N
The Fellowship of the Twin Lobes       twinlobe         43      35   201    N
The Watchmen of Aardwolf               watchmen         49      33   201    N
Chapter Honorary - Alliance of Spellca chaos            57      33   201    N
The Seekers                            seekers          18      18    15    Y
The Order of Shadokil                  shadokil         42      21   201    N
The Emerald Knights                    emerald          59      41   125    N
The Order of Light                     light            66      58   201    N
The Order of the White Dragon          dragon           47      26   200    N
The Children of Baalzamon              baal             86      62   201    N
The Hook Clan                          hook             89      56    15    N
Order of the Bard                      bard             25      15    30    Y
Crusaders of the Nameless One          crusader         17      11   150    Y
The Xunti Cult                         xunti            26      19   201    N
Clan Imperium                          imperium         45      34   200    N
The Crimson Horde                      crimson          74      63   201    N
The Daoine Sidhe                       daoine           73      42    50    N
Retribution                            retribution      58      41   201    N
Vanir                                  vanir            34      21   201    N
The Great Circle of Druids             druid            14      11    81    N
Disciples of Hassan                    doh              44      42    26    N
Sisterhood of the Amazon Warriors      amazon           36      26   200    N
The Soul Pyre                          pyre             28      23   150    N
The Society of Tanelorn                tanelorn         14       9   150    Y
Enlightened Brotherhood of the Dominio dominion         54      42    15    N
Masaki Clan                            masaki           51      38   200    N
Dark Templars of Rhabdo Rana           rhabdo           50      38   201    N
Romani                                 romani           17      10   201    N
Knights of Perdition                   perdition        28      20   201    N
The Elemental Cabal                    cabal            17      16   200    N
Loqui                                  loqui            38      31   201    N
The Midgaardian Publishing Group       gaardian         18      11   100    Y
The Creation of Tao                    tao              54      38   201    Y
House of Touchstone                    touchstone       40      25   100    Y
The Lost Rogues                        rogues           18      14    75    N
For more information on each clan, use : 'Claninfo {short name}'
Default inactive days is 90. Use 'clist <days>' for other settings.

    I do encourage playing around with different numbers of days if you find these figures at all interesting. If you're really into it, toy with 'roster 4', and it really doesn't take long for certain patterns to emerge into clarity.

    No matter how a clan divides its responsibilities, there are plenty go around. Shops and halls need to be stocked, built, and maintained, websites need administration, members need tending, questions need answering, conflicts need resolving, allies need defending, enemies need raiding, breached mazes need upgrading, and for some clans, a theme is followed with diligent efforts. While priorities vary from clan to clan, so do member contributions. Some clans have different standards of performance requirements from their members, while others prefer a leader-centric approach, or keep it more laid-back like it's just a group of people coming together to enjoy the company and environment of the game Aardwolf offers.

        Whatever style of clan life a player might seek, it's probably out there in one of the numerous choices available on the clist. It may take a bit of experimentation and exploration to really discover what's most important in your own clan life experience, but if you are looking to avoid potential clan-hopping, one of the best methods to prevent this is to take the time to research your clan-of-choice ahead of time, and to not rush the admission process. It's easy to want to be admitted within days after posting an application note, or to simply accept an invite from a recruiter, but if you have certain things that you really do want from a clan, you'll best find them by being honest in what you're looking for, and ensuring that your potential clan can, and will, provide them.


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